I left Spain without paying, apart from in Girona where I happily paid for diesel and LPG. I don’t think I’ll be paying quite so happily when I’m back in Blighty despite the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s “generosity” in leaving fuel tax unincreased in this weeks budget. The (accurate) weather forecast having been for precipitation just about everywhere in the vicinity of the Pyrenees, and having no snow chains, nor indeed the knowledge of how to attach them which would have attracted a heavy fine if I’d been caught driving in snow without either/both, I avoided the mountain passes. It wasn’t that much more kilometreage to go via Perpignan and that way I had the delight of driving the D117 through Quillans again. Strangely, on the map the road looks straight and level, but we know differently don’t we dear Reader?
Currently spending two nights in Foix, today I visited Mirepoix, a particularly unspoiled “bastide” town. Bastide towns were the medieval equivalent of “new towns” with a planned grid of streets and fortified perimeters. My guide book suggested it was best to visit on market day. Apart from not throwing me off schedule (yes, dear reader me on a schedule – the ferry is booked) it not being market day meant plenty of room to take photos and enjoy a relaxed and lazy “plat du jour”, three courses of utter delight (and a small glass!) in a gorgeous setting.
So I mused – why do we call England “Blighty”? Thanks to Wiki I can share the origin. The Oxford dictionary states it’s a throwback to the days of Empire (along with the British passion for curry) deriving from a regional variant (bilayati) of the Urdu word vilayati, meaning foreigner, eventually specifically meaning British or English. Along with curry and tea the Colonials liked nothing more than mangling other peoples language and so bilayati became Blighty. Its use became cemented in the English language when “to cop a Blighty” in the first world war meant a wound sufficiently bad its recipient was sent back to England. I’m returning to Blighty thankfully unwounded.
🙂 🙂 🙂