It is a hazy morning, and an orangey light is infusing the bedroom. The blush of autumn is just under the skin of the sky, and the greens are lightening towards lime….
I have four days at home before the next leg of the tour in Bremen. We decide we cannot miss out on one like this and, with print packing done early for the day, we prepare to cycle off into the vineyards heavy with their dusty blue-black fruit. I have pumped up the tyres of our bikes, purchased 5 minutes after we got engaged, and my bum is on the saddle ready to roll. Julian appears, but something has changed. His face, rather than the sensual one I woke next to and which drank fresh pear and nectarine juice with gusto, is black as thunder. He jerks his leg over the bar and I ask what’s up.
“I’m angry. I don’t want you to go away again.”
The rest of the Indian summer’s day is spent under a thunder-cloud. To a turtle it feels like a wasted day, but to the thunder cloud there is no choice; we are just waiting for the rain. However, the rain doesn’t come. It’s cold. Trying to pierce the cloud with a needle only prolongs the intensity of the freeze. Somewhere underneath there are probably tears but this one looks to be like a dry storm. No running out into the road and splashing around in joyous thanks for the monsoon.
It is true that it is harder and harder to go away. I know that, for example, in the week I will be in Germany, that fuzzy little tree in the distance will turn from mere green to bright zesty lime and the field of cherry trees in front to amber, forming the perfect St Clements’ landsape. The vine and flat peaches will peter out and the ceps and greengages will move into their spot. Most frustrating, however, is that I only have time to write the necessary letters for crappy hoover refunds and lost cheques, and I'm gone. We only just brush against our rhythm à deux.
For Julian it is apparently even harder to be left over and over again, and to be expected to open up for 72 hours just because I happen to breeze through. There are tiles to be uprooted in preparation for hemp floor number three, there are stone floors for the gallery to be checked out, there are canvasses to be moved to make way for some thoughts about the eventual shape of the ‘arrière-cuisine’, there are electricity cables to be pulled through, but above all there are orange lit days, moonlit nights, ceps, greengages, and flat and vine peaches to be shared.
Our friends arrive for dinner. Luckily, we are allowed to be ourselves with them. We start with a fresh chevre cheese each from the market drizzled in truffle honey (a trick I learned in an Italian bar in Salzburg). Then there are tiny tomatoes bursting into peppery local olive oil, followed by pork pot roasted with our neighbours’ bay leaves. Then there is a midnight blue platter of Muscat grapes and figs. We all argue a bit – enough to feel normal - but we laugh too.