Sunday, August 29, 2010


Woke up at seven this morning and cycled into Soulac-sur-Mer. It was market day. There was a wonderful selection of fresh fish and shellfish, the specialty of course being local oysters. (Apparently the "R" rule no longer holds sway in July and August.) Then I visited the the lovely little church that was dug out of a sand dune a hundred years or so ago, downed a kir, and wobbled home on my bicycle and collapsed into the hammock.

Spent this afternoon swimming, in spite of Thabo's constantly trying to drag me out of the waves and onto the safety of the beach. And trying to capture the shimmering late August afternoon sea in watercolour.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Camping à la Catherine

• Unfortunately, my car needed a new fuel pump.
• Fortunately, my wonderful mechanic Lalo was able to fix things temporarily with a screwdriver.

• Unfortunately, someone seems to have knicked the GPS out of my car.

• Fortunately, friend Ronnie lent me his navigation system.

• Unfortunately, my car doesn’t have a cigarette lighter and the GPS ran out of juice just as we got to Bordeaux, the tricky bit of the journey.

• Fortunately, we got here anyway and I was able to pitch my tent just before dark in a quiet spot in the pine forest and Thabo and I were able to take a lovely walk on the beach.

• Unfortunately, the batteries in my lamp were dead.

• Fortunately, my cell phone has a flashlight.

• Unfortunately, I forgot a camp chair and table, air mattress, pillow and bog roll.

• Fortunately, I brought a hammock.

• Unfortunately I didn’t have any rope. And a rock band started up in a disco on the other side of the trees soon after dark.

• Fortunately I did remember to bring fresh white peaches for breakfast, coffee, a coffee press AND a kettle!

• Unfortunately, I forgot a mug…and so it goes.

Nevertheless, as you can see from the picture, it's GORGEOUS here and Thabo and I are having a blast!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A good day

Well, today I Fedexed off the illustrations for After the Kill to the States and finished the portrait of a young friend.

There comes a point when you just have to put down the brush, wrap everything up in brown paper and string and dust off your hands.

Whether it's been a good day or not is up to posterity, as they say.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 10

I think I could be justly accused of cherry-picking when it comes to religion.

Yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of my father's death. Every year at midnight on the eve of August 10, I light a candle, a Yahrzeit candle, that burns for 24 hours, so each time I pass through the room the next day I think of my father.

The flame is an appropriate metaphor. It radiates heat and light and is eventually extinguished, yet is not really alive. Like a memory.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Painting Day in Thegra

Yesterday I was asked to participate in the jury for the annual painting competition in Thegra. I was immediately drawn to this colourful painting. "This painter is visually impaired so we will need to give him a prize too," said the organizer. "But I think it's beautiful!" I replied.

I gave it top marks. It was also the selection of the other professional painter on the jury, but we were over-ruled by the members of the town council who preferred a carefully rendered sepia drawing of a stone building. Chacun à son goût.