Yep, finally we're into the other half of our lives - the B&B is closed for the off-season. One of the most frequent questions we're asked (along with "Is Kit really a labrador?") is how we spend our winters. Follow us through until the end of April and you'll see.
So far the best thing we've done is to move bank accounts - yippee! We've left Cretin Agricole at last. Having had enough of battling with the indifferent bunch in the Roujan branch (open four mornings a week for banking, but much longer if you want one of their 'products') we went to the Pezenas branch to ask how we should deal with six unauthorised payments online from our account. The gum-chewing teenager who told me I should not be using a credit card on the internet (give me strength) could not have been more confidence-draining. However, the final straw came when, after (my suggestion) cancelling my card, a further two payments were made using it.
Now we are with a bank which our friend Suzelle, who works there, says is well-managed and humane. It's only taken five hours over two days, and a great deal of talking to open three accounts. This is France, after all. We were recognised with beaming greetings on our second visit, unlike at CA where I could have walked in naked for the past six years and they still wouldn't have wasted a smile. Wish us luck.
Our other wonderful thing is that, inspired by a raft of guests who were great walkers, we've decided to explore bits of the Languedoc we don't know, i.e. nearly all of it - on foot. The wonderful Decathlon , seller of sports equipment for the masses at good prices, has kitted us out fantastically well. So, with our lunch, water, collapsible dog bowl, map, outer jackets, guide book, mobile phone, camera and (I kid you not) torch, all tucked in to our new backpacks, we set out yesterday.
Walk number one comes from a great book called l'Herault à pied . 6kms, just over 2 hours and a bit of a climb in the middle took us along the River Orb, past a pretty pre-Roman chapel, up a steepish climb (glad we had the new fold-down walker's sticks), through a long dark tunnel (glad we had the torch), along an old railway line where we stopped for lunch under five spots of rain (glad we had the jackets) before a descent back down to the Campotel car park where we'd left the car. I haven't been happier this year and the dogs were in seventh heaven. If you come to stay next year we'll have the walk available on paper for you.