Saturday, 29 November 2008

26 November 2008 – Wednesday – peage-u-go

A dreadful night’s sleep. I wake up with my left eye glued shut with gunk. S tells me I have a black eye. I tell her it is just stuck. I have switched from hot to cold and also had earache all night in both ears. All these are things that I have never had before with a cold or flu.
Illness in France can be so special. I expect it is called Grippe d’homme (manflu). i.e. all in my imagination.
Still I am driving S back to Toulouse airport this morning, so I need both eyes and ears that don’t throb when I move my head.
Thank goodness for showers and ibuprophen. What did people do before over the counter drugs?
I am reasonably confident regarding my outward journey thanks to satnav, and having been on the trip only a few weeks ago I remember a bit near the Toulouse Hippodrome when I must keep left and then left. (Unfortunately after that bit it has become a blank, with many unremembered lane changes required) and it is a good job S is there to help me navigate.

All goes well until I reach the peage (toll) lanes at the Toulouse end.
We have prepared the right coinage to give to an attendant or to feed into the slot. I am in a bay which has no human or coin slot. There is a slot alongside the ticket in, slot which says carte. Does this mean you can put a credit card in? There is no numeric pad. There is a button that you can press to call for assistance. Tempting as it is to use it, it is red in colour and I have visions of an irate, sarcastic. tinny voice speaking very fast, incomprehensible French. Would “je suis malade” cover it?
Oh well, it’s only my carte bancaire, I undo my seatbelt to fish my wallet out of my trouser pocket. Stick it in the carte slot. I spits it back out, thanks me and the barrier opens. Thank goodness for that.

After the quiet roads and autoroute the Toulouse ring road is a joy, with people jockeying for position to use the bit of road that you are on.
We arrive in one piece and I leave S in the departures lounge Easyjet queue.
If that was the easy part of my journey, Lord knows what the trip back will be like.
Fortunately the little Toulousians must have reached home and be having lunch, as the road is much less busy.
I make it back home in 1 hour ten minutes, without any wrong turnings.
The sun even comes out as I approach the snow covered Pyrenees.
S texts me at about 7.30pm French time to say she has arrived back at home in the UK. When I speak to her later on the phone, she is coughing and has a splitting headache. Sounds as though she has taken my flu back with her.
I cook a pizza for tea but cannot taste it. I leave it half eaten, or should that be half uneaten?
Time for an early night. Choir practice tonight is just not an option. Hopefully I will be well enough to attend the special, compulsory whole day practice near the town on Sunday. I know the village name, but I do not know the location of the practice as, as ever, it is assumed that everyone knows the arrangements.
I listen to part 3 of the Labyrinth audio book, but as I drift in and out of consciousness, I am missing chunks of the plot so I switch it off and cough and sweat through the rest of the night. Ah the glamour of foreign living!
The flat is very quiet now that S has gone and I will have to readjust myself to the lifestyle of Rigsby, hermit.


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