We had a mini-break!

We wound happily down the coastal route from Perpignan to Cadaques and then to Pals, through terraced emerald vineyards softening rocky outcrops, watching cacti gleaming yellow in the sunlight and always hugging the deep blue of the Mediterranean.

Food was a treat. Arriving over the border in the Spanish fishing village of Portbou, we sat in a beach café and had grilled sardines and white wine, and marvelled that this simple lunch was only three hours away. No sauces, no posh napkins, no silly insistence on three courses – just plain grilled fish. I was almost hysterical with joy! Other delicacies included baby squid fried in a light batter (also on the beach) and our friend’s ‘Pimientos de Padron’ – tiny green peppers fried in oil and salt (by their swimming pool). The paella I can take or leave. Rather leave.

We stayed in a beachgolfresort thing for €50 a night – the sort of place which would be teeming with peeling Brits in summer but where, off season, we were alone in the complex, luxuriating in a spacious apartment overlooking the pool. We spent the morning alone on the beach, with me letting the waves leap up my calves and then Julian doing a windsock dance in an attempt to dry my soaking trousers.

(Of course, it would have been the ideal trip for the Spider but we made do very well in our Renault with no radio planning a more sensible purchase like a mini cooper or a smart car or…another Renault?)

But what is it like to return from paradise to paradise? Picking cherries with Yves’ girls this morning, choosing blushing orange apricots in the market, waking to birdsong and an emerald sea instead of a sapphire one, smelling the broome wafting on the air….

It feels like the sea air washed my retina clean, its song my ears, and everything is clear and bright. I guess that’s what a mini break is supposed to do.



Ruth, you should be writing something ala Peter Mayle, except yours, with your beautiful poetic language, would be much better than his more recent works. Your novel will be superb, I am sure, but I think your love of Provence shining through something non-fiction could only be better. Every time I see your photos, read your prose, and see Julian's paintings, I am transported back to my visit to L'isle sur Sorgue -a wonderful memory.Marie B.

thank you marie. i am working pretty hard on a book - not a novel but one about the first year of shifting light, with our provencal backdrop. My blog is suffering i feel so your kind words are gratefuly received!

I echo Marie's comments...a beautiful south of France book filled with your poetic words and made complete with you know who's drawings.

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