Month: July 2017

Final French flurry of fotos

12 glorious days in France has wound up, filling my heart. I was born there, in a tiny village halfway up a mountain, looking across to the snow-covered Alps, so it’s always special to celebrate an actual birthday there. I’m a very lucky woman, I know. I spent the entire time sucking the language and culture in through my pores. I literally feel a craving I can obviously quench no other way. So I just delight in all things French, especially the local markets and food. Cue the slideshow (except I don’t know how to do it, so a nice even-paced scrolling is now up to you):     I wish I could upload the smells.     And cheese galore, incl that end one which was as big as my entire upper body:     Plus everywhere, the passionate, poetic tumble of language that makes my soul sing.   And feel truly at Home.    

What was my 51st birthday present, you’re wondering?

I waited 3 weeks, carrying it with me from Australia to France, under instructions not to open it. So at last the moment came, at 1am on birthday morning in my cute orange tent under the walnut trees (which was absolutely my birthday good and proper in Oz)! It was a 2nd hand book. A kid’s book. A classic, nostalgia-filled, heart-warming kid’s book, which sat on every single bookcase in Australia (and America? Did you have one?). Except… H ripped out all the pages. So I got the cover: And then I got the inside cover, where clumsy young fingers would proudly print their names: Then as you can see from the chickens, it all went a bit rogue and unpredictable! And that’s because dearest H is the most amazing collage/graphic artist, and spent hours making me a unique record and interpretation of our dating journey, from the first cheeky email in October, to the meeting under the Flinders St clocks in Melbourne just before Xmas, and so on and so on and so on. …

By the way, I’m being teased from afar

It’s my 51st birthday in 5 days. Last year I was in Paris, watching fireworks at the Palace of Versailles, and cycling all over the city with my old lover, staying in 2 different apartments. This time, I’m choosing the simplicity of staying still in the Barn with family. But my dear, sweet, online love ‘H’ will [obviously] not be around to celebrate with me. A few days before I left Australia however, H handed me a package: ‘I made you this for your birthday. Don’t open it till the actual day.’ ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? That’s so cruel! How can I resist it? ‘And don’t hassle me about what it might be; I’m not going to tell you.’ But H, how can I not try to guess? Obviously it’s a book of some kind… Maybe I could just peek in a corner? Later, my son ‘17’ said: ‘You could just open it before your birthday but not tell H.’ [This suggestion reveals so much about the teenage brain, doesn’t it?]. For a naughty moment, …

How to cook Paella for 100 guests in one easy step: hire the local experts

We’re here in the Dordogne for a weekend of family, friends, fun, and the long-awaited 50th. Saturday evening was the big gathering, with long wooden tables and benches spread under the trees outside: We hung fairy lights, tiny candles in jam jars, and foraged greenery from the woods and fields around us: Someone even came up with a creative solution to that dangerous rusty farming implement right near where we’re sitting: The views completely sucked: It was a pleasant 22 degrees or so, and the sunset was as always stunning (such soft light here compared to Australia; I can’t describe it any other way than it looks like it’s been smudged or half rubbed out): There was a mojito bar set up in the ruined BBQ area, plus trestle table bar inside with kegs of wine and champagne bottles. And then of course, everyone had to be fed. So the triumphant organization of this celebration peaked with the Paella King & Queen. We cleared a space in the centre of the Barn, and they just …

Long haul air flights: an utter privilege which sucks

It started so well. Good house/petsitters; efficient packing (roll don’t fold); timely train transport to the airport. The cute gay boy at the check-in counter asks me if I’m staying in Paris? No I’m not. Since 1980, my favourite Aunt ‘M’ (who lives in Sydney) has owned a 300-yr old barn in the French countryside. For years, we have all travelled to and from The Barn (Australians are so good with names aren’t they?) in the Dordogne region; Dad first took me there when I was 15, and I took my son there a couple of years ago when he was 15 (we sat there for 2 months, reading/eating/playing badminton LINK HERE & HERE TO OLD STORIES). Now we’re all gathering again, for my cousin’s 50th celebration weekend July 14-16. She lives in Sydney too, but has been telling us about this party plan for 3 years, supremely organized being that she is; thus approximately 85 people are turning up- mostly from Australia! A HUGE EXCITING EVENT. But first, I have to get there. It …

‘We can’t let you keep the hamster. It’s too dangerous.’

And with that, Lulu my best friend was taken away forever. Prised from my soft 6-year old hands, holding tightly to her special travel cage. I got one last glimpse of her ginger coat and black eyes before the security door slammed shut, and the full force of my tears and rage flooded me. Mum protested. ‘This is ridiculous! A hamster can’t have Rabies; she’s never even left the house, except for today.’ Met by an official silence, I wailed harder and louder, realizing it was the only power I had. Fellow ferry passengers tutted or shook their heads, while I screamed at the men in uniforms that I hated them AND their stupid country. So that was the beginning of my long-held, ongoing animosity towards England, small men in authority, and rules that can’t be bent or broken. I also think it was the birth of my Separation Anxiety. I said the first of many goodbyes to my beloved Dad that day, in ferry terminals, railway stations, and especially airports, as Mum and he …

6 nights in a row, but who’s counting? Well me, obviously.

I love my space so much. On the fortnights that my son ’17’ is with his Dad, step-mum, and 2 little brothers, I LOVE having my home to myself. Sometimes I don’t wash up for 3 days, piling the dishes without shame on the counter top. I’ll write or read all day if I’m not working, and quite happily just have crackers & humous for dinner . Or else I’ll clear the chairs and rug out of the way, and have a wild 5Rhythms dance session in the kitchen/living room, to the amusement of the cat. I particularly love my bed space. Not only do I sleep like a starfish, but a diagonal one at that. In summer, I love to dangle one heel off the mattress edge, sticking it out sideways into the cooler air. Sometimes I toss and turn, especially now that I’m a bit ‘warm-flushy’ as I move through menopause, and will throw off the covers then re-burrow myself at erratic intervals. And more than anything, I hate being woken up. By an …