A week and a half into the core writing zone of my journey I’m pleased to be able to report that I’ve hit the 10,000 word marker. It was a mixed week, with massive output on a couple of days, some moderate achievements on a couple of others and one complete wipe-out day when I did a big fat zero (don’t ask!).
You may recall my firmly-stated resolution to produce a standard 1500 words per day, but perhaps unsurprisingly this hasn’t quite translated into reality. I put this down to still being in somewhat of a ‘settling in’ phase, a second and most unwelcome bout of flu, and the competing allure of going out adventuring with HWB while he has been here with me. A jaunt to the medieval walled citadel, La Cité, was obligatory and it’s been impossible to resist several petites exploratory and coffee drinking forays. I’m feeling like a local in la Place Carnot.
As I type, I’m home alone and HWB is somewhere in the air between Toulouse and Frankfurt. He is going off to pursue his own artistic and business dreams in Germany, Italy and Malta, leaving me to focus 100% on my writing for the next seven weeks. But before we parted company we had a quick weekend getaway to Toulouse.
La Ville Rose is the fourth largest city in France and is only a quick 40 minute train ride from Carcassonne. It is famous for its pink brick buildings which glow gorgeously in the sunset and for its local dish of cassoulet (confit of duck, pork sausage and harricot beans in a kind of stew arrangement). Cassoulet is famous throughout the Languedoc region, but Toulouse is its capital so we went in search of the real thing and found it in a fantastic restaurant called La Cave au Cassoulet. As indicated by the name, it is located in an underground cellar, and along with the véritable cassoulet we indulged in pâté de foie gras, tarte tatin and a tasty local Château Laffitte Teston. It was all très délicieux, but not quite as fabulous as Hannah’s farewell French feast 🙂
This morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of crepes under the plane trees in Place St-Georges (the former town execution venue) before exploring the
Musée des Augustins. This fine art museum specialises in sculpture and paintings from the middle ages and is set in the stunning cloisters, church, halls, sacristy and dortoirs of a 14th century monastery.
Aside from being the home of pink bricks, le cassoulet and a regional reputation for excellence in les beaux-arts, Toulouse has also had a long history as a centre of violet growing. The little purple flower is the emblem of the city, and one of my personal favourite flowers of all time. Imagine my delight when we discovered the charming Maison de la Violette, a showcase of all things violet housed in a barge on the Canal du Midi. I resisted the temptations of violet tea and candied violet sweets, and reluctantly pulled myself away from some lovely violet-flowered tea pots, but I couldn’t resist buying a little bottle of violet eau de parfum. I intend to squirt myself with it if/when I find that writing inspiration has momentarily fled.
Tomorrow I shall roll up my sleeves and set to writing with reinvigorated fervour. And just to spice things up, I’ve decided to set myself a new challenge. When HWB returns from Malta at the beginning of July we will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary. We have decided to mark the occasion in style with a bang-up dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in La Cité called Le Barbacan which we confidently expect to be a once-in-a-life-time meal. How much more celebratory would it feel, I thought, if it was also the Completion of the Book triumph dinner? And as an added bonus I would also then have two weeks of fancy-free holiday time with HWB before we return home to Australia.
This revised target means that I have to shave two weeks of writing time off my projections and increase my minimum production to 2000 words per day. Challenging – yes. Achievable – also yes. I haven’t yet found myself in the writing ‘zone’ where output becomes effortless, but it’s been fun and I think the tale is shaping well. And I’m sure that now I am alone and free from husbandly divertisements the words will flow abundantly.
I leave you today with a pic of a stunning rose from the cloister of the
Musée des Augustins which is the exact colour of my wedding dress 🙂
Encore, la vie en rose …