"We want to throw a feast, just for you."
My wonderful friends, John and Camy Cooney, proposed me this. The know very well how I have been struggling with my day job and that it has been breaking my spirit down. Also, that I am literally exhausted. And so they invited me to their sanctuary in Apt, overnight, to breathe, let my hair down and laugh with this couple who I love so much.
And yet it was my first time to visit. Well, these past few years have been complicated because of COVID and my friends have been rightfully precautious. Like me, they are private people who are not out "looking for the likes" (aka Instagram) but have a genuine appreciation for our Provence. When we first met in 2019 over lunch at my beloved Le Violette, I knew as soon as I sat down at the table that these were people with whom I hoped to be in contact with for a very long time.
I wish that you could have seen my face as John pushed open the heavy, ancient doors to their apartment. I stepped into the light, literally and was beaming. I know my décor here well in Provence, the codes and traces whisper or shout. We, too, are old friends. I could not believe the creak of the wooden floors, in patterns only built for royalty in the South, where such adherence shown through architecture is most rare. Certainly as in the former entry to the oldest part of the building, which has been transformed to one of the most romantic bedrooms that I have seen anywhere, so much so that my hands shook in taking the photos of their incredible ciel lit polonaise.
Admittedly, my hands also were a bit weak as we sat down to lunch at 3pm (after a problem with a bus that did not arrive, this too is Provence, also handled with such grace by my hosts). I had to cup my coupe with both hands as I am a redhead who needs to eat! But oh, how it was worth the "effort" to sip a fabulous Moët et Chandon, the first in many years. Equally, it has been quite a moment since I have braved oysters after a troubling incident. These along with the meaty shrimps bordering along gambas, were divine.
As the bubbles rised before the food fully hit my belly, I made a declaration: "You know...you two should be complete and utter assholes." Please forgive my language but I know our expat community well. Take a peek down at the photo of them below. They are beautiful, if not rich (as they insist) then wise investors, both with amazing careers, so deeply funny and real. And they have this apartment too. Just look at it. And feel the good, great vibe.
After a twilight sieste, we finished off our dinner of lamb in pesto with "crack" potatoes (I dream of it all still). I laughed so hard and forgot my hard job. At one moment Camy and I were lying on her bed and we giggled over things never to be shared elsewhere. I crossed the garden to my very own room and slept for once, the sleep of kings. Or queens.
A feast so well done in such a welcoming home...or kingdom.
As long as we know each other - and I hope that it is for the rest of our lives - I will never forget this.
Love you both.
They spoiled me until the very last moment...taking me to the bus.
We waited for its arrival without so many words as many had been said.
I forget why I am here. You reminded me, my friends.
With Love from Provence,