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Filling in Tuesday to Thursday

After our happy meeting and lunch, Chris and I got the bus to the TGV station, where Lynn’s car was parked. What luck, to have access not only to a beautiful house in Gordes, but a car! Chris was eager to drive and I to let him, so I became the official navigator; between us we made it up the mountain to Gordes. The house was cool, dark and welcoming; Chris couldn’t believe that on top of all its other pleasures, the place has a pool. We unpacked, emailed, had a swim and walked down to the village for groceries. My friend, it turns out, is not only the driver but the chef in this relationship. I am the official appreciator. At least, of food and driving, he is the appreciator of everything else. Everywhere we go, he is ecstatic about the flowers, plants, buildings, stones, trees, dogs and cats. Denis came home late and we gurgled ecstatically at him. He was polite, considering how often he must have heard it before.

On Wednesday, we came up with a simple plan: visit the nearby village of Oppede-le-Vieux. Denis supplied us with maps, including one so detailed that when open, it takes up the front seat of the car. Even so, believe it or not, we took a wrong turn, and so decided instantly on Plan B: visit the nearby village of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, for which we were headed. It’s famous for its antique markets, but those are only on the weekends, so it was relatively quiet. The Sorgue flows through a mossy water-wheel in the centre of town and is a fish sanctuary – lots of fat trout, good there are no raccoons here. Many ducks though. We poked into the one antiquey place that was open – mostly copies of the real thing but pretty and well-done. I was tempted to buy a seven foot high metal rooster for my mother – she collects roosters – but wasn’t sure if it would fit into the elevator of her apartment building, so didn’t.
Another try for Oppede, and this time, through narrow roads that wind through cliched fields of lavender, wheat and sunflowers, we found it. It’s a ruined village on the side of a mountain; you begin at the bottom and climb straight up, imagining what life must have been like 200, 500, 900 years ago. Before the climb though, in the great heat, we stopped for lunch in the village square. This is what’s great about being an adult travelling with an adult – lunch in a restaurant. When I travelled with children, and when I was a child travelling with my parents, we always brought our own sandwiches (or for a special treat for my kids, I’m ashamed to say, McDonald’s.) The luxury of sitting down at midday and having strangers bring ready-t0-eat food for payment … wondrous. There were lots of middle-aged bicyclists puffing into the village. Admirable.
We climbed and admired and descended, coming home, once more, to swim and then to garden. Denis is trying to beautify his garden for Jessica’s wedding in July and there is a ton of weeding to be done, so my enthusiastic friend and I weeded in the broiling sun for an hour before another swim. And then it was time to take Denis for dinner, to thank him for putting up with us, no, I mean putting us up in this glorious house. We had chosen the night but not the restaurant – Denis had a suggestion which was at a half hour’s drive away (and, in the end, full). During the day, Chris and I had tried to find a good but not exorbitant restaurant nearby. In fun, I said, we should write to Bruce in Vancouver and ask him to find us somewhere. Bruce did almost all the organising for our trip to India; he is a Google hiz and knows how to find anything, anywhere. We laughed and I emailed Bruce our joke – that we were hoping that from Vancouver he’d find us a place to eat in Gordes, ha ha.
Bruce emailed back immediately with two suggestions, one of which sounded perfect. Denis with his critical French eye read the review, agreed it might be all right and made a reservation. We walked there in five minutes. A lovely restaurant, open for ten years, that Denis had never visited, just down the road from his house, found by Bruce a few thousand miles away in Vancouver. Ain’t life grand?
We sat in a garden surrounded by oleanders. The menu was simple, the food was superb, the rose flowed and we had a great evening, walking home in the darkness, admiring the panorama of stars in the black sky above. Chris saw a shooting star and Denis stopped to pick up and show us a huge beetle scurrying along by the road. Food, friendship and large busy insects – what could be better?

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3 Responses to “Filling in Tuesday to Thursday”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Decided I had to comment. I can't believe Provence is so far down on Bruce's list.
    You found Isles Sur La Sorgue. You're lucky. We got lost and it was one of the few places on our list that we missed. Next time we will rent a car with GPS. Friends were travelling down tiny streets on a dark, rainy night in some Spanish town searching for their hotel. The GPS said, "You are here." and they were. Yes, "Ain't it grand!"

  2. patsy says:

    "to beautiful his garden" – a most felicitous expression, equally useful in English, French, and Franglais. My garden is being beautifully, too, but it lacks, alas, the most beautifullizing ingredient, rain. And this on the wet west coast, in June, the traditional time for raining on outdoor weddings. But the daisies and buttercups and wild roses are doing their beautiful best without aid of any sort. Wherever you are, there are gardens being beautiful, just as they are.

  3. beth says:

    Carolyn, it's so easy to get lost – as I said, we were looking for Oppede-le-Vieux when we hit Isle-sur-la-Sorgue instead, which is in a completely different direction. Never mind, it will still be there when you come back. Yes, a GPS is a wonderful thing – something else I have to learn how to use, now that I've conquered – more or less – the new-fangled contraption called the cell phone.

    And Patsy – what a poetic post. I caught my "beautiful his garden" and corrected it before seeing your post, or I would have left it. Chris has been following the lack of West Coast rain with anxiety. May the heavens open soon on forests and beautiful gardens.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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