Mistral

Parfumerie Fragonard. Delicious scents!

Everything changed on Friday: the weather, and my daily rhythm.

On Friday, I cleaned the house & waited for my husband and his parents to arrive for a long-weekend visit. And on Friday, it poured poured poured with rain; buckets of rain. The first real rain we’ve had since I arrived. Oh dear! Not that one can really worry about the weather, but this wasn’t what my guests were expecting.

On waking Saturday morning, I threw open the shutters, eager to show off the views I’d been writing about. A thick, heavy fog sat in the valley. There were no views. C’est la vie. Tant pis. 

I’m pretty sure that the petites croissants, pain au raisin, pain au chocolate, and pain au aumône which we ate for breakfast made up for it.

The weather did clear, and we had a gorgeous weekend, full of touring.

We went to Grasse, to the Fragonard parfumerie, and to Cannes, where I shared the most expensive lobster I’ve ever eaten.

We brought home beautiful, sculptural, delicious desserts from Cannes. The chocolaterie from which we bought them had an entire bust made of chocolate, which made me think of the Venus and my play – though she is in wax, not chocolate.

Art - and dessert!

We had coffee in the sunshine in Monaco. We wandered around the port and ogled the super-yachts. We ate lunch by the port. I had the most expensive scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten – because we were in Monaco, probably. Because they were with truffles, definitely. They were delicious. We took photos in front of the famous Casino, not interested in paying for the privilege of just going inside.

We drove to Èze, a perched village on a rugged cliff overlooking the Mediterranean sea, with winding, narrow passages (all footpaths,) cobblestones, and peeks out to spectacular views, which are monopolised by the houses and one hotel, The Golden Goat. This place is probably hell in the summer with tourists, but there were only a few other people around when we went at sunset (4-5pm) on a Sunday.

We drove all the way along the coast at sunset from Èze through Nice & Cannes to Theoule and San Raphael to Frejus and up the Roman Road back to Les Adrets.

We went inland to the little perched villages (probably much more liveable and much less touristy) of Tourettes and Fayence. We cooked pork chops on Verity’s grill and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the house. The cats got their share of cuddles (though not pork chops).

Pretending to be a movie star in Monaco.

Dani & I tested the Vespa with two people, and it was as I’d thought – she’s just fine, as she was before, as long as it’s within her limits. Which is mostly 20mph, especially if there is any kind of incline. There are a lot of inclines here. We did get up to almost 40 going downhill on the Roman Road towards Mont Viniagre – woo-hoo, pedal to the metal (or throttle fully open, as it were)!

Since my guests left on Monday evening, the Mistral – that famous wind – has been howling, banging the shutters (until I latch them) and huffing up and down the chimney. It’s bright and sunny outside and the wind isn’t very cold, but it is strong. Yesterday I lit a log fire and curled up for the day, with the very happy cats, to read. I think ‘autumn’ is definitely over and ‘winter’ is here.

I feel like I’m battening down the hatches in the mornings, fighting the shutters open and latching them securely, and in the evenings, doing the same but struggling to close the shutters without slamming them. The wind is working its fingers into everything and it’s like a rip-tide outside. The sunlight is flickering like the end of an old film because the trees are being forced to dance and bend every which way.

I’m hunkered down in my little house on the mountain side whilst a (sunny) gale howls outside. I’m very grateful to be in this cozy home, with an overstocked fridge. I am going to have to survive without bread (shock, horror) until tomorrow because the boulangerie is closed on Wednesdays. I think I’ll make it.

Unreal Monaco.

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