Saturday, 22 August 2015


This morning we headed to the railway station in Toulouse to take a train to Castres, the little town in the Tarn where I spent a year as Assistante de Langue Anglais at a secondary school.

The train was considerably more plush than those I remember from 1976/77 (unsurprisingly) but the countryside and many of the railway buildings had changed very little..

It is hard to see but this is a field of sunflowers.

Once in Castres we took a free bus which dropped us close to the school where I worked.  It was always a rather forbidding place and it really hadn't changed..

We walked into the historic centre of Castres which had of course changed very little -  just a few photos ..

We also walked out along the Avenue Charles de Gaulle to the house where I lodged when I first arrived..

And the house where I later had a little studio flat..

As well as a cafe where I used to meet friends..

It was a strange experience to see how little many of the buildings had changed.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Rolling back the years..

Well this place has changed and grown a little since I was last here - which may not be surprising as it was 1977!

David coping well so far with my invasion of his territory!!

Just a few pics of our afternoon and evening in Toulouse..

Our hotel is near the airport and very modern.  In the internal courtyard though there are mature vines and olive trees.

There is a recently completed tramway which links the airport with the centre of Toulouse and the metro system.  Very slick!

We took the metro to the centre and this lovely carousel is in Place Wilson..

As is the fountain.  Although after 5pm by this time it was very sunny and the water looked tempting.

We found a shady street for a cafe stop to watch the world go by.

And to refresh.,

Around the corner this pigeon had to lean deep into the pool of a fountain to get his refreshment..

I love the old stonework and doors in the historic areas of French towns and cities and would love to see behind the doors into cobbled courtyards..

This rather interesting road sign was just off one of the main streets.  Haven't yet found out exactly what it means..  Not what you might think!  All the street names are now shown in both French and in Catalan, the regional language of the south - Langue d'Oc.

In the Place de la Capitole - a 5 acre space in front of the Mairie, the market was just packing up.

The Capitole, as well as being the administrative centre for the Mayor and Council also houses some very ornate rooms with large and original paintings.  They will be the subject of a post on another day.

At 7pm it was still on the warm side..

Excuse for another stop - this time on the shady side of the square facing the Capitole building.

As well as water and Orangina we decided to prepare for dinner with a local speciality - Kir Toulousain - which is a bit like the Kir made with white wine and cassis but with the subtle difference that it is white wine and violet liqueur!  Violets being a speciality of the region..

At 8pm we headed for a boat on the Canal du Midi where we were to have dinner.

An interesting experience - 9kms out and back so much of it through the suburbs and local environs of Toulouse but interesting.

A little warm on the boat but a good experience and dinner, interesting to see all the different types of barges and houseboats on the canal.  Very few narrow boats in the English style, perhaps because the canals are much wider here?

A good day, strange to be in France again and my spoken French needs brushing up!!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

In an English village

Out for a very pleasant dinner this evening with Maggie, Brian, Kate and friends at a lovely old country pub - the Carpenter's Arms at Stanton Wick.

Along the road on the village green is what must be one of the smallest libraries ever created - in a disused red telephone box.  Ingenious..

Some quite good titles, if a little faded - and only a few dead spiders in there!