Last evening, Raymond Julien, also known as Tonton Carignan, organised his yearly Corrida event at the Domaine de Mirausse.

Nice weather, nice friends and a very nice atmosphere were the order of the evening.


Security was tight.


The toreador and team entered the arena very punctually


The bull was very fierce but well controlled by our toreador.


The corrida was interrupted briefly by a demonstrator who was swiftly dealt with by the gendarmerie. The medical services were also at hand.


It was not long before the corrida could start again. Note the serious look from Raymond on his horse analysing potential risks and ready to defend the torero.


Wine and food were abundantly available


The final parade

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Life saving nurse

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Musical band

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Reunion 1968 – 2018

May 1968 was a very intense and as a result “full of fun” for us in the Paris area. School was stopped for a few weeks, the weather was fantastic and some school friends known as “La Bande” cemented our friendship even further.

Somehow most of us have kept in touch. Sadly a couple have passed away in the meantime and we tried to find a very few who still remain out of touch. A couple are unfortunately and for some unknown reason no longer willing to associate with us although I suspect that deep down they actually would like to. They will recognise themselves when reading this. I know they do.

Some of us moved around the world, mostly due to business reasons or simply travelling but now that we have reached retirement age, most of us are settling back in different parts of France.

The happening of internet and emails means that it is easier to keep in touch and we do get together every so often. I think we have decided to increase drastically the frequency. We try to meet in different places where some of us live. The first reunion of “La Bande” 20 years ago was in Pont sur Yonne. We also met in Strasbourg, Hannover, Paris, Guyancourt, Grenoble. But as I recently moved from Germany to Carcassonne, I initiated a reunion here. This is exactly what happened last weekend. The next reunion, we hope and warned, will be in Hyères or Montelimar.

My friend Phil arrived first and in time for lunch which we enjoyed in the “Verre d’Un“. Merci l’équipe pour votre gentille reception.

Tous les autres arrived in town also  on Friday during the day and in time for aperitif and dinner at my house.




It turned out to be a fun dinner followed by a few games and an extremely funny video prepared by Christian. Of course we had late 60’s music in the background.

Some stayed at our house and the majority at the local hotel “Les 3 Couronnes” facing the Cité.


Busy program on Saturday

  • Discover the area for some. The poppies are full in bloom everywhere


  • Rendez-vous at 10:30 at my home for all so that we could walk into town


To the weekly market Place Carnot


But the real objective was an early aperitif at my favorite “Café Saillant“. Excellent reception from Richard and Antoine.


Lunch was planned in the Cité  and we all walked up to the restaurant “Comte Roger” for an excellent second aperitif and lunch.


Some tried the famous Cassoulet. My friend Pierre (the owner) was busy in the kitchen on this sunny and busy day.

To digest, a short trip around the Cité was in order


I am still not a fan of the yellow graffiti.


and back home for a rest and / or a dip in the pool.


In the evening I had arranged to visit my friend Raymond Julien in his Domaine de Mirausse. It is only 14kms from home via Trèbes and Rustiques. Tonton Carignan, as he is known, was in a good mood (as he always is) and was proud to show us his cellar and make us taste his wines,


before we sat down for dinner and plenty more wine. As he said himself “on va ripailler” (that cannot be translated in English). Anyway good time was had by all with a lot of laughing at one end of the table.


Back home late at night in time for a night cap and more 60’s music.


In the morning, time to leave for some. For the remaining ones and after a light lunch, we decided to drive to the Abbey de Fondfroide. It is about 50Kms from home and well worth a visit.





Only 4 left apart from us two. All sleeping in our house. The weather is terrible, rain. We decide during breakfast to make headway towards Toulouse as they have to catch a plane there later in the day.

Destination Mirepoix under black clouds and heavy rain. No problem though. Monday is market day in town and despite the weather it is full of people.


A quick tour of the Cathedral which is amazing as most of it has still got paintings all over the pillars and chapels.


Time for lunch


and we split. The remaining 4 head for Toulouse airport and we back home to Carcassone.

That was earlier today and it is now time to put feet up and enjoy a relaxing Gin & Tonic.

At the time of writing this, everyone is back home safely.

What comes next?

  • For those living in the south (Montelimar, Hyères, Carcassone) and others who feel like it, we have agreed meet in Marseille for a Bouillabesse in the not too distant future.
  • Without forcing anyone’s hand, we expressed the wish to have the next reunion of “La Bande” in Hyères or Montelimar. Of course other proposals will be given a thorough consideration.



And the saga goes on.

Fourth intervention to try and solve my sewer’s blockage problem. I must say I am quite impressed with the water company SUEZ. I was in their office last Thursday, a team came the following day to measure and mark where the pipes where and therefore where the digging had to be done.

This morning, first working day since last week, a team arrived, blocked the road and started work at 8am.

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A few hours later, there is a deep hole and new pipes are being put in to bring everything to standard.

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Time to fill up the hole

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And here is the finished work.


However the problem is not solved. There is still a blockage somewhere. They wanted to call colleagues to investigate and try to solve this from the outside. But since it is inside the house it is not their responsibility.

It is my responsibility and costs. I shall need to negotiate pretty hard with someone.