Dry skin, sore eyes and red and white bits. No, I don’t have some horrible disease, I’m just back from hols; my sun-kissed skin singing out for hydration, my contact lenses unforgiving as they cling to sun cream-stung eyes and the odd burnt bit to boot. But I had a lovely time in the south of France!
I discovered a few things while I was away, not least that I drink half as much alcohol as other members of my family, that bikinis turn from white to yellow thanks to sun cream, and that I cannot stomach the ocean. I also found the south of France to be beautiful, friendly, hot and a pleasant cultural change to my usual European destination of choice, Spain.
We stayed in Cannes and when I say “we” I mean me and my family. Yes, at 31 I’m probably way too old to go on family holidays but I packed my husband so surely it’s fine?
Anyhoo, we had a fab six days in Cannes, flying into nearby Nice, and said bonjour and merci more times than I can remember. We soaked up the rays on the beach, explored the old part of town, it’s cobbled streets and typical French eateries, admired the views of Cannes and its harbour from on high after a very sweaty walk and spent two days on a boat, visiting the coastline from Cannes to St Tropez, back to Cannes and then on to Monaco and back again. We saw Bridget Bardot’s quaint cottage, ate French fancies in the gorgeous and unspoiled coastal resort of Ville Franche and learned how to manage sea sickness. And some of us didn’t. Oh, and that there’s no dignified way to get on and off a boat.
The first hour on the boat didn’t sit well with me; my body doesn’t take to sloshing around and it was mixed with an irrational fear – and poor balance – that I’d topple overboard and be swallowed up by the sea. And the sea scares me more than boats; it’s dark, vast and eats people alive. It’s menacing, eery and just bloody scary – so no sea swimming or jet skis for me, uh uh. A trip below deck to the loo proved too much for my stomach and while I didn’t puke it was a close call and even put me off my lunch. And if you know me, you know I rarely say no to lunch.
On day two I’d almost acclimatised but gobbled down a sea sickness tablet nonetheless and felt my brother’s pain when he emptied a day’s stomach contents into the sea. What’s most odd is how the rocking sensation stays with you for a day or two after you get off the boat, and it’s none too pleasant. Add to that a bumpy flight to Southampton, a train journey to Dorchester, a drive to Beaminster to pick doggy up from his grandparents and then a three-hour trek back to Milton Keynes in the very late hours, and that’s probably why I feel tired, rough and totally unrefreshed today. It’s like the French sun and breeze that warmed my bones into relaxation never even happened. Thank God for an extra day off work is all I can say, otherwise I’d be completely evil. And thanks to Papa Slingsby for spoiling us kids rotten!
Anyway, holidays are best told in pictures so here are a few…