Every now and then I like to create a mishmash blog post. These tend to be a hotchpotch of random thoughts and photos.

This month we returned from France. I am so pleased that we were able to visit our house after all this time and to reconnect with many of the lovely friends we have in Castelnaudary, as well as meeting some new ones.

We are blessed with many trees in our French garden and I have always been fascinated by the cones on this fir tree which are completely different to the traditional ones on our other trees. They always look more attractive while still attached to the tree. When they fall to the ground, they tend to disintegrate on landing! I must remember to ask our friend who is a tree surgeon and has already done some work on our trees, if he can identify this specimen.

I’m fascinated by houses, doors and windows wherever we travel and I was quite surprised that I hadn’t spotted this Castelnaudary property previously. I’m not sure exactly what it is that I find so pleasing about this house. It’s definitely quirky! Perhaps it’s the rounded shape of the windows and doors? Or possibly the iron work of the balcony?

This is the building almost directly opposite. I’m still enchanted with the intricacy of the façade. Maybe that’s why I’ve never really noticed the quirky house before.

When we eventually returned to France, I was surprised to see a self-service, automatic, pizza vending machine. What? This isn’t the only one in Castelnaudary, either. I know that baguette vending machines are not uncommon, although I have never seen or used one, but I was taken aback by this pizza version. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a huge pizza fan?

I spotted this red wine in one of our local supermarkets. (If you’re easily offended by ‘bad’ language you may not want to read the next sentence.) Le vin de merde, literally means ‘shit wine’. The label is also decorated with a blue bottle fly and states: ‘Le Pire… cache le meilleur’ meaning ‘the worst hides the best’. This is clever marketing because I nearly bought some, just to see if it was as bad as it sounded but at over 10 euros a bottle, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Reviews that I have read of this wine suggest that I made a sensible decision.

Fibre was installed in our house in Castelnaudary during our stay which promised faster internet access. Unfortunately, the installation didn’t go as smoothly as planned and resulted in an enforced digital detox as we had no internet, landline or TV for over a week – first world problem! On reflection, I’m sure this was beneficial for us as we read more, played backgammon and went to bed earlier. Generally, we spend less time in front of screens and more time outdoors when in France, so it wasn’t too great a hardship!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I couldn’t write a mishmash without including Zeph! It was quite an experience travelling to Europe, with a dog, post Brexit, but Zeph coped very well. He’s looking tired but happy on his return to the UK.

We’ve discovered a new venue for dog walking, particularly with our Border Collie friends, since we came back. It’s a disused golf course which has a public footpath running through it. There are also several lakes, of varying sizes, which are perfect for cooling off. Zeph can swim but has lost his confidence since jumping into the Canal du Midi and then being unable to climb out unaided. The result is that he is reluctant to go out of his depth. I wonder what he might be thinking in the photo below?

I hope you have enjoyed my random ramblings and thanks for reading!