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Day 12: Toulouse

We stayed in Toulouse today. At the time Clare was trying to learn French so I bought her a parallel text, a Sherlock Holmes book. She'd read all of them as a child and they'd come in handy for other languages; the Hound of the Baskervilles was her first Esperanto book and she dipped her toe into Croatian for the first time with Murder on the Orient Express.

We decided we'd go swimming today and so travelled to Joliment, at the end of the metro line. It took us a while to find the swimming pool but we got there after a short trek, whereupon we were made to buy some swimming caps. No problem.

There was, however, a problem when we emerged from the changing rooms and went to head into the water. I was intercepted by a lifeguard, who informed me that my shorts were too long for the pool. Well, I understood what she was saying and started rolling them up my thigh! Yep, I totally missed the point, which was that no-one in the street would be wearing swimming trunks but they would indeed be wearing shorts like mine, and so no-one was allowed into the pool with them to guard against people entering the water with dirty, germ-ridden shorts on.

we met up with my friend Alix, who had generously lent us her apartment when we previously visited in 2007, for lunch, which was rather pleasant. I'd much rather see people in small groups than large ones, so this approach was working well all holiday.

We still had plenty of spare time and so went to the cinema to watch a film set at a writer's retreat in leafy, rural England. I think it was Tamara Drewe, if that's the film that finishes with an author being trampled by a herd of cows.

Our decision to save our energy would prove to be prophetic, because the next day we would inadvertently exert ourselves on what we thought would be a simple trip to the beach.

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