May 2008 Archives


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first tomato


strawberry and basil ice


strawberry and basil ice

Take 500g Fraises de Carpentras, varieté Clery, some home grown Genovese basil, 12 egg yolks, a litre of milk and sugar and Bingo. Well, it would have been even better had our own hens laid the eggs, and had I not lost the stupid spindle - a silly plastic matchstick without which the glamorous chrome Le Glacier does not work. Anyway, thank God for hand churning.




Baby black and white cat is doing well. She is now officially called Babu after the name black people call whites in Africa and it reminds of my very first trip to that continent. It was at the height of apartheid. There were benches, loos, shops and cafés everywhere Reserved for Whites. My father was kidnapped for having a show of his artwork through which the slogan in Afrikaans ran 'Slegs vir Almal'. Reserved For Everybody. Babu is, I think, the Reserved For Everybody cat.

Meanwhile, the news from the local gynecologist is not encouraging on the prospect of having the necessary drugs prescribed for breast feeding an adopted child. 'It is not natural' she says. 'Of course men can become women these days and vice versa. One can do anything but that doesn't mean it is natural' ; 'There are other ways of becoming close to your child.'; 'The cancer risks are very high' (Apparently they are no higher than taking the contraceptive pill, which I never did). Blah Blah Blah. 'IVF isn't natural' I say. 'but unfortunately we are unable to have children naturally.' My girlfriend tells me that women in hospitals here, after they have given birth, are given the choice of chocolate or vanilla flavoured formula. Breasts don't come into it. I am getting very tired of this aspect of French Life. No you can't teach (Even though I have a doctorate degree from the State University of New York I am not qualified to teach in France). No you can't breast feed. No you can't put in an environmentally sound waste water purification system and water your garden with it. No No No.

Because I may need her on my side in the future, I did not ask the gynecologist: Do you have children? Did you give birth to them naturally? How did it feel? Did you breast feed them? How did that feel?

Of course it is something about which we have to take an informed decision. It is a choice whose consequences, if we make it, we cannot know and will have to accept. "No" is disempowering and it does not help.




The news on the forum is that each day calls come through from the Agence Française de l'Adoption, and small babies that we probably saw in Bamako lying on their backs with broken wings are flown to a loving nest and two pairs of open arms and given a chance to fly. Each time this happens our turn gets closer. At least, the remaining attributions from the last commission in January 2007 get made which brings the next commission - in which we have a chance of being selected - closer, which, if we are selected, means a wait of between one and twelve months before an attribution. Meanwhile, I am looking into breast feeding (yes it is possible) and we are potting.





I'm taking Zuleme's comment on my last post on board and, even though I am not writing, officially, I will try to post the occasional picture and commentary.

We were so excited when we got on the plane bound (via a 9 hour stopover in Casablanca) for spring in Provence. It had been a challenging trip to Mali - moving, exhausting, life changing. Certainly not relaxing. And so we returned - from the hottest place on earth, and one of the poorest - to two weeks of snow, rain and thunderstorms. Julian had started ranting about fish and chips and warm beer in an English pub on our last day in Bamako and his ranting became almost crazed as he lay bedridden with dysentry and Harmattan lung (a disease we invented) for almost two weeks. It was hard to reconnect with life here for reasons that....

Another story.

Anyway, since yesterday we have had emerald days again and, inspired by friends whose delectable lettuces we ate at with to-die-for pizze, we have been planting seeds ready for our square foot garden: thyme, chervil, basil, parsley, tomatoes, peppers,lettuces, beetroots....

We have been writing and playing Bach and painting and taking cats for walks in olive groves...


And we have come home.