Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cool spell

There's no doubt about it. The weather has been very cool throughout France over the last few days.

In the capital, to my mind, a man would have to be totally crazy to sit around with a bare bum in the mist and snow. But Paris, as we all know, is full of crazy folk...

I became aware that the global situation in France was particularly catastrophic when Natacha phoned me up, a few days ago, to say that she couldn't even go to work, alongside the splendid ecclesiastic citadel of the Bonne Mère, because Marseille was covered in snow.

I've been watching the slopes of Gamone from my bedroom window, wondering how long it might take for the snow to disappear.

My donkeys Moshé and Mandrin, protected by thick layers of fat and fur, have not been particularly troubled by the current conditions. The last few millennia of evolution have resulted in their using their front legs to claw at the icy snow and get through to grass. As for my beloved billy-goat Gavroche, he dines delicately in an Epicurean manner on weeds whose tiny heads emerge from the blanket of snow.

Meanwhile, from my bedroom window, I look down upon the rough stone wall built by François and me, and I watch the big blobs of snow melting, and losing their grip.

Of a morning, there's a marvelous moment when the sun's rays creep out from behind my magic mountain, the Cournouze, and impact the frozen landscape, transforming it into a blinding white mirror. At that instant, the grand old Sun seems to admonish the steamy slopes of Gamone: "Get thee back to Siberia where you belong!"

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