Friday, June 18, 2010
Day 10: Dust and Sparks
It's amazing how when a place gets smaller, it is actually bigger. The village I'm living in is home to 200 people. All the villages around are roughly the same size, the the biggest town in the area, Limoux, has a population of 20,000. Small. But when we went to market this morning in Limoux, we walked into at least eight of Garth's friends, and had breakfast with one. There is something very beautiful about walking into people, the spontaneity and organic interaction.
Markets in France are very special. Most towns have them on a certain day each week. They take over the main square, often several. As it only costs about 20 euros to set up a stall, people come with all different things of all different types and sizes. In Limoux, one square was filled with merchandise, and the other food. We walked through the food market, looking for some produce, bread and cheese, all of which were in abundance. This area is known for its organic farming, so lots of farmers bring their organic produce; and one even brought a rooster in a cage. We're not sure if he was for sale or for show.
We had coffee and ate pastries we had bought at the same café/bar as where we watched the world cup the night before. We left limoux, stopped in a grocery store for some things we couldn't get in the market, and then stopped by Alvin's place. We talked to them while they worked sealing the swimming pool with concrete and sealant. Then, Garth and I headed back to the house.
It was time to get to work. I worked on the plaster on the side of the house that faces the road. It's not a ton of plaster, about three or four hours of picking can take it up. It was dry, and the wind was blowing into my face. I could barely breathe, and was getting dust in my eyes even though I was wearing goggles. We sprayed it down to control the dust, and I got on my way. In between pickings, I used a pneumatic pick to take off some mixture of plaster and concrete around the door frames. Talk about fun.
At about five, I helped Garth affix the sculptures he made to their bases, by welding. I held them together and he welded it. When he was finished, we looked around to see what scrap metal there was around so I could make something. He found a small pitchfork, and remembered he had wanted to make a coat rack for the work shop. So, while he showered and prepared pies and dinner, I worked on that. For about three hours. Here is the work in progress.
At eight something, Garth tore me away from the workshop and I took a shower. We then ate dinner, and played Petanque, known in the US as Bocce Balls. Though Garth was talking lots of shit, I beat him handily, I think fifteen to eight or something. We then went through the nightly routine and went to bed.