Tuesday 5th September
I’m running out of superlatives to describe the weather so I’ll just leave it to your imagination. Suffice to say that it is unquestionably Mediterranean. The builders started back with a vengeance yesterday and in true British style, we said “Hello. have you had a nice holiday? Fantastic. Nice to see you back” and didn’t mention them going AWOL or the fact that we had moaned and complained about it none stop to anybody who would listen – apart from the builders! Pointless upsetting them – they might brick a body into the wall!

The traffic into Spain has gone back to normal. This afternoon, we went into Figuères to confirm the tiles we had ordered and collect our ‘suspended loo’ for the studio bathroom. Tiles are definitely cheaper in Spain, mainly, I think, because the VAT is lower at 16%, but the main advantage is that both loo and tiles only took a week to arrive – less if we had pushed it – as the main depots tend to be in Barcelona. We bought the bathroom tiles from a shop called Cosme Toda (Cosmic toad?) in the industrial zone of Figures. If you go there, ask for Marc, the nicest chap, who speaks very, very fast French with a very, very strong Spanish accent but is patient and tolerant of those who keep changing their minds! (mentioning no names of course). The only problem that we found in Spain is that, although delivery to the shop is very rapid, you really need to collect them yourselves as delivery prices from Spain into France are extortionate.

We bought the floor tiles for the rest of the house from Atout K. Ro in Mas Guérido, Perpignan, opposite the Oriental food shop. They gave us a good deal, had a great choice, and had the same tiles we already have down in the rest of the house. They also do bathrooms and kitchens and are extending their premises, having just bought the shop next door. Don’t be frightened to ask for a reduction – they gave us a large discount when we told them that we had seen the same in Spain but cheaper. (cunning eh?)

I’ll put all the photos on later after the ‘apéro’ – maybe!

Friday 15th September
Phew! That was certainly a long apéro!
It’s been boom boom zap for the past three days – still fairly warm but pelting it down with thunder and lightening to beat any good firework display. Impressive, and a little frightening, particularly when you are joined umbilically to a computer and the lightening is flashing straight into the house. I hear that perms are coming back into fashion!

We spent the afternoon in Argeles on Tuesday. When we arrived at 11.30, the sun was smiling down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, as you can see from the photo on the left.<doc3503|left> Within an hour, the sky became black and scarlet-grey, as if a dark veil had been thrown around the port. The second photo is virtually the same view, but from the enclosed terrace of a restaurant. Unfortunately, the terrace part of the restaurant was the only part of the restaurant – no inside rooms, so when the heavens opened, despite the fact that the waiters rushed around closing flaps, our rare steaks were soon swimming in a pink and green sea of blood and haricots. Yeuch! How I wish I was a vegetarian! A marathon and giggly dash to the car, took us through a flooded carpark (all this in the space of ninety minutes), in which I treated shocked holiday makers, cowering in their vehicles, to my very own version of ‘Singing in the Rain’ which consisted of jumping into puddles and screaming hysterically.

On the way home, we drove past frequent damage to trees and phone lines, surprising really as it didn’t seem to us to be such extreme weather. Today, after some light showers this morning, an apologetic sun is doing its very best to pierce the remaining white clouds that are still hanging around like a hangover after three days of rain.

On a brighter note, mushroom fever is taking over the PO shops and supermarkets as cèpes and bolets, morilles, pleurotes and shiitake take over the shelves. I havent seen any ‘truffes’ yet but I have been informed that the average price is around 550 euros a kilo. For that price, I could buy a pig and go snorting myself!

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