I remember growing up in Australia many eons ago and how, come every March 1, Mother Nature would somehow flick a switch and ping! All of a sudden, gone were sweltering, mind melting heat waves of February to be replaced by cool mornings, balmy days and chilly nights. And I couldn’t wait for March 1, as I now can’t wait for September 1 here up north.

But unlike other September firsts, I felt a slight tinge of sadness that this summer was ending. I won’t miss the heat, believe me, but this summer was like no other before it. This summer, I got to meet my true love, France, up close and personal for the first time.

And what a love affair it was.  How can I even begin to describe it?  From trying my first escargots, to reaching hedonistic heights in Baden Baden (yes, I know, it’s not officially France but our French friends took us there!), to busking with my Druyd brothers in front of the Strasbourg cathedral, to performing at the exquisite  Marbach chapel, to playing a rowdy game of Jungle Speed while scoffing mirabelles a la Cedric, to drinking the most ineffable wine you can imagine (a 1976 Saint Emillion no less), I wanted the affair to never end.  In the words of our dear Sylvie, it was Christmas every day.

But just like the seasons, it did come to an end.  No matter.  As Du said, all those experiences, all that food and most importantly, all those lovely people, will stay with us forever.  They have permeated our being and will inspire for a long time to come.

Vive la France, vive l’amour, vive la compagnie!

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