So we packed the Candys off home having had so much fun we were all sad it had to come to an end. Petra, lorraine and I pledged to reunite us all in London and the kids said meaningful goodbyes along the lines of “I’ll FaceTime ya yeah?”
Which left just Levetons, but not for long. In a whirl of bed linen changing and replenishing food and wine stocks, we waited for that nights arrival of Uncle Richard and his friend Shona who he has known, just about forever and consequently, I’ve known her a few years shy of forever.
Richard and Shona used to share a flat in the early nineties when they all moved to London from Edinburgh Uni. Shona and her sister Louise found and paid the bulk for the flat so Richard was given a Harry Potter style box room barely bigger than his futon bed (futons see – early nineties!) this is where I also used to stay while doing my work experience at Inside Soap magazine. And while some of Richards ‘London’ friends could be quite intimidating for a girl from Newcastle, Shona and Louise have, from day one, made me feel welcome, provided a guiding hand and been there for me and my family (when Arthur was a baby and Richard would volunteer to look after him he would always make Shona come along for nappy change duties!)
Shona and her sister Louise eventually moved back to Edinburgh to open a B&B which should you ever go there you MUST stay at as its stunning. Www.millers64.comwww.millers64.com
So it was lovely to have Shona visit us for a few days in France. And as we had chef Leveton in residence we could provide Rich and Shona with a feast on arrival. And Richard’s personal bottle of Ricard.
And for the next couple of days the kids played on the ikea hallo hammock,which, cost per use is priceless. They swing on it, they jump on it, the tip each other off it and then they fight about it. Simples. They were discontinued in IKEA but Peter managed to find one on eBay after a year of having a saved search.
So now we have two and the fighting can increase. Sometimes I actually get to lie on it and read a book but a child invariably launches themselves with force at me while on it.
And then we persuaded Shona onto a bike for possibly the first time in twenty years. There is a small river about a ten minute cycle from our house where you can swim in summer but most of the year we go there to throw stones or play pooh sticks. Its a simple game that children can do for hours and uncle Richard can use the time to go online and check his air miles, while keeping half an eye on the children of course. If you’ve never played I’ll let Pooh explain…
And the bike we’d leant to Shona came from a place called Emmaus which is like a giant, permanent car boot sale. They’re all over France and I’ve read in French fashion mags recommendations for ones near Paris but ours is, frankly filled with toot. I can no more imagine seeing Emmanuel Alt there than Brad Pitt (tho maybe he and Angelina have been as they DO have a French chateau). Peter and the boys however LOVE it. And it is the perfect place for Peter to add to his growing collection of bikes (worth a blog post all of their own). The bike allocated to Shona needs a new saddle. We knew this from seeing the way poor Shona was walking when we got back from our ride. She had valiantly not complained as I think she was rather enjoying getting back to nature. The lovely thing about our house in France is that it makes our otherwise ‘urban’ friends put on rubbish clothes and get on bikes. Be gone your cappuccino bars and designer dresses this is about rickety saddles and shorts. And Shona seemed to love it all as when it came time to finally pack everyone off and start operation clean up, she said she was definitely coming back. And we’d love to have her. I might even get her a futon.