>> 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.