Packing for holidays in the South of France. In le Bassin d’Arcachon, near Bordeaux. Sunshine. Family time. Happiness.
Just before putting the laptop in my bag, a little anxiety too. A week without connecting to the web, only on my phone. Emails mostly then, social media. You get used to working all the time. You feel guilty not to. Letting go is always difficult.
But once there, with the air soft as caress, worries fade away.
A stroll through Andernos. The familiar fishermen’s huts with cheerful touches of red, blue, yellow paint. Garlands of floats along the walls like beads in a necklace. Wild flowers growing along the paths, fragrant garden herbs, a few artichokes too. Tiny but sweet restaurants along the harbour, weathered wooden tables in the grass outside, where you can order freshly fished oysters, see life through a glass of rosé wine. Wandering through a brocante, wondering what the neighbours would say if I brought the huge Tabac sign, fixed it on the side of the house. A smile. A 3 scoop ice-cream instead, mimosa-rhubarb-vineyard peach. It’s too warm, it melts faster than I can eat it, a chance to lick the creamy drop from the cone as it tries to escape.
Taking the kids to the Dune du Pilat, laughs as they climb up then run all the way down the other side, going faster and faster, sand flying behind them. More laughs as they play hide and seek with the waves, amusing the locals: it’s only May, the water is too cold for them. Walk up to La Corniche, Philippe Starck’s hotel with a mind wowing view. Cocktails in vibrant 80ies colours, rivalling with the sunset’s.
A boat tour too, from Le Cap Ferret. To see the Bassin from the other side of the mirror, from the water. Dream villas, pinasse boats, long and flat, yachts, windsurfs. The Arcachon Ferris wheel in the distance. Finishing the afternoon in another fishermen’s village, Le Canon. Swallows flying so low they brush against the sandy beach. Paints, layers, colours showing through. Red under the navy blue. Pale green. A story in itself. Pompom rose, hundreds of them. The contrast of a single pale bloom against a scarlet one. The honeyish scent of wisteria.
And for once, I’m grateful.