Posted on 03 August 2004

I have been lax writing my journal, feeling that I am boring, my writing disjointed, lean. I am receiving the most pleasure from cleaning, preparing for the workshop. What does that say about me?

What can I tell? The days have been hot, hot, where every step taken is an effort. Yesterday, Bedding and I went to Toulouse to IKEA for curtains, and odds and ends. (I thank the heavens for air-conditioned cars and stores.) In the evening, Susan and David came over for an easy meal of Toulouse saucisse and salad. Today, they leave town for ten days. Susan for the Aude to stay with friends who own an ancient tree farm, back to nature folk who don’t believe in water flowing from a tap indoors or even porcelain toilets. David for his university in Sterling.

After dinner, Susan and I climbed to La Vierge. It is so lovely sitting on her base, even when the evening is hot. The virgin’s outstretched arms provide a certain comfort – a good place for women I think. When Susan leaves, Gill and Shirin arrive and ask me if it’s normal to be disillusioned by men at their age. They were invited to a barbeque but their date didn’t show. “We’ve been stood up,” they tell me. Soon after, Michael – son of Basil and Clare – appears with a bottle of champagne. He is their wayward date and redeems himself by saying he has been looking all over the village for them.

They leave together and Clare appears. Susan sent her, at my request. I love Clare’s company. She is yet another friend who doesn’t mess with niceties, who speaks from the heart, who makes me laugh at the absurdities of life. She is also a fine poet, who is married to a difficult man, has a mentally challenged daughter, and has just been through a year of chemo therapy and radiation for breast cancer.

And so we sit under Mary until Rosetta, a neigbour, former mistress of the mayor, arrives with a fellow. They are shocked to see someone there so Clare and I, our sacred spot invaded by this man, wander down to the bar for perrier – two bottles each. Will any of my friends believe me when I tell them that it is too hot for wine?

The night became wild. The sky was filled with flashes of lightning and thunder and then then the blessed rain came. Hopefully our days will now be cooler. (I ran up to the attic – the girls were still out – and found that only one corner of their space was leaking. Not bad after the last episode. Hopefully Stan will return to fix it.)

This morning I went to my favourite bench at the edge of the village, coffee cup in hand, and looked over the landscape that was obscurred by fog. It reminded me of the opening scene in Brigadoon – a magic land that is only accessible on occasion.

Today, Rob and I will buy fresh fruit and vegetables in the town square. I sit writing at the Bar, sipping a coffee, as the local farmers and artisans set up stands. Christian, the pate man, passes and blows a kiss my way.

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