Showing posts with label Natacha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Natacha. Show all posts

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Figs in my yard

My friend Tineke Bot has often claimed that she can distinguish spontaneously and effortlessly dozens of different shades of green. Here in Choranche, this kind of chromatic sensibility is an asset. Without it, an observer would have the impression of looking out on a world that is homogeneously green. In the case of the following photo, for example, I've played around with Photoshop settings in an attempt (not particularly successful) to get the leaves of the fig tree to stand out as much as possible against the background.

[Click to enlarge]

For the first time ever, the tree is covered in figs, and they're truly delicious. This is the tree given to me by my Provençal friends Natacha and Alain. Two years ago, in my blog post entitled Great fig tree, but low yield [display], I said jokingly that the annual yield of the young tree had been one edible fig. Clearly, since then, it has evolved exponentially. They're small dark spheres, firm and sweet: the variety of figs used to produce tarts and cakes.

I take this opportunity of including a link back to my blog post entitled Fabulous fig story [display], in which I referred to fascinating biological information from Richard Dawkins concerning the fig tree.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Visit of my friends from Provence

This weekend, Natacha and Alain came to see me, with a pile of gifts.


These included a Corsican pocket knife and its black leather pouch, an exquisite olive-wood container for salt, a packet of exotic vanilla-flavored tea from Mauritius, a splendid album of aerial photos of Provence and, last but not least, an Ikea lounge chair for watching TV, guaranteed to send me to sleep more rapidly than usual.







Soon after the arrival of Natacha and Alain at Gamone on Saturday morning, where it was raining, we set off for Villard-de-Lans, where they invited me for lunch in an excellent little restaurant. On the return trip, the rain had stopped, but the slopes were shrouded in clouds.

On Saturday evening, we watched a TV variety show that was broadcast live from one of the most magnificent places, not only in Provence, but in the world: Avignon.

All in all, it was a delightful but brief visit, barely a day and a night (since my friends lead professional lives in Marseille, with little spare time). I'm awaiting an Internet delivery of photos of our short weekend together taken by Natacha and Alain.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rugby craze

In France, even cats are following the Rugby World Cup on TV.

This young rugby fan, named Lulu, is a new member of the household of my Mediterranean friends Natacha and Alain. They noticed that the cat seemed to be watching TV out of the corner of its eye, as it were. When they installed Lulu's scratching pedestal in front of the TV set, Natacha told me they were astonished to discover that the cat apparently follows the movements of the rugby action on the screen, for long periods of time. What I don't know yet is whether Lulu is betting on the Blacks or the Wallabies... or maybe even France.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cheese and wine portrait

Whenever Natacha finds me eating cheese and drinking wine, she has an urge to take a posed photo. Unusual behavior, no? The cheese and wine must send out photographic waves, or something like that.

Our dogs


These lovely peaceful photos of Sophia and Jojo on the kitchen floor were taken by Natacha on Sunday 11 March. It was clear to me, from the first moments I saw the dear old hairy dog, that he was in a poor physical state, although he didn't appear to be suffering, and was apparently perfectly alert. At one stage, while I was preparing a salad, Jojo even pointed his long snout up towards me, indicating that he would like a slice of tomato. That amused me: a dog who likes tomatoes. At one point, outside on the lawn, Sophia pranced around her friend, trying to coax Jojo into racing around with her. But Jojo's racing days were over.

On Sunday, though, I would not have imagined that, within three days, Jojo's life on Earth would be over.

Gifts from Provence

Whenever Natacha and Alain drive up here to Gamone to see me, they always bring along gifts. In an earlier post, I mentioned the sexy religious biscuits. They also supply me regularly with fine Marseilles olive-oil soap from the famous Le Sérail manufacturer founded in 1949.

On Sunday, they also brought me a lovely bonsai fig tree, grown by Natacha, which I've placed on the kitchen window sill between a pair of tiny jacaranda trees (also grown from seeds from Provence).

Like Christine and my daughter, Natacha knows exactly the kind of reading material that is sure to interest me. In other words, I'm fortunate in that these close friends from Marseilles take care of me.

Symbols

Although I've placed these two objects side by side, they have nothing whatsoever in common. The thing on the left is a stone statuette about a foot high, which my cousin brought back from an African medical stint. It represents a man seated on the ground with his legs folded up against his abdomen, and his hands held up against his face: maybe a position of prayer or meditation. The second object is in fact a sweet-smelling biscuit, about six inches from tip to tip, with religious connotations. Made in Marseilles, this traditional delicacy is meant to symbolize the legendary boat that brought four saintly women, including Mary of Magdala, from the Holy Land to the southern coast of France. Last Sunday, Natacha gave me a box of these biscuits.

Back in Paris, a rough girlfriend once saw the statuette and asked me what it was. I told her I thought it was some kind of African phallic symbol. I don't think my mate understood what I was talking about: "If you want my opinion," she replied, "it reminds me of a prick." The slit biscuit reminds me of something of the same kind. Don't you think the two objects look nice together?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In a field of olive trees

An old dog in a field of olive trees
walking away from his mistress Natacha,
seeking a wall to contemplate
in silence and solitude, like a monk.

Jojo has finally found his wall.