Friday 3rd February

Aie! Ca caille, ça pèle.... It is decidedly chilly at the moment – well into the minuses I am told, although here in my toasty office, I can’t feel a thing. It’s dry and bright, just right to kill all those nasty microbes, so although it’s cold enough to make your nose sting and your eyes water, it feels bracing and wholesome. The confused bugs have finally bugg-ered off and the flowers and early buds have taken a rain check and bowed their lovely heads in relief, glad for the nap to recharge their batteries and burst back in early spring. It’s all fitting for the time of year, and feels right. We need the seasons, they serve all kind of purposes. They give us direction, we have adapted our lives to them, planning holidays, diets, work and play around them. So I’m not complaining. I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’m heading off to Port Vendres soon to interview the owner of a new restaurant which is to open this spring in Collioure, a converted convent, soon to be a fish restaurant. I still feel like a fraud when I meet people who believe they are talking to a journalist. What if they twig? What if they catch on that this is just little me, ex teacher, no great writer, no skills, knowledge, training or techniques to ensure that the resulting article is interesting or relevant or well written? It’s a sobering thought, which keeps me well grounded when I start to get too big for my boots about the success of P-O Life, which has become quite an institution in my own little pond.

Well, back from my meeting – and it is COLD on the coast! The wind was whipping up a storm amongst the waves and now I’m home, I’m very glad of it. Olivier is in the kitchen preparing a cup of tea with ginger biscuits, her Royal Stinkiness is snoring gently at my feet, and all is well with the world, so blow your hardest Mr Tramontane – you won’t wipe the smile off my face today.

Sunday 5th February

The wind has dropped and although it is still very cold, it isn’t drilling into the old bones like yesterday. Went out with friends to the Fontaine in the Places des Neufs Jets in Céret. Excellent lamb fondant, very good pichet wine, cosy little restaurant, good company. Not bad for a freezing Saturday evening, when common sense might normally have made us stay indoors.

One of several silver linings to the cold weather is the water. It comes directly out of the tap cold and fresh and tastes delicious. Little things that bring contentment.

It’s snowing now – not too heavy for the time being, but that can change very quickly round here. It’s all very pretty.

Cold weather makes me eat. It’s not my fault, nothing to do with lack of will power. I have no control over the matter. I just crave chocolate, biscuits, cakes, licorice…… I try to fight it but it’s more powerful than me and I am conquered daily, no, hourly. The colder it gets, the wider I become.

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