When I first started learning French I found this turn of phrase perhaps the most difficult to get my head around. Of course we would say ‘I miss The Luberon’, but now I’m used to it, I rather like the direct translation ‘The Luberon misses me’ and it feels really nice to know that is the case.
Today sees the 4th anniversary of us signing the final papers and taking possession of our own little piece of Provence, something we had been dreaming about for so many years. There were certainly some hiccups along the way and there was a time that we believed we would never have a place where we truly wanted to be, but somehow the planets aligned, or somehow we just happened to be in the right place at the right time and the quirky little place became ours.
Four years on we are as much in love with the area as ever, in fact now we have really got to know it even better, we love it even more. The dream has become reality and I’m very happy to be able to say that the reality is just as we dreamed it would be.
The hardest thing at the moment is not being there, although we know we are in the right place, back with the boys during this difficult time, but that doesn’t mean we miss it any less.
Over the last 4 years the area has become home, in that we feel part of it, not just visitors any more, simply passing through each year, enjoying it and planning our return the moment we left. Now we feel part of our little community, our friends and neighbours keeping us updated with what is happening in and around the hamlet and wider area whilst we are away.
Our plants are being tended and we’ve been sent photos of the first blooms on our Wisteria and roses too. They share what it’s like being locked down in The Luberon, the restrictions that are in place, how they are managing and keep us amused with videos and songs that have been created about the ‘Le confinement’.
It seems strange not to be there for the 4th Anniversary of throwing open the shutters for the first time and standing on the terrace looking towards Caseneuve almost in a state of shock that we actually owned the house…
before enjoying a glass of bubbly from a bottle chilled in a makeshift ‘Muc-Off’ Champagne Bucket, but that said we can and will still celebrate from afar.
We are already planning for our return, although we appreciate it’s difficult to know exactly when that will be, but we have a long list of jobs that we’re planning to keep us busy once we do get back.
But what is it that we miss most about The Luberon?
At the moment it’s the knowledge that the colour is returning after the Winter. The verges and fields will be starting to turn red with poppies…
And the terraces will be covered with Wisterias, heavy with their purple, scented blooms…
The Summer birds will be returning and I long to hear whether the Hoopoes and Orioles have returned to the trees around the house, the distinctive sounds always make me smile and catching sight of either keeps a grin on my face for days.
Then there are the Wild Boars. The hunting season is now over and the Flax that they love to eat will be starting to come up in the field in front of the house. Last May we had a large family of them coming to the field each day and we spent the evenings creeping out of the house onto the wall and just sitting, watching their antics for as long as we could without disturbing them. They just snuffled around the field whilst we watched, enjoying the gentle grunts and sound of contented munching with the occasional squeal and squabble too.
In normal circumstances the markets would be starting to fill with locally grown fruit and veg, from the slender green spikes of Asparagus to the early, scented Carpentras strawberries too
And the trees in the cherry orchards will have lost their blossom and will now be starting to show the first signs of the fruit that will burden the branches as we move into Summer.
The smells will be changing from the earthy, smoky scents of Winter and early Spring to the warm breezes carrying the scents of wild herbs growing in the verges …
And of course we miss the people too… the chats with friends over coffee or a glass of wine, the bisous and catch-ups with people we’ve got to know since arriving. Just the gentle way of life that we’ve settled into there.
After 4 years the area is under our skin, it’s where our souls feel comfortable and totally at home and all being well by the end of the year we will be able to finally and officially call it home.
We don’t expect everyone to understand how we feel and I know many don’t comprehend it at all, but when we return, just the first sight of the valley makes us smile and simply glow inside.
So this year we’ll uncork a bottle of Provence Rosé back in the UK to celebrate the anniversary, but we mean it when we say ‘Le Luberon nous manque’ …. and we miss it too