There's a lot to be said for taking a break, recharging our flagging batteries, and getting a little distance and perspective on things. Our New Year break was to see some very old friends who have made their home in the South of France.
Italy may be the home of
Michelangelo and the Renaissance greats, but the South of France was
the part of the world favoured in the 19th Century by Van Gogh and
Cezanne, the 'father' of Modern Art.
Simply driving around the beautiful scenery, with it's colours just as striking in Winter as in the height of Summer, the paintings just pop out at you. It is an overwhelmingly beautiful place.
Isle sur la Sorgues
There is Mont Ventoux, painted by the artists who chose to break with tradition and paint for the first time 'en plein air', and famously climbed by Petrarch one morning in 1336 'just to watch the sun rise'.
Old door in Maubec, Provence
There is the imposing mountain range of the Luberon, changing quite dramatically as each hour passes, and there are the old towns and villages of Provence, painted in colours now beautifully faded and bleached by the sun.
But perhaps most of all, New Year is about old friends, and nothing recharges my batteries as fast as they do.
On the drive home, I began making a list of 'Great films I have never seen for one reason or another', and it is beginning to get long and a little embarassing, it includes Star Wars, Casablanca, ET, Gandhi, Schlindler's List, Bridget Jones' Diary, Nixon, Clockwork Orange, Annie Hall, West Side Story...
Don't laugh, try it yourself.