My mornings are largely spent dealing with French bureauocracy - the Assedic claim never to have receieved my feuillets (the ones they told me to send after they told me to send the wrong ones) twice; Julian hasn't received his 'carte vitale' because CPAM claim never to have receieved the marriage certificate; the guy never phoned back abaout the 'mutuelle' health insurance and now Julian needs glasses desperately...etc.
Julian spends his mornings largely packing prints to replace the ones that have arrived massacred by the French and the US postal services, and repacking paintings which have gone to New Jersey practically via the North Pole and been returned with 'BAD ADDRESS' printed on them in scornful letters.
At noon today I took a trip to Carpentras post office - where I flashed my pretty lilac 'carte professionel' and jumped shamefully ahead of a pregnant and a disabled woman. I decided, whilst in the big town, that it was about time we had a proper lunch (we so often miss it, grasping at a crust or a kilo of cherries). I have discovered that I can find gooey cheesey mozzarella in the local cheese shop, so today it accompanied an old variety of deeply lined geriatric looking tomato, green salad with olive oil from the Luberon and a practically alcaholic melon.
By three o'clock, we were both able to get to work. I (who am trying to write a book) have installed my office under a plane tree in the ruin behind the house, and Julian inhabits...well, quite simply, the entire house. Well, almost. You can just see a ball of Oscar on the pile of linen we haven't put away in a week.
Before we start there is always a moment, when we are both procrastinating, sniffing out our creative territory perhaps.
"You always leave a cake of coffee for me to throw out."
"Then will you please throw the bin out when you know you've put a half chewed mouse in it three days before?"
And then it flows, and before we know it it's way too late to cook the lamb shanks and it's pasta again. Luckily we have some broad beans, some parsley, and some pretty yellow courgettes. That should make a good tagliatelle primavera. And lamb shanks will have to wait till tomorrow when we are not dining at the hostellerie with our friend, because we have become boring old once a week party people and on Thursday, which is our wedding anniversary we're booked in to a swanky fish restaurant overlooking a cove in Marseille.