Friday, 21 February 2020

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop/IWSG hop: Café Terrace …




Cecile had dropped her off at their favourite cafe, since her husband had died she was adjusting … 


... but a visit, perhaps her last, to this their secret hideout … where the world was put to rights …




Edouard Manet at the cafe (1925)


Her Pierre … so dapper, so kind … always well-dressed – a white scarf around his neck, his fancy hat – ready to be doffed to the ladies … they were of a previous era …





Lobster Bisque
Cafe Terrace was where they so often ate – now if Madame remembered her – she would have their usual meal … a bowl of lobster bisque, some French bread, ...



Spring vegetable stew
... fresh Spring vegetable stew, followed by a crème caramel with their speciality: shortbread flavoured with geranium … all so French, and d’accord’ home made.



Creme Brulee
The table was empty, her seat awaited – she spread her sea-jewelled coloured scarf (a gift from Pierre) over the back of the chair, for now in the shadow … but, as she knew, the sun would come round to warm her. 


Scented geraniums
Madame’s beautiful café had been in the same family for years … they had always delighted in it –the trailing plants, masses of geraniums from which the perfume from a crushed leaf would linger …


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner -
Davos cafe (1928)

… the memories flooded back – their times together – their love of art … their visits to Davos – which she could no longer make. 




Summer in Davos, by Kirchner 1925

For now her memory recorded odd snippets over their lifetimes … she would bask in the sunshine, eat slowly as the glimpses of time passed her by …




She'd always loved the
colours the sun scattered as
its rays came through the glass
… followed by a short walk around the square, into the church for some solitude … perhaps the organ was being played, a look at the magnificent stained glass windows letting in the rainbow lights …




Women on the terrace in the evening
Degas 1877
… then Cecile would appear – ready to collect and drive her home.  A perfect day out … in her own space, with so many memories … she had fulfilled one last wish to visit the Café on the Terrace.




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

56 comments:

Liz A. said...

One last visit? That sounds rather ominous...

Denise Covey said...

Hilary, I love the descriptions found within your story, but I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia through the narrator. Such rich detail and your usual impeccable research shining through.

Thanks for your engaging entry for CAFE TERRACE.

Roland Clarke said...

Wonderful and emotive descriptions - and the apt images lifted the piece to another level. Well crafted.

L.G. Keltner said...

You made me hungry describing all these wonderful foods! This piece is full of vivid descriptions and gripping emotions. Well done!

Elephant's Child said...

Oh Hilary,
This is lovely. Emotive, beautiful and a delight. Honouring recious memories from a well-filled memory bank.

Hels said...

Cafe Terrace must have been a super place to be a regular. And not just because of the great food and drink. Imagine meeting the most cultural, literary and artistic figures in the city back then *sighs happily*

Nilanjana Bose said...

Evocative! and the visuals add an extra dimension of enjoyment. Especially that stained glass pic is beyond superlative.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liz … when you’re getting old – and she was feeling better … that last visit was important to make … just age getting in the way of going out too much … not really ominous …

@ Denise – thanks for picking up I’d posted. I wanted to write from the perspective of an old man, but seeing the Manet painting … I thought I’d draft as if I was the widow. Then Kirchner appeared – and he’s interesting to find out about … but it fitted … so a wee story appeared – thanks for the comment.

@ Roland – thank you so much … the images helped craft the story …

@ Laura – bringing food in helps the story! Takes me back too … delighted you enjoyed it …

@ EC – many thanks … I’d be really happy if I had those memories … but pleased you felt you could be there …

@ Hels – oh yes, if only! I can see you being there … but it’s something I’d love to have done, so appreciate your thoughts with your memories …

@ Nila – I don’t think I can write without visual aids – or seem rarely to do so. Delighted you enjoyed the stained glass pic to enhance the post …

Cheers to you all – I’ll be round later on and catching up with my commenting … Hilary

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A visual and verbal feast you have given us, Hilary! A true delight. YAM xx

Nas said...

