Sunday, June 22, 2008


We had a lovely holiday in France. We spent a couple of days with Matt and Sue where Brian was put to work chopping logs and strimming grass though the weather was a bit damp. Then we went down to the Haute Alps de Provence into a very nice gite, where the weather also improved and we had a nice time pottering about.

However the Tuesday morning we found a piece of bread on the floor that looked like it had been nibbled and assumed it was field mice, which we weren't that concerned about. However the following night when Brian went to the loo he saw a rat disappearing round a corner. Not mice then. Got up in the morning and scrubbed every surface in the kitchen/lounge area before we made a cup of tea. We wondered whether to go or stay and decided to stay but told the owners and asked for a cupboard we could put everything away into, as it was open shelves and curtains. They put down poison and got a cupboard and we washed everything and put it away, and you have never seen a kitchen which I run looking so tidy in your life! Nothing was out. Brian heard noises that night but saw nothing, and I didn't hear anything because I had earplugs in to block the snoring. The following night however they had decided to invite the neighbours in for a rave. There was a small roofspace above the bathroom and there must have been 2 or 3 in there judging by the noise, there was another one under the roof tiles and Brian saw one disappear behind the oven housing. This was all at 2 am. I had a really strong desire to hide under the bedclothes though what good that would do I have no idea. The bedroom was actually ok as all the walls had been plastered whereas the living room was stone and there must be small gaps between the render. So in the morning we packed up and I threw out my toothbrush (just in case) and went to tell the owners. They were a young couple, mid 20s and had only had the place since january. They were setting up a business making tapenade and special mustards etc plus the gite. They had people due on the Saturday and this was Thursday morning. So poor Veronique went to get the refund for the 2 nights we weren't staying, and came back in tears. So there we were patting her on the shoulder and giving lots of good advice about getting the rat man in, finding a farmer with a good terrier etc. Brian had already given lots of good advice about renovating the building (already done a stone cottage and really know what needs doing advice). We both felt quite parental in a way, but it was impossible to stay.

So we went south and spent the first night outside Aix en Provence within sight of
(Brian on path up to Mont)
Cezanne's Mont de St Victoire, and had a fabulous meal. The next day was wet so we abandoned the idea of staying somewhere beachy and pushed on to Nice, which is where we were flying from on the Saturday. Nice has the most appalling road signage ever! We saw the airport but couldn't get to it, so eventually headed for the sea and drove back along the Boulevard des Anglais, where we found an Ibis to stay the night. We had the worst meal I have ever had there, in fact my meal was inedible. However we had a nice potter round Nice the following day and went for a swim in the Med. But Nice has an awful beach, really stony and really, really hard to walk on.

Brian outside a gallery in Simiane de Rotonde - uncanny eh? Such a not-french name Brian

Then we went to Pembrokeshire and had a nice pottery time there. We were on Abereiddy beach on the Saturday (glorious day) and had a picnic and went for a walk along the cliff, but didn't go for a swim because the water was seriously cold. However we decided that actually the temperature of the water was the only thing we preferred about Nice compared to Abereiddy, which is lucky really as we are going to spend much more time there than in Nice.

it was such a nice break. Going back to work......

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