I’ve just come back from a few weeks overseas, mainly in France, where my family originally comes from. It was great being back there, seeing everyone, spending time in both Paris and the South (where the family hails from). It was lucky too that my stay coincided with some particularly beautiful spring weather, with the countryside looking spectacular, full of the scent of warm grass and masses of flowers. France is such a beautiful place, which satisfies all the senses so well-including, of course, its marvellous food! and I always feel a great sense of well-being when I’m there.
But the trip wasn’t just about seeing family or even indulging in the sensual pleasures of a French spring; it was also about filling the treasure-chest. The writer’s treasure-chest of ideas and images and inspiration, that is. I was not only thoroughly relishing all the myriad beauties of the country; I was also writing them all down, attempting to capture them in words, to see and feel everything strongly, to file it away for use later. Trying to capture the exact way the sunlight fell on leaves; or the divine smell of lilacs by the side of the road; or the sudden plop of a frog as it jumped into a pond, the quick movement of the first grass-snake of the season just a few steps away; the bright Van Gogh yellow of fields of canola; the slightly cracked sound of the bell around the neck of a Pyrenean cow; the smell of fresh cheese in the markets; the saucissons hanging up in the butcher’s shops, the delicate beauties of cakes in the patisseries; the delight of a name like boutons d’or, as the French poetically call buttercups(the name means buttons of gold); the ancient Roman theatrical mask embedded in the very wall of a very old church, and the way the floor of that church ressembled a river bed, studded with pebbles.
In Paris, it was the shop windows that really got me, [Read more…]