Parched Earth

We are at the start of spring. New leaves are appearing on the Chinese Elm, the Silky Oaks are in bloom in their deep orange flowers. Some of the azaleas are struggling to open up, but others are already showing their marvellous flowers. The epiphites or stag horns are drying up. The grass is browning everywhere. The earth is crackling with deep slits showing signs of distress. Somehow the bougainvilleas do not seem to be that disturbed by a lack of rain.

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Parched Earth
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Flowering Bougainvilleas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All water is being recycled to prop some of the most vulnerable plants. So, we recuperate all spent water in buckets to provide some sort of relief to them.  We put buckets under the  washing machine hose when it disgorges its water from the wash and rinse cycles. We use Eco- friendly detergent, so hopefully it should be fine.

The washing up water is also emptied in ugly and old buckets as well as the showers that we have,  all in big containers and we carry carefully our precious drop to the plants around the garden. Good exercises!

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Ugly old buckets

When we water the poor thirsty plants, we can observe that the earth at this time is so parched that the water runs straight off. So, little by little we empty the bucket and give it time to penetrate inside the ground. We have been doing it for the last 15 days.

It is lucky that we have 2 huge tanks and this allows us to irrigate our vegetable garden. The dam further down is also a God sent as it permits us to pump water if need be.

Not a drop of rain on the horizon at this stage. We should have a dance for rain in the garden.

On a different note, I remember scattering red hot chillis  around the compound in Malaysia to actually stop the rain. A folk tale imparted to me by the  then French Honorary Consul in Penang. It worked! Especially when the 14th July was celebrated at the Alliance Française.

Till next time!

A lazy afternoon.

Mid September in the Southern Hemisphere…the end of winter the beginning of spring. The winds at present are gentle. A soft breeze caresses my skin. The bamboos are swaying gracefully while the sun still warm is about to leave room for a more cooler evening.

The dogs are sprawling on the veranda seemingly out of it, but one can see the ears pricking up at the slightest sound or nonchalantly scanning the periphery.

One cat, the orange one called Minou blends nicely on the orange towel, or lazily winking on the sofa, but today I am glad he is out there on the bench.

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Hopefully he will terrify these horrible birds…. PeeWees.

The Pee Wee birds or mud larks are they are sometimes called and depending which state you happen to live in, are making a mess on the windows splattering them with mud. I absolutely loathe them. It keeps me having to clean them almost every week. And the car outside mirrors are equally filthy. We cover them with cloth. So, they have given up this game with the car for the time being, but they are taking their revenge on all the windows around the house. May be I should leave them to dirty the car…less to scrub.

It looks like some swallows are going to nest under the eaves. I can faintly hear their tweet and their graceful flight around the house chasing insects.

The cars are making their presence felt as their engines roar down the road. But they are not frequent and do not disturb the peaceful nature of the place.

Pigeons, crows, minahs, butcher birds are singing around the house. Calls sometimes are made to warn of a predator. At the moment a Bazza,  ( a type of hawk)  and his partner have taken lodging near the house. We see them frequently flying from tree to tree with a unique and distinctive cry. Other birds do not like it at all and make sure they gave it a good chase accompanied by shrieking cries.

The cows are patiently waiting for their 4 o’clock feed and they are slowly gathering and making their way next to the fence. Lucerne now is imperative. The grass is a little scarce at this time of the year and the bonus feed is devoured with gusto. No rain has fallen for a while and it is indeed a meager feed in the meadows at the moment for them.

The perfume of the white wisteria in bloom is spreading right through the veranda.

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Some weird insects are sprawling on a branch. Quite an amazing spectacle, but do not know what they are.

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The air is clear and fresh. The warmth is going slowly to disappear leaving us with another cold night. Stillness prevails. The atmosphere has a serene quality where everything is enveloped with beauty and calm.

This beauty and quietude cannot be put into words. It just is. As one sits here basking in the last warm rays of the sun, one can sense this.

The only music is the calm that the mind seeks desperately but unable to provide as it roams the labyrinths of its thoughts ceaselessly. Not music then but a lot of brouhaha. Always wanting to be at the forefront and trying to ignore the present.

