A Travellerspoint blog

Making plans

So said goodbye to Lynn again! We thought we wouldn't get to see her, but, as is often the case with that girl, her plans changed and we did get to see her....which is cool. And she gave me a San Diego baseball cap! Love it. Will wear it WHEN I go and visit her, have started saving!

So yeah we have like basically another week off now and need to profit from that so last night Molly and I decided we would go to Perpignan. Must be one of the most last minute travels I've ever done and I'm exciiited! Helen, from Bergerac, is gonna come too and it should be goodtimes. I'd never really heard much about this place but the weather forecast is good, the town looks gorgeous (we'll basically be in Spain, couldn't get any closer without being so) and from there we'll be able to go up into the hills or down to the beach. :-) Also, I am a darn good packer now, seriously such a pro, all done in like 10 minutes!!! Will take my camera, of course.

Weather is gorgeous today. Got up early to go and do some more recording for JPP (Including a beautiful rendition of "If you're happy and you know it" and read "The Enormous Turnip"...future career in radio plays?!), then came home and was brave and made three phone calls (CAF, Water company and France Telecom) to try and sort out finishing stuff), then did my washing and treated myself to half an hour sat in the sun watching the people at the market and reading. Was lovely and two things struck me
1. that although the French are all pretty nicely tanned, they had all opted to sit in the shade today, I guess doing it gradually as you go about life is much healthier than "tanning" sessions
2. that I didn't hear one raised voice the whole time I was there

Posted by LHsugarsugar 06:59 Archived in France Comments (0)

Jours Feries

Firstly, apologies, I just realised that grammar/spelling was even more shocking in last entry than normal. Will sort that out soon and am fully blaming tiredness.

The French have 11 public holidays a year and most of them seem to be this week! Ok, slight exageration but May really is full of them, literally a Merry month, not much time for work! So,

May 1st Fête du premier mai
Traditional to give "Lily of the Valley" (muguet des bois) to friends/family etc to bring good luck. Little stalls selling it pop up in towns. Also "Fete du travail", Labour day.

May 8th Fête de la Victoire 1945
Commemeration of the end of WWII in Europe

May 12th (this year) Whit Monday
Day after Pentecost

Also Ascension Day/Pentecost

But, the best bit is yet to come! If two of these dates fall on, for example a Thursday and a Monday, the Friday is taken as a "pont" (bridge) by many people so they get to have the full weekend off! So, the teachers/kids at my school came back from holidays did two and a half days, have five days off, will go back for a day, have Wednesday off (it's a "free Wednesday") and then back for two days (and the weekend arrives!)! HOWEVER, there is now a teachers strike on the Thursday!!! So if the teachers choose to do that too the they will be in school for three and a half days of the two weeks following their (2 week)Spring holiday!!!

Posted by LHsugarsugar 06:44 Archived in France Comments (0)

Land of the Engles

Yup. Keeping to recent pattern...awesome week of funtimes and then shattered in a "contented-with-life but to-do list piling up" kinda way for a few days!!!

England was greeeattt. Has rekindled my excitement for being back ther properly in a couple of months, a feeling which a few day's of great French weather had kinda numbed a bit. But yeah fully looking forward to it now really...if I could just get a super-tan, stop eating at the boulangerie and massively improve my French in the next 7 weeks would all be perfect actually. ;-) So I know it's not strictly "France" but quick run-down...

Flew into London on the Tuesday with Perigueux Crew (well part-of)...which I'd had more time to spend with them there actually. Was cool, Molly's first time in Angleterre, and realised how much of London I've never done, it's awful really. Stayed in mildly-dodgy but super cheap £6 a night hoste (including breakfast!) and Wednesday we headed to Oxford. The bus took longer than I'd expected but had Wi-Fi which kinda made up for it.

We met up with the Oxford Mateys...was superhappy, like *big smile* contentment to be back with them and just in Oxford...in Balliol, JCR, walking down Cornmarket, popped into Faculty...all really cool, felt like comng-home in a way...i guess Perigueux will feel like that in a couple of year's time? We all had lunch in hall (had never tasted so good!) and then I did the "Oxford Tour" before Lou and Mol headed back. Then basically just hung out. Jucy thrashed the others at Cranium, did the whole May Day dawn "thing" on Thursday, long lazy breakfast with papers in JCR, shoe shopping and chatting with Jo and headed down to Bath after lunch.

Joe is right in the middle of hardcore revision again so basically I napped while he worked! But was awesome to be with him, and really looking forward to being back in same country properly soon. He's been great this year though while I piss around and "do my thing abroad"...thank you :-)

Mum managed to make it up to Bath for a spot of shopping, lunch, etc on Friday which was really nice of course! Bath is a lovely place to spend a few hours chatting and relaxing, lovely. Joe joined us for coffee, and then we had yummy noodles for dinner when mum left. Saturday we headed back up to Oxford for the ball which was AWESOME. Maybe the best yet! Dunno like just one of those really good nights, just had fun and everything was like perfectly balanced...gooooooodtimes, good(ish) cocktails, very good fajitas ;-), good dancing, good laughs... :-) :-) :-) Was kinda tough getting up Sunday though...after 2 hours sleep! But luckily what with bus to Stanstead/wait at airport/flight etc was plenty of naptime and everything went stresslessly to plan.

