Thursday, 26 April 2012

Strange scratchings and scurrying aloft...

....caused us some consternation and certainly fuelled our imaginations as we both lay in bed, at the villa that had been kindly loaned to us, for the price of a bunch of flowers and a kiss, while we visited my sister at Sete, in the Llanguedoc region of southern France.
View from my sister's apartment in Sete

The villa is owned by a lovely elderly lady, a friend of my sisters and we had stayed there four years previously, but this was a sound that we had not heard on that occasion. It was a noise that initially was not very conducive to a good night's sleep and seemed to be coming either from behind the close boarded ceiling under the traditional roof tiles, where there might have been perhaps 10 cms space or on the roof itself. 

On that first night I quietly opened the doors and finally the shutters of our room, before surreptitiously creeping out, on to the veranda so that I could check the roof and frighten off whatever animals or birds that might have been there. There was nothing,  and it was only on our last morning, while trudging up the hill with our breakfast, that a little red creature with a long bushy tail ran in front of us, leapt over the villa wall and up a tree whose branches touched the roof of our villa. We had finally found out who the perpetrators were...SQUIRRELS !!!!!
Sete from the marina

Eventually we became accustomed to this nocturnal playtime and as with all these things it has been added to our bank of interesting 'holiday' experiences, along with the occasion, just four days ago, when we  returned to the villa in the evening to find no water running from the taps. Frantic phone calls followed and it turned out that the gardener had visited and unaware of us had unwittingly turned it off at the mains!

Each day began with a walk down a 1 in 3 hill to the patisserie for our bread and a very slow, arduous walk back for breakfast, followed by an invigorating walk along the promenade to my sister's apartment which overlooks the fish market and has a wonderful view across the harbour to the Mediterranean.

On our way to the indoor market on Sunday we visited the Polling Station where my sister and her husband voted in the first ballot of the French presidential election. The sight of two English interlopers peering around the door, caused some curious glances and mutterings from the assembled electorate and officials present, presumably suspecting a conspiracy on behalf of the British government to affect the outcome.

The coffee we enjoyed at the locals' favourite watering-hole on their daily shopping trips to the market, was fascinating, with everyone in full flow, discussing the possible election result as well as their next meal, for food and politics do seem to be the main preoccupation of the French, with a bit of football and rugger thrown in.

It was on our return to the apartment that I spotted a Caterham parked outside a local bakers and that prompted me to hail the driver and have a natter about our respective cars. Due to linguistic difficulties, we had a somewhat limited conversation but I did find out that it had a 1.6 Rover engine and he thoroughly enjoyed driving it. It certainly looked the business!

Duck at the Auberge
Lunch was taken at the Auberge de Creyssels, Benau, near Meze, close to the Etang de Thau. ""  It was a wonderful occasion, in an ancient building with first class food that is served on Saturday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes only, so it is vital to book well in advance.

On the following day we all travelled to Montpellier by train, an occasion when the qualities of the French rail network and rolling stock were adequately demonstrated. Montpellier itself is a vibrant, beautiful city with much classical architecture and we spent a few hours there savourng it's cultural and gastronomic delights....a coffee supped in a beautiful street in the morning and a pannini with tomato and mozzarella cheese, eaten just off the 'Place de la Comedie' !!!!

The final evening was spent, initially listening to some wonderful singing and guitar playing by the husband of a couple my sister knows, who had joined us for aperitifs.This was followed by a meal at the lovely 'Le Marie-Jean Restaurant' alongside the canal in Sete. ""  While we were having dinner,  the Barcelona v Chelsea Champions League football match was on the television so there was a certain amount of Franco/Spanish/Anglo rivalry amongst the diners which all added to a great experience.

The Etang de Thau 
So, in a nutshell, an appropriate term in view of the aforementioned little blighters, we've had a wonderful time, visiting our French relatives and France once again. Wonderful hospitality, that has, in the course of the last five days or so, added some 4 pounds to the already comfortable paunch of the writer!

'Ryanair' didn't do too badly either. We travelled from Liverpool to Nimes return, for the first time with hand luggage only, and it has proved very successful indeed. Less weight and aggravation, no waiting for luggage when you land and let's face it you never wear all the clothes you take in a large case anyway. It's a discipline that all touring Morgan drivers will understand and we intend to continue to do it. After all you can only wear one pair of trousers at a time!


No comments:

Post a Comment