I arrived at Toulouse early to do some shopping and do a bit of scavanging. I needed pallets to sort the wood for the new build onto and to keep it dry whilst it was being built. I was lucky and fair filled the van with nearly as many as I could, something stopped me from filling the back completely, though I was close to doing so. I reached the airport to collect Peter in good time, the plane was slightly delayed, so I had time to park up and go inside to meet him. He was waiting for his luggage and suggested that he catch up with me in the car park so as to minimise the time that I waited. As he was arranging his luggage in the back of the van I prepared to head off, conscious that I was in a limited parking zone and every minute counted. As he started to close the door, a voice asked “Room for another one?” I swung round to see who it was, half recognising the voice, to see my Dad standing there with a big grin on his face. Momentarily I was mortified. How was it going to work? Where was he going to sleep? How was he going to cope with my minimal lifestyle? (No electricity, no hot water, no proper toilet, no real facilities?) I was stressed enough as it was with the preparations for receiving my brother, let alone an 85 year old. I forced the practicalities and logistics out of my mind and focussed on the fact that my father was there, completely unannounced and it was wonderful to see him. I had planned to be a bit further on before he visited, but from that moment I had no choice, he was there and was coming with us. I was dumbstruck as we left the airport, trying to make conversation, whilst my mind raced on what changes I would have to make and wondering how the next ten days were to pan out. My neighbours had offered a room. There was a B & B just down the road, I wondered if they had a room and how much it would cost. What would my Dad do every day? Would I have chance to really spend time with my brother? Would he be comfortable? warm enough? cool enough? How would my alternative (nearing vegan) diet be appreciated? Would he manage with the terrain? Could we still manage the trips I had planned? My mind whirred with a thousand questions whilst on the surface I tried to chat about the journey, how the flight was, and what had been going on since we had last spoken.
Peter sat in the back, almost squashed by pallets, relishing every moment. I had surprised him several times in the past with unannounced visits and this was payback time. There he was, in view via the rear view mirror, watching as I came to terms with this new arrangement finding it all rather amusing. I negotiated the urban motorway system out of Toulouse without fault, my mind going nineteen to the dozen, pointing out things that might be interesting, trying to plan ahead, deciding what to do. We journeyed back to Vieuzos stopping en route to do a bit of last minute shopping, disappointingly there was no view of the mountains, just a band of hazy cloud in the distance. They had no idea how spectacular that view could be. Something they would hopefully discover on a clearer day.