We’ll be leaving Labastide in a few hours, and I think we’re ready to go. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, our bags are packed, our faces washed, our shoes are clean and neat. I feel a little like Alice here sometimes. Labastide has been a trip behind the looking glass in many ways. Time certainly moves more slowly here and in some ways it hasn’t moved at all. I will miss that.
I’ll also miss my long walks past the vineyards,
the wildflowers in the spring and fall,
the sound of the creek after a storm,
and the politeness of the French, whose bonjours, mercies and au revoirs are strung across the day like lights on a Christmas tree.
I’ll miss aperitifs on Gerhard’s terrace,
cheap wine and yummy pastries,
the cuckoo, the doves, the soaring swallows,
and the deep silence that surrounds every sound.
I’ll miss watching the grapes grow.
On Ray’s behalf, I’ll miss the great cycling,
the rugged, challenging mountains,
the narrow winding roads without broken glass or litter,
and the near absence of vehicles, making him safer and me more worry free.
We’ll both miss taking carrots down to the horses, and watching the colts and fillies grow up every summer,
the sound of the church bell tolling the hour and half-hour (twice),
the beauty of the valley,
the neatness of the gardens,
the companionship of our friends.
There are, of course, things we won’t miss:
the Tramontane winds that whistle across the chimney for endless days (and are whistling now),
the cloud shadow that often hangs over the village,
the whining of the moto-biletts as they take the curve outside our window.
And we won’t miss the changes we foresee in the village, the new houses, the growing population with its attendant noise and bustle. We’ve seen rural France at its best I think, and we know we’re lucky to have done so. To say we’re sad to leave is an understatement, but c’est la vie, life goes on, and there are always visits to look forward to.
Au revoir Labastide en Val, au revoir la Val de Dagne. Adieu and a bientot.
Now, what’s next?