I quit my band 'Les Droles' last year as I could see the year was going to be busy. I was there, as Mark was, when the band formed and we always felt honoured to be in it as 'etrangers'. I think we might have been the first English folks or possibly any nationality other than French to be in one of the Carnaval groups of Limoux.
I've just been down to the town to witness a couple of 'tours'. How did I feel? Misplaced? regretful? Not really, more of a witnesser than usual though, but the connection was still there. I was humming the tunes, doing the dance internally; pleased to be covered liberally in confetti and even more pleased to be told that the band missed me.
The Carnaval of Limoux really is for the people of the town. Tourists come and go; people new to the town go religiously every weekend for a year or so, and an occasional TV crew turn up to film the proceedings for an end slot on the national news. But it's the locals who are there, year in year out, whether they are part of a band or not.
On my walk home I started thinking about roots - our connection to the planet. I can imagine living here for the rest of our lives, but possibly elsewhere too. The sea is always a temptation . . .
Where are my roots? I've moved so many times it's difficult to say now. I have great affection for London, where I was born, but to live there now . . . think I'd miss the hills and open space too much, despite the plethora of galleries, theatres, and other wonderful distractions.
I've lived here longer than anywhere else now. The house is too full of stuff, the garden too full of our hours of work to contemplate leaving. So are these now our roots? I wonder when Ezra leaves to go and do whatever he eventually chooses, will he look on this town as his home town, having spent his childhood here, despite being English by parentage.
I can't imagine a life of being in the same place always, but it must be comforting in many ways to feel you utterly belong somewhere; not needing so see new horizons - January = Carnaval. All the traditions and rituals held in place, same as last year and the year before; the same as it was in childhood, same in the parents' childhoods, back in time, generations of Limouxines.
I can remember when Mark and I were sitting in the Grand Café about ten years ago, having recently moved in. I said, "Can you imagine living here forever?" His reply . . . "God no . . . " Ten years on we are happily established here and the thought of moving on seems unlikely. Life seems to go like that: what's the phrase in Dark Side of the Moon . . . ten years have got behind you . . .