November 2018

A brunch chez nous with Jim and Joanne and then dinner that same day with Penny and Hamish at the Calalou, and two days later dinner again at the Calalou this time with Catherine and Pierre. And the day before we left the farm, we had snow. Pascal drove us to the train station on Hallowe’en. With the start of ten days of torrential rains for the Midi, Richard said that it made it much easier to leave. But in all, we saw almost everyone we wished to see while in the Provence apart from Guy and Audrey.



The Focus

Paris was brief but dry and even sunny. Samhain itself was low key and relaxed. And the day following we had our space cakes but spent the time mostly inside Marie-Laure’s flat. On the Friday, we tried to visit the Louis Vuiton Foundation for Basuiat, but the line was too long, so we went instead to the Tea Caddy for lunch, Au Petit Fer à Cheval for cappuccino and that night dinner with Marie-Laure and Toby at Anahuacalli. Saturday with Marie-Laure we visited the Picasso Museum which I adored, and then we all had lunch at Au Petit Fer à Cheval. Our last day in Paris was Jamie’s birthday at Marie-Laure’s for which Stefania and Toby & Christina joined us.

Our first week in London was mostly a time of resettling. I continued with the proofreading of ‘Pagan Mysticism’. At the Royal Academy we visited the Oceanic Art exhibit and then the Klimt/Schiele Drawings. At the end of the week, I had a session with Scott. And I was also able to finish with the proofreading. Otherwise, I was at least glad that the Republicans lost the House but sad and disappointed over their holding onto and increasing their majority in the Senate.

I began reading John le Carre’s A Delicate Truth – realising before long that I had already read it. But I could scarcely remember it and eventually re-read the book that I found haunting and frightening. We heard Miranda Green’s talk at the British Museum on “Sacred Britannia: The Gods and Rituals of Roman Britain” and from there took an Uber to Gowlett for Matt’s birthday celebration and to say farewell to him and Chloe as the next day they were off to Nepal, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand for the next three months.

We’ve had Peter from next door over for a dinner; we’ve visited the Cocteau murals at the Notre Dame de France near Leicester Square; seen A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; been to Wookey Hole for a night to say farewell to Amy, Jose, a reticent Lucia and a delightful Marcus as they are about to move to New Zealand where Amy has secured (finally) a perfect lectureship at the Massey University Auckland; saw Steve McQueen’s excellent Widows; had a Thanksgiving dinner at the Sloane Club; saw the film Psycho at the Royal Academy; attended the Sophia Conference on Astrology; and had Jonathan spend a night and then have dinner with us the following evening before returning to York. Toward the end of the month, I received the final proofs from Cambridge Scholars Publishing and began the indexing. I took the Eurostar to Amsterdam for two nights. Santima helped me with getting to the keuringarts for my Dutch driver’s license physical and renewal as I am over 75. I had a delightful day with her. She received a call later that day from Lieke’s daughter informing her that Victor had died the previous day. Santima was upset and returned to the house. We visited Jimmy and Amir that evening. I also got to see Kostas, Marta and Alan. In all, it was a most brief but successful visit.

But also on Thanksgiving, Gin had phoned to tell me that her mother Lyn had died. It has been a long time in coming, Lyn was in a miserable state, and it really is for the best.

Just after getting back to London, Richard and I went to the apartment block’s business meeting. It was really for flat owners, but we enjoyed the buffet all the same and met Natalia from Singapore who lives now in Aldo’s former flat. The next day it was a Lebanese lunch with Elisabeth and Monica and then cappuccini at the Cellarium in Dean’s Yard with Marion. My hormone injection the day following, and for the last day of the month, there was Florian Zeller’s The Height of the Storm at the Wyndham Theatre with Jonathan Price and Eileen Atkins. For me it was good old-fashioned theatre at its best. It was also sort of Richard’s and my story.

My best news for the month was to learn on the 21st that my PSA test that I did at the Royal Marsden on the 7th was 0.04. The hospital says that that is virtually undetectable. I am still attempting to be careful and moderate and am dubious to some extent but am feeling substantially lighter.

Eamonn came for a lunch and then we enjoyed that evening the Nonsuch Christmas Concert at Holy Trinity Sloane Square that was delightful, and for which the harpist Jean Kelly played beautifully. The next night, Gin took us to Conway Hall for a magnificent piano concert by Simon Callaghan. My favourites were Beethoven’s Sonata in C Minor (Opus 13, the ‘Pathetique) and Shubert’s Fantasy in C (‘Wanderer’), but Schumann’s Arabeske (Op. 18) and Carnival (Op. 9) were also stunning performances.

The following day, the 3rd of December, was an interim and conclusion of our three-day nefastus. I also finished the indexing! – but will not send it to Amanda until Friday after Mercury’s retrograde ends on Thursday. Marie-Laure emailed to inform me that the ceiling of the Paris flat had collapsed that morning. It is now unlivable, and Robin is looking for somewhere to stay. The day after, Richard and I took the train to Liskeard and are now staying with Liz Green in Cornwall until the end of the week.

The Yule is next, but we are happy, reasonably healthy despite persistent aches and pains, and ongoingly in-awed with all that is about us.






























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