You know you’re in Menerbes #19….

….when that washing machine noise you think you’re hearing is heaps of folding stuff being recycled.

Dude #1 has bought an old structure (probably belonged to the larger structure on the left…)  just below the village.

Thought it might be a GOOD IDEA to line his new driveway with Italian Cypress trees.

100+ of them.

Over 4m tall.

Around €500 a shot.

Not including all the Jacques et Michels, le Digger ou le Crane all of whom spent a good 2 days on the job.

Plus the palm trees, natch.

20 of those…

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Dude #2 snaffled a place bang slap in the middle of the village.

Built on a cliff.

His backyard is now a swimming pool.

And what used to be a wall now has a big hole in it for yer inside-outside flow, as they say in the real estate ads.

Not much privacy, though.

Not as if you could plant some Italian Cypress to shield yourself from the throngs searching every nook and cranny for Peter Mayle…

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Is this the new Johnny Hallyday…?

Certainly seems very popular, this Don Desang chappy.

Concerts all OVER the place and pretty much every day, although I wouldn’t be too interested in fronting up in the late afternoon for a singalong…

Funny lot, these French…

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You know you’re in Menerbes #18

….when the cafes and streets are deserted, because all the Yanks and Brits are drifting around elsewhere on a pilgrimage to track down Peter Mayle, advertising guy who bailed out and wrote “A year in Provence” which kicked off the mass tourism surge in the 90s.

You hear them at a distance, plaintively wailing “Peter! Peter! Peter Mayle! Where are you?!”

They’re quite disappointed to learn that he sodded off elsewhere (Long Island, actually) to escape people walking into his living room with a book to be autographed. (I kid you not…)

And get rather tearful – hysterical, even – when you let slip that he fell off the perch last year…

Désolé about that.

As they say around here…

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You know you’re in France #17k

…… when the rusty French (that was actually *really* good 55 years ago) let’s you translate stuff like this in a flash – “The wine in front of you” -, but you have *no* idea (if you ever knew…) that you’re facing down a third person indefinite stressed pronoun…..

(That would be “soi” – the Gallic equivalent of “one”.

Sort of.

And a pretty good deal to get a decent glass of wine and a platter with cold cuts and cheese for €10

Nice to get a “kia ora”, too….

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You know you’re in France #16

…when you can bike over le pont Julien, a 3BC Roman bridge over which passed the Via Dolomitia, connecting Italy with its Gallic provinces.

Although you don’t have to be in the Luberon to negotiate ancient structures (open to all vehicular traffic until 2005…)

But in Italy, it’d be il Ponte Julius.

Totally different….

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You know you’re in Fr.. er..anywhere #15

..when your swimming pool has 10 loungers, 8 of which have been towelled/badetuched* by the sodding Krauts-in-residence (Ms jb excluded)

* https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/5934002/How-the-Germans-won-the-War-of-the-Beach-Towels.html

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You know you’re in France #14

…when they spell “teatime” differently.

Tastes a bit funny, too….

Tea bowl by mon ami Jean-Nicolas Gerard

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You know you’re in France #13a

…when you burn more calories *getting* the baguette than it actually *contains*….

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You know you’re in France #13

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…when – on Friday afternoon – the travailleurs du bâtiment (who are spending the rest of the year digging holes and ripping up tarmac all over Apt) corral all their kit into about 10% of the area they occupy during the week so that the Saturday market can happen.

They take this stuff seriously here.

(I asked the chappy in the bookshop opposite one of the major bombsites how the folks were going to fit their stalls in among the shambles. Gallic shrug – “elles s’arrange – they just work it out”)

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You know you’re….anywhere #12

….when you join the cluster of blokes (“Stand over there with the rest of the idiots and don’t do/say anything stupid. And TRY and look as if you’re ENJOYING yourself…”) while the wimmin shop for sodding CLOTHES at the marché in Lourmarin

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