Lunch at Le Code Bar consisted of some kind of noodle and cheese soup; quiche; pork chop, vegetable risotto, and beans; and profiteroles. Everything was up to the usual standard, but I thought the melt-in-the-mouth quiche quite exceptionally good. It is time I added that all this fine food comes with excellent service for 13 euros.
Although the fields, ditches, roads, and footpaths bore evidence of yesterday’s deluge, today was by far the mildest since I arrived eight days ago. I took my postprandial walk in three less layers, two of which would have been in my lined raincoat, than I have so far. Indeed, for the last stretch, I could have done without my jacket.
The ambitious streets of Sigoules Heights (see post of 8th June 2012), laid out in 2007, before the worldwide recession, remain largely devoid of the hoped-for houses. Someone has really caught a cold.
This afternoon, I finished Andre Gide’s ‘La Porte Etroite’. The title refers to the passage in St. Luke’s gospel speaking of the narrow path required to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Helpfully translated by someone in the Wimbledon Village Oxfam shop, where I bought the book as ‘Strait is the gate’. (For the interesting circumstances of this purchase see the post of 14th December last year.) The story is of the struggle for purity between two cousins in love. For some years Alissa and Jerome could only express their passion in writing. When they met they strove to push each other apart. Only after Alissa’s premature death, through the pages of her diary, was Jerome enlightened as to his amour’s conflict between her love for him and her love for God. Mind you, this attraction between young cousins cannot be that unusual. I remember my own unexpressed teenage infatuation with one of mine.
My copy is on the verge of disintegration through age. The pages of the 1947 paperback are all brown. Some have come adrift from the stitching. No matter how tenderly I handled it, my lap, at the end of each reading period, contained corners dropped off the leaves and shavings from the cut edges. Now very flimsy, the book is a masterpiece.
Spring must be in the air. As I wrote my notes, a flock of small birds in a virginia creeper on the garden wall were making an awful racket.
This evening the bar had been hired for a private party and was therefore closed to the public. As I perched on a barrel across the road to enter this post, Frederick came over, insisted on setting me up a table and chair alongside the restaurant, and brought me a drink.