Monday 12 September 2011

bonjour Septembre!

With Steve's next assessment fast approaching, what better way to distract our minds than take a short break in France. So that's where we greeted the arrival of September, landing at Montpellier airport, hiring a car and heading off to the Camargue for lunch in the walled city of Aigue-Mortes en route for Saintes Marie de la Mare, our base for the first two nights of the holiday.


Saintes Marie de la Mer

In the morning of day 2, we set out for the Camargue national park in search of white horses, black bulls and pink flamingoes (but ended up finding them much closer to home!) However, we enjoyed watching the egrets fishing in the shallow etangs.

After lunch, we treated ourselves to a boat trip along the coast and up the Petit Rhone, for a different view of the area and more white horses.

Day 3, we moved on along to coast, stopping at Sete and Beziers to take the air, stretch our legs and have a bite to eat

By early evening, we had arrived at Caracassonne, our base for that night and the night after.  This was the view from our B & B, underneath the city walls!

We spent the next day exploring the old city, the castle and the city walls

Day 5 we headed inland to visit the Millau viaduct before arriving at the Mas du Chene in the Cevennes, where we stayed for two nights with our dear friends and wonderful hosts, Richard and Alison.

The next morning saw us pottering around the market at St Jean du Gard and the afternoon visiting the Bambouserie - an amazing plantation of bamboo and other exotic plants

After a fond farewell to Richard and Alison, we headed back Montpellier for lunch and a visit to the Redon exhibition before going on to the coast at Palavas-des-Flots, where we walked on the beach and finished our wine and nibbles on the hotel balcony watching the sea as the sun went down.

We were back in the UK by lunchtime on Thursday, out for a meal with friends to bid au revoir to Ruth, before she went back to the far east.  Thank you Em and Nick for a lovely spread!

After a quick turnaround on Friday, we were off again on Saturday to a family do to celebrate a special 70th birthday with my cousin, her husband and their family and friends, then on to stay the night with our friends, Keith and Glynis who live nearby.  Our short break away from home finished yesterday, with a wander around the delightful market town of Woodbridge in Suffolk.  Although tempted to stay longer, the thought of driving back today in high winds was not appealing, so we headed home in the early evening.  Many thanks Keith and Glynis for being excellent hosts, as always.

So much for the distraction of traveling! We now have to face up to Steve's next assessment on Thursday, which will determine how life will unfold over the next three months. My mood is saddened by the loss of another meso warrior, Julie Bastion (Jules) who died in Australia while we were away and whose funeral was today, on the beach. However, our friend in Kent, Mavis, is feeling more positive after being offered the possibility of taking part in a new drug trial closer to home which is good news!  I can see there will be lots to talk about when many mesothelioma patients and their carers gather in London in a few weeks time.  

Last but not, happy birthday for tomorrow, Jack!

P S Oh dear, the formatting of today's post has gone a bit awry. No matter - life's too short to worry about such minor imperfections!

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