Thursday, June 30, 2011

BACK HOME AGAIN...IN FRANCE - JUNE 11, 12

All went well in the beginning. The trip to the airport went quickly. Not much heavy traffic mid day on Sunday. No problems with flight tickets. Luggage under weight. Flight on time.
The one glitch came at security, where Cathey's new metal knee prompted a public pat-down – she hadn't read that she could request privacy. And the card that she showed to the TSA agent explaining the knee replacement had no effect.
I suppose that it's a sign of the times, but the flight wasn't full – first time in years. I had a seat mate on the window side but Cathey, sitting in the four-seat center section, had two empty seats next to her.
Our rental from Alamo – a Citroen C3 5-door diesel – was satisfactory although the construction felt a bit cheap. The expressway north is well marked – just follow the signs to Girona and off you go. It's hard to stay under the speed limit when you're in a hurry. I've had a few tickets in the past – radar taking a picture of the rental and the rental company charging our credit card – so I won't know if I've been caught until the charges show up on the card.
Jill, the long-term let who vacated for our two-week stay – left the house spotless. She also provided us with milk and fresh bread. Very thoughtful. As usual, we discovered a problem or two. The doorbell no longer works. Wine glasses continue to disappear. And the handle that holds the shower wand in place has broken, replaced by a wall-hanger apparently fitted by a tall man. Fine for me, not for Cathey. But all in all, our little house had weathered the year well.
Suddenly, the lights went out. No electricity. I reset the breaker and, for a moment, the lights returned. For a moment. Then nothing. We learned later that there had been a thunder storm down the line and all of Cazouls was dark, but at the time we were devastated.
When all else fails...shop. Not in Cazouls. Carrefour closed. (It had been open as we made our way into town.)
We had to go all the way to Narbonne to find an open market. Again, it was only later that we learned that Monday was a bank holiday...sort of. Pentecost Monday. Anyway, the Carrefour in Narbonne was open and we dropped 90+ euros on essentials – dish soap, toilet paper and such – as well as a bottle of wine, instant coffee, sausages, pate, cheeses, salt, mustard, salad fixings, cherry jam, and more. We returned to the house and voila, the electricity had returned.
We forgot to purchase hand soap. I'll make do with Cathey's shower gel.
Cathey discovered a cinsault/syrah from Caza Viel in the cellar left over from last year that held well and I worked on the grocery store rose with dinner – bits and pieces of bread, butter (yummy French butter), chorizo, pate, serrano ham, and cheeses (bleu, goat, and St. Nectare).
I fell asleep on the couch and moved to the bed after Cathey shook me awake. A full first day.

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