26 June 2020

A week in Provence #6

For much of this road trip before heading out each morning we'd map where a village market would be on that particular day, getting us up and out early.

Above: stalls at the compact Thursday morning market in the village of Ménerbes, home to British author Peter Mayle of "A Year In Provence" fame

Below: the obligatory stop-to-refresh in nearby Lourmarin followed by a summery lunch


As friends and I recall when we get together and exchange stories from what we call our "Cadaqués days," a time of adventure, misadventure and intrigue, there was the time I'd been invited by "Captain" Peter Moore and Catherine, his Swiss wife, to their home for lunch. The sprawling house was an architectural wonder on the tip of a sort of peninsula surrounded by security cameras and stunning views of the Mediterranean. Inside, the walls dripped with paintings and, incredibly, enormous wall tapestries by Salvador Dalí, something I'd not realized existed. An effervescent Irishman, Peter had served in the British Royal Navy prior to becoming Dalí's personal secretary and business manager, accompanying the maestro all over the world for years, and was to become embroiled in an international art forgery scandal. But on this idyllic day it was just me, daughter Danielle (quite small back then), Peter, Catherine, and their guest and dear friend, Lyle Stuart, publisher of a controversial children's book by a certain Peter Mayle called, "Where Did I Come From?" Just before we left, Lyle, enchanted with Danielle, disappeared for a moment and soon emerged with a copy of the book, which he duly signed and dedicated then and there, a cherished gift and memento of that wonderful afternoon now buried somewhere among piles of books in our Montmartre home.
Meanwhile Peter Mayle, who I never did get the chance to meet, was working on "A Year In Provence," published not that long after, in 1989. the year of Dalí's death. In 2018 he was to pass away in his beloved Provence. - BPJ

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