Friday 2nd March

I heralded March in yesterday by nearly choking to death on a fly! Yes, I know it sounds a bit far fetched but if you don’t believe me, ask Olivier, Bisou or the very kind family of seven, who were picnicking on the roadside as I screeched to a halt on my bike and started coughing, spitting and hawking! We were riding back from Le Boulou, on the short cut from the bridge on the Le Perthus road which brings us out nicely in Maureillas without having to do much on-roading, when a fly smacked into my tonsils just as I was telling Olivier (again) how good it felt to be back on the bikes!

Bzzzz, wham, fizzle and there it was! It wouldn’t come back up (hence the hawking and spitting) and it wouldn’t go down. In retrospect, I feel quite sorry for it – I wouldn’t fancy drowning in my stomach acid. Anyway, it’s gone now but not forgotten as it reminded me of the bird poo incident of May 2006. It seems that every time I open my gob to say how wonderful life is, something drops, plops or flies into an orifice! Not something I am known for, but I’m going to keep my mouth shut in future.
Consoled myself with a visit to Auchan where sweeties were three for the price of two and lying in ‘weight’ (freudian slip, not a spelling mistake) for the gullible shopper!

Saturday 3rd March

Well, he’s gone and done it! After considering the options for three years (my dear husband is very thorough with his research), Olivier has bought a motor bike! Having hardly ever posed his buns on a bike before I was over the moon to see him arrive back in one piece with his purchase . He has already started to swagger and call me ‘chick’ and smell of exhaust fumes and he’s only been back an hour! We all went for a ride together, Olivier on his motor bike, Lucien on his scooter, me on my bicycle and Bisou on foot (or rather ‘on paw’) . Guess who was the last to arrive home?

In fact, as I drew up to our driveway, about ten minutes behind the boys but with my trusty doggie at my wheels, I nearly ran over a line of ‘chenilles processionnaires’. It’s the first time I’ve seen them off the trees – nasty, hairy beasties they look too!

Yesterday, we rode our bikes to Argelès and back – about 30km in all – and pretty flat so not a great deal of effort involved. The beauty of it is that we can get there virtually off road all the way, which is so much more relaxing than playing chicken with the cars. The cherry blossom is just beginning to come out, the sky was pale blue with a lightly veiled sun, and there was a distinct smell of early summer in the air!

Friday 16th March

Yet another orifice violated this morning when a ‘moucheron’ flew up my nostril on our matinal bike ride! At least somebody likes me! I do seem to be attracting quite a horde of the winged persuasion at the moment – must change my perfume. Anyway, it flew straight up the right nasal passage, so clearly French or it would have flown on the left), and lodged in that bit of your conk where the only way to get rid of it is to hawk and swallow, causing instant re-emergence in your gob. Too much information?

My much beloved husband has finally (after two weeks of visiting every single motor bike shop in Perpignan at least twice) chosen his bike helmet. The trouble is that he likes it so much that he won’t take it off!

Thursday 29th March

Ah rode that thar train into Barcelona and back yesterday to pick up my dear old Dad who has come to stay – and guess what? It was cold, it was raining, it was windy – the usual weather we get every time someone comes to stay – and back in Leeds his friends were sitting out on their balcony sipping martinis and congratulating themselves on a lovely day, as we cowered under an umbrella in the Mediterranean!

We rode our bicycles to Argelès and back again last week, before the Tramontane reared its ugly head, and picnicked on the port. Despite blue skies and highish temperatures, the place was completely deserted, nothing open, nobody around. Incredible! This area is so lovely yet it just doesn’t deliver to tourists (or residents) until April/May. This port, which is usually bubbling in the summer, looks sad and deserted. Even the boats are closed up. On the way back, Mr Tramontane decided to pay a visit and the twenty or so kilometres home were a nightmare – battling against the wind constantly, and tensed up throughout for the sudden gusts that could easily knock you into the road. Back home safe and sound, I congratulated myself on the amount of calories I could now trough down with clear conscience!

The day after, I actually walked Bisou in ski gear; the weather had changed so much. Cloudy, dark, threatening….. I wore my hat with the ears and it made me happy – I need to have a silly half hour quite regularly to remind me how important being silly is!! Some friends bought a red nose over for Lucien and he was over la lune. The French sense of humour is not the same as the British sense of humour – less ‘toilet’ humour, more subtle maybe, less pooey-farty-just-plain-daft. The French would be unlikely to wander round with red noses; you do not get charity boxes in supermarkets for your left over bits of change, and the majority of our French friends do not laugh when Lucien presses the button on his remote control fart machine in a restaurant and find it difficult to understand why we are in hysterics! Anyway, back to the nose. It went missing the day after its arrival and was located in the depths of Bisou’s basket two days later, soggy, well chowed and pretty stinky. She tried it on (OK, I admit that it wasn’t voluntarily) and but like our French friends, couldn’t quite see the point!!<doc3844|left>

Have you noticed the white squares scattered around the country side by the way? They are to mark land boundaries just in case you’re wondering.

And talking of boundaries, the TGV is coming along nicely and the new road to Argelès from Le Boulou is up and running meaning that there should be a lot less congestion in summer.

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