Thursday, 4 December 2014
Drawn to Dorset
The doctor looked at me with a somewhat bewildered air when I went to him grumbling that I felt rather tired. I watch the dawn rise in the mornings now from my über modern apartment where I received a warm welcome. 'I hope you'll be very happy' one charming gentleman said. I felt stunned by the simple comment, I had received only hostility and resentment on my arrival at my previous two homes. . What had I done in the last fourteen years ? Painstakingly and lovingly restored gloriously abandoned and unloved houses in the South West of France, given them back their life whilst they greedily sucked the life out of me. Sure, there were the highs along with the lows. The beautiful 'Maison de Maître, Le Chateau surrounded by vineyards and sunflowers with views of the glorious snow capped Pyrenees in the distance. The elegant Louis Phillippe style wide stone staircase which wound its way up three floors, the endless 19th c sombre tiles, the wooden panelling which lined the wide corridors in which we played cricket with Basil the dog. Friends that poured through it's front door, great fires lit in the numerous fireplaces and huddled round with glasses of wine, afterwards people would melt into the various bedrooms and appear the next morning. The house charmed people, whilst it was full it had vitality and breathed happily once more but in it's shadows lurked secrets.
And onto Carcassonne. Riding into the narrow Medieval dark streets just as the Black Prince had done in 1355 filled with purpose, hope and a burning desire to conquer and succeed. A house of 'historical importance' turned into a successful chambres d'hotes 'No.11'. The mysteries, the intrigue, the irresistible pull of the truly magical La Cité. The feeling of reverence as you crossed Le Pont Vieux, the worn cobbles whispering it's history to you as your eyes feasted upon the majestic castle, lit up at night to appear even more seductive. The River Aude flowing gently through, the Canal du Midi sluggish and silent its famous trees gripped by a sickness. The individual bars, the quirky restaurants, the shouting and sometimes noisy streets, the heat of the summer, the non-stop partying as the music festival brings the town alive. The pinnacle of the year, the immense overwhelming, breathtaking display of fireworks on July 14th setting La Cité ablaze.
I have some scribblings about it all somewhere, 70,000 words relentlessly and unforgivably poured into a document on my computer. My life so far in France. A roller coaster of a ride to be sure, not to be indulged in or sought after by the faint hearted. 'Hold tight' the voice inside my head would scream as life hurtled by at an unforgiving speed, sometimes glaringly painfully in focus and other times so raw the memories are muted.
But because I am blessed the hand of fate intervened, plucked me from the 'merry go round' of my existence and plonked me down afresh in exactly the same place that I had left behind a lifetime ago.
Drawn to Dorset once again.