1 Sept 2007

Family Bits

Last week, the plumbing in the house was really put to the test. My son Paul and his girlfriend Hunna arrived for a week’s holiday and with Nic and the kids, there were 8 in the house. And yes the plumbing held up, there were no problems all getting showered (the downstairs shower is now up and running) and this place is big enough to have that many people. A good test for when I finally rent this place out. Mind you, it was a bit of a jolt when it came to doing the laundry to realise the volume of washing that a crowd of people generates. I will have to get a tonne of extra bed linen and towels for what will sometimes be weekly turnovers in the high season.
Paul and Hunna flew into Paris and spent two days travelling down, calling into Cognac on the way. They left yesterday to go via Millau to see the amazing bridge, and then head east to get a look at some of the Alps country, before flying out of Paris back to Perth. It’s been fabulous having all the family here, but suddenly yesterday it was back to earth with a thud, and sadly the place is now very quiet again.
We realised it was February 2004 since we last had a ‘family reunion’ – difficult when we’re scattered all over the place. Steve and I had visited Nic in Canada on the Sunshine Coast, and Paul had some R&R from his job in Iraq and joined us there. So it’s been a while – we figured we’d try to do it again in a couple of years, hopefully this time in Australia.
I’ve just looked at all the photos I’ve selected for this posting, and realised there’s an awful lot of them!
So, here’s Hunna and Paul at the lovely village of Minerve:

They had a few drinks in a bar down in Gruissan and were fascinated by a strange dog who took a liking to them – and here he is … a face only a mother could love.

I had another BBQ with a few friends around to meet the family. Paul was in charge of getting the bbq going, this time out in the barn because of the smoke problems in the summer kitchen. It was nearly ‘Coal-Fired Barbie’ No. 2…… I went out to check on things, and realised he’d made the same mistake we had before – used the compressed coal that I’d left in a bucket near the charcoal! However, it had hardly caught – as it is difficult to get going!! - so we managed to drag it out, douse it with water and start again with charcoal.
A good time was had by all –
- and of course no good bbq should be without Illyette’s now-famous blue champagne appero!
And speaking of blue champagne, Morgan and Laurence were allowed just a small taste of it – to them, it looked just SO good.
So far, so good –

- and then the realisation of just what

we adults have to put up with ……
So, some other things we did while they were here:
A trip to the Combebelle goat cheese farm, arriving at 5pm to see them milked.

Another day we picked peaches at a pick-your-own farm a few kilometres down the road. I’ve never seen so many peaches on trees – and there were so many on the ground, it just seemed such a waste. We only intended to get a couple of kilos, but we had two huge buckets and before we knew it, both were half full. So, apart from eating many of them fresh, we found a good recipe for dessert and served a whole lot up at the bbq.

And of course with the river pool a 2 minute stroll away, there was much fun on the water, netting little fish, playing on the tubes and paddling in an inflatable boat I’ve inherited from a friend (left to her by her recent house guests).

I even had a go in the boat and took both Sage and Indigo for a paddle upstream.It was all going very well until it came time to disembark in the shallows. To say it was a little difficult is an understatement, not made any easier by Nic howling with laughter and taking photos of me struggling, and having to ask for help. Think 50+, carrying more than a few extra kilos, and trying to get out of a beanbag.

And an update on the kids’ favourite village cat, who they have named Charlie. He continues to hang around my garage door and come in at every opportunity. If I were to like cats, I’d probably like this one – he is so brazen. Not even in the slightest bit phased when I show him the straw broom and threaten to swoosh him out with it. So basically, if the garage door is open for any length of time for whatever reason, I now have a four-legged companion.
However, he’s not a stray. I met his owner the other day – I was watering the window boxes out the front with ‘Charlie’ at my feet and she stopped her car and talked to him. He ignored her.
I got flustered and said to her: “Votre chien?” (Your dog?) Obviously this threw her, because after a moment, she said ‘Oui’. We had a short conversation and she assured me he was very friendly, and good with kids! There was more, but I didn’t get it all … but I think the gist of it was that he’s a bit of a wanderer.
During Paul’s stay here, he parked his hire car directly outside the lounge room window, and the cat took to sitting on the roof, night after night, looking in. This the kids thought was hilarious – he sure is persistent. If he didn’t have an owner, I reckon I may have ended up with him.

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