I promised a sequel to my last post and it has been a long time coming. Should I apologise for the hiatus? I will when George R.R. Martin apologises for leaving me hanging after the last instalment of Game of Thrones.
As for the timing, now we know we’re in for a deep freeze till March, what better time to start reminiscing about sun drenched days in the South of France? Where were we? Ah yes, we’d arrived at Le Pas Opton on fumes after a long hike from Rouen, tired, hungry and emotionally drained and that was just the wife after staring at the fuel gauge for the past 30 miles. My sisters were already there sans luggage (tends to happen when you fly [insert name of budget airline here], but it was great to see familiar faces and tuck into proper French bread.
After dinner we went to our small but comfortable mobile home not far from the main villa my sisters and their kids were staying. The place was neat and the previous occupants had left proper teabags, a real lifesaver, which went down well with the biscuits I bought.
The next day it was time to get the kids off to their various activities. The great thing about Spring Harvest Holidays at Le Pas Opton is that they have scheduled activities for your kids depending on their age group, so the preschoolers get the bouncy castle and story telling whilst the juniors do things like treasure hunts. Great thing is you have time to yourself in the morning, or you can join in with the prayer worship in the bar. Oh, and everybody rides bicycles which is probably the best way to tire out any Energizer Bunny.
So with the kids preoccupied I settled down to some quality Facebook time in the bar. Well I was listening to the sermon too. Honest.
After the morning activities my daughter failed to show up (the camp can be a bit of maze), and the missus became quite a changed person. I hear that tends to happen when your child doesn’t show up when they should. I did try to calm her down as I think I know my daughter pretty well – she takes after me with her curiosity and friendly disposition – so while my wife was hyperventilating and threatening to grab the nearest member of staff by the neck, I was picturing my daughter sitting down to breakfast with the family of a friend she’d met at their group. OK so I was slightly worried but dad’s are supposed to maintain a veneer of cool and calm disposition right?
Luckily, the young lady showed up just as we were waiting in the main office to sound a general alert to relief of all. That taken care of, it was time to get the missus to go and have a lie down.
Excitement over? Not likely.
Thinking it might be a great idea to give the missus a well deserved break, I took the kids down to the swimming pool. OK, swimming pools. There were three of them, the baby pool, adult pool and one in between that had a slide. (I have a picture somewhere, might have to dig it out). Having a toddler meant our options were limited to the baby pool so to my daughter’s dismay we spent most of the time paddling. She’s not a very good swimmer but likes to think she’s a big girl (don’t they all) so after 10 minutes it’s “Daddy, can I dive in the big pool?”
A lethal combination trying to be the ‘fun dad’ and the way the first day on holiday lulls you into a false sense of security produced a “Yes, that’s alright…” before I had thought it through properly. As soon as the words left my mouth I knew that wasn’t such a good idea. I was holding on to an excitable toddler with my right hand, keeping his head above water when “Splash!” My daughter disappears over the side in a spray of water. She surfaces, gasps and sinks again, then surfaces and I quickly grab her with my left hand. Spluttering and choking she’s struggling to keep her head above water and yanking my wrist apart. I must’ve been a sight with one arm in each pool trying to keep my charges from drowning. Luckily a couple noticed my daughter was in trouble (never mind me) and helped her out.
“You must’ve been terrified Clement.”
Yuh think? You try holding your kids’ lives in your hands. Literally.
Needless to say, that was the swimming done for the day so we left with my toddler expressing his disagreement at twice his usual decibel level.
Excitement over? Er, no not just yet, but that will have to wait for another day, my wrist still hurts.