Now admit it. You probably thought this little blog post was never going to happen.
After all, I did travel to the fishing village of La Ciotat way back last autumn.
But right now I am in our little apartment in London for a week. And behind me in the bathroom a very cheery chap is smashing tiles.
So I need a distraction.
The tile smashing is what is called an Asbestos Survey for a Refurbishment. And the very thing our freeholder needs before we launch on the simple job of renovating our bathroom.
You don’t want to know the admin involved in this ‘simple’ procedure in a former factory building. I have lost count of the number of emails and admin forms I have had to fill in.
This Cheery Chap is taking off bath panels, smashing small holes in many wall tiles in four separate locations, pulling out light fittings and generally repairing things with a prodigious amount of gaffer tape. Oh and then sealing bits he has smashed off into plastic bags to go to a lab for asbestos testing.
Thank goodness it will all get replaced in a month’s time. Because it is not a good look.
It looks like our bathroom has Done a Few Rounds with a claw hammer. Which in fact it has.
La Ciotat is what was once a fishing village 25kms east of Marseille. Big ship building region. Fell on hard times. Now coming back. Ship building now takes the form of repairing super yachts. Tourism. People like me ambling about.
Population 36,000. Most of them careening around in small cars cutting you up when you need to turn right. Busy, bustling. But if you were plonked right on the old harbour front and did nothing but walk it would be a delight.
My dear friend Caroline hosted me for the weekend and she was amazing. Walking, touring, visiting.
She spoilt me.
We did vantage points so we could look down on the sea.
I had been yearning for the blue stuff as it had been a long time since I had gazed.
Sydney in February had been the last time.
And the big treat was to go to this gorgeous garden. Le Parc de Mugel. One of the jardins remarquable de France. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Remarkable_Gardens_of_France)
This park is not far from the main part of town and is now open to the public.
You could choose paths through cork tree forests, bamboo groves, lush gardens.
Nothing looked drought-stricken. And it was such a tonic after the parched Ardèche.
I was particularly taken by some rather old fashioned irrigation ruses.
Did you spot it in the picture above? If you look up at the hill behind the entrance to the park.
Irrigation channels running for hundred of metres to collect the rainfall and guide it into the park.
This was one of the basins in the park just waiting for a downpour.
And so many paths made of a hard stone surface to allow for run off and collection in the canal that ran through the middle of the garden. (Which was pretty bone dry.)
But not far away was always the glorious sea.
A perfect little weekend break.