One thought triggers the next one and on it goes. One thought hooks itself up and starts meandering….then another one starts. Seemingly with no connections to the previous one. It is like a merry go-round with its engine out of order.
Where does it stop? Maybe when all is over. Death you may want to call it but also the ceaseless and useless pursuit of trying to achieve peace. Peace is not an achievement but a state of being. A calm, a serenity, a joy.

If an incident of a disturbing nature were to occur during the week that had not been elucidated, talked about or just shared, one can observe the proliferation of justifications and how busy the mind gets to try to re-establish some sort of equilibrium. And what I mean by that is that he mind / thoughts redefine its original image of what it thinks it is. Nothing wrong with that you might say. Sure. But are we aware its movement?

We always try to redefine what we ought to be. Nice perspective of our self, nice image, good person, we shower our self with some kind thoughts. Again, normal. But there is a trap. We only look at the best side of what we think we are. Most of the time that is, forgetting that we  are the product of not only our nature, but also in the way we have accumulated ideas about ourselves throughout our existence.

Till next time

Flooding in Nimbin

Just a short video of the amount of rain falling down here in Nimbin, NSW.

Not even the birds are out. Not a sound. Apart from the rain cascading down the drive, along the stairs and flooding the road. Not even a sound from the frogs which are usually quite deafening in rainy weather.

The Goolmanghar creek has busted it banks. The roads and bridges are of course totally out of action. 

The ski is white. The mountain is shrouded in a thick whitish grey  mantle.

Dogs are inert on their pad inside the house and the cat stretched languorasly  on the sofa. All oblivious to the torrential rains that are soaking the land in a thunderous fashion 

The huge tanks that we use for our drinking water are filling up and overflowing.​

Many people are stranded in town unable to reach their destination. It will not be wise to venture on the roads at the moment. 

The 2 little bridges down the road  are totally impassable and one could be in real strife if that was attempted.

What is the best ting to do right now? Well, I am going back to my book and enjoy this lazy day.

Till next time.

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​joy

Life on the farm 

It is hot, very hot. One of the hottest summer we experienced in this region for a very longtime. It is not really possible to go out in the garden and work. All the garden works are done pretty early in the day between 7am and 10am.

That gives  me enough time to do some watering and weeding, as well as looking after our new brood of chickens. 7 of them  all pretty famished and keen to jump onto any scraps that you may give them. Mum, is so protective that she will attack any other hens that come too close. She is quite fierce and relentless. But we have noticed that a huge Python is marauding around the house as well as the crows and buzzers that abound around here. Hence vigilance is of the order.

In the last few weeks we managed to ward off about 5 crows and their youngs who were hanging around. For weeks we had no eggs and did not cotton on the patterns that was occurring. But after a while, when we were hearing the hens cackling….eggs were being laid, we thought, yes they are laying but when we went to the coop to collect them… no eggs.

We decided to keep the hens in the coop the whole morning. Crows were still around but soon after they dissipated. Hahaha! We thought that is it! They were stealing the eggs. So, we kept the hens for 3 weeks inside. Crows were still around but they less inclined to hang around. Yes, the hens were cackling but they could not get to steal our little bounty. 

  1. After a while the crows disappeared and we let the chickens out, the patterns have been disturbed. They are not hanging around anymore. We won that round. 

But we are still weary of the python. They hear the baby chooks and are obviously attracted by them. Will it eat them all? Will it find them? So, at night we lock them in a python proof little coop. We are waiting to see when it will come around if it does!

The dogs and cats are not too happy with the heat and beg to come in and breathe some cool air inside the house. They lay sprawling on their bedding asking for nothing more. Mind you our ginger cat is in the habit to take the whole sofa to stretch its whole length and when we come to have a rest a rest in the afternoon it is a squeeze. The sofas are not that long and the cat takes virtually all of it. So we try to lay next to him, asking him the share, but he refuses. We persist till he decides to go on the floor. At last the sofa is mine…or Peter’s. The other one is the same…Marco has taken on so bat habits!

