Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A birthday present for my love

It is the 'jour de greve' on the SNCF . My train was of course one of the casualties of the strike and so I braved an earlier one. Luckily, because of the warnings in the media, no-one has ventured out of their city and so, having left my cello with a colleague so as to take up less space on the overcrowded reduced service, I find myself streaming down south with four seats all for me in first class. From the window I watch snow turn to rain, wind, and finally a soft breeze; black ploughed fields turn to burnt sienna; pine trees relax into their southern wiggles and skeletons of apple trees turn to cherry.
Our pockets are being burnt: Julian's by the rent for his studio in Crillon and mine by having to cover most of our other costs. Something is wrong and we have pretty much decided that the studio has to go.
The questions arise therefore about space: His creative space, my creative space and our space as man and wife.
At les Cougieux we have a 'remise', a long stone hayloft: Currently a ruin, it would cost 6000 euros to concrete the floor and turn into a shell from which Julian could - if the light was adequate- paint; just about a year's rent at Crillon. Once done, stone slabs inserted in the wall would be the only access from the ground so he would be private and able to go 'out' to work. After a morning's immersion in lavender or lemons, a simple turn around the hamlet would bring him back home for the delicious lunch I would be preparing with seasonal produce from the market. Meanwhile The Ventoux would be looking over him, protecting his wealth corner. The new masterpieces would go straight down the shoot used for the hay to the lime-washed garage which would, by now, be a money-spinning gallery space with glass doors framed in iron and a dinky sign saying 'Galerie du Mont Ventoux'. I would be standing in the luminescent doorway welcoming the cyclists.
We also have a big room at the end of the house: This is supposed, when the floor has been concreted to stop the walls falling away from each other, one towards Bedoin and the other towards Carpentras, to become my room. This is where I will be able to play Beethoven to the cats, write my bestseller gazing out at the lush mountain, and give lessons to people who come from far and wide for inspiration and Julian's cooking. There I will practice yoga and meditation and become a very calm sentient being...
Unfortunately we cannot afford to do it.
In the real world my room whistles with the freedom of being practically open air and is too cold to contemplate vigorous bow stroking let alone meditation. Julian is trying out the seashell grey Hammam style shower he built as a temporary alternative to the studio and plans an imminent move to the guest bedroom. I get home and this is on the easel and I am told it is "A birthday present for my love"

What a lucky girl am I.


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