A balcony "with a view"
A balcony "with a view"



Peter Mayle could have told my short story ...

only better of course.

It is all about a swimming pool in the making.



What you get here is a panoramic view of the Lubéron, as it looks from Bonnieux, including  a “Pink Floyd-like Mont Ventoux” in the back-ground. Yes: obscured by clouds”.


Not far from there, i.e. roughly half an hour’s drive in the deux chevaux on humpy-bumpy roads prone to the chance encounter with a Pastis-inebriated indigenous pilot, one of my friends owns a leisure house with a funny swimming-pool. It is square in shape and of limited dimensions – not ideal for swimming – and it constantly leaks. I suppose it is “Made in France”.

A George some of you may have heard of could have written a song about it: “When my old pool gently leaks ....”.


While he will keep it as a rain-water reservoir - for his ornamental plants, in case of bush-fire or to any other thinkable purpose, like drowning an enemy – he needs to have it covered up, lest the water would turn foul. This endeavour seems to be quite a challenge, as the works will take many months to reach completion, so local rumour as it.


At the same time, his wife happening to be a keen swimmer, and an excellent one at that, he has another swimming pool under construction, but this time to Olympic standards ... in the small, that is.


When we were there, a few days ago, the dead-line for testing its impermeability was still set on May 15th. Not one hair on the oiled skin of Mark Spitz  - you remember this dental surgeon with the carnivorous smile who collected seven golds in Mexico, 1972 - believes it will be met. Indeed, we were presented with four breeze-blocks walls, erect all right, but still pretty much nude. The technical room was already finished, with its concrete coating and a lot of incoming and outcoming tubes in all colours and sizes ... but no water connection nor pumps of any kind, let alone filters, heating devices and taps or controls. As for the power, God only knows when it is due to arrive. And we did not see any man at work for the period of time we spent there. Nor has my friend, who is a regular, nevertheless, as well you can imagine.


On our way to the butcher – excellent Charolais T-bone, by the way, generously serving four – we stopped at the ... water-meter, to be found some 1.600 m – yes, one mile or eight furlongs if you prefer – below in the valley. Why ? Because the water company declined building a piping any closer to the house. Hence, an underground connection to the property was created, at private costs, through or alongside the estate of three neighbours who had to grant permission. It is also mandatory to make sure at regular intervals that ... it doesn’t leak. In order to do this, my friend now and again controls the status of the meter: if too large a volume of water has been used, this elicits an .... in-depth search for liquid infiltration.


Right, we have this appropriate saying in Dutch:

“Leven als God in Frankrijk” – “Happy like God in France”.

So do the Germans, and the Jews as well, I think.

I can quite understand the Germans, but Vichy made things different for the poor citizens of Hebraïc conviction, I’m afraid.





Following a remark by Michel Smith, a French wine journalist in semi-retirement (heehee, he’ll react to this one), I want to explain my spelling of Lubéron with an accentuated “é”. My friend always pronounces “Luberon” with a neutral “e” (as “in a corner” in English). I was intrigued and checked on the Michelin map, N° 113: they alternatively spell “Grand Luberon” and then again “Petit Lubéron” ... so I was left unplussed.

Surfing the net, I must confess the “Luberon” spelling is the much preferred one.

Dont acte !




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Commentaires: 5
  • #1

    Michel Smith (mardi, 08 mai 2012 10:08)

    Cher Maître,
    I insist : "Luberon" never should be spelled with an "é" !

  • #2

    David Cobbold (mardi, 08 mai 2012 10:10)

    Reminds me of a story of an English acquaintance who used to own a house in Provence also. When leaving the place after his summer vacation, he entrusted a local specialist with the construction of a swimming pool, having measured up precisely the dimensions he wanted for the pool. He later received a bill that was a rather larger than expected. So he went down to inspect the finished object and discovered a pool of truly Olympic dimensions. He had written his measurements in feet, which had duly been read as meters by the builder. I think he had to sell the house.

  • #3

    Luc Charlier (mardi, 08 mai 2012 10:49)

    Michel, I think you are right about the correct spelling, that should include an unaccentuated “e”. But you often find the “é” version.

  • #4

    Patou (mardi, 08 mai 2012 11:37)

    Love David's anecdote, hehehe...

  • #5

    Luc Charlier (mardi, 08 mai 2012 12:34)

    Love your true story, David.
    « Si mon jardin est plus petit que Rome, mon swimming-pool est plus grand que votre impluvium, je dis ! »