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We are on our way to a week’s cookery course in the south west of France, near Toulouse, for my husband’s 50th birthday celebrations.  It was fun choosing which course to enrol on as there are so many different types of holiday courses for food, and just about anything else.  After all, that’s what I do – teach holiday courses in weaving!

I love planning trips.  There is so much to think about – the location, the likely weather, how you are going to get there (we’re going by train, plane and car), comparing prices, finding the cheapest option and how it will fit in with the arrival time that we have to comply with.  House-sitters and dog minders are all part of the equation, and then, as we arrive back to have visitors arriving almost immediately, I had to work out how best to do the necessary housework to ensure that the place is ready for them even though we won’t be!!

These kind of plans are always interesting – fun, logistical exercises in how to get all the separate ingredients working together for a seamless experience.

So now my week’s student has gone, the dog is at the kennels, the packing still remains to be done, DS has all the household instructions for looking after the place for a week, and the biggest choice for me is which books to take.  I know I could invest in a Kindle or iPad, but for me, the pleasure of having a book in my hand is part of the pleasure of reading.  We’re only away for a few days so it’s not like I have to take a library with me – just 3 reading-for-pleasure books and one for university.

Also, going to a place which, I realised just a few days ago, I visited as part of a music group a few years ago means that I have a vague idea of where we are, and asking other weavers and friends for suggestions of places to visit means I have a few thoughts about day trips whilst DH is slaving over a hot French stove!

This is a chance to unwind from a crazy few weeks, whilst DH learns new skills such as knife care (only hoping he doesn’t decide to practice knife-throwing with the newly-sharpened implements in my vicinity!) and some delicious French sauces.  We both get the chance to sample the wines of the region and the culinary specialities, he gets to learn more about his raw ingredients, buying them from the local markets, visiting vineyards and fishmongers, and I get the chance to explore the area, read and relax!  Bliss.

See you in a week!!