The work has finally finished in the studio and Julian is making up his own creamy chaux mixture and putting the finishing touches to his palace. Slowly, with each trowelled figure of eight, he is making himself at home; claiming and inhabiting his space. The new easel is on order so watch out for BIG joyous paintings!
Well, there’s the rest of the house….and then there is the question of land. I don’t think I’ll ever get my swimming pool here, but we have been advised by our estate agent to contact the man who owns the vines opposite the house and make a proposal to rent or buy a parcel of his vineyard.
“Just say you want to make a little ‘potager’” (a lovely innocent word for vegetable garden derived from the word for soup – not ‘I would like to have somewhere to put a pool or build a wall or bury the septic tank’, but ‘I would just like to have a little ‘soup making plot’’.).
I phoned Monsieur Vendran and first apologised for covering the front row of his vines with lime and hemp and having mixers clacking in the place he normally turns his poison spraying machine. Then I asked if I could come round one early evening to discuss the land.
“Call me after the tenth of July. ‘Je suis dans les cerises’” he replied.
It took me a moment to figure out if he was actually standing in a cherry orchard on a mobile phone and would be until mid-July, but no this was a land-line. He must have been at home. Then of course I figured that his whole world, until the season ends, is cherries, and that there is no space in his head for the fate of his grapes.
So what is it, this desire to ‘own’ a plot of land? Julian has always gardened and he misses it. I sat in a friend’s garden the other night under her fig tree which she had tended from young, amidst her wild roses and herbs, her budding cherry tomatoes and her lettuces, and it was not like sitting at the foot of the mountain - that's more like being in the presence of a God. No, it was like being amongst family.
I hope I get to find out. The following examples from a Steiner school model village (Yves' daughter's house is the hemp one) illustrate that the potaging instinct flowers in us naturally along with the nesting instinct if we let it.