16 Aug 2011

Figs. And doors opening. And writing prompts.

Yesterday evening we said goodbye to the last of our summer guests. We chalked up 19 this year, a little lighter than the 34 during our first year here. Today I’m packing and closing up the house as we leave tomorrow morning for two weeks in the UK. Then we’ll be back for a month to, hopefully, finalise the sale and move permanently back to Kent.


I’m putting aside the fridge goods, fruit and snacks we’ll take with us for the journey and calculating how much Tony and I can manage to eat of what’s left. I think watermelon does go with chopped cold chicken in crème fraiche, mayonnaise and curry spices. Well, it will today. There’s also a lonely Mille Feuille in the fridge and I can bet money that Tony will get to that before I do!

Some of what’s left is breaking my heart. Figs. Our three fig trees are plump with fruit that’s now ripening on a daily basis. I’ll take a bowl of them with us in the car and I’ve told my house and cat-sitter to pick and eat as much as she wants. I’m also hoping there'll be a few left when we get back at the end of the month so I can make Pim Techamuanvivit’s fig tart.

We don’t stop for full meals during the drive. We have brief grazing sessions in a few of the bountiful, and often very beautiful, French ‘aires’, with their picnic tables, trees and toilets, that are dotted along every motorway that leads us west then north towards Calais. They put British motorways and service stations to shame.

Hard-boiled eggs with celery salt, fresh tomatoes, peppered salami, some creamy French cheese, a baguette snapped up when we last stopped for petrol that fills the back of the car with the scent of its fresh-baked crust. Even the thought of this today comforts me a little when I think about the 12 hour drive ahead.

And the figs, of course. These little green baubles heavy with sweet flesh. They will always remind me of our house in Antibes, wherever I am in the future. The sunlight slicing through lavender shutters. The smell of bread riding on a sea breeze up Avenue des Chênes.

There’s a line from a poem of mine painted on the paving stones in the garden. I wonder if the new owners will keep it?

une lumiere qui me fait penser à des clefs de porte et je suis la porte qui s’ouvre
a light that makes me think of keys to a door and I am the door opening
I always want to be the door that opens.


Hungry Writing Prompts
  1. Write about packing a suitcase.
  2. Write about what’s left over.
  3. Write about picking fruit from a tree.
  4. Write about a picnic.
  5. Write about a door opening.