Now I know many of you will wonder so I shall explain the meaning of this blog’s title. As everyone knows, we all like to use idioms in our colloquial language (day to day expressions) for those who care little for the technical terms. For example in English there is the phrase: ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’. To any foreigner this must sound bizarre; I myself don’t fully understand the origin of this saying however I suppose that’s part of the nature of idioms…to sum up something in a manner where everyone knows what you mean…without necessarily understanding the exact meaning of what you’ve said. Same thing goes for other languages; I do not mean that the French say ‘il pleut les chats et les chiens’ in fact if you said that to someone here I doubt very much that you’d get any response other than a look of bewilderment. No, actually they are far more charming and say ‘il pleut des grenouilles’ or ‘il pleut comme vache qui pisse’ (it’s raining frogs/like a pissing cow) I told you, bunch of charmers aren’t they? Anyway, the particular idiom I have chosen for my title is ‘aux petits oignons’ literally ‘pickled onions’ so as a literal translation my title reads: ‘Two Weeks of Pickled Onions’ what I mean in plain English is that I had a really good two weeks; practically perfect in fact.
Another bout of birthday celebrations was the first order of business. The lovely Mr Joe Perry turned 22 and what can I say? The antics of the night had such a profound effect on him that his body and mind would enjoy them all the way through to the evening of the next day…hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’d say we all had a pretty epic night out!
Once everybody who was affected by the infamous substance known as alcohol, had recovered, we decided it was time for another vitalising cultural experience in the form of a day trip to the beautiful city of Foix.
Situated close to the borders of Spain and Andorra, it is one of the most beautiful places I have explored yet, if not the city itself then the stunning views that it offers from the top of the castle. We were fortunate enough to have picked the one clear day in the week for our trip and this meant that we had perfect views of the Pyrenees Mountains and what seemed like the entire Ariège River Valley. It really was a sight to behold even if there were large gaps between the walls and where we were standing consequently leading to vertigo for some in our group and rather non-PC jokes about what or who could fall through said gaps…but that is all I shall say on that matter. Although I managed to fit my leg through up to my thigh! What can I say? I like heights.
Given that this was to be a cultural trip, it seemed only fitting that I ate a proper cultural lunch…can’t get more French than escargots right?! Snails are actually rather yummy, rather like chewy garlic mushrooms…though they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing things as I found out (I would NOT look at these little suckers while you still have some left to eat)! However that was all washed down later with a lovely hot chocolate and the most beautiful slice of apple and blueberry pie! Seriously that dessert was a creation of some Food God somewhere! If anyone’s in Foix at any point, definitely check out ‘Croustades’ It’s a divine little tea room and the owners were so lovely and accommodating…and English which did help with such a big group of us and communicating the moving of all the tables. It just goes to show that you can end up finding some absolute gems when you don’t expect to. I mean, we were just walking along chatting, trying to find somewhere nice for a hot drink and this man asked if we were English, saying it was rare to find such a big group of English speakers, he then noticed Joe by the door of the tea room and said ‘oh, that’s my tea room’…fate at its best there ladies and gents!
Now for the mahoosive highlight of my last two weeks: I got to enjoy week in the UK!!! I do love it in Toulouse do not get me wrong but there’s only so much time and distance you can put between a girl and her best friends and boyfriend before she starts to feel like she’s lost a limb…it’s like forgetting your phone when you go out or not putting on a piece of jewellery that you wear every day. But I got a very early bus and arrived at the airport 2 hours in advance I was that excited! Ok I was planning to get there a bit later in all honesty but Georgina pretty much made me crap myself that I was going to miss my flight if I took the later bus…I wasn’t taking any chances. As it happened everything went very smoothly and I walked through the airport and through security in 10 minutes so had plenty of time to kill (most of it spent playing candy crush, I won’t lie to you). Finally, I boarded the plane. Basic flight details:
- I helped a lady with her hand luggage.
- I found out very quickly said lady didn’t like taking off or landing.
- I reassured her (in French I might add).
- I fell asleep then woke up with my head in the aisle.
- Plane landed and I chatted to the lady I met all the way through to passport control.
All in all a success and I immediately texted my friend Scott to come and get me…yes I am lazy like that, it was easier given where he lives, for him to pick me up than for me to get a train. I did not force him, he agreed out of his own free will. Either way we got back to his mum’s house where I enjoyed a gorgeous proper roast dinner! After that bowling was a hilarious way to spend the evening and as it turns out I was rather good!
Well, I won the first game…Came second by 3 points in the second…third in the third and the less said about the last 2 games the better I think…I felt like my thumb was going to fall off! Roy got his hot chips from McDonald’s and we parted ways. Scott and I then enjoyed a very windy trip to Brighton the next day before I boarded my train to Reading.
See actually I am very self-functioning on public transport; I even take buses out of my own free will now! Rocked up at a beach of a hockey pitch and demonstrated what can only be described as a koala impression when Jack ran over to say hello (him being the tree). To my genuine surprise this was not met with loud woops and jeers and I enjoyed watching the rest of his training after which we walked back to his and I waited until midnight like the good girlfriend I am to wish him a Happy Birthday! The celebrations of the day included a lovely brownie cake made for him by his flat and of course the drinking games in the evening…well, they were highly amusing!
His flatmates are a right laugh and were sweet enough to give him presents all ‘Jack-related’: Scrumpy Jack, Jack Daniels and Coke…and Frosty Jacks Cider; for those of you who didn’t do the whole ‘I’m a rebel drinking at 16’ thing, you should know that cider smells like arse and tastes even worse! Needless to say it didn’t go down well and it was a slightly worse-for-wear man that went to his lectures the next morning! This did not stop him thoroughly enjoying a birthday meal with all his friends at Las Iguanas on Wednesday though…and it was Happy Hour! Yay! Cocktails all round; though none had vile cider in though so we were all safe. The best event was yet to come however. It does not take someone very long to figure out that I am somewhat of a loud person…I like to talk…so keeping quiet + me is not normally a brilliant equation. But, I did manage to book a pretty awesome 1 year anniversary surprise for Jack…and keep it secret! Be proud people, can I get a round of applause please? A well done? Anyway, with him feeling apprehensive about the whole thing on the way to this surprise I was more than happy to get the reaction I wanted when I saw his face light up with a massive grin when he spotted the name on the tickets I showed an usher: Reginald D Hunter. I think I did good and the show was pretty damn decent if I’m honest.
Then all of a sudden I was at my last full day in England. Unsurprisingly I spent all that I could of it with Jack…if not err quite how I had envisaged it… He was playing hockey, I was supposed to watch. In short, I ended up on the pitch umpiring in jeans and a knitted jumper…was an experience I suppose and it was a good game; 6-0 win to Reading Uni over Newbury and the lads were in good spirits even if I did get to know them a little better than I’d planned as we had to spoon to fit in the car on the way back; oh how I miss the uni banter! So, what better way to top off and end the week then, but with a Nando’s? I had a craving; Jack had never been, so it was perfect! A couple of films when we got back and then 5 hours sleep before I had to get up and go. I grabbed a Christmas Costa, experienced a lovely last minute platform change and then I was on my way. I held everything back until I got into my room in Toulouse…and then boy did the dam break! But only 26 days and counting until I fly back for Christmas. I have my chow mein sauce for stirfry and I have my minions advent calendar!
Yeeaahhh be jealous!
So after a bit of sadness at leaving after such a perfect week, I’m now looking forward to enjoying the countdown until Christmas.
Restez Heureux! (I promise my next blog will be a lot shorter!)