Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An amalgam of experiences

Sitting in the coffee shop across from the church – awaiting a “body” for another writing session – there were plenty of interesting details from the candle flickering deep within the church to the cat using its door as a scratch pad (after all no one seems to have been able to communicate to the cat that a good wooden door – church or otherwise – isn’t a good scratch pad: it was there – he used it).

Open door - the glow of a candle seen on the street

Church door as a scratch pad - and a black cat at that!

After a couple fun writing exercises I then proceeded to join one of my friends for a hike into the mountains above the village so that we could look back down upon both the Mediterranean and the village – the castle of Valmy taking pride of place. http://www.chateau-valmy.com/le-chateau-valmy.html for more information in French. 

Château de Valmy, Argelès-sur-Mer

Constructed in between 1888 and 1890 by a Danish architect commissioned by a lawyer – Jules Pams - who married the daughter of a cigarette paper manufacturer, upon their deaths the upkeep was too expensive for the inheritors and it sat empty until Victor Peix fell in love with it. Although Jules Pams became the Minister of Agriculture in 1911 and in that capacity managed to install sweeter wines as valid and the AOC as a label, it was Victor Peix who developed the cellars, building more at the foot of the castle and sending his wines throughout Europe via the railways.  However by 1980 the castle and its grounds were closed and it wasn’t until his grandson – the present owner – took over in 1997 that Valmy came back into its own.

The view further up the hill takes in the entire surrounding area from the Pyrénées to the Mediterranean. And the paths on the mountain are numerous – a very enjoyable hike.

Mountain path similar to those of my youth

the beginnings of a branch shelter: we found stone ones as well

The area is beginning to be very well labelled for hikers

Lots of water this spring meant the odd river or fall where usually there are none.

We had already reserved lunch back at the coffee shop, due to the day’s dessert: strawberry and custard tartelettes (mini pies). 

Tratelette aux fraises

The evening was spent suspended in our little “The Good Wife” world – with yet another tray of “nibbles” and the remainder of the champagne (a good cork keeps it fresh for days).

All straight from the market!

This morning was another writing session and as my stories were short I had time for a very short reflection brought on by what I saw outside the window.

She lay there her head small lavender pansies; the belly full of cancer a bright spring green tapering down to the golden blossoms of her feet: just a flower pot; gone yet very present

It may seem as if this particular trip is very food oriented – and that it is – it has also been a great deal of laughter and friends: thank goodness for a younger son willing to stay in the house and take care of the cats!