Writing three-quarters of a millennium ago, Geoffrey Chaucer, our earliest great poet, in his classic ‘Canterbury Tales’ displayed a talent for capturing characterisation with simple descriptions of clothing and habits. Whether or not she was inspired by this writer, the modern P.D. James has this facility in abundance, as demonstrated by ‘A Certain Justice’ which I finished reading this morning. Her descriptions of place are equally poetic and add enormously to our understanding of the natures of her subjects. Within this elegant writing she weaves an intriguing and credible murder mystery.
In a not wholly successful attempt to dislodge yesterday’s stubborn mud, I grated my shoes along the gravel footpaths leading out of Sigoules as I set off on this much brighter but still chilly morning to walk the La Briaude loop. Apart from the rather raucus distant cawing of rooks, the birdsong was glorious, and the day fresh.
Tempted by a stony uphill track, I took a diversion, and was rewarded by a sight of burgeoning barley. Through trees, this led to a road on which I turned left. Miraculously enough, this led me to La Briaude. I had discovered a wider loop that I will use in future.
Walking on towards Sigoules, I heard a tender male voice. Peering through the trees I saw the gentleman was addressing sweet nothings to his obviously well groomed donkey. We exchanged greetings. The man and I, not the ass. Further on, another man was tending his garden. Beyond a crop of bright yellow tulips, stretched rows of vegetables, at the end of which he tilled the stony soil.
The sometimes low and relaxed, sometimes more shrill and desperate cries of the as yet unmated woodpigeons drowned the cheerful chirruping of smaller birds as I set about sorting the sitting room.
Jackie will be pleased to learn that today’s Code Bar soup was yesterday’s veg one amplified by noodles. There followed shredded pot-au-feu beef with a tangy tomato based sauce including little tomatoes and accompanied by half a hard-boiled egg on lettuce. Not necessarily my favourite food, the main course of lasagne could have me converted. Profiteroles completed the Italian theme. Fred paid me the compliment of asking me the English word (strawberries) for the French fraises. A group of English diners were having them, but I had them yesterday.