I remember a sticky, sweaty day, very much like this one, a picnic by the beach, a sudden ant attack on our cheese, a dressing for the risoni salad I nailed for once, a missed boat, laughter that was pretty much yelling, the tang of salt in the air, pungent and alive. Later we sat at the jetty, watching the National Day fireworks go off over the mainland.
Rewind a few years. I was trying not to pass out in the stunning heat, so harsh was the light that it was something of a shock when we arrived and stepped off the bus to be confronted by an expanse of azure ringed with towering cliffs and pastel-coloured houses that seemed stacked on top of one another. Feeling put off by the oily bodies on the beach, we slinked into the shade and ate two lemon gelatos in succession, and wound up with a mild stomachache. But I recovered enough to devour an entire pizza mahgarita on my own for dinner, the best I'd ever had.
We can go back further, and I'm at the Vieux Port and trying to order myself bouillabaisse, and hours ago I was tramping around on an island trying to reconcile the image of the waters around me sparkling like jewels with "The Count of Monte Cristo".
It all actually began about seven years ago, on another sweltering, stifling day; the Mediterranean transported to Paris for a day. Even the feel of a cotton jersey t-shirt on my skin felt like wool in a sauna. I wandered into H&M (which was then so exotic to me!) and found this little nothing of linen, deliciously dry and crisp to the touch and not too sheer so as to be impractical. I hadn't given it much thought when I bought it, but time has proven its worth and long after I've discarded things I rationalised endlessly about, this little "careless" buy has endured. Goes to show that shopping is a risk, and taking it very seriously doesn't always lead to better decisions!
Lots of memories with one very good August buy, often by the sea. This time of the year, I never fail to be grateful.