Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tartans, Crumbling Ruins and Wind

Seagulls screeching above the wind's whistle, white caps in abundance and the hope of an errant ray of sun who has stepped away from the clouds to offer a sign of peace...a sign of Spring.  I shiver in my bed as the electric heater on the wall decides to take the night off.  I decide to get up and have breakfast in the restaurant downstairs...surely it will be a warmer room.  To know me is to know that I never leave my room for breakfast....that's how cold my room is!  I bundle up in two sweaters, socks, wraps..anything that will help me to warm up.  I walk into the breakfast room and it is as cold as my bedroom.  I should have realized when I saw the vacant room, that it wasn't habitable!  Who would sit and freeze while dining?  I sit by the fireplace hoping that she might light it but she says it hasn't been working since last year...hmmm... I manage to politely finish my tea and compliment her on the poached eggs and then I disappear back to my room and huddle by the wall feet wrapped in my wool scarf!  When my daughter, Camille, earns her degree here, I am going to present her a medal of honor for making it through 4 years of this weather!  Amazing!  The salt from the North Sea removes years from the lives of the ruins in town but could add years to the faces of anyone living in proximity.  Camille says that sometimes it all just beats one's spirit down and her spirit is one of the strongest I have ever known.  Scotland is rugged and poetic and the people are very kind, but beyond the tartans, I would be hard pressed to find the beauty to keep me here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


After a long day of walking, talking, eating, drinking and people watching, I am sitting down to a beef daubes, a petit vin de Bourgogne and an amazing cherry clafoutis.  If you've never had  a cherry clafoutis, to your nearest French cookbook and look it up. Then tell yourself not not waste another minute deciding if you should make it.  Make it!  Rich butter crust with that creamy custard filling and the tart cherries adding the perfect pout to your lips.  It's a two for one; you get great taste and a terrific pucker!
So, my clafoutis came to me on my way home from a busy day in Paris.  I walked into one of my favorite epiceries in the 7th arrondisement and the smell of this clafoutis was everywhere.  Without a moments hesitation, I spotted it coming out of the oven and told the chef, "ca c'est pour moi!" He told me that he liked people who know what they want (with that French twinkle in his eye).  I, however, only had eyes for his clafoutis!  Let me just say that while people may disappoint you, a clafoutis like this one never will. I have told myself that I am going to cut it in four pieces and ration it over several days.....pray for my willpower!

Welcome Home

I spent time in the Ecole des Beauxs Arts today as it was open to the public for a special exhibit.  It made me dream and well up with tears going in there.  There is such beauty I can't even express it and it made me think of all of who I might have become had I known myself better earlier.  There was music playing that is impossible to describe except that it reached way down into my soul and stirred it all around.  Music one might hear upon arriving in God's chambers.  The exhibit was titled "Welcome Home".  
To see all these students working on their projects with such passion and confidence, false or otherwise, was inspiring.  There was this beautiful Adonis looking guy with curly long black hair dressed in baggy beige jeans and a t-shirt complete with the cigarette hanging from his mouth...he was installing his charcoal sketches in a room filled with sunlight and fresh paint.  He had 3 or 4 girls assisting him, buzzing around him like little bees. The one I liked was the girl with the chunky, short dark hair in a bright pink skirt with heavy black eyeliner.  She managed to pose provocatively while moving the sketches around.  Later I saw her in the courtyard laying down on a brick wall (not easy to do) with one arm dangling over the side holding the seemingly mandatory burning cigarette. She was not to be missed! Were they artists or pieces of art themselves?