Just Merveilleux?

Life at № 42

About

I’m E., a fine arts specialist (and dealer) who dabbles in interior design & real-estate development. My partner since 2001 (or 2002, depending on who you ask) is Mike; he’s an actor who took early retirement from the Royal Shakespeare Company. We’ve spent most of our time together living in a lovely house, which we designed (Mike did the architecture, I did the interiors), in one of the world’s most glamorous spots, Sotogrande.

sotopoolpicture

In late 2014 we received an irresistible offer for it from one of the original Yeltsin era, Russian Oligarchs. The man known as the Russian Rupert Murdoch. We packed up the car, put our three dogs in the back and headed to (the south of) France to embark on the restoration of a glorious period property in a tiny town called Mazamet.

Mike standing in front of our new house

  Mike standing in front of our new house

It’s a monumental change of pace for us. No more polo clubs, yachts, dinner parties for thirty, the Trocadero or (literal) princesses living across the street. We had a ton of fun, but it was time for change.

We want a laid back lifestyle and rural France is still a part of the world where we can get it. This blog was created to document the experience, and you’re welcomed to join us on the adventure.

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77 comments on “About

  1. Carolina Courtland
    December 1, 2014

    You look so suave and debonair in your photo.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. inspiredbythedivine1
    December 1, 2014

    Glad to be following your blog. So, your partner was with The Royal Shakespeare Co., eh? I LOVE Shakespeare. Did several shows in various Chicago theater companies over the years and studied him in university. Shakespeare is, though I’m an atheist, my god. I look forward to reading your blog posts. $Amen$

    Liked by 1 person

  3. inspiredbythedivine1
    December 1, 2014

    I don’t have that play on DVD, but I’ve several others. Mike was featured, I believe, in the “Playing Shakespeare” series from the early ’80’s with John Barton, was he not? Does he act any more? I own “Playing Shakespeare” and have watched it several times. Just purchased Richard the Second with David Tennant in the title role. I’ll purchase ‘Pericles” next. Awesome! Probably own 25 or so Shakespeare plays on film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrmerveilleux
      December 1, 2014

      Yes he was. He got tired of acting. In his words, “…at a certain point in one’s life, one doesn’t want to be asked to wear tights and prance around.”
      At which point he decided to buy a house in Spain, then met me, and the rest is history.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. inspiredbythedivine1
    December 1, 2014

    That’s great. He was a very fine actor.

    Like

  5. inspiredbythedivine1
    December 2, 2014

    Well, it was work. Working with all those wonderful actors at the RSC must have been great. Not everyone gets to do that, not everyone is good enough to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrmerveilleux
      December 2, 2014

      Dick Francis was also Welsh and they were friends, so he couldn’t say no.
      It was a magical time for the RSC. I’d dare say it was the best group ever during that late 60’s to early 80’s period. (Almost) Everyone there was superb. Dench, Ian Richardson, Mirren, and even visitors like Mia Farrow and Susan Sarandon; And the most glorious choreographer EVER, Gillian Lynne (also did Phantom and Cats.)
      I won’t name the bad ones, because I’m practicing politesse 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Judi Castille
        September 16, 2017

        HI, Just found your blog. I moved to France this year after being disillusioned in the UK. I remember the great plays at the Barbican in the 80’s and then it all moved to SUAvon and that was it. The last one I saw was Richard III – Anthony Sher – brilliant evening. My blog is: judi@judicastille.com still finding my writing feet but enjoying it. Regards, Judi

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        September 17, 2017

        Hi, Judi
        Welcome here and welcome to France!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Judi Castille
        September 18, 2017

        Yes its good to be here. I have travelled to France many times and by a turn of fate have come to live here much earlier than planned. But that’s ok. I have enjoyed reading about your home and curtain exploits. We are setting up an Atelier here for painting, writing and sewing – dreams to be followed and unwrapping boxes of fabrics hauled around with us for the last five years. The sewing machine will soon be in action and we can at last make our home comfortable. I used to work with a London Interior designer many years ago at the Curtain Exchange and used to sell many antique French curtains and tassels. It was a fun job and a missed opportunity led me to finance rather than design. But now I have no excuses not to go back to what I love. Vive la France!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        September 19, 2017

        Are you down here in the southwest?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judi Castille
        September 19, 2017

        I live in cow country, Limousine, Creuse…dead centre of France almost. A small hamlet Auge. We have an unihabitable ancient barn that I am currently lime mortaring and a funny little house with a garden attached where I am growing herbs and wild flowers. And we have a vegtable garden. Very country living for an ex tax acountant in London!

