Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shenanigans on the French Riviera

I've been AWOL for a few days. Moving house to Heyres on the Med and getting Mr Beach House all set for the regatta has been somewhat hectic.  One has to ask “Are we having fun yet?”  I so do not see the joy in competitive sailing, especially at international level, but there are 517 competitors here, so clearly I am missing something.

Mr Beach House stupidly allowed the Littlest Beach House Brat to assist him in affixing his sail numbers to the sail on our living room floor at home.  Big mistake, as they were 5 mil out and that little shite fight has taken 24 hours to rectify with the measurers.  First attempt was with a knife, by cutting five mil off the back of the number 7, which only led to a second rejection by the measurer and then the purchase and refit of 13 new numbers/letters, as they all had to be moved along five mil.  We couldn’t rip them off and restick, as it’s like trying to reuse sticky tape.  Mr BH being MR BH, he chose the girl measurer on the third attempt and chatted her up with a smile and he passed with flying colours, but not before working up a sweat in the lovely Jack’s sail loft trying to refit the numbers to perfection before Jack closed for lunch at 12.30pm sharp.  It does seem strange that all the ship chandleries close for 2 hours at lunch time, when there are so many guys trying to make ready their boats for the competition, which begins tomorrow.  I mean by all means close for lunch once the regatta starts, but one would think the 2 day window of opportunity pre regatta, would mean they would be willing to take our money at all times of the day, by delaying lunch and staying open.  But this is France and they have been closing for lunch for 2 hours since 1066 and they see no reason to change that, even though there are guys willing to hand over big money just get their boats right for the start of racing.

We are only happy Mr BH did not send all his sailing gear here by freight, as those guys who did have the choice of sailing naked tomorrow (not unheard of on the Med), or forking out big bucks to kit themselves out in new wetsuits, life jackets, tillers and sails etc etc.  As of course none of their gear has arrived and has only been tracked as far Marseilles.  “Ah Marseilles” all the salty old dogs say. “You will never see your gear again.”  Now I can see the wisdom in carting a tiller and all sorts of other crap with us over from London on the Eurostar, even if it did mean approaching doorways side on for 5 weeks, when we were on the move.

As Mr BH is sailing now, we have also lost our very competent driver and the task has fallen to me.  I drove home from the yacht club yesterday for a practise (10 minutes).  It was peak hour and we didn’t set the GPS, because stupidly, we thought we knew where we lived. Consequently we got on the 3 lane highway that hugs the Riviera Coast.  Mr BH even concedes it was the wrong time to have a go at driving my first ever diesel car on the wrong side of the road and even he puts it down to why I almost got us side swiped by another driver as I tried to get off the round about from the inside lane.  

The French driver called me everything under the sun and rightly so. Suffice to say when we got to the supermarket. I parked, got out and refused to drive again.  However, if I don’t man up and try again we will not have much fun, as the beach is 4 ks away so it’s going to be a little dull if I don’t get back on the horse.  If only it was a horse.

The upside is, our cute little house is only a 15 minute walk into the old part of Hyeres from here, but I dare say we will get a little bored with Roman houses and Knights Templar chapels after a week. There are only so many romantic French villages one can take with their kids in tow.  Of course it’s all up hill too,  owing to the 100 Year Wars and the need to build defensively in those times, so the kids soon get the pip with wandering around up hill and it can turn ugly very quickly.

Despite our distance from the ocean, all is not lost. Or so I thought.  There is an aquatic centre but 5 minutes walk from here.  We checked it out yesterday and I have been using it as a bribe for the kids today. I promised them a swim this afternoon if they did not behave badly for the day. They upheld their part of the deal, but sadly it was not to be.  I don’t think I was entirely to blame, but I’ll allow you to be the judge.  

We walked over there this arvo  and were refused entry because I didn’t have a cozzie. I had resolved to read a book in the shade whilst the kids swam.  But mais non.  As I am the proud mother of an under 10, I had to go in as well.........WTF?.  OK that I can handle, so we made the 5 minute walk home and I donned my black one piece.  A most unusual concept around these parts, as even the fattest oldies wear bikinis, which is possibly a hangover from the 1960s Bridget Bardot set in Cannes.  I gave that up 20 years ago and have no intention of trying to fit in on that score. But I digress from our attempt to get the kids wet this arvo.

We walked back to the pool, which was no mean feat in the heat and were refused entry again because we did not have caps.  We were  hot and bothered by then and I just said under my breath “what do you have to do to get a F… swim around here?” whilst smiling sweetly  The answer I do believe is……go to the beach.  Which we will do tomoz. Sadly that did not help the 2 hot and bothered kids I had in my charge this afternoon.  The biggest Beach House Brat got it, but the Littlest lost the plot but happily, she finally settled for a bath in her cozzie when we got home again. Phew catastrophe averted, but let just say I had better come good on providing them with a swim tomorrow, because if I don’t, side swiping the car will start to look enjoyable in comparison to the whinging session I will be in for.

Stay tuned for more shenanigns on the French Riviera.  Read Part 2 here and part 3 here.
The French sure are an interesting bunch

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  1. The thought of driving on the wrong (i.e. right) side of the road scares me. Good on you for taking it on. I hope the swim tomorrow is successful!

  2. Wow it sounds like you are certainly in for an adventure. I hope things start to go more smoothly for you!

  3. I still couldn't imagine driving on the ride side of the road :(
    And seriously you couldn't get in because of no caps? Wow that is one strict swimming pool!
    Hope you can swim tomorrow and all the best with hubby sailing competitions


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