We leave in 50 days and our house is not rented! Our original tenant pulled out. I just redid the ads on Kijiji and CraigsList and may try a rental company. It’s for one year furnished but not getting replies at this late date. Ugh, mild panic.
And to further the trip raincloud, we had a message from our closest friends in France: they are moving this summer. Back closer to his family in Brittany, as their careers evolve. Very disappointing, this is Tris’s cycling buddy, our family foot and chess friends for BBQs and swims, my closest friend for coffees in Thuir and hikes and chats. She is British but her children mostly speak French. We will really miss you!
To cheer and inspire myself, time for more recollections from Thuir. Today about our visitors! We had lots of special people come and lots of interesting places to go with them. The huge bubble image above is from the main square in our nearest large town, Perpignan during a Christmas break visit with all of Tris’s family. They arrived from all over, esp England and BC, and we had great meals and hikes and did things like this:
Checking out ruined gloomy chateaux
Jumping in the pool because it’s Christmas. Daytime highs, 10 to 15 C, nights around 4 C. A touch chilly!
After many good times, Tris left with his parents and brother for Morocco so they could do things like watch goats climb trees and eat leaves, which everyone should aspire to see.
Oh you silly goats in trees.
Oh! And also we had a one day long twisty driving day with Tris’s brother Justin, to the nearby COUNTRY of Andorra (it’s completely surrounded by France and Spain), a tiny place centered on the main city in a dramatic valley, mainly a tax haven and ski resort area with lots of high end shopping. Justin, as it happened (as it happens, with Justin), knew an Andorran who met us and took us around and then to an out of the way restaurant where she ordered up a small storm of dishes in Catalan and ate her enormous Andorran steak blue, fresh off the hoof.
Next arrived my friend from home, Lisa. With special cargo, 9 month old daughter. We met in Paris where we toted said infant around to all sorts of excellent sites, giving the baby lots of champagne and baguette so she would sleep as required (actually that might have been for us, and she slept like a dream) while we celebrated turning 40 in style.
The you-know-what. Paris, you’re a dream.
And then tonnnnnnnnes of art. We recovered back at our chateau through these golden gates:
Ok fine, it was here.
5th floor walk up so we could work off the pain au chocolat and champagne. And ogle the family with 3 young children in the apartment across from us who would spend 2 hours sitting correctly at the table -in high chairs!- having their evening meal. How DO they do it?
And then… my family! First mom, who arrived almost with the peach blossoms to her own spot 500 m across the fields from us for a proper 3 month settle in, roam around, and have her own guests. She would not tell you that South of France is warm in the winter. Or that the winds are calm and gentle. Neither I’m afraid would my sister’s family, who arrived in March to find that their warm coats got way more use than their shorts. That didn’t stop my niece and nephew, tough creatures, from dips in the sea or wearing shorts on mountain top hikes.
Abbeys! Ermittages! Prieure! Gorgeous gorges! Ruined castles! Hot springs! An orgy of sites. Plus meals, picnics, family soccer matches.
And then off they went, mom still with mumbles and grumbles (understandably) about the cold and wind when she left. But the peach blossoms! Ahh, inspiration is restored, rain cloud lifted. Thank you!