winging its way...
I ran past the orchard and slowed down just enough pluck a couple of cherries off the branch. Their skins split, releasing the tart flesh in my mouth. The air was impregnated with broome and pine and the skies a-twitter with happy new arrivals from Africa.
Returning to the house, I saw a white haired man and a taut muscled mason push away the table and chairs we keep in their vines.
“You are the proprietor?” I asked.
“Yes, Madame, I am. We have come to mend the cabanon.”
The last time we had spoken I had proposed to Monsieur Vendran that we could either rent or buy a parcel of land on the other side of the small road.
“I can’t talk now” he had said. “Je suis dans les cerises”. I had pictured him with a mobile in the cherry orchard but, realising I had called a landline, had abandoned my fantasy. Later, when he had emerged (with his mobile phone?) from ‘les cerises’, he had given us a flat no.
“Would you consider renting or selling us some of this land to make a little ‘potager’?” I said as Oscar our cat leaped in through the window of his Renault van.
“You know, if you make a garden we will come and spray it with chemicals when we spray our vines, and that will annoy you and besides I am not selling it at the agricultural price of 5€ a square metre. Where are you from?”
This was further than I had got before, so I continued: “ We are English…well perhaps we could discuss a price?” The cream mini cooper next to his white agricultural van on the verge of his vineyard smacked of money.
“You know, I always like discussing with the English” he said.
“You are so ‘sympathique' ” I suspected he was lying. “Anyway, I will think about your proposal."
I wondered about the 'potager' and whether it might instead just be a space for a paddling pool.
Later in the day, I took our great friend and Cotswold potter David Garland to see Louis Brueder in his chic boho stony cave of a studio and gallery. David begged a lump of clay. “I have been here a week, and my hands just have to touch clay……”. They understood. I thought about a gut string under my finger and felt the same charge that was going through David’s hand as he accepted their gift.
“You know, in our small village, there are lots of adoptive families" Louis said. "You just have to stand in front of the school gates and watch the kids come out to know that whatever race you adopt they will be at home here. My sister has two children from Vietnam, my neighbour from Brazil – though that is hard as he was in his father’s arms when he died and he’s not doing so well – you will be fine. Twenty years ago, perhaps a small village in the South would be a difficult place to bring up a child of colour, but not now.”
I have heard that if we can prove our infertility (I knew there must have been a reason that horrid Docteur Galand tied my tubes without consent while I was under anaesthetic) we might – at our ripe old age - be able to adopt a baby from Mali. Having grown up surrounded by Dogon art, having studied African drumming and also having been told, at the Youssou'n Dour concert that I dance like an African woman, the journey I have always wanted to do in my life has been to Mali and Senegal. I have been swayed by friends and partners and have been everywhere but. Perhaps I will get there one day, and perhaps on some unconscious level I have been saving this journey. Perhaps in a couple of years, along with the swifts, there will be another kind of new arrival from Africa....?
That said, there are two of us. Julian has his own lifetime journeys and cultural fascinations, and the soul that is winging it’s way into our life also has its own journey of a lifetime. We’ll see what happens.