Well written and so emotional.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I earnestly hope that it didn't turn out to be her last visit, but at some point it has to be doesn't it? I suppose that all of us wonder when "it will be our last visit." One of the earliest recollections I have of death, of human mortality, was when I was quite young and a local man had to go to the hospital, and he looked up the valley as they helped him into the ambulance. He perhaps knew that would be his final look - he died that night. Despite what Dylan Thomas urges, I suspect that most of us will go gently into that dark night.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
She and Pierre must have been a couple who enjoyed each moment they had together. I can picture the both of them sitting in the Cafe and never thinking about the fact that one day one of them would die and things would change. You have done a great job of inputting the melancholy and hopelessness in her life, now that Pierre is no longer there. You have also woven in suspense. I asked myself, for example, what will she do now. Continue to live on in the past or end it.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G
.

Joanne said...

Tres bien on the story and writing. So haunting, yet I fear - is this real, or perhaps just in Cecile's mind? And now I want a bowl of lobster bisque. Your food descriptions always make me hungry.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Wonderful words, lovely pictures, a joy to read Hilary.

Jo said...

A delightfully nostalgic little story Hilary. Made me feel both sad and happy. The meal sounded delicious. The pictures illustrated your story perfectly.

Lisa said...

Beautiful and sad at the same time. As we get older, my husband and I, I think of what lies ahead for us and yet don't want to think of the sadness. Only the joy, only the love I have for him and him for me.

Patsy said...

This is lovely – wistful and with an underlying sadness, but still lovely.

I really want some of that shortbread!

Jacqui Murray said...

That is so beautiful, Hilary. I feel it. So sad but so poignant.

Toi Thomas said...

A beautifully nostalgic story, but it also feels a bit sad. How does she know this is her last visit? Enjoyed the descriptions of the food.
Thanks for sharing.

Liza said...

Oh, I love this story, and love how you used the pictures to build it. Wonderful, sad, reflective, evocative. Well done!

Olga Godim said...

A bitter-sweet story. Sadly, as we age, memories pile up, but the time left to us dwindles inexorably. Her memories are so colorful, she must've lived a full life. And the pictures are a wonderful enhancement to your words.

cleemckenzie said...

You made sad and hungry at the same time with this one. And I was curious about this being her last visit, but that only added to nostalgia and her sense of loss. Well done, Hilary.

Rhodesia said...

Saying goodbye can be done in so many different ways. It still brought tears to my eyes though.
Have a good weekend, Diane

Inger said...

A delightful story. It didn't make me feel sad, I felt I could relate so well. It's OK to be old, to do things for the last time. Life is good each day. I will be 80 soon, maybe that's why.

Debbie D. said...

Memories sustain us as we get older. Your story and images are perfect illustrations of that. How lovely that she was able to experience her favourite Café Terrace once more. Beautifully done, Hilary! 👌 P.S. And the food looks delicious!

Yolanda Renée said...

Such a beautiful step back in time. Thanks for sharing a memory that sounded oh, so real! But how many times have we done this? Visited a place, remembered the experience - relived the experience. Well done!.

Deborah Weber said...

So evocative Hilary!

Kalpana said...

Nostalgic and poignant. There wasnt one false note - the food, the memories, the smells. I love that she doesn't feel sorry for herself, is simply enjoying the outing and remembering her life with her husband. A good life, it would seem. A lovely piece of writing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yam - many thanks … a simple tale.

@ Nas – easy to write … nostalgic with happy memories …

@ David – my thoughts were she hadn’t been for a while and felt well enough to visit and ‘have her day’. I hope I can go peacefully in the dark of the night not as Dylan suggests … that sounds rather challenging all round: thanks for the reminder about Dylan’s descriptive poetry …

@ Pat – yes … you’ve got what I was trying to get over … there’s nothing we can do when we age to her age or state in life … she has Cecile to look after her general life, and no doubt will have enough to be looked after as she gets even older. Cecile is meant to be her carer/housekeeper … I don’t think she’ll end her own life.

