September 3rd, 2019


So, post gas inspection and post finding out that travel was pretty much buggered each way, we set off in the car for Stansted. Blessedly short queues for the time of year. Easy flight, and a magnificent sunset to arrive to, short hop in an Uber to the hotel, et voila!

The Novotel is right next to the lovely Jardin Japonais. Not right in the centre, but Toulouse is a small town and we were close to bus stops, tram and metro stops and city bikes, and the area had lots of shops, bars and restaurants. The room was large, with a super-sized bed, sofa, free mini bar and an outdoor terrace the size of the room again. Separate loo, no bath though. £270 for 3 nights with a rather delicious breakfast, that doubled for lunch all 3 days, at staff rate, which was about half price, so happy with that.

Saturday morning we were up n at it early as the temperature was due to hit 34 in the afternoon. After a walk round the Japanese Gardens, small, but perfectly formed, we headed for the March aux Puces, via the cathedral, which was stunning, both inside and out. Himself naughty at the confessional. The flea market was buzzing, and really tons to see. Rod brought some vintage fetish books, a vintage cycling book, which had Tour de France newspapers from 1955 inside, a real treasure! And then his coup, 2 Campagnolo wheels for 3 euros the pair. I found a bag of fancy dress stuff by the bins, which he was delighted with. A good rummaging day! Almost 13 kms walked, my knee wasn’t overly delighted, but it held up! Plus some pool n tan time when we’d finished walking, all good! A lovely day.

Dinner at Mon Canard, which wasn’t where we were heading, but the food was good. Duck, as you would imagine. Chairs very uncomfortable though! Super aware of how much fois gras the French consume, yuk!
Himself not up for doing much Saturday night, so we sat on the terrace with our cheap Carrefour wine and enjoyed the balmy evening. Him naked, until the woman from the apartment above looked out!

Sunday was biking day. You get free half hours on the city bikes, which is cool. Canal du Midi. Two more cathedrals, some ancient alleys, modern shops, the gorgeous Jardin des Plantes, a whizz along the River Garonne, Pont Neuf, Espace EDF Bazacle and pretty much whatever took our fancy. A picnic lunch outside the Cathedral. There was also a Sunday market where the Saturday market was, however it was more artisan. I fell in love with a black baby pig who was being raffled off! Afterwards we found a little vintage Aladdin's cave, chock-full of treasure. 10kms walking and I guess 3+ hours on the bikes, so not bad going at all.

In the evening our Googled plans didn’t work out. We ended up in the lovely courtyard restaurant of the Crowne Plaza, but left when we didn’t get served. Defying all the odds, we ended up in an open air restaurant at Capitole. Now, usually, I’d say NEVE eat in such a touristy area, but the food was delicious, Rod seriously tucked in to his moules, and I loved my steak, the wine was good and drinkable, the service was good and the bill reasonable. So a complete win! Fantastic.

Against my better judgement, we pedalled off again to a gay bear bar. It was nice enough, but not exactly buzzing at 11pm on a Sunday. I did like the actual teddy bears all around the bar, and the fact that they brought sweeties round! Un peau of a fall out as himself decided (as in told me rather than ask me) that he was going to the dark rooms. I was fine, sat by myself with a glass of wine and my phone, not really an issue, but he was using his phone. I had already asked him more than once not to keep replying to Kate, I think that’s only fair. I don’t do it. He told me he hadn’t, which was fine with me. Outside, I wanted to get an Uber as we were quite a way from the hotel, it was dark and we’d been drinking since late afternoon. He just exploded, and said I didn’t believe him. I said I did. Now, TBH he lies pointlessly quite a lot, to anybody and everybody, that I’m not really sure how he expects to be believed, as he does it out of habit and when there’s no necessity. The boy cries wolf. It wasn’t that big an issue to me, but I did want to get an Uber back, at my own expense because it was midnight, dark, we’d had a lot to drink, my knee was painful and I thought it a lot safer than cycling. Fair enough? Not to Rod. I got a barrage of name calling, and he just marched off. Left me on the street outside the bar. Ok, I think, and call an Uber. Minutes later he barrels along on a bike demanding I cancel the car and get on a bike. So I had an unpleasant ride home on a bike, adding to the knee pain, which was pretty severe by this time. Back at the hotel, he decided to sit up watching the Vuelta. No apology for his bizarre outbursts.

Monday was another lovely, sunny day. The morning was taken up with packing and him trying to find ways to get the wheels home without paying extra. The afternoon we spent lying in the gorgeous sunshine around the pool and then in the park. Mozzie bites, arghhhhhh. Evening we went to a local Thai restaurant, which was very fresh and tasty. And then back to the airport and luckily, a tad under the 20 kilo allowance with the bike wheels strapped on to my case. No wine n cheese for me to bring home this visit, the weight was a close call, so maybe next time! A TdF/Toulouse visit a possibility next year. Toulouse has a lot to offer, and I like the lifestyle as well as the climate. All things being well, my French will have improved too. He haw he haw. Would like to ride out for a day along either of the canals of the river. They are very pretty.

Whilst away, I had a letter from my Pain Management consultant saying how well I’d done with my DIY physio and gym efforts, and recommending me for further pro physio. You might think no point if you’re going to get called a cripple in spite of walking and bike riding for several hours a day. And not just with back issues and osteoarthritis, but also 2 large and weeping burns on my right foot! I thought I’d done well. I don’t give a flying fuck what anybody who isn’t qualified thinks. Their medical opinions carry as much weight as their medical qualifications. Name calling is for children. And as the Art of Not Giving a Fuck apparently advises, it’s important NOT to be an arsehole, so perhaps that book needs to be re-read as that part seems to have been missed.

I also got my Lean Management qualification in the post. The funding arrived for my Business Administration course, so I’ll start that this week. I’m passionate about learning and continual improving. Never too old!

Back on my personal regime, which I also have a passion for. Onwards and upwards, albeit in walking sandals until the burns have healed. Curse those dumplings!

But first Batman, to the washing machine!