Saturday, June 8, 2013

Living in a Public Garden

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I think we live on one of the most picturesque streets in Argeles-sur-mer. Vines that emerge from a small square of earth carved out of the street's stone edging, meandering up the walls and embracing iron railings, water pipes and utility wires - then bursting in a profusion of bold red or purple blooms or delicate white blossoms. Small container gardens, some tended daily, some left to the care of the elements. Wooden window shutters painted in the vivid colors of the Impressionists who pilgrimaged here to paint under the bright azure skies. Other shutters naturally toned over time by wind, rain, heat and the occasional blizzard. Artistic doors, windows and sculptures reflecting the diverse heritage and interests of the residents. The modern design contrast of satellite dishes and rooftop antennae, which serve only to keep us indoors on the WiFi or Canal+ rather than strolling and socializing.

Though I meant to finally catch the marche today, it didn't happen for the third time in a row since I arrived back home. When I awoke, I heard the sound of water on the skylight, and initially thought it was the landlady making sure her plants had enough nourishment in case I neglected them while she is away for a few days. Then I realized there was more water than from a garden hose - was it supposed to rain today? There was no urgency to wander down to the open-air market in a downpour.

By mid-morning, the rain had temporarily tapered, so I headed down the street - first to return A Year in Provence to Barbara, the town's only purveyor of English-language books. Good, her door was open. Better, Clare was in the shop, chatting with Barbara. I'd missed Clare the other morning, and was hoping to see her today at the marche.

We crossed the street and had to take an inside table at La Noisette. All the outside tables were occupied, except for a couple around the corner on a street which has relatively little foliage, so not as ambient. Clare and I caught up with recent and future travels, and when we finally left the cafe the rain was re-starting. Larger drops by the second, it seemed. By the time I had walked the half block to the apartment, it was a near-monsoon.

Resigned to being inside the rest of the day, I made a potpourri lunch of leftover fusilli, chopped up chunks of breaded chicken, tomatoes, peas, a couple different kinds of oil that Donna-Lane had leftover, a little Schwartz's french-fry seasoning ("Is there anything you don't put that on?" she once asked), and a little peanut butter (maybe I'll call it Thai Twist Pasta). Applesauce and cinnamon (cannelle) on the side. Zero to drink. Tasted pretty good.

Barbara needed to go to the goat farm to buy some meat and cheese for D-L's homecoming tomorrow evening, and I had parked the car with the driver's door against a building (exiting the passenger side - not easy in a stick-shift car). So I walked through the village to retrieve it. After putting some of the leftover Thai Twist Pasta in a container for Barbara. (She had raved about how delicious my Catalan Rice was earlier in the week, so maybe she'll like this dish too.)

After dropping off the car, the gray clouds from the mountains had blown completely out to sea, and the flowers along the street caught my eye. Well worth getting the camera.

Update at 6:50 pm - the rain (and thunder) has returned ... and it's coming sideways. Guess I won't need to water the landlady's plants right away.

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