Tricky going back to work today although the kids were actually pretty good. Did a cool thing with the little ones with a big "map" of a town on the board and taught them all "a park", "a bakers" "a bank" etc...for some reason "bank" sounds just like "bike"!!! And can't complain as after tomorrow I have almost another week off...weds-mon. Thursday and Monday are "jours feries" and so they take Friday as a "pont" (bridge), and of course I don't work Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday....so all pretty cool really. Will try to do something, not sure what yet...Lyon was prevud but isn't happening so will hopefully make some kinda alternative plans with Molly although right now all I can think is food, bed and the list of "stuff" I've gotta do, mostly checking stuff out for leaving the country soon! Oh and JPP wants me to do another enregistrement...Wednesday, 8.30am. Love it

Posted by LHsugarsugar 09:09 Archived in France Comments (0)


Quand meme

sunny 27 °C

Had an amazing week! As much as I've enjoyed seeing as much of France/Europe as I can in the last few years it was really really great to just have a chilled-out week, sleeping late with no rush to fit 100 museums, tours and sights into every day, and yeah just generally having a really relaxing time. Got on really well with Hari, Eddie and Cat, enjoyed our little caravan life and we had some funny times (plus Rachy and Cecile both made it in for a little while). The campsite was lovely, set in pine forest, very quiet with a swimming pool, although annoyingly shop/bar etc not yet open. From there it was about a half hour walk I guess down to the beach/town. Arcachon itself was lovely beachy place with tons of seafood restaurants and surfy shops, but not "tacky" at all, and in the surrounding area (of the "bassin") there was lots of forests, the biggest sand-dune in Europe, and some really expensive villas owned by the French elite. We were amazingly lucky with the weather; the first few days were a bit changable with a bit of rain and often slightly overcast, however the last 4 days have been AWESOME! Like properly properly hot, bikini, ice-cream, prickly-heat weather! Have got a pretty decent tan going on and it was just sooooo cool, Swam in the pool and sea and sunbathed, and ate dinner outside at 9pm. Lucy likes that A LOT. It totally feels to me like this is it, my French summer here to stay, but the forecast says otherwise, so we shall see.

Ok, so, a quick run-down of what we did:

Get train 8.30am from Perigueux, picking Rach up en-route. From Bordeaux it was under an hour to ARCACHON!
All have stuff with us, so find our way to the beach and set up camp there for a couple of hours, dip feet in sea etc.
Lunch at cafe on sea-front, yummy chicken salad and chips.
Bit of a long, uphill walk to campsite, check out carvan etc.
Discover bus/lift into/back from town, easier for future journeys!
Back down into town, first of many ice-creams from Sorbet d'Amour. Walk along front to Port, get a bit wet! Stop for a coffee.
Walk back past Casino, take lift up to park where the old Casino was.
AMAZING dinner! At "Hippocamp" restaurant: fish soup with rouille http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouille (yummmy, so rich), best salmon ever, and perhaps the nicest white wine I've ever had...damn it though, I've lost where I wrote down what it was called!
Back up to caravan, Cards: Lexicon (giving birth to "woolscar" and "umtwine") and JUNGLE SPEED (to become game of the week!)
First glimpse of Hari's Powerball before bed.

Cereal for breakfast, Rach offers Hari salt in his tea!
Swim in the pool! Bloody cold! And slide kinda uncomfortable but fun all the same and Rach, as always this weekend, is "well up for it"
Back to caravan for a great hot shower
Down to town, Mie Caline paninis etc for lunch. Sun out!
Meet up with Cecile and get out billets for the "Grand tour du bassin" par bateau, 2 and half hours on-board, get to see:
l'Ile des Oiseaux
Cabanes Tchanquees
Dune du Pyla
Cap Feret
Expensive, very nice villas
And then it gets slightly bumpy...very fun at first as Rach slides across boat in her plastic chair, but then start to feel kinda queasy.
Hang out on the beach...duck, duck, goose, bulldog. Meet Tony (a real dog!).
Back up the road, stopping off at the playpark.
Dinner de Cat et Lucy, pasta followed by cheese and vino, of course. Sit outside, lovely. It's the eve of Hari's birthday and Eddie sings an AMAZING song his written for him, gauntlet is laid down for an Arcachon song by end of the week.
5 minutes before midnight I suggest Hari should do something "crazy" to celebrate end of his boyhood....before we know it he has stripped and is running around outside caravan. His adulthood is welcomed in as we are told off for being too loud...oops.

