Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bittersweet


V. and I leave for France one week from today.  It is a red-letter year end as it is V.'s last. 45 years of full-time work coming to an end.

Today, we spent several hours with my friend C. who's days are numbered.  Her nine and a half-year struggle with cancer is coming to an end.  She has been a brave soldier and deserves the rest.  Saying goodbye to her was not easy but it was natural.  Saying goodbye to C. is also saying goodbye to our shared childhood and adolescent years. She is a part of my history, a part of me.

I feel bruised, slightly off kilter.  When I said goodbye to her she whispered: "It's not fair."  No C., it isn't fair, but it is so.

How do I reconcile the joy of the anticipation of our upcoming time in France and the sadness of losing my friend?

This too shall pass...

Stella

Monday, June 18, 2012

France

V. and I are leaving for France in 13 sleeps and we are counting the days.  Today, my friend Corey posted on her blog, this video which features a series of French clichés.  Delightful!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Last night V. and I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at a cinema close by.  V. was willing but didn't quite know what to expect.

The movie is delightful as I knew it would be.  How could it not be?  With Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy, it had to be good and it does not disappoint.

From the strength of the all-star cast to the colors and flavours of India through a lovely story about 8 people who are thrown together, this movie keeps your attention and makes you love it.  Each character will evolve in the couple of months during which the story takes place, and all of them for the better.  It's just a treat to see actors I really appreciate together in a story that makes you smile and apparently, makes you cry...

During the movie I heard snivelling to my left and behold, V. was crying, almost sobbing at one point.  You see, V. has 14 days left to go before retirement and the fun, kindness and humanity of the movie got to him.  I think he saw himself, and let go of a lot of stress that he has been accumulating over the last year.

Anyway, Judy Dench is lovely, when you consider that she suffers from macular degeneration and that she can't see very well, you would never guess it.  Maggie Smith is a hoot, Bill Nighy is his usual self-deprecating self and his wife, Penelope Wilton is perfectly bitchy.

A must see for anyone over 50.  I give it four stars out of five.

Bon dimanche et bonne fête des pères,

Stella


Friday, June 8, 2012

La complainte de la butte



For those of you who will be visiting Paris this summer and for those of you who dream to, here is a song that talks of love on the Paris streets, particularly on the hill of Montmartre.  This version is done by Patrick Bruel and Francis Cabrel:



This one is done by Canada's own Rufus Wainwright:



Enjoy!

Stella

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Brocante

If any of you visit my friend Corey's website, you know what a brocante is.  If not, let me tell you what you see, hear, smell, feel.

Firstly a brocante takes place somewhere near or in the center of a town but not exclusively.  Corey tells us that some are held in the middle of a field (those are really big ones).  Just like on market day, there are stalls and stalls of people selling vintage or antique items.  Usually one stall/table holds similar articles.  Some people deal exclusively in linens of all kinds, others do dishes or crystal, others sell old tools and others do furniture.  You get the general idea. 

So you are walking through let's say a town square, following the snake of stalls down a street to another square (if you are lucky and there are many stalls).  I have only ever been to the brocante in my home town, which hosts a few during the summer months.  There are always quite a few people milling about and numbers increase as the morning grows older. 

There is laughter, discussion amongst stall holders and whispered discussions between buyers.  Bargaining, deal making, no deal, joking and if you are lucky, a story about the seller's wares.

Old leather, wood, linens, books have a musty, dusty kind of smell that is heightened by the hot summer sun.  Although sellers try to find a shady place beneath a plane tree, some are exposed to the elements so to speak.

Indiennes print: Société Neuchâteloise de la Généalogie
Treasures are to be found and this requires patience.  I usually spend three hours in our town brocante going over the goods to see if I have missed something.  As I am a novice, I go over the stalls two or three times.  The first time, I notice certain things that cause my heart to flutter.  The second and third times set my imagination afire with possibilities.  What could I do with this?  Is it the right: color, size, style for...?

If I spot something that is too expensive, I usually can bring the price down on my last go round, especially if it is at the end of the day.  As I live one street over, I can even take a break for lunch and go back for more.

This summer, when my sister D. and her husband are visiting, we will hit a few brocantes outside of the town where we live.  D. and I are lovers of fabric.  Last year, I bought vintage curtains (which were very long) in a blue and yellow indiennes print.  I have remade them into a curtain for the lower part of the vanity in our apartment.  The rest will make a pretty shower curtain when we have a round rod thingy installed.

Round  curtain rod thingy

Bonsoir mes amies,

Stella

Sunday, June 3, 2012

26 Sleeps and Counting

The Moulin where we live
At this time of year, it becomes a little difficult to manage the long days to lift off to our marvellous little home in the south of France. I yearn for the sunshine (which has been intermittent here). I yearn for the days that are not defined by whether it's a working day or a weekend. I yearn to give full flight to my inner child, to my artist. I yearn to hear French spoken all day every day, to float on the pool while looking at the clear blue sky and the rocky shoulders of the river's edge.

 I think of the brocante and the market, the sea and the fields of vineyards, of visits to Aix and lunch with friends on an outdoor patio. I dream of finding the right piece for the bedroom, of painting the shutters a weathered blue-grey. I dream of opening the shutters to a bright morning sky, of breakfasting on the balcony while the stream rushes by, of puttering in the garden while it's still cool and of cocktail hour...rosé, saucisson and olives.

One of the 17 fountains of our village
But most of all, I yearn to live at the speed of life, to get back into sync with my beloved and to drink deeply from the fountain of joy.

Bon dimanche,


Stella