26 June 2020

A week in Provence #6


For most 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 from what we call our "Cadaqués days," days filled with adventure and memorable encounters with colorful people who lived in the village or were passing through, there was the time I'd been invited by "Captain" Peter Moore and Catherine, his Swiss wife, to their home for lunch. The house was an architectural wonder on the tip of a sort of peninsula surrounded by security cameras and had stunning 180-degree views of the Mediterranean. Inside, the walls dripped with enormous paintings and, incredibly, tapestries of Salvador Dali's work, something I'd not realized existed. An effervescent Irishman, Peter had served in the British Royal Navy prior to becoming Dali's personal secretary and business manager, accompanying the maestro all over the world for years, and was to become embroiled in a scandalous international court case of stolen art. But on this idyllic day it was just me, daughter Danielle (quite small then), Peter, Catherine, and their guest and 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 then emerged with a copy of the book, which he duly signed and dedicated then and there and gave to us, a cherished gift and memento of that afternoon now buried somewhere in our piles of books in Paris. 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. In early 2018 he passed away in his beloved region in France. BPJ

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