Just about roll out of bed at 6am to say goodbye to Rach :-( but will hopefully see her soon. It's raining, poor her.
Roll out again, very quietly at 8am, with Cat. Head down to the supermarket and stock up on stuff for bacon sandwiches and BBQ for Hari's birthday. Wake the boys up with the smell of frying bacon. Nice breakfast, Hari opens his presents.
Seriously lazy morning, reading, playing games etc...basically don't do anything until lunchtime, BBQ and beers, followed by self-constructed Strawberry Birthday Cake.
After that tiring morning (ahem) have a little siesta...but woken up by boys breaking through a certain wall.
Boys go out to get some necessities for the shot glasses I gave Hari. Cat straightens my hair! Really weird, but quite like it, makes a nice change...like it with the layers, sexy! he he!
We make ourselves pretty.
Jungle Speed, The Drinking Version. Very funny...general misbehaviour.
Leave to go and get dinner...starts to rain, take cover in phone box, then get lost in the forest. General tipsy ramblings.
Eventually arrive in town for dinner at about 11pm...obviously this is late even by French standards. Eventually
the, really-quite-posh, Casino offers us steak! Totally random meal...we're the only people in this smart restaurant, they eventually tell us they're closing up. Check out the casino...don't really get very far.
Taxi home.
Cereal time...random conversations.

Bit of a lie-in.
Tidy up caravan. Run out of gas, just as reception is closing for lunch, but boys save the day.
Bit overcast, head into town. Get the bus to the Dune du Pyla where we meet up with two of the teachers from Eddie's school.
Dune in seriously impressive....MASSIVE. Amazing views of forests, bassin etc once you get to the top. Walk most of the way along it, then all the way down to the sea and back up again, very hard work indeed!
Eddie's friends drive us to a little port and then to a little cafe for a drink in the sun, very nice.
Boys cook dinner tonight, very yummy salmon pasta.
Chill-out to Eddie's guitar accompaniment, lovely.
Jungle Speed... "Why are the cards like that?"
"...because someone thought they should go in the washing up last night..."

12 hours sleep.

Breakfast, tea.
Hang around by pool.
Potato salad etc for lunch, wander into town.
Hire a 4-person Chucklebrother bike! Hilarious, if slightly terrifying, hour along the coast and back.
Beach....long-jump to keep warm. Somehow Cat ends up kicking a load of sand all over me, the boys almost die laughing expecting a fight I think!
Dinner on the sea-front. Try mussels (in a cream sauce)...soooooo yummy, followed by the best duck confit EVER. Hari has a massive sea-food platter.
Cold walk home...dressed for day-time.
Jungle Speed, of course.

Get up and head right down to beach, get ferry across to up-market Cap Feret.
Hire bikes...slightly wobbly at first, haven't ridden in ages, but get into it...although always at back of group!
Cycle to lighthouse and then back for some lunch, steak.
Back on bikes across the island, very peaceful and nice. Quickly lose the boys but find a really cool beach...pretty deserted, massive and awesome waves, proper North Devon/Cornwall atlantic waves. Boys track us down and we go in sea! I'm the only one prepared with bikini so it's underwear for the rest. Weird "creme brulee" sand. Dry off in the sun. Cycle to the point and then back to return bikes and get boat home again. Little nap on the way.
Good dinner chez nous: rillets, terrine de campagne, pasta salad etc, and best cheese EVER...tome de basque....mmmmm
Showers, Profiteroles for dessert.
ARCACHON SONG! So cool, I'll have to try and get words off of Eddie.
Jungle Speed.

Lazy morning, poor Hari is ill.
Read/lay outside. Seriously good weather.
Cat, Eddie and I head into town...wander around some shops, do a pharmacy trip for Hari, lunch and ice-cream.
Laze by pool. Little sleep and then a swim, I'm the first one in!
Nice warm shower and down into town for out last dinner, Italian, followed by sangria on the front watching some hilarious "jumper fashion" from the middle-aged couples enjoying the summer's eve (hard to believe still only April!) and entertained by Victor.
Jungle Speed.

Up earlier. Pack up and clean caravan. Very, very warm today.
Head down to beach with all our gear. Sunbathe for a few hours, and Mr Umbrella comes in handy as a parasol. Paddle in sea, eat lunch, sunbathe a bit more and then a kinda uncomfortable walk back up to the station with all our stuff, too hat.
Train journey home and back in the Gueux in time to upload photos before bed.

This morning I nipped out for half an hour in the sun, need to keep this tan topped-up for ball next Saturday. Oooo, on other news, Ben Folds, The Zutons and Groove Armada are among Glasto confimations, :-) . Washing, lesson planning etc for a couple of days now and then it's off to Angleterre. Sooo excited to see Oxford mateys, realised I'm gonna be there for May Day and the ball should be awesome. And, of course, really really really can't wait to see Joe...been like 8 and a half weeks...

Quand meme...pas de soucis, hein?

Posted by LHsugarsugar 03:40 Archived in France Comments (0)


WOOOOO! Vacances have officially STARTED! yeah!

Last couple of days teaching were fine, just tidying stuff off, telling them about English money, few evaluations, some singing. Had our last group meal at Lou and Lynn's last night, pizza! Was really sad to say goodbye to Lynn...he he but on the upside she donated some clothes to me that she couldnt carry home, score!

And now here we go! Vivement les vacances! Leave for Arcachon tomorrow morning and there will be a mega entry to come when I'm back in a week's time.

Posted by LHsugarsugar 05:57 Archived in France Comments (0)

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