Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chez Chantal

You will not find a better garden than the garden chez Chantal. And actually it is not Chantal’s garden but her husband’s. Each morning I’ve been looking out over the most beautiful scene, eating the most wonderful breads and jams, and drinking tea. We talk at least an hour, and sometimes longer, before launching into our days. What a way to start the day.

And I couldn’t have arrived at a better time: the annual weekend of the Artist’s Open Studios! The day was spectacularly, unusually, filled with sunshine—crisp temperatures notwithstanding. I wandered the old section of Lille, to find the artists, but unfortunately did not have much luck. The tourism office no longer had the guide book, so I had to look for the posters in windows that signaled an artist’s studio, and only found two.

Others I knew of were either closed or gone. But the day was still a wonder of wandering old streets I had fallen in love with, glancing into some of my favorite shop windows (closed now on Sunday), and finding my way home at sunset. (Only slightly aggravated by the transportation strike.)

Dinner with Chantal and Yves, after an apero around a lovely fire with some port and nuts, is also a peaceful feast around a candlelit table. Each evening after the meal, Chantal and I continue to talk until we fall into bed, and the last three evenings have been particularly amazing, as we have invented a story: The Tale of the Tea Woman. Watch for it in your bookstore in about, say, seven years!

And speaking of writing, I’ve also been hunkered down working on my manuscript, in order to meet the publisher’s deadline coming up November 5. It’s been a bit of a juggle to keep up with the publisher’s requests and visits--It’s been a bit of a juggle to keep up with the publisher’s requests and visits—but I manage to sneak off to visit someone I haven’t seen in years, and these have been joyful reunions.

I move today, over to two dear friends who live in nearby Villeneuve D’ascq. Saturday, strikes permitting, I leave for Paris. The whirlwind continues!

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