27th March 2011
We have left Sharon and Paul – until the next time – and have journeyed on to Aix-en- Provence. It’s a gloomy day and the drive through valleys, perhaps because of the lack of light, does not speak to us. After a late lunch we find a fairly soul-less hotel. I feel like I’m coming down with something. But we manage to rally ourselves and go out for an early evening walk in the town. It’s enchanting, in spite of the dreary weather. We know we will come back to explore it fully, either in a couple of weeks, or in September. We stop at a carousel, entranced. What is it about carousels. Yes, of course, we all know the metaphor of it, brass ring and all. But maybe what touches me most this evening is that there is still a need for such a simple experience. Maybe it’s comforting in this age of video games and non-stop digital addiction, to find that something as whimsical and unchanged as this is still sought after. I look at the various modes of transport going round and round: horses, carriages, trains, cars, motor-cycles, planes, I see the toddlers and young children riding them, their parents waving goodbye to them each time the circle around, as though sending them out into the world over and over again. Don’t we all need to be transported? To be taken onward into our dreams of adventure.
Back at the hotel I am still feeling on the verge of a cold. I take a piping hot bath. We order room service: pumpkin soup and an omelet with herbs for me, salmon and salad for Joel with herbs which we eat in bed. I had hoped for some ginger tea but no. Then I have a rare moment of invention: I take the half lemon from Joel’s salmon, several drops of Tabasco – which came in the most adorable, teeniest, bottle – and honey, and add the whole lot to a cup of hot water. Within minutes I am purged. From now on this will be my road remedy.