Saturday, 22 January 2011

In Monet's Garden at Giverney

I wonder if I can tell you about Monique. I met her so many years ago. Where was it now? It could have been in London, Paris or even on Brighton beach but I am sure she was like so many mysterious figures in the past. They continually appear in your life and at such unexpected moments. A glance, a shy smile or even a friendly wave, that may have been meant for you or perhaps not. Such moments you recall much later on and you say to yourself, “That was the girl I saw on the ferry to Ostend or bumped into at Heathrow airport.” But you are never quite sure, are you? Is it a different girl with a twinkle in her eye? Or perhaps it is some guardian angel watching over you for all eternity?
I was travelling around France some years ago and found myself in Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverney. Like many others in the garden that day I wandered around his house and studio, side stepped the army of gardeners that seems to work constantly on the flower beds, wound my way through the arches of roses and eventually made my way through the tunnel under the road that certainly wasn’t there in Monet’s day and discovered his water lily ponds.
I already had my camera snapping at all the scenes so reminiscent of his artistic work as I desperately tried to get a shot of the pond and the arched bridge in the background. Needless to say I was not alone and was annoyed that the people on the bridge didn’t look picturesque enough for my shot. There was a gardener in the pond cleaning up the debris heading my way so I hurriedly took my picture. This was in the days before digital and it was a week or so before I finally saw the print!
There she was, I had caught her on camera! My Monique; I had finally captured her.
Now of course her name wasn’t Monique, I just made that up. But how many of you have captured your fantasy? Well I did!
Now the sad part is that once again had she teased and eluded me. If I had not been so precious about getting the picture right I could have walked around to the bridge myself, gone up to her and said. “Hello Monique, I think we have been nearly meeting for a few years now, my name is Old Egg.”
And she in her turn would smile a little impish smile. Touch her finger to her lips then place it on mine and say “I am always with you.”
That didn’t happen though and I know somehow that even though she might always see me, I will never see her again.


  1. Absolutely beautiful, practically awesome. Do we all have our Moniques? Mine began with 'T', and she has haunted me for over 50 years. You were lucky to see yours.

  2. That was amazing. When I was a bit younger, I rode the NYC subway all the time. On those trains, I used to make up small fantasies about the more interesting people sitting across from me, I was often tempted to take out my (also non-digital, back then) camera and catch unaware moments, but for obvious reasons, never did. Some of the faces are still with me, however,

    Thank you for the memory,

  3. You make your Monique sound so beautiful, so ladylike! That was an awesome post... Told beautifully, like a story. You keep me coming back for more :)

  4. Loved this post-so lyrical! It pulled me in right away.
    "On Paper Wings"

  5. I love your beautifully descriptive stories. . . and your eternal "angel" might as well be Monique, considering where you captured her picture!

  6. Enjoyed reading this. The what ifs and the maybes we all experience at some point or another. And I agree, now that you have captured her, you most likely will never see her again. I like your gentle fantasy,


  7. A beautiful recollection of a romantic fantasy. Lovely read.

  8. Oh old egg you are so romantic, lovely writing mate. I wonder if anybody ever saw me like that? Nah , guess not Lol.

  9. Oh, I hope you do - but I understand the idea that perhaps you only get to see your 'guardian angel once'..what a mystical wonder you wove such a magical story..thanks Old always make me feel better with your love of life and people..Jae

  10. Oh So beautiful. Not all of us have the courage to follow our fantasies. Sometimes, no, most often, the mundane, the routine seems to give us more security so we let our Moniques go...

  11. I had a Montague, right, instead of a Monique? He waited for the bus on the other side of the main street. I was in my 20s and he was older, going the other way. I always wanted him to notice me and he never did.

    I saw him, years later, as we both live in the same area. We're both older, he's gray and I'm with the love of my life. Sometimes it's like that.