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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

June 04, 2006

Home thoughts from abroad

windy_beach_06, originally uploaded by mcmrbt.

We just spent a week staying in a house in St. Cyprien, in the Rousillon. Behind you, you've got mountains; in front of you, the sea.

The first couple of days it was hot, but then the tramontane wind started to blow, and though it remained warm (typically 24°C or 75°F in the shade), there were days when it gusted to 100kph (60mph), so it was hardly the weather for lounging on the beach doing nothing.

But the kids, as ever, didn't care what the weather was like. They just loved being on the beach. On the day this photo was taken, it was blowing such a gale that the beach - apart from us - was completely deserted. There were cars parked along the front, but people were huddled in cafés and bars.

We went down and sat next to the sea and got sandblasted while the kids ran up and down screaming at the top of their lungs and having the time of their lives. I risked my camera to the hurtling sands and grabbed some shots. Sand got everywhere: your pockets filled, and the packet of biscuits we took was hopelessly inundated. Fun though.

Other days, we sat on the beach at Collioure down the coast. The main beach there is in a sheltered bay, and it was well shielded from the wind. No sand, though, so the kids had to make do with stones, skipping them in the water or building sea defences. Collioure's a beautiful place, and the panoramic views from the road as you drive in are fantastic. I heard some British woman talking about buying a flat there, though she couldn't even pronounce the name of the village.

Apart from the weather, main blots on the landscape were illness. First day, arriving at Heathrow, Didi was sick. We put it down to travel sickness and played it down, not wanting her to decide she was going to feel sick every time we got in the car. She was okay on the plane (British Airways to Barcelona, much more civilised than EasyJet, and the tickets were still fairly cheap), but then as we set off in the hire car (Ford Focus: not at all bad) she was sick two or three times more.

Bless her, she was okay by the end of the day, and we thought no more of it till the Monday, when I woke up with what I can only describe as dysentery. Whereas she was sick and recovered quickly, my problem lingered until Friday. Dosed up on Immodium, I was basically okay, but had No Appetite which was Fucking Annoying. I was so off my food that I didn't even want the Buckler from the fridge. I was weak as the proverbial kitten, too, so a walk round a market left me feeling in need of a lie down.

So that was me. And then CJ woke up on Thursday and up-chucked, so she spent most of the day lying on the couch watching CBBC on the Satellite telly. Finally, another of our party woke up on Friday with the same thing, and then my wife felt queasy as we arrived back at Heathrow. Though, being a bit of a rat, she wasn't actually sick.

Reckon I lost some weight though, so it's not all bad! More photos on Flickr, for the interested.


  • You could make a comedy series of my mum's mispronunciations of foreign towns. It's like she has a mental block when it comes to non-english words.

    In Austria there were a couple of places I remember...

    Soll - pronounced like a "tsull" with a french accent, was, abviously, "soul".

    Schaffau - pronounced like "chef"+"ow!", in my parents' lingo became "chauffeur".

    And the german word for a motorway exit "ausfahrt" - perhaps best rendered as "'ouse-fayrt" was no less than, fnar fnar, arse-fart.

    It must be a constant source of amusement for other Europeans.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 2:34 am  

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