Luckily the first few days of our holiday are proving worth the awful journey. The weather has been getting better each day and even on the first day, which was the windiest with occasional showers, it was still nice enough to enjoy being out. Today we had a lovely outdoor swim in the sunshine.
It’s been a lovely few days. We’ve mainly hung about the campsite and done lots of swimming as everyone loves it but I also went out to stock up at a supermarket and we had a trip to Quimper yesterday.
This seems to be a really good holiday to do for the ages of children that we have. We are able to give O and L some freedom (more than they seem to want to take us up on half the time!) and we’re situated in such a quiet corner that we’re not worried about cars outside so they can all play outside easily. It’s perfect for using their scooters. They bought water pistols today with their holiday money and have been playing with those and also with some blow up beach balls that they got free from “Buffalo Bills” where we had that memorable, resuscitating meal on the first night. I love to see how great holiday games can be created from such chance things.
They had to be “forced” to spend their holiday money though. I said I would give them 10 Euros each and Oscar immediately started talking to Lucas about “Clubbing it together” when they got home for some new Dungeons and Dragons game. Oh no, says I, holiday money is for spending on holiday on essential plastic rubbish and radioactive sweets. I’m still not quite sure about my thinking here but it felt important at the time. They can always go busking when they get home for a bit of extra money if they want it.
Not having any English TV here is a blessing. Joth and I have been laughing at how pathetically strong the urge to watch TV is for them as for the first couple of days they fell out of bed and sat huddled on the sofa watching strange French cartoons. Today (the third morning) they didn’t bother turning it on at all. And of course we haven’t missed it – any of us. I brought several things that they never get round to at home like a book on Manga drawing (we’ve all had a go), Suduko and drawing paper and the boys have been as happy as larry. They also bought their set of dice and seem to spend hours throwing them while jabbering away in Warhammer speak with their heads together working out their strategies. I am sure that they will know all there is to know about chance and ratio.
I only brought one book with me which is very annoying as I’ve already finished it. Grrr! I HATE being without a book. It’s one of the perks of breastfeeding and doubly annoying not to be enjoying reading on holiday.
Needless to say, we’ve been playing lots of games together too. In our evenings with the older two we’ve been playing cards and “Ingenious” which David gave me for my birthday. It’s a good game which ticks all the boxes for us: quick to learn, skilful, good for all ages, looks pleasing and fits easily into an evening. We’ve also had an hilarious game of “Halli Galli”, the Swiss game given to us by Matt, our Swiss lodger, which Anton seems to have renamed “Hairy Daddy.” I think that name will stick somehow.
One of the most rewarding things about this holiday has been giving Anton so much more “proper” attention. Some of the little behaviour blips that were becoming tricky at home recently (Anton not taking care of the boys things or deliberating carrying on doing things we’ve asked him not to) are already getting sorted because Joth and I are both dealing with it in the same way together. He seems to be starting to understand that the boys will be happier to let him play with their things if he shows them he’s being careful.
In fact living in a small space like this is proving to be very bonding. We feel very “together” in a way I haven’t felt for a long time. It is lovely to have a run of not having to squeeze things in like practise or all the educational things I feel are necessary at the time, and all our commitments and it’s nice too not to worry so much about whether they are eating so healthily (what’s one week in a lifetime) so they are having unlimited amounts of white bread and orangina and they have permanent Nutella stains around their mouths. Mainly though, it’s lovely having a run of having Joth with us when he’s not distracted by work instead of just a day here or there. We don’t even have a clock with us here, not something we could manage at all at home.
So yes, it does feel essential to come away. Even the fact that we are in France rather than England feels really good which I’m glad about because even though the mobile home part was free (thanks to Tesco clubcard) we ended up having to pay about £430 of extras to go abroad: ferry crossing, 2 passports, extra car insurance and breakdown and travel insurance not to mention the extra Sat Nav download. That has already earnt it’s keep though, even after the first hideous night, by allowing Joth to nap on the way home from Quimper and me to drive calmly and concentrate on being on the right side on the road. I even enjoyed my solo journey to the supermarket although the Sat Nav doesn’t “do” our campsite accurately so I wasn’t completely sure I could find my way back again. It was pathetic how adventurous I felt.
I was thinking today though that France won’t be quite the outrageous place for the boys that we thought it was when we were younger. As a child I felt we took our lives in our hands when we stepped across the Channel, what with the poisonous tap water, smelly holes in the ground for loos and rabid dogs around every corner and I remember feeling so sorry for everyone I met thinking how much they must wish they lived in the UK. To the grown up me though, everything in France seems to be particularly well thought out and beautifully well kept and I find myself wondering what the musical scene is like in Brittany for violinists. I do love this southern part of Brittany and I do think France is still sufficiently “different” to be giving the kids an experience. I’m so glad we came. I think their memories of this little trip will be very good ones.