I always love visiting my friends Kristi and Jean Marc. It’s odd La Ciotat is only 1 hour and 15 minutes away but I have it in my mind that it is hours away. It is a great drive as well. Through rolling hills and valleys, vineyards and pine covered mountains all spread out in glorious panoramic views. The sea comes into view as I approach Hyeres and a serge of happiness and coming home joy fills me. It’s odd in a way, until the age of 28 I had never stepped foot on a boat of any kind. Then the sea became my home for seven years, and although a pretty useless sailor, I loved the sea, all the sounds of the sea even the lament of the mermaids backed by the symphonic orchestra of the oceans had their way of lulling me to sleep.
As Kristi and I walked along the seafront in La Ciotat my heart ached for the ocean. For it’s immensity, it’s vastness, it’s depth. It’s ability to be flat and mirror like, and in a moment become a treacherous monster trying to reach the skies. Being at sea taught me how insignficant I really am and how out of control of my life I am, if nature decides to wreak havoc. But sadly sadly we wreak havoc on the oceans now. I don’t remember seeing vast islands or plastic gathered together in an oceanic killing spree. All those years ago we did see rubbish but not in huge quantities and we always did our best to clear it up. Now human waste is having a dire affect on all sea life. We have to stop using it somehow!
Back to La Ciotat. Whilst I was driving there I thought I would ask Kristi if I could take her to lunch, I had only just arrived, still on the steps bag in hand when she asked me if she could take me to lunch. We went to see Jackie in the restaurant where she works. With the sun shining in and the meal succulent and tasty we continued to chat and inspire one another. It is always to beneficial being with another creative being that I share so many ideals and ideas with. It is surely food for the soul. Krist wrote a wonderful post about our time together so here is the link and you can read the rest of my dreamy time in La Ciotat.
We were talking about how lucky we are to live here and I do sometimes forget. So here are some photo’s of the places I go to swim, paint, relax and just be in.
From top to bottom. The River Argens, we kayak on the river in the summer its 13 k’s and great fun we take a picnic and our main aim is to splash each other as much as possible and where it is safe topple each other out of our boats. I love it. The photo top right is the entrance to the Gorges de Verdon, where we also kayak or hire a pedalo. I love painting at the Gorges and the lake and it is one of our days out on my painting trips.
Then there is the market of Lorgues on a Tuesday morning and my favourite stand is the herb and spice stand. I have know Jean-Pierre since he was a stubbly teenager taking over the stall from his dad. Since he has given up smoking, married and become a father of two. I suppose because of my time in catering and the restaurant trade, I feel an affinity with market people and food sellers. I am still on friendly terms with the fishmonger in Saint Tropez 32 years later. Although she rarely goes in now it is her two daughters that run the stand. It makes me feel a little old!!
Going down more views of the Gorges and of Lac Saint Croix, mimosa, blossom and sunflowers all in our garden. Not forgetting the sublime lavender fields where we paint or our glorious poppy fields. My fabulous studio, the vinyards and the divine un misable Camargues.
See you on one of our trips. Paint Provence with Tess