Sometimes the life of an author can't get much better. Here I am, strolling about France with Alice, my oldest sister, following the journeys made by Yolanda and Raimon in Blue Flame, but eating rather better than they would have done, I suspect. Cakes were consumed beneath Beynac Castle on the banks of the Dordogne today under the watchful eyes of two magnificent eagles. So sad that this is our last full day! Tomorrow we go to pay homage to Richard the Lionheart at Chalus Chabrol, just south of Limoges. We'll stand by the keep next to which he was struck by a quarrel from a lucky (or unlucky) crossbow and died of gangrene a few days later. Moral of that story is always to put your armour on properly and no skimping. The crossbowman was flayed alive, despite Richard's forgiveness. I'd rather have died of gangrene.
Anyhow, we began our trip in the stunning fortress town of Carcassonne which rises from the plateau like something from a fairytale, then moseyed on into high mountains of the Ariege and the Aude, with the Cathar castles impossibly perched on impossibly high crags making the head spin before we'd even begun to climb. We picnicked on the top of Montsegur, wondering how they ever got 600 knights inside its gloomy walls, and how ever they withstood the wind. When we set sail over the mountains to the west of Foix, both of us had such bad vertigo that even Alice, who was driving, had to close her eyes at the sheer drops to our right. An exciting ride we had, as did all those who met us. But the view over the peaks from the top took the breath away, as did the descent. Oh, there's nothing like a good mountain to get the heart beating. Those Cathar heretics should have been given medals for bravery not burnt on pyres.
Early start tomorrow, and there's wine to be consumed, to say nothing of a few more cakes. Ah, the author's life is a very happy one.