Monday, July 19, 1999

19/07/99 Sun, surf and foie gras ...

Back from our holiday, all rested and tanned, thought I'd see if I couldn't provoke a bit of envy (a mortal sin, if you recall ...)

Well, we made it down to the Gers and back without getting the car pranged this time - in fact I was rather pleasantly surprised, the BMW is a very economical car to drive on the autoroute. Averages about 7l/100km, which isn't too bad for an ancient bomb weighing in at a couple of tons.
Margo managed to put her back out again just before we left, which meant that by the time we got down there she was ready for a week's bed rest, which is about what she got. Didn't do a great deal at all, really: made it down to Biarritz (nice place, shame about all the people on holiday) and then (just) into Spain to pick up some cheap sherry and suchlike, then off to the beach to try and drown the kids and that's about all. I took the kids off to a nearby lake a couple of times - not feeling up to the 2-hour drive to the beach all by myself, Margo being laid up - and all my good intentions of taking them off to see cultural things like the Dartagnan museum went by the board as they confessed themselves to be extremely happy just puddling around in the water. Can't say I was too distressed.

Shame about Biarritz, really - I'm sure it's a nice place, but my memories are of about 50km of Tauranga suburbs in endless procession, linked by a nationale crammed full of Dutch caravans. Our fault for heading down in the holiday season, I suppose.

We did make it off to see the old farmhouse that Jacquy bought and is slowly making habitable: the kids weren't too impressed until they found the shed full of old tiles (the place was at one time owned by a mason) which they collected in an alarming selection of plastic bags and insisted on bringing back home "to do things with". I can see that we'll have ceramic place-mats and potholders coming out of our ears.

It was a nice relaxing week, which we all needed - miles from anywhere, cellphone didn't work, too hot to do anything - apart from pat the cats and type up the course I had to give on getting back - good food ... (I did actually get around to giving my course, by the way. 12000F for a days speaking but I think I earned it - I spoke so long that I managed to put my jaw out. Don't know how Malyon manages it.)

Stopped off at Carcasonne to give the kids another look at the place - Malyon probably remembers a bit of the last time we went there, with Renaud & Sophie, but for Jeremy it was as though it was all new. It is an impressive pile, I must admit. Made it back on Monday evening to find a happy cat waiting for us (a bit pissed off that for a whole week she hadn't been able to sleep indoors) and then back to work on Tuesday. (Rather to my surprise, Jeremy sobbed like anything when we came to leave Patricia & Jacquy's place.

He definitely did not want to leave his G'ma Pat, nor his favourite Jacquy. Took all of 20 minutes before he cheered up enough to start listening to Malyon's stories.)

Wednesday of course was the 14th of July, so we had a couple of people round and ate and drank excessively, as usual, before heading off to Montmelian to watch the fireworks.

The next few weeks (or weekends) are going to be busy: tomorrow I absolutely have to take a couple of car-loads of rubbish down to the tip, price out wood for the decking in the courtyard, and buy (and then put in) the sand and concrete tiles for the barbecue area in the garden. I also have to wander off with the circular saw to give Renaud a hand in the house he's building - I think he can do the actual cutting, I might get a bit carried away.
Speaking of new houses reminds me of Ian & Marie, who've just moved into theirs and who've had a minor plumbing problem: they have two toilets upstairs, and when they were installed the pressure was so finely balanced that when you flushed one of them, the contents turned up in the other. They apparently had a rather confused turd going from side to side of the house for days before they figured it out

Tomorrow evening now, and I'm feeling rather tired. I didn't realise - didn't bother to check - that 40x40 concrete tiles weigh in at about 10kg each, and I've just loaded 35 of the damn things into the back of the 205, along with two 40kg sacks of sand, and then unloaded them little by little here, taking them slowly down in the wheelbarrow. Made for a lot of trips.
Anyway, the little BBQ terrace is now installed - just needs the BBQ installed to finish it off and that's planned for Real Soon Now ie sometime this week, then there's the wooden decking to go down in the courtyard. I still have to price out the wood for that and get it delivered, but once that's done it should go quite quickly. And then we can - finally - put up Jeremy's sandpit, which he got for his last birthday. Almost a year ago.

Reminds me that the other night he was getting worried - "What will happen to me when Mummy dies?" The answer of course is "Mummy's not going to die just yet, don't worry". "But mummy is old!" At which point Malyon stuck heroar in - "Mummy isn't old! She's not even 30 yet!". All lies. Don't know howMargo got her to swallow that one.

Right, I'm off to bed - or at least to watch the end of the bad film ("The Peacemaker", with George Clooney) on TV before turning in. Goidnight, all.
Trevor & Margo.

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