The vegetable garden is not as productive this year. After planting zucchini and melons we hardly got anything. But the eggplants have been quite good and managed to make a Parmigiana for dinner.

The cows seem contented with the grass growing profusely given the rains that we had a couple of weeks ago.

                                                          

Letter to friend with a grievance.

Hi T.It is with great reluctance that I am sending you this note. But my heart tells me so.

P. and I  can see that we have been relegated to the leper’s colony. You might chuckle at this. But this is how we feel, dumped like we never existed in your life.

What I wanted to say to you as an ex VERY GOOD friend for the time being is that you are in the habit of doing that sort of it to many people and this is not a very healthy pattern.

It causes all sorts of psychological angst and frustration without counting the sleepless nights that you may endure. Remember Lucia the hurt that she caused you. You talked about it for days on end. Obviously you did not like it and you felt cheated and deeply hurt after all that you had done for her. You tasted there your own medicine. No?

Well, T. we feel the same. The way you are treating us. Why this sudden change? What did we do to cause so much aversion and fear in you ?

This pattern that you developed is so pronounced…10 people that we know of that you did this sort of thing

But this stemmed from a deeply disturbed upbringing Your dad rejected you…inflicted pain on you, never said a word to you because you were different from the others…That suffering and pain and rejection you felt really never healed from it and you are inflicting the same patterns on others who have ever been kind to you and took you the way you are.  One word the wrong way and it is total rejection. You want to take revenge the same way your dad did. You want to hurt people the same way your father did. Dump them. Really ? to what aim?

Is this the way real friends behave? Is this the way to cherish and love the people who have been kind to you and with whom you share so many good times, warmth, travels, food and company?

I am sure that deep inside you wish to God that you were not like that and wish also from the depth of your heart that you’d behave in a different way. But, I don’t think you know how and that is why you just dump people tho you like them. You do not know how to forgive because you father NEVER FORGAVE you. One bears those scars for a lifetime in a very unconscious way.

This has been and still is a great burden for you and causes enormous suffering. I am very aware of this from you. You want to feel loved, you want to feel accepted, you want to be part of a family, you want so much to belong, surrounded by good friends. You strive to please, to be nice. Then comes the rejection with no explanation and that makes you feel STRONG. But it doesn’t it weakens you because you feel pain and suffer. In that state one is not strong at all but miserable and forlorn.

But you see T. relationship is give and take. No one is perfect….and we accepted you the way you are. You deeply offended us on 2 occasions. But we thought about it for a long time and for the sake of friendship we passed. Because that is what friendship is all about…pass, forgive, and enjoy the warmth and attention that the others may offer. Relationships are complex and fraught with unknown…bad things…good things, anger, frustration, rage, but also a deep camaraderie and understanding. Tell me who is perfect? We don’t pretend to and when we have issues we try to work them out. This is the best way to go about it. Hiding them just makes it worse.

I will therefore ask you very sincerely to rethink your position and we are ready to offer you an olive branch. Because this is so silly don’t you think so?…..avoiding each other, ignoring each other, pretending to each other with this horrible feeling hanging in the air every time we see each other…which we are bound to do in the village and the gallery. Not very pleasant for either of us.

Think about it. Take your time… If we don’t hear from you and decide to terminate our friendship that is OK and we’ll understand…. If you feel deep in your heart that you would like to renew the friendship all is forgiven and let’s have a coffee together and chat. It is not very hard. I can assure you because we like you.

This would be the T. we know. Bubbly, helpful, funny and ready to land a hand, warm and friendly. That is what you really are!

Your friends …. still …maybe .… PG

Tangled

It has been many years now that my parents passed away and I miss them very much. But there are a few things that have been gnawing at me ever since. Just a little context.

When dad left us, mum said  to me just a few days after dad had left that all the inheritance would go to my sister. I was first dumbstruck. But in the circumstances of dad being just gone I did not have the temerity  to say anything. So, I replied…”of course that is understandable given the fact that my sister never made it in life and had nothing to her name”. We all felt so distraught by its sudden departure that I was in no position to say anything. Was mum calculating that I was in a vulnerable position when she said it? Was she planning it all along? I will never know. The fact remains that my sister got the lot.

