Calm Sleep Stories | Stephen Frys Blue Gold | All Subtitles

Mar 16, 2021 17:02 · 1930 words · 10 minute read

for tonight’s sleep story we travel to the south of France I’m Stephen Fry and I’ll be your guide as we meander lazily through the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence story was written Phoebe Smith and is cold blue gold smell it before you even see it that unmistakable aroma that fills your nose it seeps into your senses instantly mellowing into a smooth and soothing scent you breathe deeply inhaling and exhaling this floral cloud and as you do some unexplained washes over you slowly at first you feel your body begin to release its pent-up tension Oh breath becomes deeper deliberate calm inexplicably those mine’s in your furrowed brow one-by-one unfurl as you slowly gently to relax the scent is lavender here in the southeastern corner of France but the foothills of more worn - and the village of so you are in deepest Provence perhaps the most famous lavender fields in the entire world and every year between mid-june and early August the green fields burst into a vivid color as the plants come into full bloom first brought over to Europe thousands of years ago by traders from what was once known as Persia now modern-day Iran this aromatic plant has long been revered for its calming properties it can be found worldwide of course from the stone strewn mountains of the Mediterranean Spain and Portugal the quaint gardens of Britain the Pacific states of the USA the lower reaches of South Africa and Australia’s state of Victoria but it is perhaps most famous in this southeastern corner of France classed as a precious plant by the ancient Greeks and Romans used to extract its essential oil when bathing its name actually comes from the Latin word levare which means to wash just after the coming of the summer solstice as you drive deeper into the myriad fields that glow almost blue in the early morning light you allow the scent to wash over you breathing it in deeper with every comforting breath showing the winding road you weave between the yellows of spelt and wheat fields until you begin to see even more of the colors glowing between a deep purple and a light blue a whole network of vibrant fields open out before you rising and folding beneath the foothills of maan phone to this limestone peak is famed les for its location above the purple haze and more for its summit roads which each summer see on its northern aspect cyclists determinately riding ascending it on the Tour de France race over on its southern flanks the focus is definitely not on speed but on the lack of it for between its slopes and the fortified village of so lavender fields spread out not only a sight to behold but also a network of walking or cycling paths that you can wander or pedal through on a meandering journey to take in this sublime spectacle at a distinctly slow pace leaving the car behind you here the reassuring crunch of the gravel beneath your shoe as you tread deeper and deeper into the lavender fields the plants are arranged in pleasing lines of purple which stretch out down towards the oak awashed farmsteads in the valley beyond around you bees land on the buds during the amber nectar from within the flowers but though they are working hard their movement seems to be unhurried a 12 loop between plants methodically later the honey that they produce from Provence –is so-called blue gold can be sampled and now rather than tasting the byproduct of this process you join them by languidly bumbling along the way marked purple promenades strolling from one plant to another Julie Chhotu arm to touch the silvery green leaves that feel feathery long moving your hand up to the flower you let it brush beneath your fingertips as you do he detect each one of the small blooms that make up the head arranged in spirals time your touch causes a micro cloud of perfume to permeate the air between the farmland save for the slow rhythmic sound of your own relaxed breathing all you can hear is the occasional melodic tinkle from the bells but adorn the necks of the goats and sheep that are grazing on the hillsides above guys becoming brighter the Sun rises above the flanks of the mountain up above the trees something also moving in slow curves floating on the thermals the short toed eagle soaring overhead gracefully floating as he watches over this indigo patchwork of fields from the air you continue on the path at an old stone-built distillery the air becomes even thicker with scent so strong you’ve stopped to savor it with every fiber of your body you open the old wooden door stills glue golden in the sunlight side 1 a fire is lit it’s orange flames licking the wood hungrily eating up great vats of water above as it boils and bubbles it produces dense clouds of steam rising slowly the vapor passes through the clusters of lavender placed inside as the flowers heat up release their molecules from their petals into the mist is carried up lighter-than-air into the condenser it floats through a coil it’s cooled by water causing it to turn back into a liquid now rich in lavender oil patience is the name of the game as over time the oil naturally arise it separating from the water until it’s ready to be collected when the time comes and the lid of the steel is removed the workshop fills once more with the sweet-smelling aroma of over a thousand