the smell of the city

City streets have a certain smell to them when there is a hot day in prospect. This is very much the case in Toulouse as I wandered out this morning for some bread and milk. On the way back I passed a bloke in a beret. Youngish guy. Berets obviously still very much a tradition in France.

At the Rugby World Cup village yesterday someone noted you could buy a rugby beret with flags of all participating nations. Thirty Euros. Norrachance sez I. My recent experience with berets is that they only have a shelf life of around three hours after which they get left in a bar or a taxi.

We had a fairly relaxing morning yesterday sipping coffee on our rooftop terrace before heading out to meet the gang. It was a hot afternoon with the temperature in the mid thirties and the heat did take its toll. 

Sometime just before four in the afternoon we found a place for ‘lunch’. I had a chicken kebab with curry sauce and chips and a bottle of san pellegrino. Ok. Too early to start on the pop though some of our party disagreed with me. Lunch was a reasonable thirty euros per person inc tip. We all had a pud. Lemon meringue pie for moi and un cafe.

By five o’clock we were in a bar called Pub O’Clock which is where we stayed for the rest of the evening. Caught the last quarter of Ireland’s hammering of Romania and watched Australia beat Georgia followed by a quite boring England win against Argentina despite being down to fourteen men for most of the game. The pub was within a staggering distance of our pad so we were home before the others had even thought about getting a taxi.

Today is our last in Toulouse. We have a bit more sightseeing to do and are meeting our friend Natalia and her kids for lunch whilst the others go and watch Japan v Chile. Mighty Wales are playing Fiji this evening following Scotland v Springboks.

In between all that we need to pack for the next leg of the trip. This includes Carcassonne, Avignon, Aix en Provence and Cassis before settling in Nice for a week. We have a system. Large bags to carry most of our clothes and carry-on size bags for one nighters in hotels to avoid having to cart everything in and out. I’ve had to identify height friendly car parks in both Avignon and Aix as those cities have the same problem as here in Toulouse. A minor problem but one we could have done without.

At ten fifteen this morning the cathedral bells began calling the faithful to mass. Actually there are multiple church bells ringing out. Same scene for hundreds of years. THG is recording them, presumably so that on Sundays at home we can replicate the experience. Can’t say I hear the bells in Lincoln ringing. Maybe I’ve got used to them and my brain filters out the sound.

Back at the flat healthily tired. The Toulousain metro system was a revelation and very useful. Quicker to get home than a taxi without the uncertainty of when we would be able to book an uber. 

Dinner consumed, dishwasher on and waiting for mighty Wales v Fiji to appear on French telly. The French coverage hasn’t thus far had the most inspiring commentary. This is partly because I can’t be bothered to attempt to understand it and partly because the tonality of the voice is v boring. The legend of Bill McLaren continues to grow.

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