Monday, 17 March 2008
We are a mere hour from the Mediterranean coast so yesterday we decided to pack up a picnic and head on down for some sea air. As it was the occasion of His Lordships birthday I knocked up a Victoria sponge, still warm and filled with morello cherry jam we set off for our days jaunt.
We headed for Gruissan, a small seaside town beside Narbonne with its magnificent cathedral still only half built after 800 years and dominating the skyline. Ever one to explore an unmarked road we found ourselves on the edge of the lagoon where there was an impressive display of wildlife. Flamingo's somehow managing to stay asleep on one leg despite being buffeted by the wind. A couple of Terns hopped about while overhead Kites quartered the marshland perhaps looking for gull chicks or some other tasty morsel. We found a peaceful spot for lunch, a vineyard set amongst rocky outcrops covered in early spring flowers. Miniature narcissi, orchids, wild tyme and rue and Mediterranean pines, just flowering giving off clouds of pollen made this a perfect place for our al fresco picnic.
Suddenly above our heads a great raft of Storks appeared heading north from Africa to their nesting grounds, maybe as far as Germany or Lithuania. His Lordship got very excited whilst I did my utmost to photograph them as they soared gracefully overhead. It was quite the most amazing spectacle and if you had all the money in the world you could not have arranged a more spontaneous birthday present.
In the evening we dined on oysters, whelks and supped black velvet made with Guinness and Blanquette de Limoux and partied enthusiastically with friends.
Because, I'll let you into a little secret, we're having a joint birthday celebration and I can't think of a more perfect venue for a party.