As years went by I had some weird feelings coming and going. My cousin, whom I visited last year said to me as we were walking and meandering in the streets of Paris hand in hand: “do you know that under french laws children can’t be left out of a will”? No, I did not know that at all. She urged me to follow it up and find out what my rights were, I may have a case after all.

This thought has then been in the back of my head and could not get rid of it. What was I going to do? Ideas zapped through my mind. Should I contact a lawyer? Should I write a letter to my sister?  What should I do? I decided to speak to my son and also try to open the matter with my husband which I did. The first thing that they mentioned was : what would I get out of pursuing this matter? That got me going….I tried to find all sorts of reasons: revenge, pride, feeling of having won in the end, showing off, being right, superior, better than my sister, in the end a whole string of ideas that were not really tempting. The more I envisaged them the further away from them I ran.

Why would I not pursue it in the end? After all this idea has been planted in my mind and I was somehow determined to go ahead and claim my rights. Then after having pondered on it for a few days, I realised the futility of it all. Why would I want to stir the hornets nest? Why would I want to enter litigation with my sister for maybe a doubtful result? Why would I want to encumber my mind with for months or maybe years fighting and wasting not only money but my time and my present well-being? Why would I want to give my brain space and entertain the idea that I might win in the end? Just to show her that I am capable.

In the end who care about all the legal procedures? Wasting my time on such a trivial pursuit. I must say that after all these ideas came and went I do not feel the urge nor the need to go after her. It is her in the end who is the loser not me. And she knows it. She is the one living with all this burden on her conscience. Not me. She has not not even phoned her nephews…my two sons… to ask them if they might have wanted a trinket  from their grand parents. How low can you go I thought! I feel she is hiding from it all being scared that I could do something to upset all the financial reward that she received. She could rest assured, I won’t. I have not spoken to her in 7 years.

She mostly lived from help from mum and dad on many fronts.  TV, house deposit, and many other material things from us . Hardly had a steady job. But in all fairness she has a son who is highly disturbed ( was at the time of me knowing her) no husband, and having to deal with raising 3 boys. But I know and knew many women who have struggled with similar issues and managed to cope and had a job.  Obviously she could not that is why mum and dad decided to give her everything I suppose. She  did not cope with life. In the end, yes, I feel sorry for her. And that is one of the reason, today I decided to let go.

But the real reason apart from her tragedy is that I do not need any financial help and I said before I feel there is no point. My present situation is too precious to get entangled with hounding someone  with revenge or prove a point in law.  I prefer my mind to be still and have the space to continue to do the things I enjoy in life.

It was easy to come to this conclusion in the end for my own sanity to forget and forgive. I feel much better and my mind is lighter and breathe easier. I could also say that is a closed chapter in my life. I thank my husband and my son for their insights.

Till next time.

Busy with the painting

It has been some turbulent few weeks. When we came back from Europe and 2 weddings later, we decided finally to get the house repainted. My incessant cooking had transformed the kitchen from a very pale blue to an oily yellow and it was time to give it a fresh coat of paint and a little rejuvenation.

Then it was finding the right colours. An agony! I never thought that deciding on a colour was that hard. But it was. We settled finally on light blue just a little darker than the previous one. We did not want to be too adventurous. A little contrast could be seen below the outside is lighter while this side of the wooden door is a little darker in the picture below.

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Contrast between the old and the new
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Shade of blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

After many painters came and went we settled on a quiet young man. But like every tradesmen if I can generalise, they must have their radio blaring in the background. And there is one thing that I do not like is background noise of the incessant chatting and music all day long. My own company is amply sufficient with the twitters of the multitude of birds, frogs, cows, chickens and cat and dogs. My life is full at this level.

So, this painter was not going to lift a little finger in helping move the furniture. That got me really stroppy. So, Peter and I painstakingly prepared ourselves to do some heavy lifting. Seeing that we were much older than him, “HE” decided to give us a hand finally. But I suspect it was because he saw that we were twice his age and he started to feel just a little guilty to remain inactive in the face of 2 old people being strong and  him not showing some sort of  sensitivity or empathy. So, he did help in the end but just a little.

