Monday, July 10, 2006


I am back in the UK, tired but in tact. Bruised, also. With a slight cold. Also somewhat burn-y shoulders.

The holiday was fantastic. I arrived on the Sunday, was collected from Biarritz airport after a no-hitches flight from London and sat in the villa in a state of shock for about half an hour. Processing the fact that I was 'on holiday' after the stress of the preceding few weeks, and that now I could just relax. The villa itself was perfect; airy and tiled with huge sliding doors. Decorated thoughtfully and with care; lovely big sofas and nice bathrooms. The decking at the back was spacious, with deckchairs and little tables, and a large wooden table with benches at either side that easily seated the ten of us.

It was on one of these benches that I sat and gazed out over the view, with the sea in the distance over the terracotta rooftops and wisps of green trees. As each person came in from the beach they kissed me on the cheek and enquired about the flight, and concert the night before. Which I will get to, but which was even more of a success than I could possibly have hoped. Finally someone had the good sense to make some gin and tonics, and I began to settle into the relaxation mode that my friends had already mastered very quickly on the ferry ride over.

There were ten of us, five girls and five boys. Two couples. No arguments, no personality clashes, no scapegoat for the jokes. More than amicable, more than polite. So much more. A villa full of confident people who were comfortable with company they were in.

We surfed, we went wine-tasting, we hung out on the beach and messed around with bats and balls. We went on a day trip to Spain. We drank our collective bodyweight in gin and tonic, and then again in beer. There was another team in Biarritz at the same time, people we knew who were staying in another villa, so we had an inter-team barbeque one night (on our decking) and then another day we had an inter-team quiz and an egg and spoon race, with twenty-two twenty-somethings. On that day, after the other team had left, we discovered some face paints and drew copiously on each others' faces, generally with no discernable pattern or reason, and then went to the beach. As one paintee said "I look like a kid who's just eaten a whole pack of crayons and then vomited all over his own face". He was, I must say, not far wrong.

It wasn't sunny the whole time, but there was at least one day when the sun/hangover combination would have been too much of a killer anyway. That was the day we went wine-tasting, as I recall.

We went to a casino, a club and numerous bars. I spoke French quite a bit, and Spanish a tiny bit. We listened to the Anchorman soundtrack pretty much non-stop, and there was rarely a moment when someone wasn't mumbling "Afternoon Delight" in a drunken haze, waiting expectantly for someone else to fill in the "woooop!" bits. Catchphrases and in-jokes were born, and games such as "Punch or Cuddle" and "Cock or Foot" were played endlessly. I took plenty of photos, graciously allowing people to delete the ones they really, really hated, so that we can have a nice collection of memories without anyone cringing with horror at the one of them with the triple chin and snot all over their face.

I have a tan of sorts, in that I am browner than I was and my freckles are threatening to form their own system of government. I have made some friends, gained some awesome memories, and am twenty billion times more relaxed than I was went I left. Surfing was loads of fun, and appealed to me in the sense that you get battered and twatted in the face by the waves, end up face down in the sand, but you can just get back on your board and have another go. Each small victory builds you up for the next time, but each non-victory is just as amusing in its own way. My hip bones are bruised, as are my knees and arms, but it was completely worth it.

The concert the night before not only went smoothly, but was a huge success. My whole family were there, friends and my lovely boyfriend. Afterwards we sat out in my parents' garden and ate and drank until we were just too tired to keep our eyes open any more. I was so proud of my friends who performed with me, they were so fabulous. I even allowed myself to feel slightly proud of myself, for getting through it and not exploding completely.

I have things to be doing this week. A friend has asked me to do a live set at his birthday party in a few weeks time, so I have to start sorting that out. Also my cello is still broken so I have to get it un-broken quick-sharp so that I can rehearse with Bird.

I am going on holiday again in about four weeks. To New Zealand. Which will be oh so completely different from Biarritz, but wonderful, and I am so excited. I can't quite believe I'm allowed to go away again, so I'm keeping a low profile in case anyone points out to me that I am simply not nice enough to have all these wonderful things.

This post is gushy. By the next one I will have honed my sense of bitter-London-cynicism and write something terribly witty about the Northern Line or the weather, but for now I am just in too much of a good mood. I sent you all postcards, but I sent them quite late and the French postal system might have eaten them, or they might have been stolen, so don't be too surprised if you don't get one.

I am off to apply more aftersun now, and to daydream about gin and tonic and Ron Burgundy.


Blogger Dancinfairy said...

Souns like the perfect break. I am not jealous at all. Honestly. Okay, maybe just a little bit but I know you deserved it and it gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing that you are happy. Which totally overides the jealousy.

You didn't miss much here. There was a bit of sun and then some clouds and stuff.

Oh and Italy won the football but I know you are not to bothered about that!

12:56 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

and who is this ron burgundy?

2:32 pm

Blogger NF Girl said...

Leonie - Go back to your home on whore island!


3:43 pm

Blogger treespotter said...

happy for you. disappointing not to get pictures tho!!

that nfgirl is being rude!

8:43 pm

Blogger Curly said...

Nope. No time for aftersun - it's sunny again already!

(although not quite Southern France temperatures yet... we might be waiting a long time for that)

And how did you not bruise your chin while surfing? At least you didn't have to spend hours picking board wax out of your chest hair. At least I assume (and hope) you didn't.

2:56 pm

Blogger lady miss marquise said...

Welcome back!
Sounds like a fabulous break and I am now green with envy... xx

7:20 pm

Blogger The Boy said...

WIth a success like that and a break like that gushy is allowed. Long may it continue

7:42 pm

Blogger Rigmor said...

Good to hear you've had a good break. And as for the Northern Line? You haven't missed much. Really.

10:22 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Yay! So glad everything was fun! Gin & tonics only make it better.. and Ron Burgandy too. I'm off on vacation tomorrow myself! Can't wait. Do be good while I'm gone. I'll be sans any internet access so don't have too many adventures w/out me!


3:16 am

Blogger Mouldy said...

Bless you.

10:52 am

Anonymous Mr Angry said...

I have an MP3 of the "Afternoon Delight" scene on my phone. I played it to the lads at Budapest airport whilst telling them, "We should learn it, it'd be funny"

They looked at me like I had, quite literally, taken a shit on floor.

They have no sense of humour.

3:18 pm


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