Thinks he’s made of candy…
So there we were. The summer lay ahead of us with the promise of lots of visitors, temperatures of up to 38 degrees and the only renovation projects we had were minor ones (finishing the Salon painting mainly). So like Cliff Richard and Una Stubbs we set off on our summer holiday.
We had almost a week before my parents arrived and there was a lot to do. First things first – the fete de maubourguet. Most French villages host a weekend fete at some point over the summer. These are two hedonistic days of wine drinking (or as I spotted in maubourguet a combo of beer and absinthe drinking!) game playing and dressing up as women. (Fetes bring out the Les Dawson in the burliest of French men!)
The tiny square in Maubourguet is transformed into a fun fair like Rydell High at the end of Grease. For a small village there are some big rides but the main attractions for my boys are the giant balls you can roll around in on three inches of water and the trampolines with harnesses so you can bounce and spin – referred to by our friends who have some near their holiday home in Cornwall as ‘bouncealines’.
The most fun in the world
There are slot machines, coin slide machines (where Sebastian hit the jackpot and thought he was James Bond when presented with a watch as a prize) and there is food – loads of it. Candy floss as big as your head, crepes, popcorn and ice cream. And local children are allowed to stay up as late as they like and the adults get stuck into the wine. And at some point in the evening, burley men, dressed as women encourage the local children to join them in a giant tug of war competition. And for the first time ever this year, our children elected to join in. And as we watched them grab the rope on opposing sides with dozens of French children of different ages, laugh, fall over and speak the universal language of silliness, we remembered one of the reasons we took on this crazy project.
Tug of war in maubourguet
To try and give two, urban, London, relatively privileged kids, a slice of life that money can’t buy. To show them that sometimes pulling a rope with thirty, non English speaking village kids in rural France can be way more fun than an x box. And the sense of achievement when one brother came in on the winning team was Millibandesque for whichever one of them it was.
So we went and bought silly hats to celebrate.
Maubourguet in fete
I’ve veered off on a tangent. Which is what happens when I actually get to our french house – I want to show you all pictures in real time but if that happens I’ll lose my train of thought and the narrative bits of our story. Yes its finally nice, we can sit in one room and be warm and dry while others sit in a different room and concurrently experience warmth and dryness. Fancy that?
Its the house we always dreamed of and in Summer 2013 we threw open the doors, shutters and all other apertures of La Maison Blanche to a host of fabulous guests. I spent the longest I ever have over there with my husband and sons (regular blog readers will have read tales of my separate summers but it not click here .) And despite my usual bouts of ‘oh god why can’t I be in some sort of organised resort with a kids club’ woes – this summer was the summer I saw the value of our french folly.
Iphoto is a wonderful tool – you can spend hours just flipping through a visual history of key moments of your life (daubed with a healthy selection of selfies/foodstagrams and comedy videos if you’re anything like me!) and, if you’re like me, you can sit back and say WOW my life looks bloody amazing! If looking at other’s facebook feeds can sometimes make you want to slash your wrists in terms of self underachievment (just this week I had people posting everything from first class flights to Barbados, to Billie Piper at their new year’s eve party!) Then my iPhoto feed serves to provide just the opposite.
A quick scroll through one year of photos makes you realise just how much we pack into our lives. And how many amazing people wander in and out of it along the way, family, friends and this summer some porcine friends too.
Ride on time!
And so it is with summer 2013 – an iPhoto scan shows the White Family on our own having fun, the white family plus my parents having jazz fest fun, the white family and possibly one of our all time fave guests – baby Io having fun and finally us plus The joyous Murray Leslie family having fun with rope swings, camels and more. So really it’s several blog posts to come. But here’s the visual whistle stop.br />
Gran and Grandad!
When kids do daycare
Kids, animals and other stuff
Oh and then there was the arrival of Dawn and Cora….. But that’s definitely another blog post!
Two little pigs