As it circles the sky the sun’s rays move around rue St Jacques. The valerian corner focussed on yesterday is the first recipient; by mid-afternoon the back wall benefits; the front of the house is lit in the evening. Although still very cold and subject to ferocious winds, the clouds dissipated somewhat yesterday and I was treated to light shows, first of the shadows of next door’s oriental grasses, bowing, bending, and snapping back on the garden wall; then the fragile flickering of leaves of the trees opposite in the kitchen.
Early this morning I finished reading Susan Hill’s excellent novel ‘The Service of Clouds’. The writing is beautiful, with spare descriptions of nature and the use of various other devices to reflect the theme. She manages to avoid creating an air of melancholy in what is essentially a tale of sad, emotionally unfulfilled lives. It is about disappointment, isolation, and loss. Moments of happiness are brief. This latter is symbolised by children flying kites which soar aloft, only to plummet when the wind drops. She brilliantly evokes the experience of the ending of life in old age, and captures the effects of childhood on later years.
It was a bright morning when I set off towards Monbos. Not far out of Sigoules is a sign pointing to Le Roby. This time I obeyed the stop sign and followed the arrow. The road is very short, leading to a few houses behind which is a grass track bordering fields with a view across the valley.
The juxtaposition of pale irises and red hot pokers at the corner I turned, had me thinking of Fire and Ice. These were the boxing nicknames given to two policemen, partners, friends, and rivals, played by Aaron Ekhart and Josh Hartnett in Brian De Palma’s film ‘The Black Dahlia’. Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank also star. As it is worth watching, I will say no more.
I wondered whether the door marked W. C. on a rather ramshackle outbuilding was still in use. It seemed a long way to go from the house in the middle of the night.
The grasses on the track were like those that grew on the railway path behind 29a Stanton Road in which I grew up. Today the stems are soft and a fresh lime green. Later in the summer they will be dried out and yellow as corn. Just as they were when we, as children, used to slide our fingers up their stiffness, making their seeds fly off. It was fun to aim them at each other.
Soon the track was taped off and I could go no further. A donkey beneath a lichen-covered pussy willow tree in a field of buttercups, seemed, at first, to be my old friend on the Pomport road. This one, however, was younger and better kempt.
It was just as well I’d gone out earlier because Clement arrived to check the work soon after I had returned. Saufiene having been in Tunisia, as I knew, his partner had been unable to phone me because he didn’t have my number. I gave it him. He had visited on Saturday when I was out. I expressed my disappointment at the lack of completion, and gave him my French snagging list on which he complimented me. He agreed with all my observations and, indeed, found a few more. He said he would give Thierry a slap and bring him here tomorrow to finish off. When I responded that he might ‘get one back’ he said ‘You don’t know me. I’m a great boxer’.
This being a bank holiday, even the bar was closed. Showers had begun at mid-day, so I have dashed up and down to my perch outside Le Code Bar in between precipitations in order to post this, after I had lunched on a Carrefour pizza. That means I ate it, not that I used it as a plate.