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Welcome to your last edition from Provence. Yes, the time has come, my bags are packed and I’m ready to jet off. My summer in Provence has come to a conclusion with one spectacular thunderstorm, and a twilight run through the forest.

I guess that even baby-R has picked up on my excitement about returning home, and so the little fella’ has been giving me an extra tough time around bedtime. Murphy’s law: when it’s your very last chance to go for a run in Provence, the little Monsieur would refuse to go to sleep. Desperate to get my trainers on before darkness completely set in I threaten the baby with the bottle of Saline Nasal Spray: Take your dummy and sleep, or else… 

Desperate times call for desperate measures?

No success until finally!, a bit after sunset, he closes his eyes. Die Geisterstunde has arrived. l’heure bleue. The Witching Hour between sunset and darkness, when the spirits come out to walk the earth… But I’m desperate to go for a final run along the wooded paths, passing the grassy fields of Route de Grimaldi, catching glimpses of ancient chapels en route, pounding on cobbled stone streets, and up that last steep hill to get back home. Before complete darkness.

Where are the days when I could still take a run after baby’s bedtime, plus a long swim in the pool until darkness set in around 10pm? Never mind, I’m off!

Was it because of the threat of approaching darkness that I find myself only focused on my breathing and the next spot to place my foot along the gravelly roads? Maybe the rustling in the bushes reminding me of the native wolves, foxes and sanglier? Perhaps the sight of the savage Medieval Troupe camping on the Soccer fields keeping me from dilly-dallying? Or perhaps it was just the delicious pasta dish we had for lunch that keeps my heart pumping rhytmically, and my breathing regular and calm.

Before I know it I’m home in record time. Feeling satisfied and content after my last run, knowing that I had stuck to my resolution of keeping up my fitness routine for the whole summer. Actually a good description of my feeling about completing this trip. Satisfied and content, and in expectation of good times ahead.

And so I am signing off from Provence with a bonus feature, my favourite story of the summer. A French fable, translated especially for you (with the help of Google Translate).

The mirror

Long ago, in a country where nobody had ever seen a mirror, a man out for a stroll came accross a market.

Suddenly, he stops in front of the display of a merchant from afar. He leans over a mirror, sees his reflection and says: This is amazing, it looks like my father! Delighted, he buys the strange object. He goes home and carefully puts it safely in the attic.

The following days he regularly contemplates the image of his father in the mirror. The woman of the house is astonished: What is my husband doing going to the attic so often? 

One morning, she follows him and sees him open the chest. He looks inside for a long time and then closes the chest. Then she waits until he leaves and visits the trunk herself. She finds the mirror and bends over to look into it. What she discovers is a woman, a very beautiful woman.

In the evening, when her husband returns she grabs him violently by the shirt: 

- Since when do you have a mistress? 

- What did you say?, responds the husband. I do not understand what you are saying. 

The woman pulls him by the arm and leads him to the chest. She shows him the mirror. The man shrugs:

 - You can not see clearly, this is a man who looks like my father! 

Upset, the woman grabs the mirror and looks again at her own reflection: 

- Liar! This is a beautiful woman. You’re a coward, you do not even dare to tell the truth. 

The husband cries out louder and they end up arguing all night long.

In the morning, they go to the judge to find a solution to this matter. The Judge listens to each complainant and asks to see the strange object. He examines the mirror and becomes pale:

Misfortune upon misfortune, a man dressed as a judge. This is probably my replacement! I will quit my job. 

He goes off without making a judgment and leaves the plaintiffs with the mirror. The husband goes home, still disgruntled.

The next day, the woman gets a visit from her old mother. 

- This is terrible, she says, my husband has a mistress. What do you advise me to do?
- Show me the woman, answers mother, and I will tell you what to do.  

The woman is taken to the attic:

 - Here it is just! Open the trunk and you will see it.  

The mother opens the trunk and leans over the mirror. She broke out laughing: - Do not worry, it’s a toothless old woman, she’s ugly as a louse.

This story is finished, it is the pure truth. And if you ever doubt it you can go there to find out for yourself…

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