Tuesday 28th September

Arrrgggghhhhh ! I know. September is nearly over! I think aliens must have frozen my head into a time warp which forced it to nod up and down sagely every day and say (in a mechanical Dalek type voice) “I will write up my diary tomorrow”, “I will write up my diary tomorrow”…… Never mind. Tomorrow has finally come.
September is just my absolute favourite month of the year – and this one hasn’t let me down at all. Warm dry days, cooler nights so we have actually been able to put the quilt back on which is so huggy, quiet roads and a total slow down in pace from the summer season.
A couple of days of rain but not enough to stop us doing anything or going anywhere.
We’ve had a few days at the boat, a little bit of snorkelling, tho ‘la mer’ is getting a bit chilly now for softies, and I didn’t have friend Merry to check out the local sea monster situation. There could have been a big bad shark just under the water waiting to get its teeth into a tasty morsel of Kate…. so I think I might wait until next year for my next ‘grand bleu’ experience.
However, it didn’t stop us mooring up in a little cove between Paulilles and Port Vendres, and watching the bright silver fish darting and flashing to and fro in their watery kingdom like tinsel floating on the wind, and the cliffs around us alive with gulls, listening to the waves lapping gently against the side of the boat….. total chillsville (sooooo 60s but its my diary so I can use silly words if I want!)

We took Dad for a wander around Port Vendres in our never ending quest to keep him entertained! Fascinating to see the fishermen arrive with their catch and watch as they reel in the nets and the fish goes straight into the market booths for sale – you can’t get fresher than that methinks.

We finally made it to the new (opened last year I think!) wine bar, Can Vicens, in Saint Jean Pla de Corts and had a lovely evening. It’s an old wine cellar, where that excellent restaurant ‘Les Feuillants’ in Céret used to store its wine before it closed. It has been really tastefully converted, retaining all the original features, with low, vaulted ceilings and cayrou stone walls, immaculately clean and very comfortable, with cushty leather arm chairs and settees clustered around low tables. Family run, the service is friendly and discrete and even Olivier liked it, which says a lot as he is such a bear!
There is no proper kitchen, so they only do tapas, but as you can see from the selection that we had, it was all very nice – beautifully presented and very good quality. Sometimes, it is enough to have substantial nibbles, decent wine and good company, without bothering with a restaurant.

Yesterday we headed off for one of our favourite walks, up in the hills behind the casino at Le Boulou. There are whole warrens of superb walks for every level, taking you to the top of the world (or so it feels) We parked in the Thermes car park and headed upwards – a stiff climb for the first thirty minutes but so worth it for the views.

The only thing to spoil a perfect day, superb weather, and 800 calories spent (according to my watch) is that we can no longer take our precious Royal Hairiness with us, as she isn’t well enough to walk that far. Walks feel as if there is something missing. I look down at my feet and see no shadow, where she used to bounce along on my heels, and feel that we are betraying her, neglecting her, leaving her alone in the house.

Spent the 800 calories as soon as we got home on excessive cuddles for Bisou, two beers and half a bottle of wine. Account emptied. Bums!

Wednesday 29th
To make up for my absence through most of September, I thought I might make this into a Twitter, and just bung in an occasional sentence here and there, but more often. After all, Olivier says that I am always twittering on so might as well make it official!
Another beautiful day today – not a cloud in the wedgewood blue sky, and the morning Canigou a pink ethereal fairy tale, as the sun rose behind it. Impossible to start the day grumpy with a view like that, even if you are the mother of a teenage son!

Very upset today to see a Praying Mantis pounce on a cricket and start nibbling. The poor cricket was well and truly bowled out (not funny really I know, as I hate to see life taken like that, but it’s very hard to keep quiet on the cricket joke front, even if I am a bit stumped)
There were loads of them all over the place, up behind the casino in Le Boulou on Sunday. I never realised what vicious little villains they are. I never knew they were carnivorous. It seems that they stay motionless on a leaf or stem, heavily camouflaged as a green Praying Mantis, and grab innocent victims (beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, small frogs, lizards, mice, other Praying Mantises) out for a relaxing Sunday stroll with their front legs, bite off the head and nosh the lot. Nasty little varmints! And they look very sneaky too.

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