Alors...big entry to come!
03.11.2007 10 °C
Have had a really fantastic few days with Lynn and Rachel; sort of like a big sleepover (been staying at Montpon with Rach) but with some early morning train rides to different places where we indulged in lots of photo-taking, laughing, chatting and eating! I'm never going to remember everything, but heres a quick whizz through what we've been up to.
Thursday was the 1st November, All Saints Day, which is observed as a public holiday here with locals taking time to think of the deceased and visit the graves of their loved-ones, leaving flowers. The streets were deserted; I walked past Perigueux cemetry on the way to the station, the whole pavement in front of it was covered by flower stalls and there were lots of people going in and out leaving flowers. I didn't really feel I could go in (I had a lot of stuff with me for a 2 night visit!), but we later went to the cemetry opposite Rachel's house in Montpon and lots of people had also left little plaques, and many of the family graves were very grand, even those which were fairly new. Flowers had been left at every grave and it was very beautiful.
When we first arrived at Montpon we went to Intermarche (the big hypermarket just on the outskirts of town) but unfortuately it was closed so we instead bought a take-away pizza for lunch, yum yum yum. We then gave Lynn the tour of Montpon; town, lakes, Menesterole etc. On our walk along the river we bumped into Rachel's lovely neighbours (she's been to the young boys birthday party and teaches him English every week). Today they asked whether we could come round with Rachel's computer for them to borrow, which we did of course and got to see a DVD of photos of their wedding which their sister had put together. They were so friendly, especially the portugese grandparents who live in Perigueux and have invited us round whenever we like.
We had a gourmet dinner Thursday night; Rachel cooked pasta and chicken, I made a salad and Lynn toased bread in a pan; was so posh we needed 3 plates! We watched "13 going on 30" (funny!) and I settled down for a cosy night's kip on the floor.
Friday, Toulouse. We got the train, changing at Bordeaux. It took about 3 hours each way and cost 33EUR return. First stop at Toulouse was Lidls (Christmas decorations for Lynn, sultannas for me), followed by FNAC (the tv system Lynn had brought for her computer in Bordeaux didn't work so we took it up and a great assistant got her her money back sorted). We paid a quick visit to the hotel Lynn stayed at a couple of years ago, but unfortuanately never found the brilliant papeterie she remembered.
Then began the search for a restaurant...sadly we had a repeat of Tuesday's lunch-drama. We found a nice, funky looking cafe with some yummy chicken/tarte dishes on the menu. Inside it was a bit weird, no menus and kinda like a brothel upstairs, and we eventually left before having eaten/drunk un morceau as they didn't have the yummy chicken! However, where we did end up was lovely...had salmon lasagne.
In the afternoon, we visited the capitole, canal de midi, and a fantastic little market (with fair), where I started some xmas shopping. There was a nice mixture of good-looking food, gifts and other random stuff! Really liked Toulouse, but the main street was a bit busy and stuff, and I think maybe Bordeaux just beats it for me. Also, it was absolutely freezing!
The train journey home was entertaining; we were sat with a lady and her daughter and baby who occupied Rachel with educational games, and a nun accompanying two 14 year old boys to Bordeaux with whom I played Uno....hilarious!
Saturday morning; another early start to get the train into St Astier (where Lynn works). A pretty little town, and we found a lovely little terrace by the river with benches which was a bit of a suntrap and we spent a couple of hours just relaxing and annoying Rachel playing a game!
At 12pm, we met up with one of the teachers from Lynn's school, Catherine, and her daughter, Fanny. They've just lived in London for 2 years, so both speak amazing English and we spent a very enjoyable afternoon with them. They drove us through the Dordogne to Bergerac, which is a lovely little town. Smaller than Perigueux, more touristy but very pretty and very bustly today, felt good and alive.
Had duck confit in a restaurant for lunch and then we were typical tourists again for a couple of hours, just wandered around, took photos, had a French public toilet incident and ate crepes! Catherine very kindly took us back to her gorgeous country house and we met her two teenage children and two donkeys in the garden! Then it was time to catch the train back to Perigueux.
Lynn and Rachel have been the perfect partners in crime, and even the weather has been mostly decent; dry, cold at times but also beautiful moments of sunshine. All over way too quickly really...wish it could carry on, but if it did I really would get very fat and very poor very quickly. Need to do some lesson planning and stuff the next few days, but may fit in one last trip?! If not, will be cool to catch up with the other assistants at the end of the week and hear what they've been up to!
One of my teachers has invited me out to Sunday lunch tomorrow!