Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush

If you decide to go on a self-catering holiday with Mr Fix-It and four children then you have to be organized.

You have to remember everything.

I remembered: four different types of toothpaste, three sorts of mouthwash, toothpicks, five electric toothbrushes, and one small person’s use-up-some-of-your-own-excess-energy hand-held brush. I even remembered a cup for rinsing.

But I forgot the toothbrush charger.

Well, that’s not strictly true.

I remembered a toothbrush charger. But the wrong toothbrush charger. Meaning only one of the five electric toothbrushes had the possibility of being charged, while we were away.

No matter.

I had already thought to charge each individual toothbrush fully before setting off.

So that they should last the week.

Except on the drive to Geneva, for a one night stopover with friends, one of the toothbrushes got accidentally pressed.

We listened to it attempting to clean the other brushes.

We listened to the life slowly trickle and hiccup out of it.

Of course, it was the mother brush.

While planning our holiday I had tried to think of every possible eventuality in terms of packing.

Indeed, had we been stopped and searched at either the Swiss or the French border the customs officers would have had a field day discovering the likes of: sun block and woolly hats, oven gloves, candles, a torch, bin liners, anti-histamine, washing powder, a corkscrew, nail polish remover, 17 pens, sellotape, a happy birthday sign, salt, a sewing kit (you know those travel ones you ‘take with you’ after an overnight stay in a hotel), a full every-type-of-conceivable-possible-emergency first aid kit. And naturally, the obligatory cuddly toy.

I could only have watched from the sidelines as they chortled at my analness.

However, on my return journey I could have politely informed them that we had in fact used all of the afore-mentioned items.

What with our late night walk. A birthday. Pizza. A lot of washing. Several medical and accidental incidents.

And a few *hic* bottles of wine.

Yet, despite my careful thought and attention to detail, I could not have imagined (not in a zillion years) that my husband, would, during his stay, have been deflated by the fact that we had no pliers in our luggage.


That’s right.

We broke the washing machine.

And poor Mr Fix-It had to fix it with a mere screwdriver that I’d last minutely rammed in my rucksack.


We’re having an animal-tastic time here in Southern France.

We’ve managed to spot a lizard in the garden and a frog on a dark harbour walk.

We’ve seen several dogs on the beach who could easily have been nicknamed Sandy.

Yesterday, we were entertained by enormous dinosaur replicas as well as the real skeletons of the likes of a brachiosaurus.

OK. The truth is out. We actually create our own entertainment.

Then today on another long beach walk we spotted several jellyfish. The thought of which frightened my son closer to death than any sting actually could.

He swore blind not to go into the sea again and not to walk near to the wet sand.

However, about an hour later I took this photo.

A boy rescuing a buoy.

That would be my boy.

The stick later became a tool in his newly invented game ‘Flick-the-dead-jellyfish-back-into-the sea’.

Further along the beach we spotted someone flying a kite, which from a distance looked like a very realistic seagull.

But the best animal-tastic behaviour of all was that of a deranged naked woman bouncing and flouncing in the very cold sea. All by herself.

French beds to hairy legs

Since I arrived in the South of France, I’ve realised a few things:

  • Without caffeine I am nothing. Without my fix of homemade espresso I have been forced to turn to Coca Cola. One of those boats in the harbour could float on the amount I’ve sloshed back.
  • French beds are funny. On the first night I awoke yelling, “What the Hell was that?” At first, I was convinced that there had been an earthquake. Somewhat disconcerting when the land one is currently residing on is made predominantly of sand. Then as it happened again and again I slowly started to realise that the ‘earth shaking’ was actually my husband turning and rocking the bed. I would have written, ‘My bed is funny’ – but it turns out that the girls’ bed (a bunk) does exactly the same thing.
  • Despite the fact that I like the earth moving for me – I won’t be having sex in France. The squeaky, swaying bed is freaking me out. It would be like having sex while lying on the sea. Besides, the children are awake before and asleep after me.
  • My French is shit. But perseverance is the key. Between pidgin English and broken French, I have though managed to order and pick up a birthday cake for the upcoming birthday of my daughter. (She’ll be five on Wednesday). Quelle surpise!

  • French birthday cakes are really expensive. It cost around €25 Gulp. The rest of the day we’ll just eat toast.
  • French cakes are a work of art. I had to buy some extra mini cakes.
  • We may end of living on cake. French cakes are scrumptious!
  • I’m obsessed with shells. I cannot stop collecting them. I mean it. We’ll require a trailer to transport them home.
  • Sand really does get everywhere. Another good reason for no sex. Things would chafe.
  • Despite that, if I won the lottery I really would buy a beach house.
  • I am useless at shaving my legs. I’d allowed my thermal layer to grow in at home, in preparation for the German winter. Then the night before leaving I had a quick shave before going to bed. Lying on the beach I noticed large glistening areas of blond hair. Luckily no passersby fainted/vomited/shouted insults – OK I can’t be sure of the last one, because of my crap French.
  • It was a good idea not to give in and buy the ADHD one a balaclava. An adventurous ‘walk in the dark along the beach and then along the harbour’ revealed the woolly hatted one to particularly enjoy shining the torch on the boats. Imagine how that would have looked with a balaclava?

Greetings from the beach

First day, (well you can’t count the twelve-hour travel day, can you?) and the weather has been exceptionally nice. So we hit the beach.

We’ve entertained ourselves the kids building sand castles with moats, collecting shells, jumping waves and burying each other in the sand.

It’s been warm enough to wear our bathing suits. Cold enough to make our nipples stand to attention.

And we’ve loved every minute of it.

Even the bit when the two middle ones got all possessive over a stick and ended up shouting and throwing sand and sea water in each others faces.

Up to the bit when, as I dozed at the table over a game of ludo, and my husband dozed on the sofa, one of the scarily awake kids (does the sea air only knock out pre-forties grown ups?) smashed my wine glass, sending shattered fragments in every direction. One tiny shard actually managed to skim past my hand cutting it on its journey.

I sat slightly taken aback at the sheer surprise as my blood trickled.

And somewhat sorrowful.

It was the last drop of wine.