Ahh… the annual family holiday. We look forward to it all year and then spent the entire time wanting to kill one another. Unsurprisingly, this year was no different *disclaimer – I do love my family and don’t actually wish death upon them…*
I come from a rather large family (my mum is one of six) and this year, like we have done a few times before, we decided to go on holiday for two weeks to the South of France with her two brothers, their partners and their children.
My parents however, thought it would be a good idea to drive down there. Which, I guess, in theory, makes sense – we could take our time, stop off along the way and have the car once we got there. It all sounds great, except that the reality wasn’t so laid back as we may have thought. Turns out we were travelling down on the busiest weekend of the year. Remember a few weeks ago on the news they were talking about the ten hour long queues at Dover to get on the Eurotunnel? Yep, we were in that. Having said that, we did (by some miracle) manage to avoid the worst of the queues. Nevertheless, the journey took us over 17 hours and I’ll spare you the hellish details but I wouldn’t exactly put it up there with the best 17 hours of my life.
Anyway, we were staying in a couple of cottages right in the middle of nowhere in a little village about an hour and a half south of Bergerac. It was the perfect spot for reading, relaxation and getting a good old tan. The landscape around us was absolutely stunning, we were surrounded by fields and fields of sunflowers, gorgeous little French towns and medieval history.
The first week was spent reading, eating and tanning (i.e. holidaying). For anyone who’s interested, I read Imagine by Mark Haysom, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Inconceivable by Ben Elton, all of which I really enjoyed and would definitely recommend. My younger sister also turned 17 and I burnt my back (typical). In the evenings we cooked, played music and card games and got adequately tipsy on boxes of French wine (the true French way). We also went to a village food festival – I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever been to one of these – but they’re probably my favourite thing about rural France. They’re basically in the square of a small town where locals bring food stalls and sell things like steak and moules frites and burgers and crepes etc etc. There’s also a band and an area people can dance in and they’re just very very lovely. The one we went to in the first week was in a place called Beauville (beautiful town) – very adequately named.
We also went to a small medieval town called Lauzerete, the views were pretty incredible so naturally I had to have an instagram photoshoot (don’t judge me…)
We also had some very welcome visits from the local residents…
At the beginning of the second week, my boyfriend flew into Bergerac and I couldn’t really have been more happy to see him. Because, as you can probably imagine, being in a secluded location with 9 other family members for a week, can get one a tad irritable… so I was very pleased to have my playmate back.
The next day was my mum’s birthday, we went to a French market, took pictures and bought soap (very lovely soap), and in the evening we got drunk and sung along to all of our favourite songs. Tom also beat my youngest cousin at chess and made him cry and my mum beat me at table tennis (it was her birthday, I had to let her win…) – and no, I didn’t cry.
The next week consisted of much the same, although we did fit in a few visits to some very pretty, medieval French towns and to a really lovely lake where we went kayaking and on a peddle boat. We also tried to do a group photo of us jumping in, but when you leave the photography up to the parents – it never really goes well does it.
And to finish off, we had a final meal out before Tom and I flew back to London, and the others drove back the following day (hah! suckers…).
All in all, it was a pretty lovely holiday and I’m very grateful to have such a lovely family and boyfriend by my side. Even if they do drive me mad from time to time, I love them all to the moon and back. So thanks, you bunch of nutters, for another fab holiday.