South of France Summer

Finally some vitamin d. Streaking through the window as I write, the sun is officially out, not the half -hearted business we’ve been dealing with in London, but full on sun! I’m in the South of France and have been here almost 24 hours.

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What a 24 hours they have been. I missed my train at Blackfriars by 1 minute and then had to wait 30 minutes for another one. As a punctual fiend, my stress levels started to rise (even though I had left plenty of time), and this was anything but alleviated when I arrived at Gatwick and found an EasyJet check-in queue to rival Bubbledogs’s.

At 11 a.m, with just 20 minutes to spare, we were still a long way off Trish and her conveyor belt. Things were not looking peachy, not looking peachy at all. With Tom M at this point, who was getting a lot of abuse from me as a result of his persistent chat about the fry-up be wanted once we got through, ‘we don’t have time’, I started to voice my concerns loudly. “We’re going to miss the plane, oh god, Elle and Troubes are already out there, what are we going to do?!”

What a stroke of fortune; my fears were overheard by a security guard, who took pity on what he thought was the start of a romantic getaway, and let us under the belt and straight to Trish. Queue jump, yes please!

We made it onto the plane; the journey was smooth and all looked as if it would be fine. We landed, luggage came, we located the car that my brother had left at the airport and the keys. We paid 22.50 euros, for the car parking (overnight) and set off to the hills. Driving in France, and driving a big car in France (I’m used to a mini, this is a people carrier), does stress me out a little. Especially at the beginning of a trip…foreign territory and all.

What I didn’t realise at this point was that my co-pilot was going to take me to foreign territories from the foreign territories that I already knew. Yes, driving from the airport, he commanded me to turn right and get onto the A8. I knew the road was the A8, but darling Tom had set me on it the wrong bloody way. We weren’t heading to Cannes and Antibes, but to Monaco. Monaco!

Two tolls booths, 5 euros and a barney to be remembered later, we were back on track and heading south. 50 minutes after this, we pulled up outside our maison. Home at last.

Elle and Troubes arrived, fresh in from Fayence, and after a quick refreshing beverage, we set off to the hills in search of a restaurant – in a convertible, not the people carrier. We picked Mons, a beautiful hilltop town and found a quaint restaurant tucked in a little side street. Then we ate, ah French food, c’est tres, tres bien.

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olive tapenade and crusty french bread
olive tapenade and crusty french bread
artichoke mousse
artichoke mousse
prawn risotto
prawn risotto
salade gourmandine
salade gourmandine
veal and boursin wrapped in parma ham
veal and boursin wrapped in parma ham

And of course a bottle of rosé…

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The perfect cure for travelling stress, and the perfect way to embark upon our fortnight of fun. Summer in the South of France has finally begun!

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