Posted on 19 April 2010

We bought the house in France ten years ago and every spring and summer, our neighbour Lucette has lined the street beside our house with her blooms. We have never potted our own because we have not been here long enough to care for them so after a discussion with Rosemary on Sunday about what plants are best suited for pots – I had oliviers, ornamental bay trees, and lavender in mind – she advised me to go with lavender as it’s lovely and hardy. You don’t even have to water them, she told me.

And so today, I went to a nursery and bought plants and pots and adorned our front with 2 species as a symbol of permanence. This is our home. Apparently lavender can also symbolize luck, devotion, and trust.

We are lucky. After a lot of work, our home is more beautiful than before the fire. We have a fridge. The cushions came back from the cleaners mildew free. I dropped off all bills at the insurance company Friday and our agent assured me that we would be paid quickly so I can pay the artisans. I am hoping this happens this week.

I am breathing easier. When Rob returns from Vancouver next week, I think he will be pleased. We can resume our lives together in comfort with lots of luxurious space to be together or separate.

The good thing about the fire is that my French has improved. For the first time, I understand our neigbour who speaks rapidly. When I turned 60 last year, Lucette turned 80. She is extraordinary, a bubbly energetic woman who often slips into latex and takes off on her bicycle. There’s something about the south of France that keeps people young. Perhaps it’s because no one moves quickly which, on the one hand, can be infuriating – three months to restore the house – and, on the other, forces one to slow down and smell the lavender.

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