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        September 19, 2017

        Sounds fabulous! We were keen on a place in Aubusson for a while, but by the time we´d sold our house, it had sold. The landscapes in your region are magical. Truly breathtaking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judi Castille
        September 19, 2017

        I live in Limousine, Creuse…dead centre of France almost. A small hamlet Auge. We have an unihabitable ancient barn that I am currently lime mortaring and a funny little house with a garden attached where I am growing herbs and wild flowers. And we have a vegtable garden. Very country living for an ex tax acountant in London!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. inspiredbythedivine1
    December 2, 2014

    I’d have to agree with you on that period being the best for the RSC. It’s the era I’m most familiar with and the actors from that time are ones I’ve admired for decades now. I really like the stuff I’ve seen David Tennant in, “Hamlet” and “Richard II”. The current artistic director there, I forgot his name, is doing some great productions, as far as I can tell. Being in Chicago limits my perspective on what the RSC is doing regularly, as I’m not there to see the shows. But, I do like what I’ve seen. I like stuff The Globe Theater has done too, namely, The “Henry IV” plays. Playing Shakespeare is an actor’s dream come true. He wrote parts with the meat just dripping from the bones to be devoured by great performers. My dream is to play Falstaff as I’m now old, and fat, enough to do it. To play him with a cast of actors as wonderful as those I’ve seen at RSC, would be heaven on Earth. I’d die a happy fellow after that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrmerveilleux
      December 2, 2014

      P.S. your writing is a cut above in wit and intelligence. Can I ask if you’re pursuing that as a fulltime career?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. inspiredbythedivine1
    December 2, 2014

    I’d certainly like to. Do you happen to have Bill Maher’s or Jon Stewart’s email addresses? I spent several years doing Improv theater here in Chicago years ago. Helped hone my skills. Thanks for the compliments on my writing. Life’s been a long difficult road for me. Wasn’t able to fully pursue my love of acting and writing because of it. I’m grateful I’ve found this avenue to at least get something out there at this point in my life. There are whole theatrical productions going on in my noodle complete with actors, writers, directors, and an audience. I like that I can share the show with whomever comes across it. Getting paid for it would certainly be great. Finding someone to pay me? Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  8. acflory
    January 8, 2015

    Missing you Pinky. It’s been weeks since the last post! Btw, if you get a chance, could you please send me the recipe for the black bean stew? I finally found dried black beans at a supermarket and want to give it a try but that recipe was one of the ones I lost in the great Hard drive wreck of 2014. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. boyslikeme
    January 10, 2015

    So this is where you are! The blogsphere has missed you!! (As have I of course!) I hope all’s well in your fabulous world!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 21, 2015

      Are you alive and well? Haven’t come across you in ages!

      Liked by 1 person

      • boyslikeme
        January 7, 2016

        Alive – yes! Well? working on it. Hopefully there’ll be an update soon! Hope you’re in good health and as happy as possible!

        Liked by 2 people

  10. David J
    February 6, 2015

    Wonderful blog. Keep up the good work (I saw your responses on asktheBigot – good for you, but boy, it’s hard work).

    I recall Mike in “How Green was My Valley” in the 1970s. Wonderful series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      February 6, 2015

      Oh no! Not there! Hopefully, whatever comments you saw there were polite- on occasion, they’re not 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. David J
    February 7, 2015

    Polite or not, the argument needed to be made, and you did it with more eloquence and much more patience than I could have mustered. I think I prefer an honest bigot to a patronising “…but we love you despite your sexuality” bigot.

    I shall stop there, lest I spoil your lovely new blog by filling it with references to others’ bigotry..!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. docatheist
    June 21, 2015

    Though I don’t know the mechanism for doing it, you’ve been kind enough to send two “likes” for comments of mine on WEIT. Thank you; it helps.
    Have you started living out of a van, yet? I read that around here, somewhere, and I lived in a 40 foot motor coach for some five years. I hope to return to that flexible lifestyle in time. Traveling was so much better when I could take the cats rather than hire a sitter, and still sleep in my own bed, make coffee in my own kitchen, and so on. Good luck to you and Mike.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 21, 2015

      Thanks. The van was the only way we could think of to travel comfortably with three rescue dogs. They all have personality issues, so we thought shipping them would be too traumatic.
      We actually left Andalusia on the evening of December 9th and arrived south of Paris on the evening of the tenth. We only stopped for short breaks. The most exhausting journey of my life!
      Your comments are always interesting, btw.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. docatheist
    June 21, 2015

