Life in the Cuckoo
When we arrived in L'Hameau des Cougieux (as it was spelled then) - what, six years ago? - we were told by the estate agent that it was named after the 'pink flower that grew in the spring'. This we took (I can't remember why now) to be the Mallow flower and we decided we lived in Mallow Hamlet. We liked Mallow Hamlet. We were planning purchasing Mallow Press.com on which to publish various books about life in the Mallow. When the mallow sprung up in my flower bed I thought twice before cutting them down since they were so authentique. One day the mayor changed Cougieux to Couguieux on the sign because 'that was the correct Provençal spelling'. We changed our pronunciation (making the g hard) and spelling accordingly. Proudly. And now, a new Parisian neighbour arrives ('oh we'll just rent for a while and then find somewh....ohmygod, we never want to leave this exquisite magical spot) and tells us Couguieux is a bastardisation of the Provençal cougious which of course means Cuckoo! (Durrr). And tonight I go down to the new Cellier du Ventoux in Bedoin to get our daily ration of one bottle and he is playing Provençal music and it turns out his son is a professional Provençal folk musician and he is very interested in Provençal culture and he has a Provençal dictionary behind the counter and...well of course it is cuckoo!
Cuckoo Hamlet? Cuckoo Press? Life in the Cuckoo?
We have been walking around today in a daze, me practicing, him painting, both lunching and checking the artichokes and all the while bursting out with 'coucou, coucou', just to see how it tastes in our mouths, our new name.
I like it, because I love the round sound of the birds in the morning, especially when they trio with the recently arrived golden oriole and the hoopoe. Julian thinks there are overtones of cuckoo clocks and cuckold. I say beh.....
So here I am on the terrace, thinking how awful it will be to leave this emerald poppy dotted paradise and go play Beethoven in the Cotswolds next week. Julian is upstairs having his shoulders and back (knackered from peony painting) rubbed by our excellent Californian masseuse. Linseed oil is being sundried on the stone bassin. OK and yes I do have a glass of rosé in my hand.
Life in the Cuckoo...hmmm, cuckoo life? life in the hamlet of the cuckoos?... is very tough, as always.