- This is My Hadji Bey
- Eurovision in a Cowshed
- The Boll Weevil 3: On the Waterfront
- A Year in Brocante 11: An Easter Egg
- A Year in Brocante 10: Upscaling and Hacking
- Kevin Pearce
- The Bol Weavil and the Lightning Bug 2: On the Ground
- The Boll Weevil and the Lightning Bug 1: A Home in Ireland
- Love In The Air
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E-mailed my daughter in New York city: “Any news?” “ANY NEWS??” she replied “Don’t you read your texts?……I’ve just had an earthquake and now we’re getting a hurricane….and you ask me if I’ve any news?”
The perfect storm is no storm at all. But then, as Goethe said “a man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days”……and as for a woman……
I was getting worried. The spikes of spring bulbs were appearing, camellias and primroses were again in flower, there was blossom on the forsythia, the tomatoes were turning black in the potager (lack of calcium? P’s over-enthusiastic irrigation system?……or rain?) It has not been a very hot dry summer….in fact, most of the month of July was wet wet wet, but suddenly last week, in mid-August, the temperatures soared and the French TV meteorologists (Hector et Pascal) almost got their thongs in a twist with excitement (French TV meteorologists are the thinnest women on the planet, as opposed to Irish TV meteorologists who tend to be somewhat more homely – though they do share a taste for a somewhat bizarre wardrobe.)
Before we set off on a road trip to Thezan-les-Beziers on the Mediterranean a couple of weeks ago, we decided to turn off the watering system for the duration we were away as more rain was forecast. We had not even reached the Portes de Soleil before all the clouds disappeared and the car thermometer began to climb over 30?C. The South of France is geared to heat, so the big old house (and wonderful Chambres d’Hotes, “Le Presbytere”) in which we stayed was cool, the figs were warm on the terrace and the sea was positively delicious.
Back we came, upalong the road to the Alps, to find the brugmansia shedding yellow leaves, the petunias in their pots shriveled and sticky, the geraniums on the balcony bereft of blooms, the walnut leaves curling…. In the fields, the corn was much higher than an elephant’s eye and the sunflowers hung their heads on brown bent necks, no longer able to muster the energy to smile…But oh it was warm and how the sun shone! We slept under a sheet, forsook the house and lived outdoors, sat talking ‘till late under the stars. During the day we swam, took the canoe out on the lake and I went Stand-Up-Paddle boarding. It was as though we had been handed a gift – literally from the blue. Friends began to celebrate with parties; we watched a silver sliver of moon rise from behind the mountain as we toasted Elizabeth’s birthday, fed Pam’s grand daughter yogurt and cool squares of watermelon on Sue’s balcony to the clank and tinkle of boat masts moored at the port and the shouts of swimmers. We ate lunch at a beach-side restaurant and threatened to organize a picnic……
On Wednesday evening the skies darkened, the heaven’s opened, the lake heaved and spat, thunder crashed and so did trees and for half an hour, the town, sugar-coated with hail, looked like it does in February. Now, the butterflies are back, the bees are taking a last slurp of lavender and we’ve taken off our clothes again.
Tomorrow the new moon with its attendant tidal surges signals the end of Ramadan and my daughter is sitting on a couch in New Jersey, sheltering from the storm. I searched through my 1925 bilingual (Irish – in the lovely old script – and English) copy of the prophesies of St Columcille to try to find some meaning for the way the world is heaving……..the bloodbath of Libya, the hunger of Somalia. I found that before the world ends, “Storms, plagues and gnawing famine shall prevail/The seasons will not observe their regular course……Persons of substance shall be reduced to a state of insolvency/ No bankers will supply them with the necessary funds/ A fraudulent system of trade will enhance their ruin/and they shall afterwards be left to weep in sorrow……..”
Sometimes, one appreciates ordinary days.