    Thank you. By the way, how do you prefer to be addressed, online? That is, what should I call you?
    I have eleven rescue cats and one rescue lizard. He’s a black and white Argentinian tegu, about 3 feet long, and thinks — of course — that he’s one of the cats. They all seem to go well together. We’re a family.
    Are you, Mike, and your three dogs still in the camper? If so, I’ll start the advice giving. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. docatheist
    June 21, 2015

    BTW, your comments are very insightful, too. I learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. inspiredbythedivine1
    August 14, 2015

    I wrote a post on Grace Church Seattle, http://variouspontifications.com/2015/08/14/grace-church-seattle-to-implement-a-genitalia-inspection-for-all-members/. Check it out, and if you like it, please re-blog it or whatever. It was fun to write. Thanks for suggesting it.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      August 14, 2015

      You realize the Pink Agendist and I are the same person, right? I have more followers there, hence the pingback from there.

      Like

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        August 14, 2015

        Oh, yes, absolutely. Guess I shoulda said: Thanks for postin’ the link. $Amen$

        Like

  16. acflory
    November 30, 2015

    Pinky! I need your superior French. Just stumbled onto a blog post about ‘calligrams’ – pictures made of words within a normal text.

    ‘Guillaume Apollinaire produced an unusual book. It had, scattered within its pages type that was formed into shapes and patterns. This odd way of writing was then granted his name, and such patterns are known as calligrams.’

    My French isn’t good enough to translate the calligrams. Please!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. acflory
    November 30, 2015

    Here’s the link :
    https://sonmicloud.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/calligram-sam-youre-my-main-man/?c=3997#comment-3997

    There’s quite a lot of it but if you could translate even a bit t’would be great 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Professor Taboo
    January 14, 2016

    Hello Merveilleux! Thought I’d hop over and peruse your place here…see what goodies I find. 😉

    Also, I was very much looking forward to your upcoming Guest-post over on Clouds/Roughseas blog. Will you be posting it here as well?

    Thank you Sir.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Paul Handover
    February 7, 2016

    Called in here to offer my thanks for your recent decision to follow Learning from Dogs. Much appreciated. Looks like you have an interesting blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: #howto – search for an image on the internet | Meeka's Mind

  21. today, just an old man, but tired in Christ! which is a very big deal
    March 15, 2016

    The problem you have, that all homosexuals have…

    Is that each person’s sexual identity isn’t something we can decide at, say, age 12 or 21. We don’t get to choose whether or not we want to have, whether we’re going to have a single heart or maybe an alternate design, two smaller hearts, one on each side of our chest. And I’ve heard that a cross-hatch chest bone structure would provide more protection than the rib system we have. Again my point, we don’t get to decide these things, our basic design as well as who we are going to be are decided well before we are born into this world.

    And something else, we owe. We owe God. We haven’t made ourselves, God made us and he owns us (though he complains he’s not all that sure he want’s too.) About that, the jury’s still out. He wants people who want him, and the other’s can remain the property of the god-of-this-world. (That would be the devil.) And though God would like everyone to like him, to love him, he’s willing to let us make our own choice in this important matter.

    Now maybe you’re thinking that for a myriad of reasons some come into this world with various handicap’s, some physical, some mental, and some, no doubt, have orientation issues. (I learned this from someone I met a few years ago.) No fault of her’s, she prefer’s women. It seems she was born this way.

    Let’s look at this…

    Some will just make the convenient choice, but what does God say?, what did Jesus say?, that we’re responsible to obey God no matter our circumstances. We can’t in every situation, that’s the simple truth. And about that, we’re too follow Jesus, which means that when we fall down we are to get up and continue on. This is called being a Christian, and their is no life without Jesus.

    I know, you think that’s not true, that their is. Well, like I said, without Jesus, their is no life, Not for nothing he’s called the “Light of this world.”

    And why did he come to earth? For me, for you, for each of us. And what does the Bible say?, that he was asked why he had come and responded that (one reason,) was to destroy the works of the devil.

    So don’t ignore him. Jesus is your only hope, he actually is the only hope this world has.

    Like

  22. just someone hoping to influence people for Christ
    March 15, 2016

    Okay, that’s your choice. I won’t post here further if I’m upsetting you. But life is full of choices and you’ve just made one.

    Though please realize this, all we are, also the world we live in, we’re living in a system of things that was created for us, our universe didn’t happen without a planner and maker. And he’s on record (Roman’s 1, v16 to the end of the chapter,) as rejecting gays.

    So yes you can reject the Christian faith, but one day you’ll be asked to give an account, each of us will have to do this, and what does the Bible say about this?, that all of us are sinners, not one meets the required standard, but with that, God has provided a forgiveness mechanism.

