Thursday 8th November
November has been absolutely delicious so far, with blue skies and warm sun throughout the day, and cold crisp mornings and evenings. Green leaves are still clinging on determinedly, if a little desperately, to the trees – reminiscent of late summer in the UK – and the vines are slowly turning red and russet, but still cocking a snoot at winter!

My poor diabetic Bisou is taking her daily injections like a man (No I lie! Far better than any man I know) although it has to be said that she has plenty of excess flab to accommodate the needle! However, she has once again blundered into this plant, (even the Oracle has so far been unable to identify) which is like metal particles to a magnet as soon as man or beast brushes by. Last year, I spent a full day picking these seed like spears off my trousers, which looked like I was trying to set a new fashion in furry leggings. This year, I have so far managed to avoid said alien phenomena but not so the Hairy One!

My computer has undergone several days of hospitalisation, which has turned out to be rather painful, bearing in mind that it has no Bupa policy or healthcare entitlement! It frazzled on me last week, in a disgraceful display of overacting whereby it convinced me that the whole house was burning down. In fact, it turned out to be the ‘carte mère’ (mother board) which has fried, explained to us by the para medics as they whisked it off in a helicopter towards emergency treatment. (Well, it’s my diary – I can exaggerate if I want to can’t I?) I have had problems with my e mails for several months now (totally unconnected to the carte mère apparently) and seem to be receiving two in three sent to me. Equally, my sent mails fail regularly to arrive at their destination, (but without me receiving a mail to say it hasn’t been delivered), so if you were expecting an email from me and haven’t received one, this could be why. I must come over as a slightly sad individual, when I email people and say “I just wondered if you have received my last email as you haven’t replied” Poor, sad Kate-no-mates

Friday 16th November
It’s rather confusing weather for choosing the morning fashion accessories at the moment – clear skies and a tad chilly in the morning and evening but very pleasant during the day in a warming sun, as long as you don’t step for too long into the shadows. The light and brightness is invigorating even when it’s cold – it’s a ‘fix’ that you really miss when you are in the UK. It used to feel like getting up in the dark, going to school in the dark, teaching all day in the dark, coming home in the dark….. When the sun was out, I could never appreciate it as I was stuck in a classroom and of course, if I remember rightly, it rarely shone in winter at the weekends!!!

And talking of the UK, I’m taking a hop, skip, jump back to Leeds this weekend to spend some time with my dear old Dad but ssssshhhhhhh……………… I’m not allowed to tell you in case it alerts burglars to my absence! The fact that my big burly husband, my rabid dog and my grungy, adolescent son will be waiting at home to receive any villains who may decide to turn up should actually deter any baddies. The husband’ grumpy, the dog’s stinky and the son is 15!!!! Need I say more? What a nightmare!

We went out for dinner with friends last Saturday. They wanted to try the Dali restaurant in Collioure which has been highly recommended by several people on the forum (a dirty word at the moment!) but Kate knows best. “No, no, no. We’ll take you into Spain to the bright lights and ‘chaleur’ of the Rosas seafront where we can sip cocktails under the stars and watch the sun go down over the Med, before sampling freshly prepared fish dishes lovingly constructed by Spanish master chefs” So that’s where we went. Unfortunately, Spain was closed! We managed to find the one seafront restaurant open where we ordered our cocktails from totally unsmiling, bored waiters who were definitely not happy to see us (gave us a bit of a giggle though – the more they wouldn’t smile, the more we did!!!) and followed it up in a ‘unatmospheric’, EMPTY ‘salle à manger’ without a star or a moonlight shimmer in sight. Luckily, it was compensated for by the company but next time I will try to keep my mouth shut and follow other people’s recommendations based on experience. I am such a flippin’ know-all! A highlight of the evening, I must say, was getting breathalysed on the way back through Le Perthus. We were the only car in sight (being as Spain was closed as already mentioned, or so it seemed) and were pulled up by about eight gendarmes. Olivier was delighted! At the féria last year, he went round the roundabout twice hoping to get a go on the nozzle but he wasn’t lucky! This time though…… result! (negative bien sur) He is no longer an alcootest virgin. They even allowed him to hang on to his nozzle (if you see what I mean!!) as a souvenir!

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