Friday, September 2, 2016


The cheese man is packing his parasol into a grey canvas sleeve.  The olive man is talking to the fois gras man and we in the cafe underneath the trees are talking to each other. We are drinking rose.   Francois writes his postcards. Rozzie is annoyed at Rilke and reads out passages. Then we are talking  about the enigma of arrival and the enigma of happily ever after and there are other conversations all around us, in French and Basque. Also a baby is crying in the background.

On other days we have walked with Noreen and Bardan from their house to the beach. We have taken that long walk sometimes twice a day,  down the grassy path and up across the road and down the hill past a little school and the field which once had donkeys, through the underpass and into this square and across to the bakery to buy our pain au chocolat. We stop at the overlook and gasp at the breathtaking view - then head down the winding path and steps to the beach.  And then comes a favorite interlude: drinking our coffee and eating our pain au chocolat, talking and watching the water.

Later, we might swim.  But today we are not swimming because it feels too hot. Also Noreen and Bardan have gone to a lunch party.   So we came to the market to purchase supplies for an evening picnic.  And now we have them and now the market is closing.

There are beards and earrings and flip flops, tanned arms and faces. Here there are bottles of perrier and laughter and coffee and in the square beyond the cafe is a lot of packing up and stacking up of left over boxes and produce.

Some of the children are bored by now, but the day continues with its hot blue sky and red slate roofs and green leaves pruned to reach upwards.  I love the solid dark red of the balconies. 

In the sunlight and shadow of the town hall entrance, children scamper round the pillars playing peek a boo.  The view through the archway is shaded and empty,  it's the only empty place,  framing its distant view of hills, sea and sky.

The panama hat seller calls it a day and heads through the archway, leaving the stage of Place Sauveur Atchoearena. A child sits on the steps and mists his face with water.  The air smells ripe, like melon.

The frowning brown girl in an orange halter, her neck and arms covered in tattoos, sits at a cafe table with sunglasses on her head, eating pizza.

White vans pull in behind to take away crates, collapsed awnings and left over produce.

A mother and daughter at the next table wear big summer hats. They are chatting with the tall thin woman with tattooed arms and yellow framed glasses, who balances a crate on one hip.

Tired children are hauled up and carried home by their mothers.  The waiter in an apron straightens chairs, his tray full of glasses and bottles.  A pretty girl in a blue t shirt and cap sweeps the paving, her gold hoop earring glinting in the sun.    Then down comes the hand painted sign Marche Gourmand. 

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