In one of my past jobs I had a particularly irritating boss who used to make me send her a daily itinerary of what I was up to. So when I wasn’t sitting at my desk where she could see me I would have to let her know where I was. This itinerary was usually extremely tedious, consisting of items like a visit to the dentist, or some meeting or other.
I am pleased to say my daily itinerary here at Sainte Cecile is just as uneventful, if a little more pleasant. I get up and walk onto my terrace to look out over our valley where the sun is rising. I go down to our pool (with Rupes if he is awake) and have a swim in the cool clear water. Breakfast is succulent peaches from the local peach man and possibly a full-fat croissant or two. The rest of the day is punctuated by meals; lunches are always long, taken in the shade of the terrace at the source, and possibly with a bottle of chilled rose or two. Dinner is usually with friends on the terrace by the kitchen where we can watch the children play in the pool and run around the countryside. In between meals we have time for some work, the Olympics and (of course) a daily tennis match.
I was all for selling Sainte Cecile and moving to la belle maison. But having spent a holiday here, I am utterly relieved no one had the sense to buy it. It is such a special place, with so many memories, that are all priceless. Even my stepchildren, now practically grown-up, who have been coming here since they were children wander around saying things like ‘oh look that’s where Bea fell in the ditch’ or ‘this is Julia’s look-out’.
It is no secret that this is not my favourite region in France, but once we are at Sainte Cecile we are in our own world. There is no light pollution, not another house to be seen for miles and no barking dogs to annoy us. It is a bit like being on a ship, but the views are more interesting.
Of course when it became clear that Sainte Cecile was not selling and the belle maison (with tennis court) was promptly sold I was heartbroken. But having spent time off here for the first time in my life I now realise that it really is the perfect holiday home for us. With the exception of one thing of course. There is no tennis court. I must remember to include adding one to my daily activity report.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2012