Well the wonderful, ‘Love Actually Moment’ happened on arrival but was not nearly so wonderful yesterday back at the Terminal in Marseille Airport! However both the house and Uzès were met with a great deal more enthusiasm than just smiles and grins despite the 20-hour journey to get here, quite a result!!
More perched villages and Roman cities have been visited in the meantime, (see my following blog). My intrepid travelling partner, daughter is safely
returned to Bristol, my first French lesson has been completed; the gentle French professeur could not be more patient or encouraging! As a result I have a dinner rendezvous with one of my classmates tonight. An American lady who went to UCLA, is the world shrinking by the day?!!
So now I am here alone and wondering how did this come about? I have no words to define my love of this area. The ancient cobbled streets, the worn stone buildings, the faded shutters, the vineyards and olive groves, the azure sky, things that reach out to my soul but why am I here, miles from all I love and alone and freezing!!! This total uncharacteristic chill is like nothing I have ever experienced. The Mistral, blowing at 80 miles an hour is fierce, unrelenting and angry. Fountains and rivers are frozen, animals shudder in the fields and no one goes outside unless they have to. That said ‘le soleil brille’ and determined market stallholders are not dissuaded from delivering their abundance in the Uzès Saturday Market.
Much diminished than in summer, but still overflowing with local produce and the tempting smells of roasting chickens, cheeses and my favourite, wine from the local convent, made by the nuns who smile benevolently at all who pass, their habits whipping around their legs as they proudly see to all
their very many clientele! The best goat cheese is to be found from a virtually toothless, smiling man with hairy ears (a name bestowed by our house manager!) who grins and nods and wraps his delicacies carefully in white paper before reaching out with worn ‘Fagin hands’ for his 5 euros!
Today I had a little break through as I walked determinedly and briskly through town. In the 3 shops I visited no one replied to me in English and although on at least one occasion I received a response which was completely incomprehensible to me, I nodded and smiled “Ahh Oui’ and if they thought I was a nutter they actually made me feel like a local! Not that I looked like one, with 2 North Face fleeces, a bright fuchsia pink headband, Oakley sunglasses and a pashmina wound tightly about me!!! I also experienced the delights of parallel parking on a busy street. I guess I am rubbish at it. It seems that unless you can maneuver into space on a sixpence ‘tres rapidement’ then you are toast! Not too much of ‘la patience’ in evidence, but at least it gets me warmed up…well hot and bothered anyway!!
So here I am alone but not lost with much to contemplate upon and work to keep me occupied. As my friends in California just begin to wake up I am joining my family and friends in England for a nice restoring, not to mention warming cup of tea..a bientôt mes amis!!