The Blue Coast

>> Monday, 25 August 2008

We visited friends staying in St Tropez this weekend. Now, before you roll your eyes and mutter something along the lines of 'That Potty, she doesn't know she's born...', hear me out. I promise you will change your mind - at least a little...

First off, it takes a special kind of short-sightedness to agree to fly out of that particularly hellish airport known to UK travellers as Gatwick South, whilst it's being refurbished, on an Easyjet flight to Nice, on a bank holiday Friday, dealing with 2 children under 5 years old on your own.

Especially when one of those children has a tendancy to run off laughing in passport control once you've disembarked. Struggling both to catch him and to deal with your older son and the 3 much-too-heavy items of handbaggage you seem to have collected, despite having promised yourself that this time you will travel light, is not fun. Or ladylike. Or conducive to keeping cool and remaining 'glow' free.

To be honest, I was travelling light - or at least, it seemed that way whilst said 3 items were festooned around the buggy, Boy #2 was seated securely in it, and Boy #1 was carefully gripping one of the handles.

The blighters take the buggy away from you at the aircraft door, however, and don't return it until the luggage belt after your flight. This leaves you to deal not only with a recalcitrent 2 year old who really doesn't fancy walking what seems like 2 miles between getting off the plane and arriving at baggage reclaim, but also with the afore-mentioned handluggage, regretting all the time not packing the Boy's sweatshirts in the suitcase before you checked it in - especially since it is 28 deg C in Nice, so not exactly sweatshirt weather.

All's well that ends well, however, and we met up with Husband who had arrived direct from Russia, to pile our combined bags into the hire car for the 1 1/2 hour trip to St Tropez. Except, of course, it wasn't. And we can't even blame the traffic. We missed the turn-off from the motorway due to - chatting. Pure and simple. And didn't realise until we'd gone another couple of junctions further and had a further 25 miles to go until we could turn round and go back. So, take your 1 1/2 hour drive time and double it...

So we got there late. But still, it was all OK. It was lovely to see our hosts again, their kids and ours resumed a healthy friendship immediately, and the evening was balmy. Added to that, the villa we were staying in was very comfortable, it had a fantastic 'vue' over the Cote d'Azur, and the wine was chilled.

It was only the next morning, as we headed for the beach, that I realised my biggest mistake of the weekend. Which was; not taking into account that I was headed for the coastal strip populated by the highest intensity of beautiful people in the world outside, possibly, Hollywood and Rio de Janeiro. In addition to which, the female half of our host couple is a size 6 - 8 (which means 2 - 4 if you're in the US), and she had already spent 3 weeks basking in the mediterranean sunshine.

To say I felt 'pale and interesting' was something of an understatement.

On the flip side however, the wannabes on the beach may have been gorgeous, but they didn't half look bored and hungry. I guess that there are only so many ways to dress a lettuce leaf in lemon juice and olive oil. Now, I would never say that eating properly is the only road to happiness - but it certainly gives you enough energy to work out what the others might be.

Pass me those biscuits.


Kitschen Pink 25 August 2008 at 22:37  

How lovely to spend time with friends but how very sad that they were so malnourished! Clearly next time you should take an extra large bag full of family sized chocolate bars (even a very young child would be happy to help carry this!). If you need any other tips on fattening up do ask - I'm an expert!

Potty Mummy 25 August 2008 at 22:39  

KP, here's the REALLY annoying thing. She does eat. Plenty. My friend must have the world's best metabolism - and it's SOOOO not fair.

aims 26 August 2008 at 01:32  

ooooh! I might hate her already!

How is St. Tropez at this time of the year then?

Kelly 26 August 2008 at 09:17  

And I have all this to look forward to...only my friends live in Rochester. Easyjet don't fly there!

Frog in the Field 26 August 2008 at 10:16  

Having a wet summer is great for us pale and apres-enfant bellied ladies.

Jonny's Mommy 26 August 2008 at 15:41  

You certainly are more brave than I am. I'd be worried taking only one child with me, let alone two!

Sorry about the skinny people. They really do suck, don't they? :-)

Elsie Button 26 August 2008 at 20:19  

You are a brave woman - flying with two toddlers on your own. I come out in sweats at the thought of take one toddler on a shopping trip to town on my own.

And that's exactly the argument i use when i see gorgeous thin people - they must be soooo bored and hungry. Something i certainly am not.

Mom/Mum 26 August 2008 at 20:22  

Your description of deling with little boys solo at the airport is exactly why I haven't yet dared to travel back to the UK from my US home with my two little boys on my own yet! But you survived, so you've given me hope! well done you.
I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing. Maybe you'd enjoy mine

Potty Mummy 26 August 2008 at 23:17  

Aims, despite the beautiful Eurotrash, St Trop is hot, hot, HOT! (And of course, I'm not just talking about the weather...). And amazingly, still very pretty roundabouts. Though obviously, the prettier it gets, the more expensive the real estate...

Kelly, at least you don't have to worry about remembering to pack the sun-cream... (though apparantly we are supposed to have good weather this coming weekend). Best piece of advice I can give a travelling newish mum? Take washing up liquid and a sponge with you - never assume your hosts will be organised enough to have either... (Learnt through bitter experience...)

Frog, amen to that! (Though I am wondering: will the apres-enfant excuse still work when they're teenagers?)

J's Mommy, actually it was fine. Luckily both boys love flying, so the excitement got us through...

EB, I was a little apprehensive, but see the comment above - and a conversation with Boy #1 on how he and his brother need to be 'ambassadors for children' to convince doubting adults that kids do know how to behave usually works wonders...

M/M, it's really OK as long as there is plenty to distract them on a long flight - i.e. a tv screen, since both my boys will sit glued to one for hours given half a chance. France flights have no tv though (only a couple of hours) so I usually try to have a couple of forgotten or previously unseen cars handy for when the going gets tough. And chocolate. Chocolate is good... (for me, if no-one else).

ped crossing 27 August 2008 at 03:51  

I think it is easier when they are older. We waited to fly with the boys until they were almost 4 and 7. They thought pulling their own carry on bags was really exciting.

Iota 27 August 2008 at 03:55  

I'm going to use this opportunity to plug a website that faces reality head-on. It's

Let's rejoice in our post-pregnancy non-celebrity bodies, girls! (I'm being serious, but if it's too much for you, then you can just rejoice that you're not quite among the number.)

Potty Mummy 27 August 2008 at 20:02  

Hi Ped, I have to say the thought of my two pulling their own carry-on bags is pretty exciting to me too!

Hi Iota, I will check it out asap. (Though I may take my contacts out first, just to soften the blow - rather like I do when I look in the mirror first thing in the morning...)

Grit 27 August 2008 at 20:43  

WHAT? are you telling me that belly flab and wobbly thighs are NOT IN FASHION?! Gosh! well that certainly explains why everyone's looking strangely at me in the co-op queue. and i thought it was just my fake tan.

Frog in the Field 27 August 2008 at 20:49  

Grit, I think you look gorgeous!

Potty Mummy 27 August 2008 at 21:15  

Grit, I didn't realise you lived in St Tropez? For clearly, that is the only place where such things might not be de riguer. Certainly in London you would be worshipped as a goddess...

Frog, as do we all. In a certain light, anyway!

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