I’m writing this on the plane home to Auckland. Three days in Melbourne have disappeared faster than the glass of NV Larmandier-Bernier Longitude Brut we downed at Luxembourg on Saturday night. I feel rejuvenated and ready to return to life. I missed my husband and children but know I will return to them a more rested and culturally satisfied woman. My-Friend-Jarrod kept asking if we were doing enough. Darling, if you are reading this, I had a ball. To slow down, to lounge and to talk—about the finer points of grammar, the career success of Barbra Streisand, how to roll perfect seashells of cream with a hot spoon, and the echoes of parallel lives—was the salve this girl needed. [Read more…] about Ten Magnificent Melbourne Moments
The term ‘mindfulness’ had been invading everything I read like a persistent two-year-old tugging at my t-shirt. Eventually, I’d acquiesced and looked up the term on Google:
Here in Spain I’ve been overwhelmed by the most delicious, passionate connection – not once, but twice. And, although he was with me both times, I’m reluctant to say the connection was not with my husband.
“Home was the place you lived now, the place you lived then, the place you came from, the place you went to. The place you want to be at the end of the day, when your feet are tired and you want something hot for dinner.”
– Queen of Beauty by Paula Morris.
“This building,” I say pointing to the stunning verandah-ed manor lounging across a whole block of the main square of Tamariu, “someone’s home? Una casa?”
The waiter’s wonky eyes brighten and he nods “Si, casa.”
The first time it happens I’m hovering in front of the glass cabinet at a patisserie in Chamalieres-sur-Loire, deciding between vanilla and chocolate éclairs. I order both. The red-headed woman behind the counter has a lace-edged apron tied around her waist. She narrows her eyes, tongs poised above the perfect pastries at the front of the cabinet closest to me, and asks: “Tu es Belge?”
“Non, je suis néo-zélandais,” I say.
Her smile brightens and her tongs move closer to her, towards the largest, freshest éclairs at the back.
If there is one constant here in Castellet, Provence it is the sheer beauty (and quantity) of the food we are treated to: foie gras, roast lamb, crisp green salad and peaches drenched with red wine at Marc and Marcia’s; bowls of delicately-flavoured sardine, aubergine, tuna and goat’s cheese dips with toasted baguette at Café de France in Lacoste village; and the stunning dinner dear Caro Nigella’ed up in her kitchen tonight (more on that in a moment).