Friday, June 6, 2008

Short visit to Six-Fours and an Afternoon Tea

Last week (it's getting scary how time goes so fast) Paul, Anne and I went to visit Paul's mother. It was about time! We hadn't been down to see her since Christmas 18 months ago! For just three of us, taking the TGV was not only the most practical, but also the cheapest solution. We switched to a local train at Marseilles. Gillette met us at the Oullioules-Sanary station and took us home for a scrumptious lunch. After lunch, we went over to see Marguerite.
Paul's mother is going on 99 and is in great shape. She's re-reading Clavell's Tai-pan, inspired by our stop in Hong Kong. She also remembers seeing the TV series The Thorn Birds, set in Australia. Her DVD player is kaput, and we all have problems speaking on the phone with her, so Saturday we went shopping. We also went up to the apartment to try to dust and clean a bit so that she can go for a visit, soon. I don't think it's a good idea -- there's just too much dust.
In addition to a new DVD machine and a set of phones, we picked up a few new DVDs for her, including The Thorn Birds. She loves watching DVDs and interesting TV shows so she prefers staying in her room for that rather than the TV room. We showed her the pictures from our trip, of course, and loaded up her digital picture frame with recent pictures. Generally, we had a fine visit.
It was also nice visiting with Pierre and Gillette. The house is settled. The weather wasn't great, though; they've been having lots of rain, so the garden looks wonderful. We ate well (every meal Gillette prepares is a feast, even if it's "just soup and leftovers". She has a knack for dressing it all up to be elegant.
We did go out for lunch all together on Friday. Marguerite is always glad to get out once in a while.
We left on Saturday, after lunch. Having arrived in time for lunch on Wednesday, we truly felt that we had spent four days - four visits with Paul's mother, at least - down there. If we had driven, we would have lost 2 whole days on the road.
Yesterday, I went over to the Genelins' for afternoon tea. It was a pleasant visit; Charly and Christine were there (from the Ile de France walks group) along with others from WICE and the anglo community. Michael's book is just out! Siren of the Waters
(Michael Genelin's web site) All I managed to read was the jacket; the heroine is from Prague (I think) and her investigation takes her all over Europe. It's a mystery, just the kind of book I always pick up. In my haste, I ordered it from the site, so it might take some time for me to actually get it. Susan Genelin is an artist and the apartment has some wonderful paintings she did during their stay in Jerusalem (during his job as consultant to the Palestinian Authority on criminal justice) and some more recent views of Paris. There's a great one of the trees all lined up in the Bois de Vincennes.
Michael was very excited about his book. In fact, his advance copy had arrived just before we showed up, earlier in the afternoon. So, the book was the center of conversation -- closely shared with the end of the Democratic Party candidate selection! There seemed to be a fairly clear division of Clinton and Obama supporters and I didn't sense any McCain fans, at all. What I really loved, though, was watching the non-American faces among us. Because of Michael's past life as prosecutor, we also collectively reviewed the R. Kennedy assassination, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the Sal Mineo case, which Michael handled.
On the personal front - I mowed the grass again. It's something that does come up every couple of weeks. The thing is that I'm mowing the moss, not the grass. It's time to dig the whole thing up and start over! And, I saw the Dr. yesterday and he is going squeeze a spot onto his schedule for an operation early in July. Hope this is the end of the series. Also still hope I can make a trip to the States in August.

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