I woke up early this morning and was greeted by this.
How could I go back to bed with that.
I put the coffee machine on, bread in the toaster and had a wander outside.
As the sun rose and the sky brightened, you could see it would be a glorious morning – perfect for a morning walk. So after dropping Lilas off at school, Anne-Laure and I (where are you Mathilde!) set out on an old abandoned road, leading out of the village. I love these morning walks. With a dodgy back and all sorts of creaky things going on, I’m meant to keep up a minimum of exercise. Geez, I should be doing so much more, but I’ve never been sporty – so these ‘promenades’ are my small contribution to keeping me on my feet. We generally head out of the village without any idea of direction and just keep going as far as the route will take us. Sometimes it’s 40 minutes, sometimes you get lost and the route back takes a bit extra.
Feet stumbling in the rocks, you see beautiful centuries-old dry stone walls, remnants of old barns, local folk walking their dogs, vineyard workers, brand new views of the village from afar and wave after wave of vineyards. It is so good out here, I get completely addicted to it. Every morning has its beauty and I suck it all in and try and store it in some part of my head for the rest of the day. This time is a luxury and I am thankful to have it.
This particular morning Anne-Laure directed me along a road she knows well, with a special treat at the end of it.
This perfect, secret garden. A wonderful surprise ‘au bout’of the long lane.
We stood admiring it from outside its fence and then realised that its ‘proprietaire’ was inside, also standing and staring – at us.
He insisted we come in and visit.
It was the most beautiful vision of green – carefully tended boxes with row after row of salads, herbs, tomatoes, leeks, silver beet, gigantic-leafed plants to keep away the moles… He was happy to have us here and share his private space. The monsieur said he’d started growing his ‘potager’ around twenty years earlier and came everyday to work it. I asked him if with all this amazing produce he cooked – and he laughed heartily (with a cigarette dangling off his lip) and replied no, that it was to keep him busy after retiring and that, as he lived alone, he gave most of his vegetables away. We thanked him for his time and were handed a bunch of herbs. He then followed us out, locking the gate behind him and said it was time for his cafe. A great way to greet the morning.