Monday I went with Tod to Toulouse airport as he's in the UK this week to see our osteopath about his back. He hasn't found anyone in France yet who can give him the relief he needs. Still, a trip to the UK means a chance for a few "boys' nights out" and some serious shopping for curry spices.
When we left home at 6.30am, it was pitch dark and thick fog. But by 9.00 the sun had broken through and the fog was no more than wisps wrapped around distant woodland.
Toulouse is an hour and a half's motorway driving due east from us and less than an hour further on is Carcassonne - three stars in the Michelin guide. So I left Tod to the joys of security checks and airport shopping and headed on east in our batmobile.
And then I saw them. There in the distance, gleaming white caps in the morning sun. The Pyrenees. Oh the temptation to turn south towards them, lured by the names on the motorway signs - Andorra, Lerida, Barcelona. But Carcassonne had to be worth a visit. It's got three stars. The mountains and beyond would have to wait for another day.
With no idea what to expect or where to go, the batmobile led me to Carcassonne Cité, the old fortress on the hillside, looming over the town, like something out of a Disney movie. With its great red roofed donjons and forbidding battlements, the place was an empty film set. Grey, grim walls enclose narrow overhung streets. Every other building is a restaurant, hotel, museum or haunted house. A few tourists wandered round disconsolately. In summer it must be impassable. I found I was searching for places to look out from the fortress to those white gleaming snow caps in the distance.
Next time my heart says "head for the Pyrenees", I'll go.