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Published: July 17th 2009
(The names of the people and places are disguised in this post...)
Some forty years ago I left the East Coast to visit my friends "Robert" and "Angela." I was on my way to France to become a novelist.
Robert and Angela were hippies, working in the leather trade. We lived together for a while in their two room cabin near City College in San Francisco. We "dumpster dived" in the Safeway bins for day -old bread and other delicacies just past their expiration date, but nonetheless edible.
Robert went on to become an executive, then a CEO at a well known clothing firm. Angela's unique form of genius was applied to interior design for very upscale homes.
Now, they own an extraordinary place somewhere in southern France, where Kate and I were recently guests. The "Mas" is a converted 17th century manor. There is a pool with an infinity edge in the backyard.
They have become gourmands and world class chefs, hardworking connoisseurs of the better items in life. The closest thing to an expired date on their food is the signature ash around the goat cheese from the neighborly fromage chevre artisan, just down
Our guest room, looking south
the road. The choice is: 1) one day old cheese or 2) two day old cheese. I forget which is the superior.
Wasps gather at the edge of the pool, waiting to catch a wave to surf on: I had no idea before observing this that wasps could be so playful, inventive, and exuberant. They'd actually poise themselves on the beveled end of the pool, their long legs and underbodies (they don't have bellies: just wasp waists) on the surface of the water, waiting expectantly for the big one. I think if my hearing were better I would have heard them yell Cowabunga (or whatever the French version is), if not for the incessant sounds of the cicadas and their Mariachi symphony, everywhere around us.
Beyond and below the infinity edge of the pool there is, in 360 degree view, an infinity of vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards, sunflower fields, and acre upon acre of lavender. And then the Cevannes. Beyond that the Alps. Over there, perched on a hill, a medieval village and the spire of an ancient church.
The Mas is exquisite: Angela and Robert have lavished love, attention and not a few unique
and daring flourishes both inside and outside and upon these old storied stones, hand -hewn timbers and centuries old tiles.
No pictures can give a fair idea of the overall harmony and joy of the place, but here are a few details, to give us a taste of it.
Quote any two lines from ANY Provencal poet.
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