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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Regular Cabanon Days

Like true joy: giving out of propane for the stove, going down in my little Twingo, Boyce driving, to change the propane pot (box? thing) and picking up "festive" baguette for lunch -- had one last night with "cereale" -- all sorts of seeds, and some Breton butter from the one remaining grocery store (the 11 there used to be disappeared when the madder ("garance") on which the little village lived was no longer used for soldiers' pants, because Germany had fabricated a chemical that did the job more simply. Crash went our little village back in the 19th century.

Now sitting peacefully under the overhanging vines are Matthew and Theodore, each with their computers, Boyce under the overhang we had to put up to have the rooms -- old and  newer -- touch, regulations, with the paper, me figuring out what to say to the forthcoming piece about Picasso and Jacqueline Roque (at the Pace, while our Picasso and the camera will be at the Gagosian) -- you set up a phone interview, this for next tuesday after we get back from Les Florets for Matthew's birthday, or wednesday after we take them to Avignon, alas, but we leave only a day later, doubly alas.

The sun is glancing hrough the vines, I have cut up yellow courgettes to try to imitate the superb yellow courgette soup we were served way up the mountain beyond Sault, cut up cucumbers to delight the table, and will serve the gorgeous vegetable dish Connie Higginson left when she and Leon Selig (whom I've known both of for ages) came with their friends 2 days ago .

We swiim in the lake at 3-ish, and then bring back the Twingo for Matthew and Theodore to swim in the Bedoin pool (you have to have regulation French bathing suits), then to Villes to try out a new restaurant. Utopia indeed.

Tomorrow to neighbors for lunch, next day big anniversay party for provencal neighbors -- Matthew will take his guitar -- and the next day some journalist friends and Arabic specialist friends will come for drinks, etc. The way it is. I wouldn't change a thing. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

the chapel

So now today early, Matthew and Theodore have set out, armed with a baguette and a bar of chocolate and a water bottle, up the road and up the hill  to the chapel of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, the chapel, to ring the bell so all can hear the arrival, armed also with a little hammer to knock of pieces of rock in case they are interesting-- they will perhaps come down by the Roman Road, very grown over in places, but all the same, historic -- our cabanon has a roman wall, and everywhere feels laden with tradition. Even our meals under the trees downstairs, and even our drinks upstairs overlooking the field -- all of it. And there's a lot of it!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

tacking up

Right now, my son Mathew and his son Theodore are tacking up moustiquaire (you know, against the mostquitos) in the old window openings and it is very familial and usefully grand and grandly useful.
At our large party,  two nights ago, when it was pouring and we huddled inside, Matthew sang, and it was glorious. So  forgot we had lots of wine downstairs, rose from Aix in honor of Cezanne and white from Cassis in honor of all the Bloomsbury folk who stayed there: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Quentin Bell and the others -- in Cassis, staying once in the summer  at the Camargo Foundation,  I found, under an oilcloth table mat, a table painted by someone in the Omega workshop, all very delightful, and now it is in a bank somewhere. Discoveries are of all sorts, over, under, around...

Today, under the sun, glinting off the leaves, i am glad to have finished my piece for the Guardian on Matisse and Picasso and Montmartre and modernism, about Sue Roe's smashing book

Back to Pascal, whom I think I really never left, after Yale, where I loved 2 faces: that of Andre Breton (tbecause of which  I went "into" surrealism), and Pascal's death mask -- like that of Artaud, said my friend Lee Hallman..

off to meet a bunch of Scottish-British friends from , it would seem, always. Always is nice. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

