Sunday, June 14, 2015

Last Day in Alayrac - Last Painting left to be Finished at Home - Au Revoir to Christine and Pimpa - One Last Back Road surprise.

 The Final day has come!
Will have to finish this at home. No more days in the cool shade of the Sycamore lined
banks of the Aveyron across from the medieval city of St. Antonin Noble Val.
JP's entry in the studio log.
We say "au revoir" to the villa concierge/manager, Christine, and Pimpa.
We will miss her kindness and wise advice.

And we could not resist one last drive on an unknown back road. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Vide Granier or Empty the Attic: The term for a town yard sale

Bits and pieces to clear out before we go home Saturday morning....

Saturday, June 6, 2015
If you removed cars from three quarters of the dooryards around here, you wouldn’t know what century it was. This place is infused with, suffused with, steeped in, drenched in, enveloped in time in a way totally different from my experience of the states. Being bone idle also promotes  musing. There’s not much news.  We continue living in a beautiful landscape, eating the food it provides and sleeping to the sounds of its night birds.  JP is working inside today. He has painted a few foreground wheat stalks and is putting the color into the poppies; WAIT! he’s signed it!  Wine!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015
We hung out in St. Antonin yesterday across the river from the town and church so that JP could fulfill a lifelong dream and set up an easel on the banks of the Seine and paint.  Different river but still France.  
       He  had found a yellow-green chaise for me to lounge about in. After some of that I clambered  up 78 steps in the side of the hill thinking I was going to see a view, but found a cemetery. I have a picture. Burials seem very heavy, very concrete and very permanent. There is not a glimmer of the ineffable.   In another direction I found a bright cold supermarket, the most modern we’ve run across, where I got replacement sea salt, pepper in a grinder, ground coffee and Earl Gray Tea. And a can of Exceedingly Cold Dutch Beer! I lugged that back into the French Painting under the pollarded trees with the subtly dappled light on the banks of the gently flowing green Aveyron, Then sat in my garish plastic chaise,  read my Spenser mystery aloud and swilled the beer.  Ugly American but so pleasant. Actually, numbers of people came over to look and we conversed quite happily. A strong grounding in charades helped.

There is very little litter along the roads. It makes a difference in the pleasure of the driving. There are also very few fat people. I haven’t seen one fat kid the whole time. Maybe because the bread crusts and the sausage are so tough it takes longer to eat. People around here must have very strong teeth too. And the hills are full of bicyclists with white hair and lined faces.

The landscape here is changing. The wheatfields that were green when we came are now the blond of a 6 year old in the summer. The deep red brick fields are  starting to turn green as the sunflowers grow. The cut hay fields are a patchy scraped yellow brown.  The red roses are climbing up the ivy below our second floor windows and the ivy itself is growing into the house. There are pink roses lower down with a heavenly fragrance and the bees and bugs and birds are sounding  happy happy happy.

Thursday, June 11  We are running out of trash to read. I thought I would be forced to get into the Granta Book of the American Short Story with “…a selection from the best works of American short fiction published in the last fifty years.” 1992 .    I avoid short stories; I never read them in The New Yorker because they are dismal and tiresome but we were desperate.   Then I saw the following endorsement on the back cover: “What links most of the stories in this collection is a sense of indefinable disquiet, gathering unease, growing anxiety, incipient panic, imminent crises- things turning menacing, insignificant lives beginning to fracture…  This is a rich collection.” Tony Tanner, Guardian
   I rest my case!  And here’s an Eric Ambler that fell behind the bookcase. Another great thing about mysteries before 1985. NO COMPUTERS!!!!!!

Christmas Carol line. “ The cherry tree bowed low down, bowed low down to the ground. And Mary gathered cherries while Joseph stood around…”  That’s exactly it! The cherries in the next garden are ripe and the branches are bowed down with their weight. You just extend your hand straight out and they rest in your palm. Good too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On the Banks of the Aveyron in in SW France, JP Paints His Last. - and the Castle of Penne

I have harbored a secret fantasy of being a plein air painter on the banks of the Seine. So here I am on the banks of  the Aveyron in St. Antonin Noble Val. Betsy reading a Robert Parker novel beside me, French tourists stopping to comment and chat and instruct us in their lovely language. It will do,  
Maybe two more days if I am pushing. 

A last look at the castle of Penne from the terrace of the restaurant. It had an intent and history as grim and bloody as it looks.

Video shows a panoramic view of the Avayron Valley from the castle. (JP's Video)

And Betsy's View - Vertigo Susceptible? Do not watch.