But we did “the works” during these 2 weeks. Cleaning behind everything, cobwebs, dead cockroaches …What a mess! Living on the farm has its attractions but also one has to be diligent about the dust and general cleanliness. Yes, two weeks of complete scrubbing and moving the sofas, the beds, the wardrobes, tables and so on. We never had so much exercises in 2 weeks and this is not quite finished also. Overnight we just go to bed knackered, exhausted and slept for 10 hours straight.

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House in a mess

In that period, we also got rid of a mountain of STUFF that were not in use or that was superfluous. Boxes went to the local Op shop. In these moments I wished I got rid of the whole house …just dreaming of course. Because I know the moment there is an empty space it will get filled. How easy it is to accumulate! How hard it is to get rid of objects! But we were quite strict and we were elated that a lot of it maybe found a better place.

Can we measure the content of a house with the content of our mind? I am sure it is not far behind at all. The baggage, the packages, the nick knacks, the clothing, the books all represent a life time. A lifetime of memories that weighs on the inside and the outside.

Does one feel a little lighter? Well, on the surface for sure. But, we do carry it all our life inside our mind. A good thing or a bad thing. I am not sure. On the one hand, it is of course necessary to have the knowledge that we have in order to function in our society….In fact a must. On the other there is an innocence, a simplicity, a freshness but that is not enough to function in this turbulent world. The pivotal point is an equilibrium between the two. Not too far in one direction or the other. I wonder how many people can do that? How many people can understand the necessity of one and the beauty of the other. Honestly, I really don’t mind how many. I just hope that I can find solace in my own equilibrium. Is not that the most important adventure? Seeing the function and aligning it with wisdom.

Till next time

 

The lost jewels

Over the last few weeks there have been quite a few robberies in the area and particularly in our street. The residents were alarmed at the speed that valuable were removed. Meeting were organised with the police, residents and the mayor who took seriously that so many people were being targeted over a wide area.

Speculations were rife. Ice, amphetamines or other drugs were pointed as the culprit. Everyone was really edgy and worried if they were going to be next. Many residents started to put video cameras around their house and locking their gate. We did the same. Peter went and bought a combination lock to put on the front gate with a special code.

In the meantime, on Peter insistence and advice , he suggested to me to put away the little jewellery that I had. So, I sorted them into 2 lots. The trinkets and the good ones. I placed the good ones in a place that I thought would be good and the other I decided to hide the other in a place that was obvious to me ( I thought).  Then I forgot about it all.

One day I wanted to put some old earrings . I went to the place where I thought I hid them. Not there. So, I began searching everywhere. I just could not find them . I did room by room to no avail. So I gave up. Then, I thought well, they may have been stolen after all after nearly 3 weeks of searching. I started also cursing Peter for making me paranoid. But that did not bring them back  did they?  Of course I could not rest easy with the whole matter. OK, they are lost so what? They were important after all. Again this was not and easy thought either.  I let it go. It will come back to me one day where I’d put them….May when I am not here anymore I thought, my kids will find them. All sorts of crazy thoughts  run through my head.

Just the other day I was cleaning the guest room and looked at the couple of green woollen blankets that were  there folded on the chair. They have to be moved I thought as our son is coming soon and there was not need for them in summer. I picked up the 2 cushions that were on top to clear the lot and…low and behold the whole stack was there under the cushions. I was jubilating and rushed outside to tell Peter. So, here they were in all their glory. No one had stolen them after all. I put them back on the dresser in our room.

Today as I looked at them again, a funny feeling crossed my mind. I was elated to have them back. But another thought arose why was I so glad to see them there?  What occurred in this split second? I went downstairs where Peter was sitting on the sofa reading the news and share what crossed my mind.

It all occurred in that split second I said. I saw the memories coming back and making me “happy”. Happy to see that these jewels had an importance after all. Memories, of my mother’s in law ambers, Sulma’s present of Sri Lankan river pearls and turquoises from Burma, the silver necklace that I had made in Cambodia on the model of my paternal grandmother. It all came back in a flash and saw the importance of attachments to the past. We are that past and live with it. I do not want to get rid of it but just observed what we are made of as it plays in our everyday living.

