Friday, 25 September 2015

Summer? What Summer?

So where did the summer go? One moment it was all ahead of us, the next it seems a lifetime away. Where did you go, what did you do? Sizzling sunshine and sandy beaches, turquoise waters and tanned tummies; warm nights and wafting about in linen. Is that long-dreamed of idyll what you found, or were you rain-soaked in Reading or Redditch?

Well, I guess I found something in between: some rain, some sunshine, some warmth, some cold. South west France was never going to be the best place to choose a holiday home to escape the meteorological lows of the High Peak. The same wayward and increasingly unpredictable Atlantic influences haunt its shores as they do the whole of the west side of the UK. What happens in south-west France usually heads to north-west England eventually, with a few degrees taken off the temperature. Sadly, though, the June/July Europe-wide heatwave never made it to Manchester - and it broke in south-west France the day we arrived. As we opened the gate and pulled in to the parched remains of a garden, our neighbours popped up the other side of the hedge to inform us that there had not been a drop of water in two sweltering months. The following morning we woke to rain. Yes, siree, I had arrived, dragging with me my heavy chains of Bad Weather Curse.

Only I could go to Dubai in February and get the worst floods for 50 years (it's a desert last time I looked); or to the Philippines on honeymoon and be plagued by tropical storms; or on safari in Kenya in torrential rain, digging our mini-van out of a mud-swilled ditch; or on a trekking and white-water rafting holiday in Nepal where we had to buy ponchos to protect us (I still have them hanging up in the cloakroom) and the river was a brown, swollen mess after days of downpours; or Majorca three times in the rain; or Thailand under leaden skies; or New Zealand in the worst summer the southern hemisphere has had in years. You get the picture? The moral of the tale being: DON'T GO ON HOLIDAY WITH ME!

Yet I can't complain. I am lucky to go away - many don't have that luxury, of which I am only too  aware. And a change is as good as a rest as that old adage sagely says. So here are some photos of the sojourn abroad, in a place that I love, come rain or shine.

Arrival in St Malo - rain and grey skies again!

Lunch stop on the journey down - sun at last!
Bay of Arcachon
Local beach under threatening skies

Aperitif time!

Sunset in Biarritz

Quiet contemplation in the waves

Handstands on deserted sands
Is that a crab?

Path through the dunes

Tom Daley eat your heart out...

More gymnastics, more threatening skies and Reggie Perrin...

Silhouettes at sunset

Birthday Girl

When did they get so grown up?

Lounging around on a lilo


Close encounters of the canine kind
Celebrating GCSE results

Sand art

The Final Sunset

Return to Blighty

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