moments in provence

When I first came, to be in the same part of France as the poet Rene Char, it was all about a kind of life that hasn't changed much in all these years since 1973. I still wash clothes in Genie and hang them on the clothesline, I still try not to have to make soup or whatever if it is the time of the sunset over the Dentelles de Montmirail I can see in the distance, i still find a white butterfly coming by the table a good omen, as one did right this minute. Of course, after 7 times of purchasing -- little by little, you will say, and that is true -- this land and field in front of me now, it has enlarged, the space around the cabanon. So has it itself, now having an upstairs structure, and some stones undergoot -- given me by Rene Char (you will build your house on poetry), all of that. But the birds and the sounds are the same.
My great neighbors have planted trees for me -- a parasol pine, that stretches up and around, two mulberry trees, one of which has mulberries, one not, a fig tree I got with a friend years ago now, and the little olive I planted upstairs when someone took the middle tree of my olive grove downstairs, to sell it, I guess.
Things are different, but are attached to things the same, so the Queen Anne's lace or the dandelions now grown into tall white flowers -- I don't always know what I'm looking at, but savor it all.
Today, one of Matthew's green coathangers I got for him, the same color as a mulberry leaf, is hanging from that tree, and I have spread out the very beautiful paintings Sooky Maniquant did -- ah, so long ago, but in no way sadly -- to go with poems of Char I  translated: Rencontre dans le vent, have spread them out on a bed in the room  Matthew and Theodore are sleeping in these days, visiting us. They are walking up the hill to the chapel of Notre-Dame-des-Anges now, and will be back for the  now 35 guests about to arrive.
Boyce has made salmon mousse and a jellied lamb concocion with star anise, and i will fill endive leaves with Tapenade green and black, and some pesto spread, and Janet has brought great wiine containers of rose and red, and we will serve those in large pitchers of gres (that clay everything used to be made of) and white wine from Cassiis for nostalgia's sake, when I used to go to the Camargo foundation in the summer to write.
And we will spread out in the field, children and bfalls and frisbies and we'll all stand around and be happy it isn't still storming -- if it isn't.  it is all so much a part of living here, even for a short time.
Which stretches out in the mind.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


So today promises a total delight of a day: Matthew is here, with his son Theodore, and they are doing that most wonderful of things: puttering. We just defined it at breakfast (just JUST enough baguette with grains and a bit of Festival which is local baguette that has won lots of honors, to go around for us four, with honeys and confiture with " fruits rouges" and so on), then to the local pizzeria at the bottom of the hill for lunch: La Farigoule , very thin crust kine, then preparing salmon mousse and lambBoyce makes with all sorts of things in a mold, and so on, for our drink party tomorrow night, about 28 or 29 by my count, some children, all our really good friends in nearabout places, with their visiting families, and luckly, our field is immense, can't see any other property from here, so people can just take a glass of pink or white and wander, and Matthew is in charge of wine and Theodore can  pass plates and that is about it.
Tonight Alexander Swan, Malcolm and Janet's son with a beautiful voice, is giving a concert in nearby Bedoin, and their truly lovely daughter Lucy and her children will come as well almost everyone we ever met here, then of course  a glass after with the musicians, then we will have our little fish in the shape of fish we get once a week, onTuesdays, in our local tiny market of Mormoiron, same day you can get the roasted on a spit chicken... on Sundays in the big market, where producers come from all over the Vaucluse, we get our Salers, tat wonderful cheese with its ctust you have to eat, and our raw ham, if that's the word for this delicacy, sliced thin, i won't go on about it, but will serve some tomrrow night, iguess you roll it and put it on toothpicks... ah, life in the Vaucluse summers.
For Matthew's birthday, Aug. 5, we will go to Les Florets, a lovely outside restaurant at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, those toothy-lacy hills Matthew and Theodore went up last year -- and hope to every year. I first read Faulkner there, way up in a hollow in the hills, because Rene Char said the Pythie would speak to me there...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

When it pours

When you live in a cabanon and the weather starts its thing, after you turn over over all the chairs, if you can, you then grab the cloths from every table, the books if you were reading something, and thank your lucky whatever if you can find a place to place yourself inside -- although of course, you prefer always to be OUTSIDE. Yesterday a wonderful winding trip to Gordes and then to neighbors, and today, after the rain, the outside market and dinner iwht our friends up the hill, and tomorrow, the wonderful artist-poet Ruth Middleton to lunch, and our translator writer friends Anne Reynes and her husband Philippe and then Matthew and Theodore arrive, and so goes the week. After the rain, that is. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

French time

Incidents that make up life here in the cabanon.
Many friends coming to lunch-- first a glass of white (luckily, we had just gotten three bottles of Cassis at Leclerc--everyone's major shopping endeavouring place) upstairs in the field to see the sun on the  trees and get used to each other, then down around the other long table under the canopy (wearing out and will change it next summer)
Moment of Big Panic: forgot the bread and it is  12 and everything closes at 12 until 3...
But the WONDERFUL Carmona boulangerie  at thebottom ofthe hill closes at 1so  i phone and say please give my husband a baguette and a boule, and he does  and we have a joyful time.
Doesn't sound dramatic but at six when others go away it is all

Small things make up real life.
Tomorrow to Gordes, all those houses carved into the hill by the bories to see Maryse Conde snd Richard Philcox and back to drink with some winemaking neighbors and so on. Happiness.