We passed last week with not a lot of fanfare and a fair amount of rain.
Monday began with the departure of Ken to Paris by train in the rain and the clouds continued through the week.
We spent much of the week in clouds and catching up.
Marco had a bit of a tough go with less than stellar instructors which meant for a frustrating week.
The girls and I felt a bit under the weather and keep our heads down.
I mustered the energy to get through Elena's English class on Thursday, where we talked about money with the handmade versions I brought to play a bit of our own monopoly while the kids pretended to buy things from each other. Think they were more impressed with the various currencies I was able to bring in to share - Irish pounds, British pounds, US dollars and even a 2 dollar coin from Cuba. Sadly, as we've divested most of our Canadian currency, the most I could muster was 2 twoonies and some caribou quarters. Allowed for some discussion of animals on Canadian currency.
By Friday, we were feeling a bit down for the count. However, we hosted Marco's new climbing buddy, J-C (Jean-Christophe) for pizza and beer/wine, following their climb. Felt a bit like an old Friday night with friends over - a time I do sorely miss.
Saturday turn brighter, though cold for Toulouse (3 degrees) and the sun lighten our spirits along with heralding in of December, advent calendars, the opening of the traditional wooden hut Christmas market in the Capitole square and the beginning of the Christmas lights at night.
We did some wandering through the edges of the market, starting to get into the spirit and anticipating our coming visitors. We indulged in some holiday treats - churros and then aligote (think I've mentioned before about the best version of whipped potatoes and tomme cheese - mmmmm).
The season upon us, we picked up some carefully selected Christmas decorations and the girls went to town with the apartment while I sorted out a Christmas music playlist on my iphone. We're getting to it.
I also got to partake in a degustation de Champagne at my local Nicolas wine store - did my part and brought several bottles home too.
Sunday morning was my big anticipation. I'd been invited to meet with a Montreal wine association businessman who I'd met before in Toronto. His business is to help small wine producers, mostly in France and many in the south, to find importers to represent them in North America. My hope was that this could bring me some small work opportunities here.
I picked up my trusty Chevy Spark and drove the two and a half hours north west to Bordeaux in the varying levels of misty rain, fog, clouds and occassional breaks of sun. Lesson learned: Sunday morning radio in the south west of France sucks!! As there was a port for my iphone, I wished desperately I'd brought my USB cord. Oh well.
Made it to Bordeaux in time - sort of - as this isn't a great city for driving in as there seems to be one main route in, right along the left bank of the Gironde and sadly, everyone was driving along the quais with me. Adding to the fun was the fact that the city had decided to close many streets turning into the city from the quais on the first Sunday of every month to make it more pedestrian friendly.
With only 1 wrong turn when I finally got into centreville, I was only 10 minutes late.
Not to fear, as it turned out that I would spend an hour having lunch on my quiet own and then 2 hours sitting in his meetings with local Bordeaux vignerons. Very informative and very taxing on my English head as I tried to keep track of/keep up with several intense French conversations going on at the same time. It's been a very long time since someone has commented that I'm very quiet ! :)
The end left me with 10 minutes to discuss business - which seems like maybe all needed as it looks like there could be opportunity for me to adapt French winery marketing materials into English - yayy! Working through the details now so will update on this. Oh and also was presented with 2 bottles of lovely 2009 Graves Merlot/Cab Sauv from the sweet couple of a chateau who'd intended to send it along but realized that it wouldn't be possible to travel back to Montreal. So goes my good fortune.
We are now in grand anticipation as our holiday visitors are imminent.
And on that note, look for our holiday picture and greetings coming electronically this year and shortly.
The season is now - hold on for all the fun.
Hoping all is well with you as you rush into it to. Keep the spirit of peace and good tidings with you.
A la prochaine semaine,