Said i would say something about holidays, so just a few rambling style meanderings as i reflect on recent relaxatory revelations - this means nothing, but i like the sound of it. I don't have the profound insights of Jem Clines about our travels but it gives me a chance to waffle a bit...
The start of a thunderstorm as i type here in South Cambridgeshire certainly reminds me of our time away in Bergerac - it was very very hot - the heatwave in the UK feels almost cool in comparison - and prone to thunderstorms, which could be incredibly exciting, particularly the nighttime ones, but once they went we again were greeted by clear skies and fantastic weather.
It was the heat that shaped our holiday - keeping kids out of too much sunlight, choosing what we would eat, making sure we stocked up on water, driving at certain times of the day (no air con in the car, our clunky old volvo), deciding which places to visit that might be shady, looking for cool places to park, not wanting to make too much effort etc etc etc.
The Dordogne is beautiful so we enjoyed our travelling around, seeing places that now feel familiar and discovering new places. Unfortunately there is little public transport, and its difficult to use buses and trains with two under fives in tow, so we had to rely on a car. This proved to be troublesome as on one day out my handbrake cable snapped, and we had to hire a car (which did have a.c.) as i endeavoured to explain to a local mechanic what was wrong and to understand his response. Fortunately a friend of the family who own most of the house we use (we have an 11 % share, roughly the size of the toilet i worked out whilst we were there) is proficient in English and she explained over the phone what was wrong and interpreted the answer - ie that there are NO volvo dealers in the Dordogne and we'd have to wait a week for the correct bits to arrive. Anyway, we always have to have one disaster on holiday and this one was relatively simple (not the car crashes of previous experience, or wife's serious sunburn of one year). I broke the cord which started the lawnmower which was a disasater for the lawn, but not for me as i got to skive of this minor piece of domestic activity and play another game of scrabble.
All in all the holiday was probably one of the most relaxing times i have ever had, despite a 14 hour drive at either end and the stresses of keeping the kids safe, amused and occupied. In part this was due to not trying to do anything that looked or felt like work, so perhaps taking a laptop (as mentioned previously) was good after all.