Seeking Sleep in the South of France

Posted on 22 July 2007

Denis at St Antonin Noble Val

Lovers with Spice

Sunday July 22, 2007: Sitting outside the Toulouse-Lautrec Musee while Kathy (Rob’s sister) and Richard check out the short guy’s art. I am yawning, not out of boredom but because I have not slept through a night since I came to France over a week ago. And last night, Susan and David came for dinner and I served two chickens, potatoes, garlic buds, green beans, salad with endive, a selection of French pastries, and cheeses accompanied by a bottle of Brut bubbly and red wine from Chateau Mayragues that we had visited earlier that day. Oh la la.

And still I did not sleep the night away.

Since my arrival I have bought a 1996 Renault Clio diesel with low mileage so I am now free to buzz around. I have also shown the mason, electrician, and builder around the house and wait anxiously impatiently for a quote on the work Rob and I want done to this house. Will we be able to add a few extras or will we have to subtract some of our ideas? I should know this week.

Kathy and Richard arrived Friday in Toulouse after a few days in London and a few more in Paris where Richard was attending a conference so they are happy to relax, do their laundry, and see a few sights but not rush insanely. Kath and I have caught up on our children and our lives and I have learned about Richard’s family. He’s an interesting and interested person – asks many questions about the region – most of which I can’t answer and though I have had pangs of feeling like an ignorant fool, I have been able to sweep them aside. (I have spent most of my life feeling deficient and I’m tired of it. I am who I am though admittedly I have to remind myself of this at times like this.)

This morning we went to St Antonin market – the best in the area – with its spice and olive, fruit and vegetable, sausage and cheese, wine and handicraft stalls. In summer it is especially voluptuous and reminds me of past writing workshops when Marlene and I, often Gill, sometimes Ursula and Shirley have gone and gathered simple but beautiful fare for our opening feast. Hopefully next year we will resume this tradition.

I am so lucky to be here, I know, I know but if I could just sleep a long stretch – I don’t care if it’s day or night – I would be able to think more clearly and get to my writing work.

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