Wallflower Dispatches

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The Charming Mountain Goat – Cooking

February 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, French Food, Provence, South of France

The French take to the streets regularly and not always to sit at small round tables to sip coffee.
In the middle of last October, the French nation was out in force to express their displeasure at the proposed changes to the national retirement age. Blockades from the harbours on the northern coast to motorways in [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – No Photos, please!

May 17th, 2010 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Our village is only listed in some of the more specialised guidebooks, those that go into great detail about Provence and the Côte d’Azur.
From a tourist point of view, there is nothing special about our village. It has never won any prizes in categories such as “Plus Beaux Villages de France”, it has no gourmet [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – The German Painter

September 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Fritz, the German painter and his Jewish companion Camille lived in this village for almost forty years.
First, they occupied a villa on the side of the mountain where they entertained and formed a small part of the social scene (such as it is), the tone and tempo of which had been set by les [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – The Initials “P.B.”

April 23rd, 2009 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

The most dangerous thing about living in a hinterland village in the South of France is the complete inversion of any slick city values you might have subscribed to in your former life.
If you believe that your contentment is in parallel correlation to the next purchase on your credit card (the emphasis being on [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – The Russian Guy

December 8th, 2008 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

His arrival always manifests itself in the same order. The first signs are the open shutters and windows, followed by the loud, blaring classical music that starts long before dawn and continues well into the night. Then the Westminster chime clock starts working again, reminding us that time passes quickly – every 15 minutes relentlessly [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – The Gift of Children

December 5th, 2008 · Comments Off · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Minutes before he was meant to run in le cross on his sports day, eight-year old Teddy learned that his mother had fainted and been taken ill a few metres from where he was getting ready. She was being treated in the ambulance that had arrived almost at the same time as he was being [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – Le Mistral

December 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Then there are those days when the mistral becomes master of our lives. The dry, cold, bitter wind arrives almost unannounced, distracting us with its silly fluffy white clouds that are peculiarly shaped. It clears the skies of any refuse, making them look polished and shining in the sun, with a focused clarity that presents [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – Straight is a dirty word

November 17th, 2008 · Comments Off · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Parts of our home, a maison du village, are about 400 hundred years old. The house – like anything that has aged gracefully – displays certain eccentricities. The back wall of the downstairs guest room is actually the mountain itself and below its floor a river runs through it. Formerly, this space that is now [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – Wild Boars and Wild Bores

October 13th, 2008 · Comments Off · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

As a small child a lot of summers were spent with a wild old Bavarian farmer who spoke with the thickest south German accent and had the bluest most sparkling eyes, filled with more mischief than even my own crazy imagination could conjure up in all those endless idle childhood moments. One evening, in [...]

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The Charming Mountain Goat – Jack Russell and the Boy

October 6th, 2008 · Comments Off · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Piglet 2 is at Collège, the equivalent of senior school. The large airy building, which resembles a great seafaring Atlantic Ocean liner, lies in the valley at the foot of the village. Surrounding it are to one side wide fields and on the other side an increasing number of small apartment blocks that quench the [...]

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