Sunday, May 30, 2010

books 'n roses


The peintre relaxes very occasionally, so the local gossip goes, in his potager. That is when he is not painting, feeding himself and three cats, emptying a garage and a gallery, building a ramp and preparing eight hundred packages for the book delivery on its belated (through no fault of his own) delivery date, checking data, preparing labels, printing, addressing, sticking, signing and probably humming. All on his lonesome.


I went home for three days. The books were supposed to be there. We were supposed to be labelling, sticking, licking, posting, printing, packing. A deux. Instead, as they were not, I smelled the roses, and planted the broccoli family. I prepared elderflower champagne for four day fermentation. We walked, ran, lunched....It felt like three weeks' holiday.


Back in grey rainy Garsington my beloved shows me his ramp and packaging on skype. I make admiring noises. The elderflower champagne is over-fermenting.

Saturday, May 22, 2010



Two days at home, just in time to see the roses bloom. The mistral destroyed much of the potager du peintre, so I have been nursing it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

giovanni arte



You can still see the film arte made of our Don Giovanni here

Friday, May 07, 2010

A postcard sandwich.

butler tanner dennis

We have had the most divine breakfast at our potter and children's book writer friends, David and Sarah Garland. It consists of home made granola with stem ginger and apple compote, a curly kipper and café au lait, all served on our favourite pottery. So harmonious is it all that the Garland mark and the curly kipper practically do a salsa on the plate. Then, under a fleece of cloud and past sun-yellow fields of rape, we drive back to Frome, to the conference room complete with sandwiches and mini-bar, with Delia and Jamie's cookery books lining the shelves, that has been reserved for us at Butler Tanner and Dennis.

The printers have been hard at work during the night, and there is a new pass to sign off, plus two new sheets to see. My favourite of Julian's paintings, possibly ever, seems to sparkle. The green bowl in the pomegranate painting is perfect for the first time and the rougets positively zing! The book is going to be magnificent!!!

Meanwhile, further down the production line, the Glyndebourne opera programme, with its David Hockney cover, is being pummeled and blown, strimmed, folded, stroked, punched, glued, threaded and bound, just like Julian's book will be next week. The brochure travels down miles of conveyor belt, its various bits drying and readying themselves for the next treatment. Overhead in floppy pipes the wasted rakes, billys and hansels whizz off across the ceiling to the recycling bin, just like bits of leek and mackerel and wheatfield will do on Monday.

butler tanner dennis

I resist the urge to rub out the name of a certain person on the orchestra list on the back page.

butler tanner dennis

butler tanner dennis

butler tanner dennis

'Next up' says our rep 'The Garsington brochure!'

So there goes Julian's book, sandwiched in between my ex and my current employers' opera programmes! On it's way to Bedoin, and then, perhaps, even, to a bookstore near you!

butler tanner dennis

Thursday, May 06, 2010

First Pass


There are bluebells. There is plump wild garlic and exquisite spring lamb at the Wheatsheaf. On one of the surrounding tables in the cool modern dining room, four lads who might, ten years ago, have been downing lagers with an over-sized curry, are talking about beetroot over delicate English salad leaves. On another, three women are sharing a bottle of white wine and discussing birdsong. On the third (for there are only four) a couple are too blissfully happy or pissed, or both, to do anything but hold hands while they digest the fine fayre. As usual, we move from analyzing our food and the ambiance (pretty much ten out of ten, we agree for once, apart from the square plates) to dreaming of our own coffee shop cum gallerybistro/ gastro pub with rooms. There is a Farrow and Ball bedroom in 'The Shed' with a cowbell key, Egyptian cotton sheetage, complimentary organic Fairtrade tea, a tuckbox and a lambskin cushion that is almost as good as having our beloved Manon in bed with us.... but Julian is nervous. Tomorrow is press day!


Thankfully Butler, Tanner and Dennis start late due to a system something or other, so we can enjoy an early morning walk and salmon and scrambled duck eggs. We check emails outside the inn in a light rain. We have breakfast and drive to Frome through dingly dells that make us discuss the possibility of moving back to our home country. There is a nice bookshop in which we are assured that the printers we have chosen are sound fellows....

And then, suddenly, there we are at the first pass. Julian's paintings sliding out all clean and shiny and multiduninous on huge sheets. All on their own. All grown-up.



It occurs to me that up until now Julian has, possibly for the first time, been feeling what we musicians feel before we go on stage. He tilts his head. Examines two rougets, a leek and a lavender field.

'Looks great' he says at last, happy as a spring lamb.


Monday, May 03, 2010

purple asparagus

purple asparagus

The blue season is fading. The irises are bowing down with their lanky weight and shriveling up as the touch the ground. Poppies are looming up on the banks and soon it will be sweet honey broom again. As the asparagus fattens and strawberries prepare to make way for cherries, a trip to Les Halles in Avignon reveals a last burst of blue, this extraordinary amethyst-coloured asparagus, just in time for guinea fowl with morilles and spring vegetables for our favourite cooks.

purple asparagus

purple asparagus

Saturday, May 01, 2010


irises les cougueiux