We got back from our first family holiday last week and, although it got off to a nightmare start, we had a great time in the south of France with my parents and my sister’s family.
We’re really lucky that my parents own a lovely house surrounded by vineyards just under an hour from Bordeaux, so we were in a great location for relaxing and getting away from it all. I say ‘relaxing’, but with Dylan, Xander and their cousins Jack and Ella around, it was never quiet!
The main reason for the holiday was a party that my parents threw to celebrate both their ruby wedding anniversary and the debut visit of their grandchildren to France. I was a little concerned that my two would be a little overwhelmed by it all, but Dylan was soon walking round kissing all our French friends on both cheeks and even using some of the lingo, so there was nothing to worry about! And to think that, when we visited the same village when I was his age, I hid in the car in case people kissed me!
The other highlight at my parents’ house as far as the boys were concerned were some insects that the French simply call ‘gendarmes’. Although they’re mainly red which is often a warning, they’re completely harmless to people and Dylan and Xander were very taken with the way they walk around in pairs. I Googled them when we got back and found that Pyrrhocoris apterus or Fire bugs as they’re also known, do this after getting it on in order to stop other males getting involved. So there you go – I’ve inadvertantly published a picture of al fresco intercourse on the blog. Well done me!
We also went on a couple of trips to nearby towns, Bourg and Blaye. The former has grown from an ancient fortified settling near where the Dordogne and Garrone rivers meet – and form the Gironde estuary which gives the region its name – while the latter is home to an imposing Citadel which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As far as the boys were concerned, both places were castles but that’s fine by me – it’s good that they seem to like historical things as they’re going to be dragged around a great many more of them!
Other highlights included the quirky looking carrelets that line the riverbanks, going round French supermarkets – for some strange reason, it feels like a treat – and, of course, the wine and cheese. Well, it would be really rude not to partake of vast quantities of them, right?
We all had an amazing time and I’ve already started the campaign for us to go again next year. Or sooner.