October 16th, 2009

kings and queens


A couple years ago I was admiring the fresh mint in a neighbors front yard. "Take some!" she said, "you'll regret it!" (she also gave me a Piers Anthony novel) It grows very well. Last year our gardner ripped up pounds and pounds of it where it had ... infected ... the whole garden and moved a few to a pot in the front yard where it's grown thick and well. Every once in a while we make mint julips. This was vodka, crystal light, and 13 mint leaves in the blender with ice.

Now, I must get serious amounts of work done. Be good my friends!
  • Current Music
    Tamar Berk: When the Time Comes

best spam of the day

and it's only noon!

No w0man wil ake for yoor tiny tool!

I arrived home to discover that a scale model of Stonehenge had been planted behind the garage. The table had arrived-five feet square, five inches thick, with a massive base in the form of a cross. The distance between where it had been delivered and where we wanted it to be was no more than fifteen yards, but it might as well have been fifty miles. The entrance to the courtyard was too narrow for any mechanical transport, and the high wall and tiled half-roof that made a sheltered area ruled out the use of a crane. Pierrot had told us that the table would weigh between six and eight hundred pounds. It looked heavier. He kissed the tips of his fingers, speckling his beard with white, and poked among the papers on his table, raising puffs from every pile. Somewhere there was a photograph. The Lubéron Mountains rise up immediately behind the house to a high point of nearly 3,500 feet and run in deep folds for about forty miles from west to east. Cedars and pines and scrub oak keep them perpetually green and provide cover for boar, rabbits, and game birds. Wild flowers, thyme, lavender, and mushrooms grow between the rocks and under the trees, and from the summit on a clear day the view is of the Basses-Alpes on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. For most of the year, it is possible to walk for eight or nine hours without seeing a car or a human being. It is a 247,000-acre extension of the back garden, a paradise for the dogs and a permanent barricade against assault from the rear by unforeseen neighbors. We made allowances for the system because we were foreigners buying a tiny part of France, and national security clearly had to be safeguarded. Less important business would doubtless be quicker and less demanding of paperwork. We went to buy a car. It was set above the country road that runs between the two medieval hill villages of Ménerbes and Bonnieux, at the end of a dirt track through cherry trees and vines. It was a mas, or farmhouse, built from local stone which two hundred years of wind and sun had weathered to a color somewhere between pale honey and pale gray. It had started life in the eighteenth century as one room and, in the haphazard manner of agricultural buildings, had spread to accommodate children, grandmothers, goats, and farm implements until it had become an irregular three-story house. Everything about it was solid. The spiral staircase which rose from the wine cave to the top floor was cut from massive slabs of stone. The walls, some of them a meter thick, were built to keep out the winds of the Mistral which, they say, can blow the ears off a donkey. Attached to the back of the house was an enclosed courtyard, and beyond that a bleached white stone swimming pool. There were three wells, there were established shade trees and slim green cypresses, hedges of rosemary, a giant almond tree. In the afternoon sun, with the wooden shutters half-closed like sleepy eyelids, it was irresistible. It was startling to see and hear the joyful ferocity with which the three masons pulverized everything within sledgehammer range. They thumped and whistled and sang and swore amid the falling masonry and sagging beams, stopping (with some reluctance, it seemed to me) at noon for lunch. This was demolished with the same vigor as a partition wall-not modest packets of sandwiches, but large plastic hampers filled with chickens and sausage and choucroute and salads and loaves of bread, with proper crockery and cutlery. None of them drank alcohol, to our relief. A tipsy mason nominally in charge of a forty-pound hammer was a frightening thought. They were dangerous enough sober. "You have an address in France?"
We explained that we hadn't yet received any bills because we had only just moved in. He explained that an address was necessary for the carte grise- the document of car ownership. No address, no carte grise. No carte grise, no car.