Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Getting artistic

While the wind howls away outside (yes, still) and with most of the big inside jobs now done and dusted, I've been getting artistic.

Yesterday I made a picture screen for L'Atelier's bathroom, into which I've put some of my favourite whirling dervish pictures. I love the Mevlevi dervishes. They're a Sufi order founded by Rumi who use the practice of whirling as their zikr. Zikr literally means remembrance: it's a meditation practice to remember God / the One. Having been very involved with a western Sufi order in the UK I've taken part in many a whirling session and it's an amazing experience, of finding the still point in the midst of movement - a big inspiration for me of being Slow before I'd even heard of it. And so it seemed like a Good Thing to have my dervishes here as a reminder of the Slow life .....

And today I've been in signwriting mode. I've been making various wooden signs out of some ancient oak floorboards that we found in one of the outbuildings when we arrived here; I really like the idea of Grillou's original floorboards taking on a new life to welcome people here. Here are two of today's creations, with their 'captions' painted, and just now waiting for their protective coating before they take their place outside at the end of the drive:

Friday, 20 April 2012

Dear Evelyne Dhéliat ...

Have you no shame? Look, if I'd wanted wind, I'd have lived in the Aude. And to be honest I don't really care if we've only had 50% of of normal rainfall over the last 12 months - I just can't be doing with these sudden onset squally showers that you keep sending my way, every day at random intervals, usually when I'm in the middle of something outside.

Maybe you haven't realised what the stakes are here, so let me be upfront with you: I've got a seriously big job on outside, preparing the garden for us and our guests to hang out in this summer. I've got chairs and sunbeds and tables to get out, clean, oil and generally get looking good again. I've got hammocks and parasols to set up. I'm trying my damnedest to paint the floor of the covered eating area, but you keep sending me winds that blow trillions of blossom petals right onto my wet paint. (Um - this is Ariège. We live in the Couserans. We don't get wind).

I've got a potager to finish digging over and plant up so that we don't all starve this summer but your rain is keeping my soil too wet. I've got seedlings to tend, but your winds keep blowing my mini greenhouse over. I've got hundreds of flower plants ready to fill all the pots that line the front of the house but your low temperatures are keeping the soil too cold. And we've got nightingales singing, but it's just too bloody cold to sit outside and listen to them.

And look, even as I'm writing this, there's Big Rain - or is it hail? - blowing horizontally outside my window. And I have a thermal vest on.

All right, I accept that you've probably been put under some pressure to keep the weather miserable this month because of the presidential election. And yes, I realise it would be improper if everybody went off on holiday instead of staying at home and voting. But I'm sorry, I've really had it with April now. And if I have to wait another 2 weeks before it gets better, I'm afraid I shall have no alternative but to worship a different weather god in future.

PS Just wondering, given your current track record .... have you by any chance got anything to do with the three major things that have gone wrong with my car this week? Because not only is the weather crap, but I'm confined to barracks and when the work's done next week will be several hundred euros poorer to boot .....

Evelyne Dhéliat is the weather god(dess) from TF1, the French TV channel. She is France's favourite weather person, much loved by all (but especially by men. She's 63, intelligent, blonde and looks 43).