Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Guests have come and gone. They’re now back in den Haag and Kiev. After the exhaustion of cleaning was over, I had a fantastic time.
We took them to visit the chateau in Carcassonne, the Toulouse Lautrec museum in Albi (I missed that one because I had work to do) and walked by the river in Castres.
Other than that we mostly ate, drank and relaxed at home. A lot of eating and drinking. There’s something about the Ukrainian mindset that really suits us. The ones we know, anyway, are incredibly straightforward. Life is much easier when people are direct. No time gets wasted. I wonder if that has something to do with having lived through the Soviet era?
Having guests here actually worked better than in Sotogrande (even though the house isn’t yet fully reformed.) The plethora of monuments in the region certainly helps. In Spain there wasn’t much in our immediate vicinity so visiting us meant going to restaurants and sitting by the pool. Nice, but a lot less interesting and stimulating. Also, staying at number 42 is more of an experience. We get to tell the story of the house, the history of the town- and explain what we plan to do with the design. Speaking of which, the tiling of the scullery is going very well:
The tiles look good from the kitchen and also make for an interesting transition to the checkered floors of the entrance hall. By next week it should all be done (including plastering/painting.)
Back to the visit: the food side went down particularly well. We did the whole French thing from sophisticated Michelin to brasserie- and they had quasi-streetfood in Albi which, everyone agreed, was the best duck & chips they’d ever eaten.
And their last night coincided with Eurovision. That led to a very interesting discussion on the history and politics of the Ukraine, and all the change in the past decades. Their ambiguous relationship with Russia(n culture) is fascinating. Our Ukrainians, for example, speak mostly Russian rather than Ukrainian. Anyway, they were very happy to have won.
And that’s what’s been going on here.