And it’s a particularly wonderful one, as I’m just back from a good, restful week away in the sun which did me the WORLD of good. We haven’t had a hot holiday for ages, so this recent escape to Northern France was mucho welcome. I even have tanned feet. FEET!
Here’s what I particularly loved:
1. Opening the terrace doors and being met with a warm hug of heat. A bit like a fanless oven. Obviously when working, or sweating on public transport, this is far from lovely, but when one has nothing to do but dip in and out of a pool, it’s jolly nice.
2. The scent of suncream; the smell of holidays.
3. The way a swimming pool feels so icy after half an hour in the sun. Dipping your legs, then, then the rest of you in clean blue water and feeling all refreshed like you’ve just stuck your head in the freezer for a second or two. Then warming up on a lounger, feeling the sun’s rays on your tummy, the only decision being when to turn over.
4. The cheery clink of ice in a glass, and the beauty of a frosted bottle of wine.
5. Eating real French peasant food. We didn’t eat out on hols. Instead we ate copious amounts of the crustiest, chewiest bread, a humungous amount of cheese (me) and the biggest, sweetest tomatoes (both) you’ve even seen. I love buying food in mainland Europe. Such enormous fruit and vegetables. And the bread. Oh the bread. French bread just has to be the best. You can keep your English ‘artisan’ loaves – there is NOTHING like a French baguette. Ditto the cheese, although I far prefer the nuttier Alpine cheeses to all that stinky Camembert. I was, however, delighted to be able to peruse a whole section of a whole cheese aisle dedicated purely to Camembert. Also on the menu this week was chewy, salty saucisson and the dreamiest juiciest white peaches. I’ve pretty much given up on peaches from English supermarkets. What’s the point? Or have a missed a secret, juicy supply somewhere?? Morrisons are pretty good, but can’t really compare to those enormous French ones.
6. The silence in the afternoon air. After around 1pm it was just too hot to even sit around by the pool. I retreated to the shade and read my book in the beautiful peace of the French countryside. Just the buzzing of a few bees and the occasional car down a nearby lane interrupted the quiet stillness.
7. An evening on the terrace. Swallows intermittently traverse a cloudless sky, in front of the sun setting behind a chimney pot. A water fountain gushes and bubbles and the day’s heat dissipates gradually. Like the heat, the stress that can plague the body and swamp the mind is floating away and letting me breathe again.