Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Summer Summertime

The lavender is in full bloom, the grass is turning yellow and the pool is warm enough to swim in which can only mean one thing. After the soggiest and most unpredictable spring in recent years, summer has finally arrived. This was heralded by the Fete de St Jean last weekend, celebrating the summer solstice, when hundreds of locals and visitors congregated in Place de la Tour in the centre of the village to watch a spectacular fireworks display which took place against the backdrop of the gorge and would have given Ally Pally a run for its money. Just a few carafes of wine were drunk at the Donjon and the mood was convivial until our friendly village policeman arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning to politely persuade us that it was time to go home. I wear this as a badge of honour rather than disgrace.

The partying had started in earnest last Thursday with the Ogilvy Mather event at the Martinez beach club, one of the highlights of the Cannes Lions advertising festival. Franz Ferdinand played and much to the girls' delight, Sarah, chief fixer, party planner and PR extraordinaire, arranged for them to go backstage and meet the band while the more mature girls amongst us (me, Milly, Karin and Mel) were content to boogie on down to Rob Da Bank's brilliant DJ set.

The glamour is in stark contrast to this week, as I make lists about lists to ensure that everything is shipshape and sorted in time for us to head off like extras from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding next week with cases and dogs jammed into the car on our seven week European road trip. The girls are already planning how many bags/pairs of shoes/bikinis they can fit into the boot (where did they get that gene from I wonder), which leaves me and Handyman on course to share one small holdall between us. Now that the house is finally finished after a marathon five year renovation project, we have to transform it from a comfortable chaotic family home into a chic boutique pad as the holidaymakers arrive and we head west to Biarritz, arriving just in time for the Roxy Pro Surf championships. Let's just say with two teenagers, certain bedrooms like mine and the spare room are an easier task than others, naming no names.

With that in mind, Uncle Gaz arrives on Sunday, the only member of my extended family who is possibly more OCD than I am, to clean the oven (last year he threatened to post 'before' pics of it on Facebook, but life is too short to clean an oven or stuff a mushroom, isn't it?) help me pack up and generally pull everything together in organised (military boot camp) fashion. I'm not sure whether it bodes well that straight after I pick him up from Nice we are off to brunch, a monthly Sunday event that a few of us have recently started which usually ends quite jovially with no riotous behaviour whatsoever around supper time. Last year, UG, as he is known, provided many hours of entertainment in the car en route to Spain following some rather cheeky vodka jelly shots but in his defence, that was after he had finished the cleaning, not before he started.

I am planning to blog on the best bits of our road trip, so for any of you lucky readers heading to Biarritz, Puglia and Antibes, watch this space. I am signing off with a picture of the Fete de St it just me or is that a giant cockerel being burned in the middle of the boules court?

Cockerel on fire