Julian is the ideas man and I'm the runner. He's great at starting things and I'm great at finishing them.
'What we really need to do is this...' he will say and, several days, months or even years later, I will hand him the finished project. Sometimes it is no longer relevent or useful. The software is out of date or he's decided on a wooden floor anyway. Sometimes we open a bottle of champagne.
'You should write a blog' he said as I sat, day after day, writing letters to a lost child.
When I have a project, and I always have to have a project, I set myself a minimum requirement of two hours a day in which to honour it. Whatever is happening around me, whether we have visitors or I am playing an opera, or The Peintre needs me, I put in my two hours. In the last four years this has written me a book, sorted out the pictures for Julian's book, cleaned an entire floor's worth of cement encrusted tommettes, made an interminable excel file for all Julians print sales (previously to be found on lists stuck to empty boxes hiding not very well under my desk), learned me a course in Adobe Indesign, pre-designed Julian's book and then designed mine. Now it has dug me a garden.
OK, so I realize I just mentioned the main reason why I have not been posting here. My book. It has really only just grown up to be called a book having been a 'thing' then a 'project' and 'my writing' for so long. At the risk of jinxing myself, I will spill the beans about why. My book is finally finished and is, because of a stroke of crazy good luck, being looked at by a rather swish agent in London. If she says no, we will self publish. Whatever happens, my confidence has been given a boost and is momentarily sky high.
Meanwhile, back down on earth, where people with sky high confidence need to hang out, on the plot today, I saw a dark child in a bright red coat standing in the olive grove. She was very small compared to the trees. Probably more like the size of their fruit. As the snow puffed up clouds in the early evening mistral she walked towards the Potager du Peintre and started to howl. Her parents tried to comfort her. She would not be comforted. I asked if she wanted to see the worms. She gazed at the wriggly thing un-burrowing its way out of the wall I had just made with my spade and stopped crying.
'Oh, what a relief' said the mother. 'We don't know what to do. We've only just got back from India with her and I have no idea how to be a mother!...'
I was reminded of another joint project of ours, not quite finished. I put the worm in the little girl's hand. The little girl looked at it, dropped it, threw her arms wide open and launched herself towards her mother's calves which she encircled.
When I put away my spade, I walked into the house to find Julian delicately, and with warm water, nurturing the seedlings that will grow up one day and become the vegetables in the potager I'd just been digging.