Sunday, January 09, 2005

jess, beth and amy

During my week in Paris with the Musiciens du Louvre I take my luxurious morning coffee in the Cafe Beaubourg. I walk daily round the Ile St Louis and along the Seine gazing up at cream louvred shutters and through lead windows where people like Jacques Brel and Juliette Greco surely live????????? I discover where I can have the best tarte salee - in the Maison Berthaud ice cream salon, and see that most French men having their business lunch still look like my teenage heart throbs, Guillaume Monsingeant and Vincent Remy.
The music making is wonderful, by which I mean full of wonder. And love. How one is ever supposed to lose the post Christmas bidon , however, when playing a bass line is likened to whipping up a sabayon; where we are encouraged to add more olive oil or make our crotchets more gourmandes, and the patisserie next door has award winning galettes, I do not know.
What I do know is that it beats touring in Woking and Milton Keynes.
I return on the 31st of January to a house full of beautiful girls. Julian's brother Pete has arrived en famille from Alicante with a box of Rioja and a huge ham on the bone. It seems to have been spun from bees, so like nectar is it. It rests, a macho object, on our farmhouse table.

jess and beth 1
Originally uploaded by ruthphillips.
It is balanced out by the pretty sparkle of Jessica (13), the sultry beauty of Bethany (11), and the explosion of innocent joy that is Amy (3). The two older girls have already made firm partnerships with Oscar and Manon and they are to be found most times nursing their new crushes on the soft curves of the olive green sofa.
Julian and I, reeling from xmas extravagance, have pulled out the budget stops on the way home from Avignon TGV, at the mammoth supermarket, Auchan. We knock up oysters, foie gras, roast lamb and rice pudding for seven. The girls are up for anything and get very slightly pissed on the sweet wine. They nibble the foie gras despite my description of the poor ducks with their bursting livers, and devour the oysters in the hope that they may find pearls, bur also with an adventurous taste bred from growing up in Botswana and eating strange worms and snakes on their bush camp fires. Amy exclaims with great excitement that we are 'eating the sea'. I pity the city children who can only stomach pasta with no sauce eaten separately from the adults. There seem to be so many.
On New Year's Day Amy wakes us on the pull out bed with a purity, which puts my gigondas-infused blood to shame and we drive to the top of the winter wonderland of the Mont Ventoux. There I sledge for the first time, my head nestled in between Julians thighs, screaming with an abandon which has been hibernating too long.
Throughout the few days Amy had more energy and joy in her body and soul that I have felt for a long time. She hauled the sledge up and tobogganed down the mountain for six hours, then climbed up to the 'Dentelles de Montmirail' in a fierce mistral, to view the valley of Gigondas, On the rocky pinnacle I crushed wild thyme in my hand and gave it to her to smell. A first. Mmmmmmmmmm! She voyaged through all this with laughter that simply said "Here and Now is Good". I believe she came to us as the laughing Buddha.
Late at night we chewed the Fat and the Faith; The Foie Gras. A family of Born Again Christians entering into to the shock of a messy 'mas' and the two humanist artists who live in it poses a question: Where do we meet spiritually? It was good to debate, to search for the point where we loved; where we accepted and respected each other. It's a work in progress, and an important one for 2005.


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