    That is Jesus. Trusting in him, following him works.

    Like

    • Meanwhile, according to every other religion your rejection of them means you’re a heretic, or an infidel- and you’re going to hell for not following their tenets. Funny isn’t it?

      Liked by 4 people

    • Curious Mother
      December 28, 2016

      Bleurgh! Why do Jesus freaks always have bad grammar?

      Liked by 2 people

  23. docatheist
    March 16, 2016

    Perfect!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Kalamain
    May 23, 2016

    Greatest. Name change. Ever. You should get a prize based solely on your name. B-)

    Liked by 2 people

  25. anotherday2paradise
    July 5, 2016

    What a charmed life you both seem to lead! I love the photo of your home in Sotogrande, but the one in Mazamet looks even nicer. btw: I enjoyed your little correction of punctuation in one of my comments. I often take it upon myself to edit and correct. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love being annoying 😀
      And thank you. I can’t (or at least I shouldn’t) complain too much about life. I do have the once or twice a month existential crisis, but I do my best to keep all that under control.

      Liked by 3 people

  26. john zande
    August 18, 2016

    Pink, I’ve lossed your email, so i’ll put this here. Maxmello has started a new crowdfunding effort. They were sponsored recently by Pedigree (I think it was Pedigree?) who’ll supply food for 12 months, thank Neptune! and Sandra now wants (needs) to do construction work to house the dogs from the second shelter… to bring them all together. Link below to the crowdfunding page. If you can help, great, but I know you’ve already helped, so it’s entirely up to you.

    http://www.kickante.com.br/campanhas/maxmello-construcao-de-santuario-para-animais

    Liked by 2 people

    • Will help. But tomorrow message me again and remind me of the yellow post it/silver idea. It’s for Max Mello, but I just keep pushing it back.

      Liked by 2 people

      • john zande
        August 18, 2016

        Will do, and thanks.

        Like

      • I looked and I can set aside about 15k (USD) in silverware to send your way. Tiffany & co, Christofle etc. If they can get raffles/auctions going that amount should be tripled or quadrupled. Is everyone up for the challenge? It’ll take a bit of coordination.

        Liked by 1 person

      • john zande
        August 19, 2016

        You think people would even know what that was here? Send me an email johnzande@gmail.com

        Like

      • john zande
        August 19, 2016

        I should add (and I was remiss in not saying it first), the offer is immeasurably generous. Thank you. You kind of took me by surprise. When you get a chance, send me an email and we’ll talk about it.

        Like

      • Will do. We need to find out from them how to do it re customs documents? How do I label the stuff so they’re not stuck with any charges?

        Like

  27. belasbrightideas
    November 11, 2016

    Oh, now my turn to be amused! My husband is a builder, I’m an Interior Designer. Though I’ve also run my own restaurant, been a longtime radio host and spent over 20 yrs counseling people 😉 But we’ve teamed up as you two have for two decades (only no Oligarchs!). Glad we’re connected! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Very close match indeed! Don’t wish for an oligarch, though. It can turn your life upside down. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have moved to the middle of nowhere and live in perfect anonymity 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • belasbrightideas
        November 11, 2016

        Oh, honey – we’ve done exactly the same thing. North shore, Big Island from the woods of Maine. No aspirations here, beyond a sane existence close to Nature’s bones. Cheers!

        Liked by 2 people

  28. vinnieh
    November 13, 2016

    I think your blog is very good.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Da Al (Daal)
    December 4, 2016

    heaven! you must enjoy it fully for the rest of us 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  30. john zande
    April 18, 2017

    I really have to find your email. Pink, my wife’s sister (who lives in Australia) started this small campaign to help cover a rash a vet surgery bills accumulated over this summer which was atrocious for the number dumped animals in our area. If you can lean in, wonderful.

    https://www.gofundme.com/vistaverdehelpfundforstrays

    Liked by 2 people

  31. John Baxter
    November 21, 2017

    Found your blog when googling what Mike Gwilym was up to…I’m directing a production of Pericles in the near future and his performance in the 1984 BBC production is brilliant. Just to be clear, does he no longer do any Shakespeare of any limited engagement for fun anymore, at all? Seems very sad to hang it up completely when one is so good at the Bard’s words, and there are all sorts of roles in Shakespeare for when you get older!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 21, 2017

      Hi, John
      Mike abandoned acting all together. As the years went by he felt he just didn’t have the temperament for it any more. He prefers a more quiet, isolated life.

      Like

  32. John Baxter
    November 21, 2017

    Thanks for the reply! That makes me a little sad but I know he is probably happier!

    Like

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