Excess baggage

Sometimes it’s nice to spend a few hours talking about the Sprogs rather than with them …. And so Husband and I passed a pleasant evening together at a fancy hotel restaurant down the road from our holiday house. Husband’s best friend, who’s been sharing the house and his truculent two-year-old with us for the week, agreed to babysit for the night. The plummeting Aussie dollar took a bit of the gloss off the 39 euro set menu and 30 euro bottle of wine we ordered, but didn’t stop us accepting “apertifs” (11 euros a pop and a yummy mix of the local sparkling wine with orange liqueur) when the waitress thoughtfully suggested them. I had been planning on curtailing my holiday drinking, I even examined the half-bottle offerings on the wine list, but Husband wanted to go all out on our only dinner of the holiday sans Sprogs. Trouble is I’ve woken up with the wine blues. Inevitable after consuming the better part of a bottle a day for two straight weeks. Add to that the carb blues (I’ve abandoned all self-control in the face of endless fresh baguettes and developed RSI in my jaw from crust chewing), the dodgy wi-fi blues and the it’s-our-last-day-at-the-holiday-house-so-we-have-to-clean-the-bloody-thing-up blues and you get one bleak camper. Maybe if the miserable dog chained 24/7 to the tree outside our window hadn’t started barking at 6am I’d have had a more balanced start to the day … Ah well, things are bound to look up when we go wine tasting this afternoon in the romantic sounding Minervois region (so much for beating those alcohol blues). I’ve also been gunning for lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant glowingly mentioned in the Lonely Planet (mains from just 8 euros!) … But something tells me the truculent two-year-old won’t be up for it. Little people have other priorities in life. We farewelled our other two sproggy holiday companions yesterday, who’d joined us from England. When asked what their favourite part of the trip was, they chose mucking around on the lakeside beach for a few hours. Not climbing to remote, wind-swept Cathar ruins, exploring the dazzlingly reinvented castle at Carcassone or wandering around Lagrasse, officially recognized as one of the prettiest towns in France. I’d hazard a guess that their second highlight was squirting each other with water guns in the ice-cold pool in the backyard. It’s funny the things you travel halfway around the world to experience.
LAST NIGHT’S MENU: cold terrine thingies to start (veal for Husband, pike for me), followed by roast duck breast in a poetically described “poultry liver juice” (me, tastier than it sounds, honestly) and bass in orange sauce (him). Dessert was Catalan crema (close relation to creme brûlée, him), Grand Marnier soufflé (me)

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