flowers visiting at peak season you can see local lavender farmers come from miles around bringing their plants to be distilled in such a way the oil is famed for its use in aromatherapy said to elicit calm in even the most stressed soul it’s delicious and distinct scent not only soothes the senses but also as a sedative effect aiding sleep to come naturally and there’s a distinctly sleepy feel over at another famous Provo site to the southwest set on the edge of the VOC lose mountains along the Lubar all valley high on a promontory is the hilltop town of God nestled within his school nutri damn the singing horse a monk happy this gray stone building replete with its rounded turret and pyramidal spire founded in 11 48 Oh lived in by different groups over the years nowadays its ecclesiastical residence are a group of Cistercian monks and much like many residents in the region they also grow their own fields of lavender their days tending the fields they not only harvest the plants to create their own version of the essential oils for use in aromatherapy soaps or perfume but they also keep bees who like them tend the fields and help them bring in further revenue from their heavenly honey so slow is the pace of life at Sonam that some guests opt to stay on undertaking a spiritual retreat amid the monks here for up to eight days you cannot only drink in the daily fragrance of lavender by meandering in the gardens but also attend the daily mealtimes and complete and total silence one of the services in the inner church or spend your time meditating on your own mission to find your inner for many simply strolling the fields can in themselves offer a kind of spiritual as well as physical journey and as anyone knows all journeys have a tendency to work up an appetite luckily in Provence even culinary treats are influenced by the purple fields that surround them inside the local shops you find bunches of the flowers tied ready to be taken home and hung up in the kitchen offering a much-needed portable portion of the sweet nourishing scent see little vials of the distilled oil that you can later drop into a bath on drip onto your pillow but look a little closer by lavender infused food from breads to tea salad dressing to ice cream there are so many delectable creations to sample each offering some in a calm to your belly the mint family the hours offer a floral herbal addition to a dish walking the chemin de laval lavender path try a sorbet to feel the explosion of a sweet yet bitter taste on your tongue or take your time to infuse some dried petals in hot water and drink in its earthy tones slowly in the late afternoon while readying for the spectacular sight of the flowers in early evening as the Sun sets the mottled pinkish purple tones begin to paint the landscape into a work of art rivaling any famous painting by one of the many artists saison castle we’ll go Monday so loved the region they are not alone in their affection for it year on August the 15th operation comes to sue bringing visitors from far and wide to commemorate the end of the seasons harvest thirty years it’s taken place and for that one single day and into the evening his choir and tranquil alive festivities traditional costumes are worn sounds of age-old folk tunes a song in the valley tuneful ditties berating through the remaining wild dashes of lavender while people dance and raise a glass to the successful yield in this clip a blur the blue country as the music carries on market stalls are set up by local producers who have come to sell their wares from pottery the sacks of dried flowers potpourri handmade cosmetics and soaps and of course freshly distilled lavender made from that same year a market like this has been held on Wednesdays since the Year 1515 and tradition continues with the annual highlight the competition well local harvesters take to a field to cut the last of the lavender plants in the traditional way for the plough or sickle as they take to the flowers the air seems to turn a deep cerulean and of the sickle cutting in rhythm backwards and forwards swishing and swaying almost in time with the breeze it’s a mesmerizing show if the flowers are gathered the end of the season is upon this little Provence and clave we’ll be plowed and ready to begin the cycle once more preparing the limestone rich soils for the next year’s growth for now yields wills I dormant regaining energy under the autumnal sunlight replenishing nutrients with the onset of the fall rain for a while Oh we’ll be still countryside whose palette for a few short weeks being a show-stopping shade of purple and blue now returns to the earthy brown and green hues of a landscape lying in anticipation of what’s come and at the edge of one such field can see it as it once was locked in your memory as though perfectly composed photograph and you class cluster of lavender and who rum it’s little delicate petals tween your fingers send me it’s your skin in your hand towards your face once more that spellbinding scent fills your nose slowing your breathing relaxing every single muscle in your body to stay but no you cannot but no matter for from now on every time you smell the reassuring scent of France’s blue you will be instantly transported back to this site to sunset Fields only to glow in an almost impossibly deep tone of purple in these the rolling foothills have a peaceful ruffles you.