Saturday, December 30, 2006

My daughter at Gamone

I picked up Emmanuelle in Valence (exceptionally, the train from Paris stopped at the old station in the middle of the city) on Wednesday at the beginning of the afternoon. Half an hour later, we were at Gamone, where Manya was looking forward to a couple of relaxed days, away from her busy life as a journalist at Télérama in Paris.

Manya knows how to maximize opportunities for relaxing in an intelligent fashion. Most people would imagine that a computer is for working, a bed for sleeping and that, if you’ve just had a shower and washed your hair, then you might walk around in the sun to dry it. For Manya, operations of this kind can be combined efficiently and pleasantly.

She was amused to see me fiddling around with my recently-purchased machines for making coffee, bread and toasted sandwiches. I realize that I’m like a child with new toys. As my friend O said on the phone the other day, after hearing me describe these new kitchen gadgets: “William, you’ve gone all take-away.” And O, hearing me talk about home-made bread (a tradition at Gamone) and toasted chicken sandwiches (a suggestion picked up during my recent trip to Australia), seemed to be a little disturbed at the idea that I might have abandoned good old-fashioned French cooking of the high-cholesterol kind... which is a fact.

Besides talking in front of the fireplace, my daughter and I went out for several walks, including a climb above Pont-en-Royans to visit the medieval ruins I spoke about in an earlier blog. There are no crowds in this corner of the world. The first morning, my neighbor Dédé dropped in to say hello at breakfast time, but he was the only person other than me that Manya saw during her two days here.

The calm is conducive to relaxation and clear thinking. I believe that Gamone has always been reputed as a good place for a mind-cleansing spell. Manya knows that, here at Gamone, she can wash more than her hair.

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