Driving in France
We rarely argue, but one thing that can set us off is driving. I get travel sick and can’t navigate from a map when moving. He’s not a good passenger. The invention of the Sat Nag has, to a certain degree, helped – but when we picked up the hire car at Nice airport I drove, as the Sat Nag refused to work.
So there I was, driving on the wrong side of the road, my feet operating the pedals (which are of course in the same order as they are at home) while my arms were trying to remember that the gear stick is on the right, the opposite side to what I am used to, whilst trying not to make my darling husband too nervous as he issued directions to me, often three times, with increasing volume, sometimes confusing his left and right. You can imagine, therefore that, after an early start (5 am) and little food (I couldn’t face the BA in-flight breakfast and the almond croissant at Heathrow terminal 5 seemed a very long time ago) I was starting to become a little tense. The roads are narrow in Southern France, after you leave Nice and start going uphill into the mountains, and driving on the wrong side of the road in a car to which I was unaccustomed (did I mention it was a Megane convertible, with an overly small boot, especially with the roof off?) made me feel I was right out in the middle of the road, while Cycloman kept telling me that I was about to hit the kerb, or go off the side of the mountain. After an inadvertent wrong turn in a village somewhere en route to our destination I lost the plot and parked and insisted on lunch.
That was when the holiday really started.
In a small cafe in the middle of the town I ordered a beer and Nice Salad ( ). The chaps all ordered a Steak Hache. (You should have seen the boys faces when they realised, after enjoying the wonderful taste, that they had just eaten horse.)
We arrived in our beautiful temporary mountain home eventually, after not stopping at a super market and stocking up, realising that there was very little room in the boot even for the luggage and no room in the back seat after fitting in two large teenagers. We did that later, just Cyclo and me, getting terribly lost in Grasse, looking for a supermarket, after which I told him I wouldn’t drive again, ever.
We were staying a small village near the top of the Loup River, and the next day after a long night on a new bed with one square pillow each (stuffed into our UK rectangular pillow cases), woken by day light at 4:30 am, everything was wonderful because we were on holiday. I went down to make tea I found this little house guest in the kitchen.
Here Scout illustrates the walk we took on our first full day
It was steep and beautiful and full of wonderful flora and fauna. That first day it was cloudy (bright, white cloud) and warm, which was good as we accustomed ourselves to the novelty of not needing a jumper after the Summer, so far, in UK 2012.