Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Where sands sing in crimson, red and rust

Day 4 of the holiday, and I’m finally beginning to relax. I actually managed to sit on a deck chair for at least an hour today without going into a panic, or thinking about a million and one things I needed to do when I got back to England. I went jogging first thing, which, yet again was close to hell on earth, but the feeling of flinging my exhausted body into a cooling sea afterwards was worth every second of discomfort.

The company here is fabulous. I’m very much enjoying being with Julie, and we’re currently hanging out with one of her friends from London, who’s come to the area with his family. His two teenage children are great company, mostly because I think they reckon I’m quite cool. I’ve written before how remarkable it feels to be validated by a teenager. I think they mostly like me because I have a tendency to simply say whatever comes into my head, no matter how rude or surreal it is. I’ve found the oddest things tumbling out of my mouth since we’ve been here. I think it’s the heat!

Our beach-baby routine now includes a twice daily visit from the Granita man, who uses a strange shaped tool to strip slushy shavings from a big block of ice that he wheels across the beach on a trolley. He has a mouth-watering array of delicious syrups which he pours onto cupfuls of ice. You can have a combination of two flavours, but I recommend the black cherry. It’s rich and very adult. Porn in a cup – and so much more delicious than Slush Puppies back home.

Speaking of back home, I’m told the weather in England is ridiculously warm at the moment. I’m not sure I entirely approve. Surely I’m meant to go home looking sun-kissed and relaxed. People should look at me in the street and feel jealous that I’ve obviously been somewhere hot and relaxing. I could end up looking like this simply by sitting in Highgate Wood for a few hours!

Eyebrow update... Definitely going copper...

350 years ago, Pepys decided to go to Cambridge by horseback. He doesn’t tell us a great deal about the journey, other than that he’d got as far as Ware by the evening. It was there that he met a fellmonger; a man who deals in animal hides. He was a Quaker – a recent convert to the cause – and wanted to tell Pepys what a wicked man he’d been before converting. All sounds suspiciously "born again" to me... but then again, I guess that' exactly what it was.
Outside Julie's house
breaking down in France
The farm above Julie's house

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