Tuesday, 21 September 2010

My Summer Secret

There is a secret magical place  located in the south of France, deep in Cathar country.... not far from Carcassone, where my mates hold some legendary parties over the summer and live a wonderfully bohemian, TV-free lifestyle for the rest of the year. Some of them are from the circus scene, others  hail from the literary and  photography circles. All are fascinating, original, interesting and, more importantly, interested.

The women are tough, fresh faced and make-up free, and the men have toned tanned torsos from all the hard labour.

A group of them  have pulled their efforts together to restore a 200 year old derelict manor house,and turn it into an artist commune for themselves and  also provide a nurturing space for fellow free spirits.  I popped over to hang out with them over the summer  and came back with some wonderful memories that will warm me cockles through the winter months.

This is a shot of the heart of all the action ..... the surprisingly well-equipped semi-open air kitchen. Everyday, we would sit on a long old table in the shade having extended 2 hour lunches eating, drinking and "discussing" like only the French know how.

The track leading to the project, as they like to call it,  is full-on scary complete with bendy narrow roads with mountainous drops, but when you finally get there - via a 20 minute footpath through fern blanketed woodland, you  truly feel like you have stepped into another place and time.

Some people find derelict buildings eery, but  I love the juxtaposition of the crumbling slate manor played out against a backdrop of blue skies and lush green foliage.

This is where we set up the all important fire for all the food cooking. Talk about open-air living.

It's not all sweetness and chasing clouds.... Someone casually mentioned that they had found a mutilated pony in the forest a few weeks before I arrived. I almost fell of my chair, as we are all sleeping in tents set up by the entrance of the forest and I have watched horror films which start off in a similar vain. I am not naive! These people don't watch tv or  films, so they have no idea of how freaked out we are by mutiliated shit happening in the forest, it means three things: Psycho on the loose, wild beast in need of his shreddies OR......

Moving on
This is a shot of some of my French Friends, discussing the existence of UFOs over a breakfast, following the previous night's  sighting of a mysterious flying object which hovered out of the forest and looked like a distant star, shot up into the sky at high speed but then flew across the sky emitting  an airplane noise. Well butter my nose and call me motel if that wasn't a UFO. But, French people don't believe in UFOs.

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