Friday, February 6, 2015

Sitting by the Fire

So, it's a Friday night. I suppose I could have gotten all dressed up and gone out to Tango. But this trip to Provence has not been one for dancing. My main occupations have been caring for my house, which, after three years of rentals and months of being empty, has been in need.

And, I suppose that I too have been in need. In need of caring and repairing and designing and laying my imprint on a place and space. I understand that renters have the legal right to paint and in some instances re-configure rental homes/spaces. But, I've never dared. However, in my own home, I can and I do. And it feels good. It is the act of re-appropriating through care & labor.

I pretty much got off the plane a month ago (tout juste), walked into the house and starting attacking projects. Floors have been painted, as have walls & radiators. Leaks fixed (or at least spotted so they will get fixed). Plumbing fixtures switched out. A new boiler installed. Electrical fixtures replaced and updated. Walls re-configured (in the bathroom). And most recently, broken clay tiles from my and my sons' bedrooms are being replaced & affixed. If only this last task were as easy to do as it is to convey in one short sentence. The dust that has been stirred up by the crumbling cement/plaster joints, the sand beneath this thin layer upon which the old tiles once were sturdily stuck. Jonas' room has now a pit in the middle, gray with drying cement, piles of cleaned ancient tiles lined up ready to lay. A thin layer coats most everything. Ah well, I had been going to get rid of most of those books anyway, and move that book case, and revacuum every surface, and change all the sheets, and re-wash all his clothes... just not right away.

My room has less dust stirred about, but it too has many missing tiles. So many have gotten broken over the years as they started moving and wobbling, and weakening and then cracking.

The thing with beginning such projects, is that you simply have to finish them before you head out. And so, rather than going out to dance the tango, I'm doing what work I'm able to do here.

However today, the work included drafting my program for the upcoming Winter Truffle Tour. And it included a morning visit (my 5th in a row) to the Carpentras Truffle market. It proceeded to a café shared with one of my truffle hunters, discussions of Nyons olive oil, home-made wild boar ham, and curing black olives. - I took careful notes.

This is the first time I've done culinary tours since I departed to start the goat farm in the US. It has been a truly wonderful time re-integrating myself into a past life, but a life that is still vibrant and filled with great rencontres, dear friends and colleagues, and so many opportunities to learn and connect.

And so, I ready myself for my next Stage Culinaire. It begins Sunday. And I've my program ready to go, and my shopping list for tomorrow. Truffles are already embedded in rice for the risotto. Onward.