Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Birthday

Okay, today was my birthday. It began quite well. An sms from a dear friend. Beautiful dry and sunny, with a touch of breeze weather. Lovely visits before me, a serene and interesting book to listen to on my iphone...

So off I went to Arles to collect the clients, and then off to the goat cheese maker (Claudine, who is my other goat cheese maker, and a friend as well of long date). She and I shared tales of our recent singledom, and promised an evening together soon to truly catch up.

Then onto the baker -- who was busy making a pièce montée, and many another task on this day of the Ascension.

And then to St.Remy de Provence and a lovely lunch at Taberna Romana, my favorite Roman restaurant nestled in a Roman monument, Glanum. The weather kept on shining upon us. Ahhhh. While my clients took a look at Van Gogh's little room in the St. Paul de Mausolée psychiatric asylum, I took in the lovely weather and stayed with Filou outdoors.

Then down into town and a visit to the chocolatier's. Not only is he newly married for a second time, but apparently he's also papa for a fourth time. Goodness, I was not up on the news! So his shop-girl filled me in as we tasted any and all the chocolates we wanted (well almost). It's rather a lovely thing to be a favorite of your chocolatier and his staff...

We wandered the quaint streets, looked at galleries, coveted and purchased (I the former, the clients the latter) sun hats and paintings... And then, and then, and then...

Back to the car and a very flat tire. Uh oh. I dropped the clients off at the Essential oils' shop and museum, Florame, and went in search of a garage. But whoops. It's a national holiday. Yikes. And, the rain started to pour, and pour and pour. And Erick had a cooking class in Arles, and no one else was findable on the cell phone. I got through to my friend at the olive oil mill but he was busy with clients and alone in the shop. What to do? Yikes! Even handy old Gilbert was out of commission (that's what a new girlfriend can do I suppose).

I drove very slowly back up to the parking lot by the tourist office and got out of the car, and started looking for where a spare tire might be (in the rain). I found a spare umbrella in the glove compartment... but it took a minute to think of looking under the driver's seat for the various necessary tools. Erick thought the spare might be beneath the car. Hmmmm What to do?

And then, in desperation, I went over to the retired Moroccan men sitting out of the rain, their game of boule/pétanque canceled by the weather. And I asked, I implored, I made myself out to be quite the pathetic and ignorant female with no one to help her. It took a moment, but then two of them got up to help me.

We investigated the situation, started unscrewing bolts, realized that my tool for such was stripped. Took a pause while one went to get his car and his tool box, and then continued.

It was a pure moment of Blanche Du Bois. I was a woman in need, and they were competent, patient, and willing. The universe sent me angels in the form of gentle retired immigrants. They spent an hour in the rain getting the spare tire out, raising the vehicle, removing the old tire, changing it all.. While I documented the moment, and Filou rested in the car.

My brief (relatively) moment of stress and WTHell am I going to do? turned into a moment of grace. The clients were gracious and lovely as well. Then, a bit late, I drove them back to Arles, and me to Avignon where a grand bouquet of flowers awaited me. From? At which point, I hopped into a hot bath. Voila, a birthday almost passed. It has been rather affirming of the goodness of this world, I must say.

Oh, and Mother Nature offered me a perfect strawberry -- the first ripe one from my patch. Gorgeous! Succulent! Flavorful!


Elizabethd said...

How lovely to find such helpful men. There are moments when one has to resort to being helpless girlie!

Zuleme said...

Happy birthday a day late.
At first I thought that huge pastry was for you!

Gillian said...

Bonne Anniversaire. Kindness is the best birthday present!!!

Vagabonde said...

Happy belated birthday. My mother was born on 12 May, but in 1910, she would have been 100. I was going to write a post on her but I have been reading many posts since I was away. I’ll do one for French Mother’s Day which is 30th May this year. You know a goat cheese maker – what a dream. I love goat cheese. When I would go to Paris to visit my mother she would buy at least 8 different cheeses, 4 of them goat cheese, and that would be my dinner, with assorted red wines of course. I am sorry about your bad tire, but at least you had some good help. I have not seen a pièce montée in a long time – that one looks délicieuse.

Madeleine Vedel said...

Thank you !! and Vagabonde, I've a number of dear goatcheese making friends -- I spent a day a week making goat cheese through the fall. You'll see the posts from Sept - Nov. It is wonderful and scrumptious!

The bad tire was a chance to trust in the generosity of others, the universe, and simply to allow myself to be helped. Not so bad as a b-day present! And yes, that pièce montée was quite tempting !

Nathalie said...

Madeleine, so sorry I missed your birthday!
What a story... I loved the way the day ended, with the help from these gracious men and the grand bouquet of flowers. From ?

tous jeux pour enfant said...

from a slightly confuse man -- sometimes it's easier to be left than to do the leaving.. however, the roses were white, yellow and pale pink.... no reds. bisous

tasteofbeirut said...

Agatha Christie said of Arab men " warm hearted, simple full of enjoyment of life " she loved them and I do too.
Glad you had a good experience to erase the bad luck with the flat tire and the rest of it!
Beautiful strawberry!