How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.
Last week Mike and I joined dear friends in a campsite in southern France, on the Mediterranean and just over the Spanish border. Every Morning we’d sleep until ten, toddle over to the boulangerie for fresh croissants, enjoy breakfast outside our luxury mobile home with our friends, then plan the outing du jour.
One day we tested out my newly healed metatarsals on a footpath along the shore. They passed the audition, so on another day we walked from the camp site to the beach to enjoy the waves. It rained one day, tant pis pour nous, poor us. We took advantage by driving to a brasserie in nearby Banyuls for café au lait and, what else? A Banyuls!
The luxury mobile homes at the camp site in Argeles-Sur-Mer were compliments of our friend Jim Neill, founder and owner of Top Sun. Top Sun leases out holiday properties in beautiful spots in England and France, and Jim is considering adding a mountain home to his portfolio. so naturalement, we joined him way, way, way, up the Pyrenees for a real estate appointment one morning. Oo la la!
No matter what we did by day, we were always home in time for a long afternoon nap. After that? Dinner, of course! Fresh anchovies served with red peppers in oil, soupe du poisson, grilled scallops, roe, fresh oysters, roast duck, foie gras, mushroom risotto, grilled shrimp, steamed mussels, grilled dorado. Each and every dinner was accompanied by stories, laughter, and an an assortment of local French bread, cheeses and wine. Deliseuse! The only night we stepped out of our dinner routine was Tuesday, French Keraoke night at the camp site. But that’s a story for another time.
The trip was bookended by huge hugs with Sheelagh at the Barcelona airport when we arrived, then double the hugs upon our departure last Friday. Sheelagh is, as she puts it, “in good form.” Being with her was by far the highlight of the
trip. The only outward sign that she has had any illness at all is the PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) cannula attached to her upper arm. “It’s no bother, really,” she assured me, explaining that the PICC is there so that she doesn’t have to have a needle inserted with every chemotherapy treatment. This second round of chemo should end in December, and early scan reports show tumors on her liver are shrinking and even disappearing. Sheelagh and Beni went “off the drink” after Sheelagh’s diagnosis last year, and the two of them have become connoisseur of alcohol-free beers from around the globe — we all lifted our glasses many, many times to Sheelagh’s good health.
On the last day of our trip we traveled to the lovely Hotel Can Misse in Collbato, Spain — in the shadow of Montserrat — for a belated celebration of Sheelagh and Beni’s July wedding. Okay, their July “civil partnership.” Over a delicious dinner of Iberian croquettes, lamb chops, grilled fish, roasted vegetables and red wine, Sheelagh and Beni explained that civil partnerships give same-sex couples in Northern Ireland the same rights and responsibilities of marriage.
The happy couple wrote their own vows, and a registrar in Belfast oversaw the ceremony. Bride A(Beni) wore blue trousers and a white linen blouse to the affair. Bride B (Sheelagh) donned a sleeveless lime green dress, purple tights and purple shoes. The Moroccan multi-colored silk stole she wore over the ensemble was a gift from her sister Fiona, and Sheelagh said it conveniently hid her PICC. “I looked like a child’s drawing,” she said with a joyful laugh. “Complete with a huge silly grin on my face.”
You know what? That huge silly grin of Sheelagh’s is contagious. I’m wearing one right now, just thinking of her and Beni and Jim.