Whilst trying to think how I can write briefly about our holiday (phew, thinks Richard!) it seems impossible! A feast for the eyes and stomach every day, from the Sunday market at St Laurent to oysters at Giraude Leucate (Simon had a beignet and I had a beautiful little quiche from the bakery by the market as we aren’t too keen on oysters, despite our Charlottetown experience!), a delicious dinner at the Toit Vert in Fitou, a trip to Aqualand with Simon and Michael where we went down some very scary water slides, being far braver than I knew I could be, going down a sheer drop in a double ring with Michael and having a huge bruise now somewhere unmentionable to show for it! Aperitifs at the Castle at Fitou, overlooking the valley in which the village nestles, were followed by a barbecue back at the house. On Tuesday we went for a walk on the long Boardwalk in Rivesaltes, a pretty French village overlooking an inlet where salt was produced until very recently. A long coffee was followed by an even longer lunch at a restaurant on the Canal du Midi at Peyriac de Mer, yet another gorgeous village, where Pat wanted to show us an amazing bookshop, packed with ancient and secondhand books, on every possible subject, old copies of Paris Match and Elle, a history of France in books, with room after room to loose oneself in. We roasted in the heat and decided not to take a boat out on the canal, the humidity overwhelming us! Instead we were in the pool playing a game invented by Simon, a cross between basketball, netball and water polo!
Wednesday saw us driving jet ski boats at Torreiles, such fun! Lunch on the beach after some excitement on the road when the bike on the caravan we were following fell off and bounced towards us at some speed! It shot off over into the ditch at the side of the road just in front of us and they drove on oblivious, with us chasing them, flashing and hooting all the way, they eventually stopped after spotting this mad car behind them, Michael leaping out to explain why we were behaving so oddly! We headed back to the beach restaurant we fancied for lunch, braving the wind and flying, exfoliating sand! Zarzuela for me and Michael, a Catalan fish stew, which was more delicious than that description and a sensible but yummy mozzarella salad for Simon! A lazy afternoon at the house with afternoon tea to celebrate Simons birthday, further celebrations at the restaurant Vidal, a Fitou institution, with an enormous buffet of every imaginable salad, pate, marinated vegetable, cheeses, meats, fish, and an equally amazing buffet of desserts. Michael couldn’t go past the 30 escargot but I am grateful that he didn’t order the 150 he could have! The highlight of the evening was M Vidal, the senior who is about 90 according to Stanton, playing Happy Birthday on his saxophone to Simon! Simon was bashful but secretly pleased, it was the first Happy Birthday but won’t be the last of these celebrations!
And now we are in La Ciotat, pronounced See-oh-tar, with Caren and Mike and Max and Jaffa! Guess who Simon was most pleased to see!