Wednesday 4th November

I snacked on a snail today (spit, hawk, beurk !!)
I was so in awe of the fact that Jane and I were being entertained by the owner in dead posh style at La Fauceille, new 4* hotel next to the Clos de Lys on the outskirts of Perpignan, that I just couldn’t bring myself to say “No thank you I don’t eat snails”

It looked quite edible in a little apero pot with garlic and cream – could have been a mussel or other acceptable morsel and not on the Kate-vomit list of food to avoid.

Stuck my fork in and it kind of uncurled! (spit, hawk, beurk !!) Here I am 5 hours later and I can still feel it making slimy trails around my digestive system. I know they said it was dead…. but how do they know? Next time you see a snail on your garden wall, take a really good look at it. Is it dead? Is it alive? Can you actually be certain? Have been obliged to down copious amounts of red wine to reverse the snail trail!

Friday 6th November

Why do people eat snails in fact? It surely can’t be for the taste, as they are always drowned in parsley and garlic – and it can’t possible be for the slippy, sloppy, slimy texture!

What is the difference between a slug and a snail, apart from the fact that the first is homeless? Would we order slugs in a restaurant?? “Voilà madame. Une assiette de limaces et un seau pour vomir!” “Merci garçon.” Honk! “L’addition s’il vous plait. Mais, mais… je n’ai pas commandé carottes et tomates. “!
Anyway, back to reality. Weather rather grey today, but can already see the sun struggling to appear.

Yesterday I rode my bike up into the hauts de Céret for my yoga class. Well, when I say ‘rode’ I admit that I actually walked quite a bit of it – the hill had me puffing like an old puffing billy – but I kept thinking with delicious anticipation of the downhill ride!

When I came out from yoga of course, it was peeing down, and having refused a kind offer of a lift for moi et mon vélo, thinking that I was heading for adventure, I found myself on a long and very steep descent, blinded by rain and spray, soaked through within two minutes of setting out…. AND WITH VIRTUALLY NO BRAKES! Argggghhh!

I had to ring Olivier to come and get me, and creep down the mountain at a snail’s (spit, hawk, beurk !!) pace, as the small amount of braking power I had only worked if I rode at walking pace.
Cold, wet fun – well definitely two out of three!

Thursday 12th November

The morning walk unveiled a Canigou bathed in a spectacular pink glow as the sun rose up behind it into a clear blue sky.

The vines continue to turn brown and red and the greens darken and mutate in the mountains, although leaves still cling determinedly to the branches, splashing gold, scarlet and deep orange across an autumn canvas.

The olives are ripening on the trees and the prickly pears now edible with care! Temperatures are mild, following on from a couple of days of Tramonane and life is sooooooo good!

Wednesday 18th November

The weather continues to be rather lovely – and not a snail in sight! I rode my bike to Collioure yesterday, following the hill over the top via the Corniche. Funnily enough, although it actually looks quite steep when you do it by car, it really isn’t particularly strenuous, and I was able to take it quite steady and enjoy the sweet air and the azure Med sparking into infinity.

I have every intention of getting my dear husband back onto his bicycle this week, as he is missing so much fun, but he worries about soreness around the dangly bits, as it’s a while since he has been in the saddle!

Last night, we were invited to a ‘cocktail dinatoire’ in Cabestany, with the Independent and USAP and all the ‘movers and shakers’ who seem to think they are the most important people in the region.

I actually hate that kind of thing, and have tried to keep away from events like this, since P-O Life became better known, but they rang me up to check if I was going and as you will already have gathered from the snail affair, (spit, hawk, beurk !!) I didn’t dare say no! Pathetic I know but I have never been able to say no!

In fact, it turned out to be really good!
Champagne was flowing, literally, and there were loads of free gifts like umbrellas and key rings, pens, pads, posters, calendars. The food was based around ‘verrine’, (taken of course from the French ‘verre’ for glass,) the latest craze in French catering.

This is usually a selection of appetizers or dessert, some hot; made up in layers, in small, clear glasses. Very stylish, very tasty, and far too posh for me, as I stumbled round in high heels and champagne glow, grinning like a Cheshire cat and engaging anybody in conversation who dared to look my way.

Along side the verrine, there were chefs at strategic points, cooking or displaying paté du foie gras on gingerbread, duck à la polenta, hot coquilles St Jacques in lemon juice, deep friend king prawn fitters, mini pannini with foie gras and Serrano ham, savoury macaroons, baby mousses, cold pumpkin soup…. Wow! An absolute treat!

And it’s true. It doesn’t matter how much champagne you drink, you don’t get a hangover!! OH. And not a snail in sight. (contented purr)

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