Eh, voila. A wee post of what could have been. For Sunday evening was the absolutely splendiferous celebration of the "closing of the opening weekend ceremony" (yep, I know awkward phrasing) to herald Arles' participation as part of Marseille-Provence 2013, where France's second largest city and surrounding region (hence us) are this years European Capital of Culture. Now, if you don't live in Europe that might not sound like much of a big deal but I can assure you, it is. Many millions of Euros float thither and there to build museums and create projects, enticing architects and des artistes de renom.
I have already written about Groupe F, one of the world's greatest pyrotechnic companies, who just so happen to be based outside of our little town. Multiple Olympic ceremonies? The celebration of the anniversary for the Eiffel Tower? Turn the world's tallest building into a sparkling sprinkler?* No problem. These folks (meaning a team with as many experts as the special effects department on an action blockbuster) have it all covered. So, it is probably no surprise that everyone was all a twitter (small t and big) over what they might offer along the banks of the Rhone.
Alas, I have a Golden Retriever. His name is Ben. Like many of his race he is extremely sensitive, most certainly when loud noises are concerned. Doggie Xanax and Bach's Rescue Remedy are to no avail. And so my poor sweetie is driven to extremes in such a situation. As in hiding under the toilet or the tails of my Ungaro leopard print bath robe, scratching at the tiles after jumping in the shower with whining distress.
So, after *pif* with the first photo, I was in the bathroom with Ben for the next of the 35 minutes, holding him down when I could, consoling and trying to distract when possible. I don't complain. My dear Ben brings me more happiness than money can buy and of course we take care of our puppers because we love them like family.
As the grand finale faded into silence, I turned to him and whispered, "See? It is over. Over." He did a double take (I swear) then looked out, listening before finally succumbing to a giant sigh. After hanging out on the bathroom floor for an additional five minutes juuust to be suuure, he treaded carefully out into the dangerous lands of the "unknown" aka our apartment.
Not to worry--as I know you do--he is fine now. The photo is proof. If his expression looks rather, say, exasperated it is simply because I had the nerve to be typing at 7:02pm when Bone Delivery must occur by 7 at the very latest. And we all know that Ben always gets what he wants. He has even written written a helpful guide on that very subject.
Well, there will be other ceremonies. And as it seems that 15,000 spectators turned out to simultaneously ooh and ahh, I am content to have stayed home. There are many special events during 2013, more on which as they approach. Unfortunately, as Arles is on Provence Time (the land where it took five weeks to get the door of our washing machine repaired), some of the most impressive projects will not be ready until the end of the year or, ironically, 2014. But this remains a moment if ever there was one to visit Provence for those who have been considering it--and you know who you are!
Thank you so much to all of you that sent along "get well" wishes. They worked! All better now...hooray!
*Ok, I can't resist one Groupe F video (not to be watched while at work):