FOREWORD: Because I dislike blogs that give the impression that their keepers live in perfect little worlds I thought I should just mention the horrid half hour between the dancing and the piling into the car to head vers le pays Cathare. All week Matilda had been going on about castles, so I had been planning a weekend trip to the Château de Quéribus. But yesterday morning she decided that she didn't want to go to a castle, she wanted to go to the swimming pool. After three weeks of freezing weather during which it's been too cold and windy to do anything other than go and run off our energy up and down the supermarket aisles (fun times) I was not going to spend such a glorious sunny day inside. Matilda was not happy about this. Matilda had a frenzied, ugly tantrum which resulted in a grumpy Fanf. Tired after a week away from his home and family, he lost it (very rare for my Fanf) when Matilda went beserk. I then felt bad because I know that Fanf is tired and would probably rather stay at home, and started harumphing because I thought I had planned something nice for us to do as a family when in fact I had just succeeded in making everyone miserable and resentful because it was a bit of a drive, was beyond our budget and was obviously going to be a total disaster. Even O was channelling the ambiance of grump.
All that said, once we got in the car and set off to the happy tunes of the lovely Eric peace was regained and - warning - this turns into a "Look at me and my beautiful life" post.
We live very close to Cathar country but we have never made it to one of the castles. Matilda is very excited about castles at the moment and "grimping" (climbing) so a castle on a hill, with rocks, seemed eminently Matilda-friendly. We stopped first in the lovely little village of Cucugnan to eat some chocolate mousse (I imagine we probably had some kind of meal first) and visit the beautifully restored seventeenth-century windmill.
Then we went up to the castle.
I do not have superlatives to describe how glorious it was. There was no one else there for most of our visit, and you know how much I love a bit of no one. The views were stunning. I wish I could capture the feelings of space on camera or waft you a breath of clean fresh air. Having reached the very top of the castle we just hung around eating liquorice allsorts because we didn't want to descend back to the constant hum of life. When I asked Matilda what she could hear she said "Mes oreilles" (my ears) which seemed about right. Both Matilda and Owen loved "grimping" about the castle. So many stairs, so many dark little rooms, and I like to think that their excitement was partly because they could sense over a thousand years of history anchored in the stone.
They were both so good. All day. Fresh air and fun. It's not rocket science. And this evening they were allowed a well-earned apéritif.
Of course after an hour and a half's kip in the car on the way home we had a bugger of a job getting them to bed but you have to take the rough with the smooth, right?