1st August: Two first stages draw to a close today: firstly, the last piece of the work on the Indonesian elections was completed and sent post-haste to Jakarta this morning. Hurrah! Hurrah! Although, I don’t know whether they’re hurrahing over there: last I heard, they were still arguing between themselves.
The second first stage to end is, sadly, my sojourn at Mas Sainte Antoine in Rognonas. Most Donald followers will know that, with unbelievable serendipity, I first came here in 2007 to pass a few months of my sabbatical year. I hadn’t even seen the place until the day I moved in. Largely, this was due to a lack of interest on my part as I didn’t want to leave my new found friends in Valence where I’d stayed for the previous weeks. Nothing could have prepared me for my new home; I didn’t know places like this existed. On the morning following my arrival all those years ago, I was up and outside writing at five o clock much to the astonishment of the then proprietors. I was smitten.
Since then, I think I’ve returned every year and, like the first time, have never wanted to leave. In fact, in all those visits, I’ve yet to meet anyone who wants to leave this enchanted place. These days, it’s run by a couple of Kiwis who must be the most industrious people I’ve ever met: they never stop working. The pool is pristine and the gardens are manicured to precision. All day and every day they are cutting and pruning and mowing and cleaning but, somehow, have time for each and everyone of us. And each and everyone is treated as though they’re the most special people in the world. In the most special place.
Tomorrow, stage two takes me to Cabannes where I will pass the next three weeks with my friends. It’s only a twenty minute drive. It’s like another country. Storms of electrical proportions are forecast but we will sit in the shelter of the remise, no doubt sipping the Mohito. Watch this space.