Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Helluva holiday


A week after we'd moved house we went to France with Matt, Jess, Greg and Anna for a week in the sun. It was absolutely brilliant and completely hilarious.

We flew from Bristol with Matt and Jess and it felt as exciting as being on a school trip. Greg and Anna flew from Luton and met us at Nice airport, and we hired a big Ford Galaxy people carrier. We'd timed our journey incredibly badly in terms of the World Cup and drove like the wind in time to catch the second half of the England-Ecuador match. Because we arrived on a Sunday night there were no shops open, so after the match we strolled up into the village and ordered pizzas to take back to the house. We ate on the terrace and watch the sun go down over the hills and chatted late into the night.

The following morning, it was back to old Nice for a mooch around the antique market, followed by lunch at Le Pain Quotidien, a souvenir water bottle and a long conversation about football with the waiter in French. Then we went to the beach and lay there for hours, sploshing around in the sea and reading. The evening was spent cooking and playing rounds and rounds of hilarious drunken Balderdash, everyone's new favourite game.

Tuesday we hung out by the pool, having fun with our Spiderman lilo which was bought for less than 5€ from Leclerc which rules (terrific fish counter), and then went for a meal in Fayence. When we were driving into the village we saw a little boy who'd been knocked over in the street, which was absolutely awful and really shook everyone up. A little later we saw him walking into the ambulance, so we knew he would probably be ok. The meal wasn't amazing... typical French uncomprehending response to vegetarians meant our starter was a mountain of lettuce with dressing and our main course was boiled rice with boiled vegetables and no seasoning whatsoever. Unbelievable. France were playing Spain and we sneaked into a bar to see what the score was. The French way of watching football in public is pretty much as far as you can get from the way we do it. It was mainly men who were all sitting down in silence, many with small dogs under their arms. Very odd. So we went back to the house for more Balderdash and the French won, resulting in much tooting of horns around the hills.

Wednesday we went to the lake (Lac St Cassien) and hired two pedaloes - girls v boys. Much harder work than they look but we did have fun. Spidey came too, and then the boys hid behind one of the bridge supports, leading Anna to call them 'complete nobs'. That evening we played Murder by the Mob - hence the hilarious costumes you see above.

The setting: Chicago in the late 1920’s is overrun by the mob, most of whom have been invited to 'Spudsy' Malone’s party. However, when the Don welcomed everyone to celebrate the invention of his new potato alcohol drink, he wasn’t expecting any of them to ‘do him a favour’ and shoot him in the chest.

Ben was BILLY BADA BING “The Kid” – Mob Leader, Matt was SAM ANNELLA 'Fat Sam' - Restaurant Owner, Anna was BELLA BURLESQUE 'The Legs' - Escort & Dancer, Jess was MO DOWN 'The Emerald Queen' - Irish Mobster, Greg was TONY TRICEPS 'The Amoeba' - Henchman, and I was CANDY CAPISH 'The Bust' – Gangster‘s Moll.

Sam made amazing pasta and Bella made a helluva salad, and I was the moiderer. We all had much too much of Spudsy's new potato alcohol drink.

Thursday we went to Cannes and hung out on the beach. It was utterly roasting. Matt had a disappointing croque monsieur and got cross with Jess because he got sunburnt. Ben spent the whole day reading Charles Bukowski in the shade of a palm tree, with a very friendly man gradually making his way up the beach towards him. Jess and I took Spidey to Italy, and eventually persuaded Max to go in the sea where we saw the funniest swimming costume ever.

Friday - Jess, Matt, Ben and I went to see 'Black is a color' at the Fondation Maeght which was fantastic. It was the opening day of the show and there was a cellist and pianist playing in the courtyard, the whole place was buzzing with people and the show was really interesting and some pieces were absolutely lovely. The sculpture park was amazing as ever. We drove home through the back roads looking for ice cream but not finding it (although we did a drive-by of a snack shack in a lay-by), and spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool.

Saturday was spent lazing around by the pool, although Greg, Ben and I went to Seillans to see a Robert Doisneau exhibition which was pretty amazing too. Saturday evening we watched the sad and sorry England-Portugal match which left us all stoney-faced. But we soon got over it by going for a glorious meal at the Italian restaurant, Au Rendez-vous, followed by catching the end of the France-Brazil match which was being projected in the village square. When France won it was a great feeling of vicarious glory, and there was much tooting in the hills that night.

What else?
We found out that the French for weirdo is 'drole d'oiseau' - funny bird.
'J'ai trente ans' was a constant refrain from Matt.
Yachts - WOW!!!
Anna needs to put her bikini top back on if the conversation gets serious.
Matt does a great impression of Gnarls Barkeley.
Greg makes an excellent barbecue.
Jess accused Matt of seeking 'cheap thrills' when he offered to sun cream her bottom.
Sagittarians RULE!
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