We have a few of the family here staying with us. They claim that they want to see us. They’ve mentioned walking in and near the mountains. They certainly want good food and wine – lots of it – whether here at home or in one of the restaurants in the patch.
Really though, they’ve chosen this weekend with some care. It’s the one when the Tour de France whizzes past our house.
Today then has been a day of careful research in advance of Sunday’s ‘fly past’. There was a planning meeting at a nearby restaurant, ‘La Maison’, over copious and varied hors d’oeuvres, blanquette d’agneau and bavarois de framboises to decide what we should choose as our vantage point for the action.
Then there was the walk. This followed the Voie Verte between us and la Bastide sur l’Hers, and closely hugs the route the cyclists will take; and the ridge path between la Bastide and home, which peers down over the same road. Where to choose to watch?
We’d thought of the land occupied by the old station. A film crew has moved in for the duration. We considered looking up towards the race from the old railway line itself. Too far away.
And the ridge, which we’d thought the perfect answer, turns out not to be. Certainly we could see many hundreds of metres of road at once, but at a distance that means that we’d be doing no better than sitting at home in front of the TV.
In the end, we’ll be staying put. We want to see the riders close up, smell the sweat, and absorb the atmosphere. There are still decisions to be made. Upstairs in one of the bedrooms? If so, which one? Downstairs on the street, where we’ll be nearer still?
Shall we ham it up and decorate the house in Union flags, and hang banners reading ‘Go Wiggins’ out of the window? So many decisions, so little time.