Bye bye NYC, hello London

Just before I leave the NYC blog behind –

Went down to the Elizabeth Street Sculpture garden.  This is run by the Reiver family of the Elizabeth Street Gallery.  Mr Reiver has held the lease of the garden lot since 1991,  and has filled it with reclamation sculpture, flowers and edibles, a little bit of zen in the bustle of the city.  Now it’s coming under threat.  They want to construct a building on this plot, therefore doing away with the garden. Mr Reiver’s son Joseph has started a petition to save the garden.  I so hope he succeeds as it is a lovely, harmonious and gentle corner of NYC.

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And finally, I just have to introduce you to Harry.   Harry Beare to be precise, lives with my brother and sister-in-law in their New York apartment and is the coolest city dwelling cat, and serious poser………..

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Harry Beare

LONDON

Flew back to London, and was welcomed with a perfect spring day, sunny and crisp.  Then as is my wont when in London, I hit the ground running – just 3 days to get everything done. Didn’t stop me from taking the London bus though….. nor a quick visit to my favourite London store – Fortnum and Mason .  It’s such a treat going in and looking around.  Much to my and I’m sure the family’s surprise, I just went in to look!  Didn’t buy a thing.  I love the colours of the goodies, the packaging, the sweetie counter –

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Fortnum and Mason

And finally reunited with my furry girls! Boo the pug-a-poo and Mimi the Yorkie.  I’d left them with my mum-in-law whilst in the U.S.  They were over-weight and furry but after 10 days on the fat farm they came back svelte and silky.  Thinking of moving in with my mum-in-law for 10 days……maybe it will work for me too!

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Boo and Mimi Bowman

Had a wonderful evening with friends and family at Milos, a greek fish restaurant at 1 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4NR.  I cannot rave enough about this restaurant.  The food was extraordinary, as was the service.  We stuck to Greek wine as well, which was delicious – can’t remeber the name, sorry!  The bill was pretty extraordinary as well, but oh so worth it!

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Dinner at Milos

GORDES

Early the next morning we left for Gordes.  For once we left on time 7.00 a.m, got to the Eurotunnel early, only to discover a train was stuck in the tunnel, so huge delays.  My girls are so well behaved!  They sat in the car for 12 hours, not a whine,  not a woof!  And it was a looooong day!  Even though we were on the highway all the way, the views were beautiful. Past Lyon the weather turned stormy and I got fixated by the clouds.  Fortunately, Robert was driving at this point, because I was snapping away.  Huge rain storms, thunder, lightening.

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Rain and rainbows
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Armageddon clouds!

And so we arrived in Gordes 21h30, pretty exhausted, all four of us.  The next morning, Sunday  we drove to Isle Sur La Sorgue, a favourite haunt of ours.  Sunday is market day.  We needed a few things for the house,  fruit and veg, light fixtures and of course, lunch.  L’ aparté is a lovely local restaurant situated along the river Sorgue which runs through the village.  The food is good old fashioned simple french food, the baguette unfortunately is also delicious, so no banting I’m afraid, and the ladies who run the restaurant are wonderfully friendly and charming.

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The river runs through an old mill wheel.
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L’Aparté – L’isle sur la Sorgue
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Verre de pipi d’Ange,  (A glass of Angel’s pee!);  recipe for Pastilla Marocaine

Absolutely delicious!

And on to Appy Nursery the nicest, probably the most expensive nursery just down the hill from the beautiful village of Rousillon – Rousillon is built on ochre pits, where the paint pigments have been mined for centuries. Definitely worth a visit……but getting back to the nursery.  May is planting time here in the Luberon so Robert and I went to stock up on flowers and vegetable plantings – tomatoes, aubergine, chili peppers.

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Plantings for our terrace

This part of the world, the Luberon, is vey beautiful.  Ancient villages atop the hilltops, lavender grown in the valleys, vineyards, sunflowers.  Many moons ago, and I’m not telling how many……..I first left South Africa to go to Aix-en-Provence, where I took a french language course for 6 months (L’école pour etudiants étrangers).  It was here that I fell in love with the region of Provence and got to know areas like the Luberon.  Fast forward so many years, and I dragged Robert down here on the way to the Côte d’Azur.  The next year we rented a house close to Roussillon and the rest is history (well, ours anyway). The following year, together with my folks, we bought a house down here, in the one village I never wanted to be in – Gordes.  It is a beautiful village, dating back to Roman times –  for me it was always too touristy!   20 years later, Robert and I are still here and now that Mica is out of school and I’m ‘retired’, we are spending a lot more time here.   Just to tempt you a bit, I will post a few of our favourite places……

Veranda in Menerbes, definitely my favourite restaurant in the area. Chef Hubert is a wonderful chef, creating light, innovative but typical french dishes.  The staff are amazing.  Go early evening, and take a walk around the village before stopping in at Cinq for an aperitif or light meal or both.  Aurelio will look after you.   Dora Maar, Picasso’s lover and muse during the late 1930’s and ’40s , lived in this village from 1944 when Picasso bought the house for her, until her death in 1997 after which a resident of both Houston and Ménerbes bought and renovated the house to transform it into a retreat for writers, scholars, and artists.  In 2006, the MFAH was asked to direct this project, now called the Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House. Amenities include four private bedrooms, each with a private bath; three studies for writers and scholars; a studio for artists; and a piano. Residents share the kitchen, library, living, and dining rooms, and two garden areas. The house is equipped with high-speed wireless Internet access, laptops, a printer, and a fax machine.  We have met a few of the artists that have taken advantage of this program, and have visited the house.

My favourite little Italian restaurant is in Coustellet, a 10 minute drive from Gordes.  La Dolce Vita!   Perfect pasta, delicious proscuitto and melon and a lovely rosé, life is very sweet in this part of the world.

We drove to Les Baux de Provence before the U.S trip to see the exhibition at Lumiéres des Baux de Provence.  It’s a 40 minute drive from us and is situated in the heart of Les Alpilles, close to St Remy de Provence. This is is an old quarry that has been converted into an artspace – illumination – wonderful light shows on different subjects. With soaring ceiling heights and various chambers, gigantic images projected onto the walls,  this year is  Bosch, Breugel and Arcimboldo and is a real feast for the eyes and ears.

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Go in the morning, when it’s not too crowded and then head out to Le Mas de Rose in Orgon for a delicious meal in a beautiful setting in the garden of Au Potager du Mas

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Au Potager du Mas – yum!

So I’m settled down here for a while and enjoying the good life.  Sunday we are training up to Paris for two days to view the Rodin Museum and the Rodin exhibition at the Grand Palais.  I’ll be back on Tuesday!

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Author: michelebowman57

Cook, art lover, traveler, mum, wife, daughter, sister, animal lover, polyglot, vintner.....

2 thoughts on “Bye bye NYC, hello London”

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