@ Joanne – thanks re the ‘tres bien’! She’s not Cecile … nor is Cecile her daughter – well that’s what I meant! But someone who is there to help her when she needs that extra support. Food … comes easily to me re descriptive terms etc …

@ Keith – thanks so much …

@ Jo – just a story … but one that could be so real … and am glad the images bring the story to life …

@ Lisa – I know, I can see my friends and family experiencing this situation … so understand your thoughts – thankfully you’ve both had a long life together = the blessings of being there for each other and to remember those times …

@ Patsy – definitely wistful in one or two ways! I love things flavoured with geranium … so thought I’d include the shortbread.

@ Jacqui – thank you … it was meant to be about an old man – but became this …

@ Toi – well … she’s getting old, or is old, and her husband has died at some stage … recent or much earlier; easy to bring the story to life with a little food!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liza – many thanks – the pictures crafted the storyline for me … a mix of emotions of living, yet knowing the memories are really prevailing …

@ Olga – yes … bitter-sweet – as life becomes as we age … and you mention - memories pile up; yes they did seem to live life to the full didn’t they – those were the days when it could be done – they had money and culture and enjoyed each other; I like putting the pictures in … they so often craft what I write …

@ Lee – I know I’d love to be at the café with the freedom to have that sort of meal, knowing the sun would come round – cold and windy here! She was ‘old’ and feeling she wouldn’t be able to be free to do what she wanted to in the near future – so took this opportunity of a visit to the café.

@ Diane – certainly a very difficult thing to do – one’s husband/partner/lover … which will happen to so many people in life. We all age … I wonder how many of us adjust to ageing into very old age …

@ Inger – thanks for this wonderful comment … as you know and are remembering happy times – mental adjustment to life as it happens. Great to know you’ll be 80 – a good age … I’m on the way – but not there for a few years.

@ Debbie – memories do sustain us don’t they – yet some are so desperate to keep that clock open and not be left … it takes some adjustment I imagine. Thank you re the illustrations which actually almost crafted the story for me; I know I write about food and think – I wish it was there in front of me!

@ Renee – many thanks – I’m so glad it rang true … I’d have liked it to have been me – but I can dream other memories … and on occasions relived them …

@ Deborah – thank you … glad it comes over as evocative …

@ Kalpana – yes you’ve hit the nail on the head with the telling … nostalgic and poignant … while she remembers her husband and their times together – a good life …

Thanks for coming by – I’m on my way over to visit – see you all anon …cheers Hilary

Sally said...

This is lovely and so well enhanced by the pictures. I'm glad she got to reminisce one last time at her favourite place.

Fil said...

Oh how lovely Hilary ... you took me away for a moment and made we want to visit the place ...

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I neglected to say, Hilary, that the piece is beautifully written.

Anabel Marsh said...

A lovely, poignant story. I like the use of illustrative artworks to connect it together.

Botanist said...

A bitter-sweet story. Evocative descriptions. As others have commented I hope it wasn't an ominous foretelling.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm so glad she made the visit and relived all those wonderful memories with her Pierre!

dolorah said...

Such a heartwarming tale. I can relate to wanting to be alone with my memories, in a place where they were made. This is when you feel a lost loved one so close.

Now I'm hungry for a spring vegetable stew. Gotta go cook, lol.

Juliet said...

Nice story to go with the pictures Hilary. You are branching out!

bazza said...

Reading this has actually made me feel hungry! Off to make some lunch now I think...
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s anxiously adroit Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sally - thank you ... I enjoy adding the pictures in and they certainly helps with my story line - wish it was my story ... but I can dream!

@ Fil - I gather the cafe is at Arles ... but anywhere to be in such a dreamy setting with the love of one's heart ...

@ David - many thanks ... appreciate you coming back.

