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a new week

Hard to believe I’ve been away for 11 days already; it feels like a mad dash minute. Today the next phase begins; Bruce has just taken the train to Nimes, Lynn is at work, Denis is at the doctor; it’s 11 a.m. Monday March something or other, and I am alone and settled, if briefly, for the first time in nearly two weeks. I’m sitting on the wrought-iron balcony of my friends’ apartment in the heart of Montpellier, in the sun, which has made a hesitant appearance after a dramatic disappearing act yesterday. A woman below just came home with two baguettes, as did I.

I saw Bruce off at the train station – the woman next to me, waving goodbye to her husband who’d sat down next to Bruce on the train, made a joke to me, as the train sped off, about the wives left behind. This week, Brucie and I have indeed been companionate spouses, joined at the hip, joking, supporting and loving with very occasional mild irritation. Good, now, for a bit of spouseless time.
Yesterday we managed a day of exploration despite the cold and rain. The four of us walked to the art museum, the Musee Fabre, where Mr. Kellett satisfied his art craving with a Poussin and a room full of Courbets. We then ventured into the modern work of Pierre Soulages, who paints canvases almost entirely black – thick scrapings of black with an occasional bit of blue or white. And yet, they’re quite beautiful. Even Bruth, not an admirer of modern art, thought so.
We had lunch at a Tunisian restaurant, wonderful fried sandwiches called “bricks” with incredibly sweet honeyed desserts, and then retired from the rain to rest. Later, we went for a drive to the sea, to walk on a rocky Mediterranean beach and to visit the lovely seatown of Sète, where, it being the dignified hour of 8.15 p.m., we decided to have dinner. Thence followed a spirited discussion between Monsieur and Madame, along with a critical reading of the “Guide Routarde,” a guide to interesting places and good food, without which any French family is doomed to eat with ordinary folk and tourists. Denis finally saw a mention of a restaurant he liked the sound of, which sure enough was excellent. We had a marvellous meal there, thanks to Bruce who treated us to this extravagance. I ordered the fish ‘daurade,’ which was displayed to me before it was deboned. “Elle s’appelle Bernadette,” said our waiter, who was also the patron and had a good sense of humour.
Bruce had the bull. Yes – a taureau stew.
“It’s not often you get a plate full of bull,” I said.
“Except if you’re following Canadian politics,” he replied.
Which, thank the lord, we are trying not to do.
Again, I find myself back in the French culinary rhythm, eating heartily and with relish at mealtimes, lots of protein, vegetables and fruit, then not much in between – whereas at home I nibble all day long. Denis and I just had lunch – fresh delicious superb bread, two slices of ham and then some cheese, with wine, followed by yogurt, fruit, coffee and squares of Lindt creme brulée chocolate. For supper, something simple with lots of vegetables and a salad.
Now the sun is out and hot and I am off to poke around … in shops! Monoprix! Galeries Lafayette! Not only do I have the whole day, but there isn’t a patient Bruth waiting for me to finish. He is having his own adventures in Nimes. I miss him already, but, somehow, will carry on.

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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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