Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Parlez vous francais?

There are many free events to entertain the public during the summer in the south of France. Last weekend, we find ourselves in Renoir's garden (where he actually painted) listening to a soprano singer attempting to find relationships between Bach and the Beatles. Parallels are drawn between Lina Lamont (think Singing in the Rain) and tonight's singer. I feel it best to stick to one's core competency after having heard her sing "Something". The setting is superb with ornamental tent lamps scattered around the grounds, and the bay of Cagnes-Sur-Mer below us. As night falls, the Big Dipper can be seen. We take an early navette (mini-bus)down to the municipal parking lot. The driver, like many French drivers, likes speed and acute angles when turning.

Last night, after dinner, we load into our faithful Citroen after extracting Charlie forcefully from the back seat. Destination Cap d'Ail, which neighbors Monaco. There is a "concert orchestre regional de Cannes" performing at the beachfront ampitheater. The flute and harp duo accompanied by the cool evening breeze is pleasant. My husband and children spot an oboeist who looks exactly like my father-in-law (who in fact used to play the oboe extremely well, I hear). Later on, after the intermission, the flutist and the harpist appear in the crowd dressed down in shorts and beach dress with babies in their arms. No wonder they seemed to have rapport in their performance.

This afternoon, the kids are packed off to explore Monaco again while my husband conducts business, leaving me in this big house alone with Charlie for the first time in a while. I wave them off as the gate closes, load the laundry machine with sheets, and pour myself a nice glass of chilled Savignon Blanc. One must not assume that I am a good-for-nothing lush, as already this morning, I have buzzed through the streets and into Carrefour and even to Darty (the Best Buy of France) to purchase food and printer ink cartridges. As I approach the roundabout (which is called a carrefour), I tell myself to take a deep breath and plunge in. It's rather like jumping ropes. You need the intent to be known to all around you, which is easily established by relinquishing you're right foot from the brakes and staring potential entrants down with a firm glare. Very much like having an expensive car that deters others from hitting it, it helps to have a banged up Citroen that tells the world that there is only upside from hereonwards.

Tomorrow, the first of a string of relatives arrive, starting with my favorite uncle & aunt-in-law. I am fortunate enough to actually love all the in-laws that have presented themselves to me over the years. Convenient also is the knowledge that their inter-relationships are NOT MY BUSINESS, and furthermore, when the air gets tense, JE NE PARLE PAS FRANCAIS!

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