December 16th

What can I say about December so far? Fantastic? Warm, dry, sunny, fresh, envigorating…… absolutely delicious?
The leaves are only just beginning to fall off the trees around Maureillas, the world still clothed in green, but dressed thoughtfully, with much attention to detail, clothing itself into multi shaded tableaux of vert variations of fern, forest, moss, pine,emerald, jade and midnight greens, along with deep and crispy reds, golds and warm browns.

What a wonderful place this is……..but what a sad and sorry waste of some incredible resources when half the world is dying of starvation! Fruits and vegetables grow wild and nobody seems to be interested in picking them. Untended olive trees with olives scattered and rotting, khaki fruits swaying in the wind before hurtling to the ground and feeding the worms, carpets of almonds, berries, mushrooms, unpicked grapes, now turned to sweet, wrinkled raisins…. I suppose that many of the mas and rambling properties around the region have such a large amount of land that they are unable to cope with it all – old farmers die, pass or sell on their land to a new generation, who don’t have the time to harvest the crops and gradually fruit trees and olive groves fall into disrepair and neglect and vines become redundant. Good ol’ progress eh?

You may have read some of the articles written by Basil Howit.. Writer, researcher, lover of life, music, a glass or two of fine wine…
I’ve never actually met Basil in person, but he has been one of my dear Internet friends for a number of years. He left us last week, after a long struggle with cancer, and although I never actually shook his hand, I feel so very sad – sad for his family but also sad for myself that I never made more of an effort to be anything but an Internet friend. We make less effort at the important things in life as we get older – friends, family, walks on the beach, apero on a cafe trottoir, people watching, appreciating what we have and thanking the powers in which we believe for each new day. Rest in peace Basil.

And here I am on my way to spend Christmas with the French side of the family, who live in the north of Paris, stuck in a never ending traffic jam, in the dark and rain, stationary along the banks of the river Seine as it glistens eerily in the gloomy pre Christmas squalour of the Paris Banlieue. I taught for a couple of years in the outskirts of Paris, where I educated a new wave of hoodlums and muggers-to-be, so my rosy coloured spectacles have long been out of focus where Paris is concerned, tho I am not immune to the charm of the centre – it’s just that I also know what lurks underneath the surface.
This drizzle and smog makes me long already foir the light of the P-O, a thousand miles behind me.
On the other hand, every cloud has a silver lining……….and I’ve been allowed to open my Christmas present – a new Ipad. Oh, lucky, lucky girl that I am, there’s always something good around every corner.

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