My dear friend Muddyboots had bravely volunteered to fly over and assist with the unpacking and opening of bottles of wine endevouring to have lots of fun along the way. I'm rather ashamed to say that I had never really played the tourist at all. Amid exploring the fascinating contents of the attic, which is a story in itself and one that I shall divulge at a later date, we joined the throng in the Saturday market and later hit Les Halles where there is a lively tapas bar with the permanant air of a party. Feeling in need of a reviving walk later I succesfully managed to steer her past the frighteningly high gaudy Big Wheel in Place Gambetta where the smell of churros mingled with the squeals of small children on Papa Noels train. We headed out over the Pont Vieux (the old bridge) which links the town to La Cité. The River Aude flowed steadily and prettily teeming with fish, the ramparts of the castle rising majestically to inspire us as I began to feel rather pleased that life had landed me in this handsome and historical spot. Deserted of tourists it was completely magical, frosted Christmas trees decked the drawbridge entrance and we sat and savoured the last of the afternoon sun nursing a cup of hot Suchard chocolate. I became an instant 'camera bore' clicking away merrily thinking to myself what a goldmine of opportunities lay placed on my doorstep with Muddyboots extolling the virtues of weekend holidays. With my head swirling with Farrow and Ball colours for the apartment I was now being told to plan ahead for my new website.
Bounding now, rather than the initial staggering up the awesome staircase we were greeted by both good and bad news. The ancient heavy cast iron radiators were heaving out heat, the open fire drew like a dream and we had the key to the cellar, free to explore at last dozens of dusty intrigueing looking bottles.
But oh dear, 'Mr Man' or should we say 'Monsieur Homme' for surely that sounds far more alluring for the sleekest most amiable jet black character cat you could ever wish to meet, complete with a dandy red leather collar don't you know, had completely gone missing.