18 Sep 2007

Aussie Invasion

… and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I’ve just had Enid and Tony Mercer and their friends Jan and John Ducat (from Perth) here for nearly a week. And before the month is out, there will be five more!
They came via Bulgaria where they were staying with Tony's sister, my old friend Sue (An Aussie in Bulgaria), picked up a hire car in Nice and made their way over to these parts. They did a day trip to Carcassonne and I went with them on some other excursions. They wanted to see the Millau Viaduct, and that’s somewhere I was keen to visit too.
So, a day trip to Millau to see the magnificent structure. The photos just can’t do the bridge or the surrounding canyons justice. It was a little bit hazy on the day, but the scenery was truly something else.
We’d planned our return route as a big loop, taking in Roquefort, as there were some serious cheese-lovers in the group. We did the tour through the caves where the cheese acquires its famous mould and undergoes the ripening process, but were unprepared for the temperature. We should have guessed when we queued up for the 50 minute tour and noted that most people were rugged up in fleeces. The temperature is about 8 Celsius, and we were nicely chilled by the end of it.
And then home via the Black Mountains - a beautiful drive that stunned everyone. John reckons it's the best drive he's ever done!
Another day out was a large vide grenier (boot sale) at Le Someil on the Canal du Midi, about 5 kilometres from here.
There were lots of interesting pieces – I came away with a set of 6 pretty dinner plates. And here are some other bits I wasn’t tempted to buy …
Something [porcine] to hang your hat on perhaps?
An old fashioned treddly –
Self-explanatory –
– but very funny when the vendor insisted on giving us a demonstration.

A colourful Citroen 2CV:
An added bonus of my latest guests was that Tony liked to ‘fix things’. And the pump in the courtyard was something he was determined to get fixed. And so apart it came, sandpaper to rub down the inside was purchased and he set to work. He decided that it needed a washer, and this is where a pair of scissors and an industrial rubber glove the previous owner had left behind came in very handy.
And voila! we have mineral water on tap! The first few litres were decided discoloured and contained bits of rust, but the more we pumped the clearer it became. It certainly tastes like mineral water, with just a little bit of ‘fizz’ to it. But before I take to drinking much more of it, I must take it to the pharmacy to be tested. I don’t want this pump / spring to make the local newspaper again for all the wrong reasons.
It was Jan’s birthday while they were here – celebrated with a dinner of Duck Confit followed by an icecream cake.
A nice night out at the L’Appaloosa restaurant in Bize – as the Australian Meat Board advertising campaign used to say – “Feed the Man Meat!”
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