We had important errands to do today. Craig’s prescriptions are running out and we needed to look into our options for refilling them. We suspended our US healthcare during our stay here so the days of paying only a small deductible amount are over for a while. We checked first with the mail-order pharmacy that’s been filling his prescriptions. A three month supply of his two medications would cost over $500. Yikes! We moved on to research on-line pharmacies. Buying from US providers wouldn’t save any money but we found out we could get the drugs from England for only $200….of course there was a catch….they could only fill the order if it was prescribed by an English doctor. We were just starting to research Canadian pharmacies when Craig decided to take his chances here in France….so, with medications in hand, we headed up to the pharmacy in Montady….we’d previously had success with an English speaking employee there and were hoping she’d be on duty today. She was…..so we explained what we needed. She asked for the prescriptions and we explained that in the US, we’re only given one prescription that’s used for both the original and the refills of the medication. She saw the number of remaining refills listed on the bottles and was comfortable enough with this information to promptly fill the prescriptions. With the current exchange rate, a one month supply was $47. She assured us that refilling it while we’re here won’t be a problem. So, once again, France’s socialized medical system comes through for us…..a three month supply for $141 vs $558.
We then drove to Salleles d’Aude for errand #2…..picking up our free poubelles (trash bags). As a service to the townspeople, the Mairie (townhall) distributes poubelles once a year. We were advised of this in a numbered flyer received in the mail box. Our friend, Sue, gave us directions so we easily found the location…..an empty garage with tables full of poubelles. After a quick signature on the flyer, Craig was back in the car with a year’s worth of large trash bags. Gotta love this place.
On our way back to the cottage, we noticed a group of people hand-harvesting the olives on the trees lining the road near the cottage. We stopped to watch and take some pictures. A man, who seemed to be in charge, walked over to tell us the only other people who had ever stopped to take pictures were Japanese. He asked where we were from and, his English being much better than our French, he gave us some insight on what they were doing. These trees were old and fragile….they couldn’t withstand the rigors of machine harvesting. He then pointed to an orchard barely visible from the street and proudly advised us that he had 80,000 olive trees there that were young and sturdy enough to be machine-harvested. We walked down to the orchard next to his home, Domaine des Truilhas, and were astonished to see olive trees as far as the eye could see. When we returned to the main road, we asked if his olives were available for sale. “Of course” he said and sent a young man….perhaps a grandson….to lead us down to their tasting room at Domaine de Truilhas. A jar of Lucques olives and a bottle of Lucques oil later and we were back on the road to the cottage.
By the way….the olives were delicious.