@ Anabel - I think I need pictures to enhance my stories or bring them together ... just glad you enjoyed it ...

@ Ian - yes ... it comes to all of us and for her she was still able, but the end was whenever it came ...

@ Jemi - yes ... the scenarios with her Pierre - essential to her memories ...

@ Donna - just sometimes we need our own space don't we - it was great she had a helper who could give her that space and memories in their special cafe ...

Great if you're cooking those spring veggie ...

@ Juliet - thank you ... just joining in with WEP and sometimes stretching my writing wings ... depending on the prompt.

@ Bazza - I know memories of foods can take us back to wonderful places, with delightful fragrances, let alone tastes - I could happily eat that meal ... but I've just had my lunch. Hope you enjoyed yours ...

Thanks for coming by - I'll be on way to your entries soon ... cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

How beautiful, how believable and how purrfectly illustrated.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I was there, Hilary, with them, ready to enjoy the delicious meal. The artwork and photographs truly enhanced my reading of this story. Well done!

Beth Camp said...

Really enjoyed that juxtaposition of reflections and images that celebrated a long love affair, all the more poignant as we grow older and remember our own pasts!

Erica/Erika said...

Hilary, An interesting, fun and captivating read. Prose rich with emotion, nostalgia, melancholy. Also, a life well lived where relationships evoke beautiful, lasting memories. Wonderful images. Erica

Sandra Cox said...

I want some of the Spring Vegetable Stew;0)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - many thanks glad you enjoyed it ...

@ Victoria - that's great you felt involved - the images really drove my thoughts for the story ...

@ Beth - yes we all are getting on ... and when do we re-evaluate our lives? I'd like to live long enough to be able to just quietly tie my life up - but none of us know what's ahead.

@ Erica - yes to have a marriage like they had ... so happy when they were together, yet aware enough to live life out, and when the time was right for a visit to a favourite place ...

@ Sandra - the Spring Vegetable Stew would be lovely wouldn't it ...

Thanks for your visits - cheers Hilary

retirementreflections said...

Beautiful words and images, Hilary. Very moving!

Susan B said...

Beautiful trip down memory lane. You handled not only Van Gogh’s painting but all these 19th century masterpieces with clear poetry. Well crafted and written. Congratulations.

bookworm said...

That was beautiful. I know several women who have passed over the widowhood threshold. Chances are, I will, one day, also. The woman in your story handled it with such grace and honored her husband's memory. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

DMS said...

This was beautiful and I could so easily picture the scene. I am sure this is something that many do when their loved one has passed and it is a way to spend some time soaking in the memories of them. Great job!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Donna - many thanks ... simple story to tell ...

@ Susan - the images took me through the story line ... just delighted you enjoyed the telling ...

@ Alana - many thanks ... yes one hopes to be 'fit and healthy' and able to cope as the years roll on ... so pleased you read happily ...

@ Jess - I hope many can ... it's sad to lose one's dearest ... just desperate - but can be gracefully handled, especially if one has had a full life ...

Thanks so much to you all - cheers Hilary

Damyanti said...

I lived those memories as I read the write up! Well done!

c.stolz@hopeforfreedom.de said...

Love it, thank you. I didn‘t have a feeling of doom at it being her last visit, but rather a decision to leave the past behind as a memory and to step forward to create new experiences not tinged by the old ones. Great writing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Damyanti - many thanks ... a simple write ...

@ C - thank you so much ... she was happy and content after a great life with her dearest ... but was delighted to spend one last visit and have those remembrances ...

Thanks so much for the two of you being here and commenting - cheers Hilary

mail4rosey said...

It's nice to visit a place one used to love. This is so well-written that it made me feel like I was taken back to a time I hadn't even been a part of, but felt I had (if that makes any sense at all). :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosey - sorry just realised I hadn't replied ... if only I'd had 50 years of happy marriage - this would make me remember back. I loved writing it ... bringing in the elements of yesteryear and food! Thanks for commenting - cheers Hilary