I can hardly believe it, but our week in France went by in a heartbeat. It was such a lovely time for us all, relaxing in each other’s company, catching up on sleep, spending time together. Sunday was spent by the pool, after a brief trip to the local supermarket, recovering from the previous day’s driving. We unsurprisingly all feel asleep ridiculously early.
By Monday we were suitably refreshed and headed to Loches to visit a castle. We wandered through cobbled streets, creating an almighty noise as the pushchair clattered over the cobbles, but no-one seemed to mind. The castle provided lovely views over the surrounding area from it’s vantage point on top of a hill and had the added advantage of several dog-gargoyles. Lunch at a creperie fueled us for a walk around the local village, visiting the horses stabled at the village’s Agricultural College.
Tuesday was a big day at the house we were staying in: the couple with whom we were exchanging homes (they were in an annex attached the the house in which we were living) had invited us to their Jubilee Gala. So, despite being six hours’ drive from the Eurotunnel, we were able to celebrate the Bank Holiday events we were missing, in the company of a dozen local expatriates whilst following coverage on the BBC. In fact, we supplied the Cheddar cheese! All the food was delicious, not surprising when you learn that our host had literally written the book on it.
Wednesday was the kind of day where none of us felt like doing anything. So we didn’t. That’s one of many advantages of staying in a home rather than hotel. There’s plenty of space for you just to be. So whilst DH read in the garden, The Girls and I built tents in the sitting room. We played shops whilst the barbecue got going. We had fun crafting ‘sweets’ with some new Playdoh toys I brought with me. Then there was time for swimming, and swinging, and sipping beer in the sunlit garden. It has made us really appreciate the House Exchange idea. We feel as at home here as we do when in our own home. Maybe more so.
Thursday brought adventure: we drove to a nearby lake for lunch. That could have been the adventure itself, but I refer to the absolute downpour that had us racing inside the restaurant from the terrace: we all got soaked. Fortunately we were the only ones there, and there was a lovely wood fire on which the chef cooked our lunch, so we dried out very quickly. Of course everyone had a nap so the afternoon spent running around the garden and throwing balls into the swimming pool was much needed to wear my girls out before bedtime. Then DH and I spent an evening losing ourselves in yet another Scandinavian crime drama- The Bridge – with cold beer.
Friday was bittersweet: still on holiday and enjoying the weather, yet all the time at the back of our minds is the planning for the journey home, the packing, the working-out-what-order-to-tidy-in. We hung around the house in the morning: the Girls played, we read. Lunch all together then a trip to the supermarket to buy those things we need for the journey, bits to take home to prolong the holiday somehow. The afternoon sun shone on the pool later as I watched my little girl swim a whole length, Dimples on the side at the other end encouraging her all the way and giving her a huge hug when she emerged from the water. She swims with a buoyancy vest on at the moment, but we have already removed a couple of floats. We anticipate that she’ll be swimming by herself after our three weeks in Arizona with our own swimming pool. The Girls stayed awake all day so were shattered by bedtime: a ploy on our part to help the long journey home on Saturday.
So we spent most of Saturday on the road, but because DH and I are quite an efficient team, we actually got a good start. A good chunk of the trip was on the Toll Roads which are empty and fast, so we made great time and actually got an earlier crossing home. The Girls were awesome the whole way and kept us giggling on the Eurotunnel when they pretended to drive the car & stared open-mouthed at older girls who were playing that game where you write words on the other person’s back and they have to guess what you’ve written. And then we were home. Well, home to the Beach House.