year end

December 31, 2014

glanum 1

In San Remy de Provence (specifically Glanum) for the year end. Can’t think of a better place to be . . .

glanum arch

san remy


glanum bust detail

. . . much to admire and much to reflect on.

glanum arch detail

How like a winter hath my absence been

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!

What old December’s bareness everywhere!

And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time,

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,

Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,

Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:

Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me

But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;

For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,

And thou away, the very birds are mute;

Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

Sonnet 97 william shakespeare

around La Gardi

December 27, 2014


Road side crosses mark the boundaries of the village but not all are hidden within the oak scrub. This cross is only visible on the ascent out of Goult on the road to Roussillon where the rising ground is covered with differing landscape types depending on the geology and the aspect; known as The Gardi, an area originally used for sand extraction, then more recently as a motocross ground and, now, being restored back to nature as much as is possible with human interference. Vineyards sweep down the south facing slopes owned and cared for by  Domaine de la Verrière and further towards Roussillon, Domaine Bonelly where Beckett worked for a while.


The Boxing Day shoot is in progress  around The Gardi. Whether the shoot was for birds or boar . . . I didn’t enquire. Well organised, as far as humans were concerned, but the barking of the dogs was surely and hopefully a forewarning for the hunted.


domaine de la verriere

Domaine de la Verrière plant roses at the end of the vine runs – some say that the roses give a previous indication of blight  – an early warning system – but also decorative to boot as long as they remain healthy. Just further along the road – down an incline and around two or three bends, I came across a group of renovated buildings – farm house and barns – that had received immaculate attention, The garden beyond was clipped to perfection . . .


barn + house


. . . the end wall well restored with the red ochre bricks clearly visible and the renovated old house, just ready for rental.

the farm house

Bamboos growing beside the stream, gleam in the winter sunshine . . .

bamboo hedge

. . . and looking down into the bassin, darker reflections and detail.



Circling back up to The Gardi, the ochre hill sides, where areas of  Garrigues and Matorral landscapes can be discovered. Juniper and 3 types of pine  – Aleppo (Pinus halepensis), Maritime (Pinus pilaster) and P. sylvestris dominate with Juniper as understorey (Genévrier communis). Back through the vines leading down to the village, derelict cabanons stand guard. They are on sale for 90,000 euros with a bit of land.

mas 1



But this one standing within the poplars is part of larger estate and very beautiful. Not for sale.


Et, des lors, je me suis baigne dans le poeme

De la mer infuse d’astres et lactescent,

Devorant les azurs verts ou, flottaison bleme

Et ravie, un noye pensif, parfois, descend;

Ou, teignant tout a coup les bleuites, delires
Et rythmes lents sous les rutilements du jour,
Plus fortes que 1’alcool, plus vastes que vos lyres,

Fermentent les rousseurs ameres de l’amour.

Thenceforward, fused in the poem, milk of stars,
Of the sea, I coiled through deeps of cloudless green,

Where, dimly, they come swaying down,
Rapt and sad, singly, the drowned;

Where, under sky’s haemorrhage,

Slowly tossing In thuds of fever, arch-alcohol of song,
Pumping over the blues in sudden stains,

The bitter redness of love ferment. Samuel Beckett



1 The ochre path that extends along the Luberon foothills around Roussillon to Gargas is quite special – originally quarried and now conserved and returned, as much as it can be with many visitors, back to nature. Glimpses of the red earth hillsides are quite tantalising from the surroundings . . . 2   4 but once inside, the experience becomes a theatrical drama – like walking through a turmeric landscape with mature and fresh young pines – Pinus sylvestris, P. halepensis and Pinus pinaster (the maritime pine) –  offering overhead foliage and a lime green ground cover texture. I’m still interested in the spatial areas where visitors can relax and get to grips with the environment, take it all in or just have a good chat. Here oak is used for the stepped circulation, seats and decks along with cor ten steel for the slim protecting elements like hand rails, bridge supports and gates . . . 5 seat   bridge   main steps   slopes young pine . . . a slim juvenile pine just holding on in the landform. Another vertical tower of the red earth looks like a drunken pepper pot . . .  . . . a visual experience and a good walk too.  The rationale behind including the Beckett beside his visit here is that there has been discussion on what is boring – life in general –  time away from work –  lack of social contact – just preferring to be elsewhere – to me, he explains eruditely in the last  3 phrases exactly why I feel so much at home – here; in a convulsive space among the voices voiceless that throng my hiddenness   and the whole poem: que ferais-je sans ce monde sans visage sans questions où être ne dure qu’un instant où chaque instant verse dans le vide dans l’oubli d’avoir été sans cette onde où à la fin corps et ombre ensemble s’engloutissent que ferais-je sans ce silence gouffre des murmures haletant furieux vers le secours vers l’amour sans ce ciel qui s’élève sur la poussieère de ses lests que ferais-je je ferais comme hier comme aujourd’hui regardant par mon hublot si je ne suis pas seul à errer et à virer loin de toute vie dans un espace pantin sans voix parmi les voix enfermées avec moi     what would I do without this world faceless incurious where to be lasts but an instant where every instant spills in the void the ignorance of having been without this wave where in the end body and shadow together are engulfed what would I do without this silence where the murmurs die the pantings the frenzies towards succour towards love without this sky that soars above its ballast dust what would I do what I did yesterday and the day before peering out of my deadlight looking for another wandering like me eddying far from all the living in a convulsive space among the voices voiceless that throng my hiddenness Samuel Beckett que ferais-je sans ce monde (what would I do without this world)
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