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My mystery destination was the south of France.  I love it there, even though I was working.  It has the same attraction as a holiday place – familiar faces, greetings, streets, shops and views, but without the time to find out any of the bad things you discover when you live there.

The weather was unseasonably cold.  It rained for almost four days together, and when the sun came out the temperature was still low.  In the mountains it was snowing.

On Wednesday Mike and I went to Antibes and visited the Fort Carre there.  I was quite excited by the little look-out posts at each bastion.  They’d make excellent cells for recalcitrant slaves or subs!  I can dream of buying the fort and making it into my house.

We also went to the Picasso museum.  Now, I must confess to being really uncultured in this respect as I’ve never liked Picasso’s paintings that much.  When I look at them I can admire his ideas and how much he was ahead of his time, and the passion behind the work and the creativity of his thinking… but they don’t touch me on an emotional level.  Yet seeing them in the flesh is completely different!  Still I’m not totally in love with all of his work, but his ceramics I really, really like.  They seem to shine out a very spatial-masterful, fun-filled, form-and-texture experimentation.

On Thursday we went to the Ile St Margaurite, just offshore from Cannes.  This was a lovely experience!  It is a very quiet island with not much there except the old fort/prison and a reservoir, but it has a strong atmosphere.  It feels adventurous and like another world, like anything could happen there.  There could still be prisoners there, below the earth, below the old prison.  You could half expect to find a message from one of them as you follow the paths through the woods or across the beach.  There was also a big house on the side of the island which looked as though it was empty.  It was surrounded by a fence, but peering through I was sure I could see a door swinging open.

At leisure at the weekend, we looked at houses in eastern Europe.  (I mean, we weren’t in eastern Europe, the houses were, but we were in the comfort of our own bed!)  Prices are so cheap, and I’ve often had a longing to just go somewhere completely random, a country where I don’t speak the language, and find a different life.  But I know it isn’t really a good dream like that.  I know that I would probably be isolated, struggling with the language and not able to make friends or find work, short of money and with a cold damp house.  On the one hand I’m an incurable optimist, on the other an incurable pessimist!

I’m worrying about so many things at the moment that I shouldn’t be worrying about, like Mike’s health, which of course I can’t do anything about, and just worrying in general, which I think is down to the time of year and the weather and the darkness of the skies.  I know I have nothing really to worry about… maybe not so much worry as a kind of restlessness, a feeling that things are not going quite smoothly but no one else seems to see it… I am sure it’s just my imagination, though.

It’s been snowing in England this last weekend.  I feel so nice when it snows!  Even though I was actually ill, it didn’t seem so bad.  The snow and the white sky reflects so much light into the house and everywhere.  It lifts my mood and makes all kinds of things seem possible, while at the same time transporting me back to my childhood and making me want to indulge in cosy, craft pursuits; making things, or playing music.

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