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The lost jewellery

That is what we are made of. Memories. Again nothing wrong with that but seeing it opens up a different state of mind. Seeing that in the present moment …that split second was an awareness. An awareness of the past in action. That in itself is a form of liberation, like a burden lifted from your shoulders. Yes, I am that. In accepting it I acknowledge what I am made of. Is it not what we suppose to do as humans? Comprehending our complexity, understanding what we are, how we behave, how we relate.

Now let’s see if I just stopped there and not shared this moment with Peter. I would have wallowed in the feeling of “happiness” relieved at seeing all these objects back…back… where they belonged, satisfied that it was great to possess them again and not give it anymore thoughts. I would have missed the boat and failed to see the other side. The attachments to objects and the weight that they carry makes one heavy. Fear, anxiety, frustration, to name just a few emotions.

Ok, you might talk about the joy of passing on all these things to children, grandchildren and so on and so on…right now  I am not ready to go down that path yet. I might leave it for another time. But I can say this is a lot of sentimentality nothing wrong with that either. It really depends on  what you would make of it…the importance that you give it and the ideas that you construct about heredity and the blood line…and so on…and one more thing, no claim on the insurance either. Oh, that is another topic no?

Till next time.

Remorse…maybe!

I know it has been a long time since I put my fingers on the keyboard to share my thoughts and activities wit the world out there. It has been busy dare I say, or just lazy on my part. But the inspiration did not come at all. The incessant rain, the cold freezing nights did not help or should it have been? I can’t decide at this very moment. My little voice inside says : ‘c’mon you have been lethargic, uninspired and just plain leisurely.’ I will opt for the latter and also for the second one uninspired. Well, what is inspiring now? I truly still can’t say. But here I am. Even if I said above that I was lethargic, that was only regarding the writing. I have not be idle on different levels. The garden as usual has taken its share of pleasure and little work at that time of the year tending to the winter vegetables growing profusely at the moment.

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One of the many cabbages
Fennel
Fennel

I have also knitted a pullover to take with me on our trip to France. I have knitted also countless hats for friends and at the same time listened to many audio books. Organising accommodation and itineraries for our trip. And it has been also a few weeks of constant socialising. Sometimes I wonder if I am really retired. Like I said to Peter, it is worse than our job in Hong Kong. But in a nicer way really. No demands on my time and deadlines. Yes, I am glad to be off  the vicissitudes of a working life. I guess retiring has it advantages as you choose what you want to achieve, and put your attention where you like. Our new puppy dog  Zaina, now just over a year has also been a handful. Very demanding and we sometimes wonder why on earth we got such a large dog. German Shepherd can be formidably exhausting. Wanting to play and spend her boundless energy teasing us and always on the look out for some sort of mischief. Luckily the cat, Fripouille takes care of that by taunting and goading her to play. The two of them running around the garden like lunatic, he climbs up the highest tree and stares at the dog while she whines and whimpers in frustration. Then, it is another gallop at full speed hiding under the car or on top of it while she is not looking. Maybe tired of having her neck stretched up in the air.  He waits till she gives up, climbs down and starts to all over again. Peter and I are stitches. But that is not all. When the day is over the same scenario repeats up and down the stairs, under the bed, behind the curtains waiting for the dog to appear and then springs in front of her nose pawing her or just crawls under an opening of her belly and grabs her fur. The poor dog has not got a chance in the world with those claws. Exhausted they crashed at the foot of our bed. Not really, because Fripouille chooses the comfort of the plush blanket of our bed and he is higher that Zaina.

