My husband and I really enjoyed watching My France With Manu, the part cooking, part travel documentary that finished last night. It was a feast for the eyes, stunning scenery and sensational food. But for me there was an added bonus... all the memories of childhood holidays in France...
I grew up in the south east of England… (shhhsh Essex) home to rolling green fields and ancient hedgerows, quaint little pubs, winding country lanes and er… the Lakeside shopping centre. I suppose it would be fair to say we enjoyed a typical middle class lifestyle; two cars, Chinese take-aways and an annual family holiday… abroad.
Due to its convenient location, just a hop skip and jump across the English Channel, we often visited France. We would drive to Dover, board a ferry for a short (albeit choppy) crossing to Calais and then merrily drive on to our destination. If we were holidaying in the North we would plod on until we got there, but if we ventured further South we would break the journey staying the night in various hotels along the way.
I wasn’t terribly keen on the ‘road trip’ element of the holiday. I suffered dreadful travel sickness and despite trialling a variety of antidotes, invariably ended up vomiting into a polythene bag. Such happy times.
When I started learning French at school my parents encouraged me to speak up and practice, I would stumble over the words embarrassed and self conscious, probably getting it all wrong, but having a go anyway. I don’t remember much French at all now. Just the really important stuff like…
“J’ai voudrais un glace au chocolat*’’…
“Ou est le plage**?”
I have so many memories of our holidays in France… we ate chocolate crêpes in Arles at the very same Café Van Gough captured forever under a starry, starry night. We strolled along the promenade in Niece. We climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower (we didn’t really, we got the lift… have you seen the Eiffel tower?). We traveled down the Seine passed Notre Dame and took a tour of Monet’s house.
|Cafe Terrace at Night|
It wasn’t the best holiday and it certainly wasn’t the worst… nothing remarkable happened and it rained… every… single…day. But we were together. Just hanging out. Enjoying a glass of wine (my father very much embracing the philosophy... when in Rome… (or in this case… ‘when in France’) and playing endless games of gin rummy.
We visited a town called Ginggump… just because it had an amusing name… Ginggump? No? Just me then… I insisted that I needed a traditional fisherman’s cap and spent the rest of the holiday wearing it with the sort of pride that should probably be reserved for Chanel. I fell face first into a sand dune (much to the amusement of my younger sister) and we even had snails for dinner. Ok, Dad had snails for dinner… I had a cheese omelette…and it was delicious!
|Nice Cap, Cath!|
* I would like a chocolate ice cream
** Where is the beach?
This post first appeared at Where's my glow?