|We did worry it might snow all week|
There were no problems.... even though the flight was rerouted and we had to land in Perpignan instead of Carcassonne due to poor visibility and ferocious winds. The infamous Ryanair came up with the goods yet again, and we stepped off the plane, straight onto a coach which took us back to Carcassonne to our awaiting taxi.
The house was very warm... a friend had put the heating on a couple of days earlier....everything worked, and the freezer was full.....everything was wonderful.
|It was cold...but the house was warm....and so is the coat. This is me, sitting on my dad's bench...known as "Mike's bench" grinning away, so pleased to be back.|
On Sunday, when we arrived, it was very cold, the wind howled and the snow arrived. On Monday, it snowed most of the day, so we stayed in, did a few “house jobs” ...well Mark did, and I supervised.
|1st picture shows Mark, drilling ....under my instructions, to hang a new tapestry....not French, bought last week in Hebden Bridge.|
On Tuesday, the sun came out. It was still cold, but just seeing those blue skies was very uplifting. We wandered around the garden, checking out the work that has been done since we were last here. Dead trees ( killed in last year’s freeze) have been removed, a pergola and new decking have been built, a new terrace at the back of the house has been started, new wide paths created in various parts of the garden and some very serious pruning and clearing has been done.
On Wednesday, the weather was glorious. Blue skies, a little warmer, and bright bright sunshine. We headed off for Castelnaudary, via Saissac and then onto Mirepoix. The Black Mountains were spectacular, and the snow which had mostly melted in Caunes, was beautiful. We stopped to look at castles, churches, war memorials, panoramic views, buzzards, for coffee and for lunch......all the things we love to do when out for a mooch around.
|Memorial to war widows and orphans, Castelnaudary|
On Thursday we went to the Carcassonne depot du vente and bought a corner cupboard for the living room....partly as somewhere to hide the TV’s set top boxes, but also because we liked it and thought it fitted well with our other furniture.
We also saw a pretty nouveau style bureau, that I wondered about....but left in the shop. Needless to say, we returned later....and bought that too.
On Friday, the skies were greyer, but the temperature was rising. Mark played golf, and I played with the house... made some marmalade ( no Seville oranges unfortunately...but I managed to make it a little tangy by adding more lemon), arranged various books and ornaments in and on the new pieces of furniture, read...and generally lazed around.
In the evening we had arranged to call in on a friend made when I was in Caunes, alone, last summer. I had gone to one of the village concerts, planning to miss the arranged meal, as I was on my own and felt a bit strange, not knowing anyone. However, when I got there, the meal hadn’t even started, and one of the organisers just put me on a table with some other English speakers. Erin was one of them ! Erin has lived in France for many years and in Caunes for the last 5 or 6. We have been in touch since I met her that evening last summer, and she has phoned and e-mailed and been very supportive through my illness. So, it was lovely to see her again, and to meet John, in her beautiful home in Caunes, where her impressive and dramatic art work adorns the walls, and her Irish American French hospitality was delightful.
During the week we ate at our favourite restaurant in the village twice...the only place open at this time of year.....and we wandered through the streets to see if anything had changed since we were last there.... it hasn’t.
Then on Saturday, our last day, we went to Limoux, which has to be one of my favourite spots in the whole region. Whenever we go there, something is going on. I have blogged about it a couple of times in the past. This visit was just as fascinating. The Limoux Carneval was still on... it takes place every weekend from January through to the end of March. It is a very odd celebration. Our taxi driver ( we have the same on every time we go to and from the airport... so we know him pretty well by now ) told us that no one really understands it...it is as much a mystery to locals as it is to us. Last year there were priestly castrations observed, this year, nothing quite so dramatic....laughing cows, and sparkling wine drinking children, hippies, soldiers , firemen, farmers and several competing brass bands. This year we sat, in glorious sunshine, and ate lunch in the square, whilst it all went on around us.
Then, suddenly, our week was over. It was a huge success, and any worries we had about the trip vanished more or less as soon as we arrived. It has done us both so much good. Now, I can’t wait for my treatment to be over, so we can get back there for a few months, rather than a few days.