Fripouille in all its length
Fripouille in all its length
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She stole my chair while I was not looking
Cat on a hot tin roof
Cat on a hot tin roof

Then one day, one of the newly born calves decides to scamper next door and starts bellowing as it can’t get back to its mum. The two of them wails till they are reunited. But in the meantime we are chasing and searching for the calf. Nowhere to be seen. Neighbours on horses and on foot in pursuit of the little one. After a whole afternoon we give up in despair and distressed and leave it to mother nature to take its course. Nevertheless, we know if calves are separated for too long from their mum they can perish. The little blighter was only a few days old.  As one might expects, the next day mother and calf are peacefully side by side. The kind lady Jo, who shares the property with us tells us that she had seen the two together that morning. It was incredible after all the efforts of the day before. The mother cow stands patiently while the young one suckles its heart content no doubt. All our efforts were in vain. That night, we just crashed completely exhausted. So, life goes on with visits from friends, our days volunteering at the gallery, attending the property and the vegetable garden, walking the dogs, feeding the cows and so on. All sounds so trivial, but I can assure you it is far from it as it demands constant devotion and attention. Of course I have not mentioned the marathon cooking, jamming, pickling and cheese making. One thing that we have been experimenting with is our new wood oven.It took a lot of know-how, patience and perseverance to sort out the real temperature and the length of cooking bread in it. The results were worth it but it is so time consuming and frustrating. But the taste of bread cooked in a wood oven is unbeatable in spite of the instability of that mode of operation. We have not given up yet. It will take lots of practice and assiduity to savour a home cooked and home made bread and cooked to perfection.

Home made olives with homemade flat bread
Home made olives with homemade flat bread
Sour dough bread from wood fired oven
Sour dough bread from wood fired ovenYes, that is already a lot.

We are now preparing for our next trip and already the excitation is palpable. France and Thailand here we come. Tho, the readiness is here, there is always the feeling that we are better off in the splendid surroundings of our beautiful farm. I also know that a nice break from it all will be welcomed. So, do I feel guilty for not writing, I must confess …not at all.

Till next time

My best friend and a puzzle.

El and Peter in Paris last year.2014
El and Peter in Paris last year.2014

The other day I received a present from a very old friend of mine. We went to school together in Paris and really go back a few decades. In fact she is more of a sister to me than a friend.

We have known each others parents, brothers and sisters. We have been to each others’ house over the years and have shared very intimate thoughts. We keep in touch quite regularly and chat about all sorts of things.

So, as I said above I received a lovely present from her the other day. Of course I was quite touched by the gesture and the intention. She knows my tastes in perfumes and my weakness for some candies that we used to have when we were kids. A special shop in Paris where I used to live (that still exists) stocks the same ones we bought some 40 years ago. A real treat. The owner is no longer alive but his daughter has taken over and sell the same things. The only difference is the prices have shot up something shocking. What we used to buy for a few centimes is now quite a few Euros and really a luxury when you buy a couple of packet that amounts to 20 or 30 Euros. And I did not buy many of them.

So here I am with the parcel that she sent. Inside of course, superb perfume from Fragonard. A very famous perfumery in South of France in Grasse. Candies, and a couple of trinkets. A pumpkin shaped porcelain container and a chicken.  I was in a quandary.  This is not the sort of things that I want to have around the place. Not because I did not like them but because I do not want any more bits and pieces to display around the house. I was elated and at the same time annoyed.

I think it reaches a point in one’s life where we do not want any more gadgets, any more ornaments, any more decorative objects, any more items that you have to move around and about to clean behind them, under them and around them. I do not want to be surrounded with items that are gathering dust. Sure I do appreciate the thought and the expense that she went through, but from my point of view they really have no value except taking room and not really functional.

All this to get to the point of why do we accumulate? Sentimental reasons, souvenirs, memories, momentum. I don’t really know. I guess like my mother in law used to say:” to each his own”. I respect that especially coming from my best friend. I fully realise in the end that it is a gesture from the heart and dear El I am truly grateful that you thought of me and have me in your heart all the time. I did tell her tho, that it was not my favourite trinkets. She fully accepted that. We are too close for me not to tell her what I thought and there is so much between us. I know that you understand me completely. I also know it is very delicate to say that sort of things, I have said it. It took  me a while and I have played with the idea also of not telling you anything. . But it was beyond me and I took courage to be frank. So, I told what was on my mind over Skype. Thank you for being so gracious about it.

Till next time.