It must be said that life in a beautiful château, with a staff to cook, shop, clean and mow the lawn, ain't half bad. I've been writing a lot (a lot being a relative term, I average about 2 pages a day) and Red is coming along nicely. The book is so dark that I'm very glad to have lovely surroundings to escape to after spending hours in my right-wing fundamentalist dystopia. In the ten days we've been here the farmers have harvested the wheat in the field below us and made the stalks into big round bales which dot the fields picturesquely. All this bucolic charm does come at a price, however: the smell of merde that wafts up from the surrounding farms and vineyards (which are apparently in full-bore fertilizing mode) is so noxious some days that I have to shut myself in my room with the windows closed. Still, it's beautiful here. The roses and giant hibiscus bushes are in full bloom, and the grapes in the vineyards are coming on, though we'll miss the harvest, which is in September. They grow cold-climate grapes here: Gamay, Pinot Noir and a varietal I've never had before called Chasselas, a light, refreshing white which is almost a bubbly. We drink it every evening on the patio as an apéritif before dinner.
I haven't had many adventures here — the villages within walking distance are small, quaint, and dull — but I've been very content to hang at the Château and write. Sunday evening we're giving a public reading here, and Monday night we'll go into Geneva to dine at the home of one of the foundation's board members. We're all still getting along, thank heaven. We speak a hilarious mixture of French and English, often within the same sentence, but it seems to work.
Signing off from (somewhat malodorous) paradise.