Le Cr*p d’Antibes

The Princess and I had the most wonderful time with my cousin and her family outside Zurich while The Husband completed The Haute Route from Geneva to Nice.

The three of us were then re-united in Nice and made our way to Antibes for our non-cycling family holiday. We’d scoped out the area in June 2010 when we’d spent a few nights in Juan-les-Pins, just next door to Antibes. Before that trip, I knew of Juan-les-Pins only as the glamorous destination of the woman being addressed in the 1969 song “Where Do You Go To My Lovely?” by Peter Sarstedt. In the song, Juan-les-Pins is on a par with St Moritz in terms of fashionable locations frequented by the jet set. Although I am really fond of Juan-Les-Pins, in some ways it kind of feels as though it is past its prime. I suspect that today’s uber jet set, have migrated just a few kilometres onto the peninsula of Cap d’Antibes, which has mini cliff faces instead of beaches, like its neighbours on either side of the peninsula: Juan-les-Pins and Antibes. But I suspect that like Cap d’Antibes’ most famous resident, Roman Abramovich, many of the residents are not too concerned about beach access given that they have their own yachts…

We chose a hotel with a small beach located near the centre of Antibes, bordering the gorgeous Old Town of Antibes on the one side and Cap d’Antibes on the other. For my morning run, I would run alongside the ocean through Cap d’Antibes and back. My first run must have been on rubbish collection morning, because I ran past a household which had evidently run out of dustbin bags. So as not to miss collection day, their trash had been elegantly placed in an assortment of different sized Chanel shopping bags.

Such is life in Cap d’Antbes…

View from Cap d’Antibes across towards Antibes

In neighbouring Antibes, we spent our days on sun loungers on the beach. Well, to be exact, we paid our 20 euros for our sun loungers, threw our towels on them and then spent most of our time running after The Princess. Although there were those cherished mid-morning moments when The Princess would pass out in her pram for her daily nap and we’d be able to get in some reading…

Mid-morning siesta on the beach

And then she’d wake up and we’d have to mediate the fight over beach toys between Italian, Russian, British and Dutch children and The Princess, who sees no reason to share whatsoever. The Queen of our little beach was undoubtedly a feisty little 21 month old Italian girl named Flaminia. Brown as a berry, she’d strut around in her little bikini bottoms like she owned the place and in a way she kind of did. She and her parents had booked front row sun-loungers in advance and Flaminia had the coolest toys. One morning she arrived with a pink, plastic cart on wheels… I could just smell disaster… The Princess LOVES anything on wheels that she can push or drag. Sure enough, a fight ensued, during which Flaminia’s parents insisted that she share her cart with The Princess. Flaminia was not amused and let the whole beach know it. Can’t really blame her – it was a very cool cart. Around lunch-time, Flaminina and her parents would say goodbye and then her parents would return, sans Flaminia, for a leisurely afternoon of reading and sun-bathing. The Husband and I daydreamed about how they achieved this. My money was on an Italian mamma stashed away in their holiday apartment, whilst The Husband was betting on a nanny. When never did find out whether either or these theories bore any resemblance to reality…

In the evenings, we’d retire to our room to put The Princess to bed and settle in with room service and a bottle of French wine. And so, when The Husband decided that he’d treat us to lunch at Eden Roc (an uber fancy hotel in Cap d’Antibes frequented by the jet set) I decided to bust out my best frock and my gold sandals, since this was going to be my only chance. (Okay, I had worn the dress to dinner in Geneva, but since we ate dinner at 6pm with The Princess, we were literally the only people in the restaurant at the time, so that didn’t count.) The thing I didn’t bank on was that everyone else at Eden Roc had either floated away from the pool for a spot of lunch or they’d stepped off their yachts. Literally. I mean they’d stepped off their yachts into a little Eden Roc boatie thingie and been deposited on the hotel’s jetty just below the poolside restaurant. So pretty much all the other diners were in their bathing suits with matching cover-ups (those sheer, long-sleeved tunic/ kaftan things that go over swimsuits). A few girls upped the game when they paired their bathing suit ensembles with high heels. Suddenly my gold flats from Woolies weren’t looking quite as out of place. Phew.

View from Eden Roc’s poolside restaurant

Our last beach day in Antibes was unfortunately tainted by a sea water warning. The life-guard on our hotel’s beach was quietly going up to anyone entering the water and telling them that the sea was uncharacteristically dirty on that particular day and that he strongly advised against swimming. When I enquired as to what may have caused this, he ventured that a boat must have “let go something” (direct translation from the French). Reading between the lines – and looking at the white, chalky particles we could sea floating in the Mediterranean – The Husband and I deduced that one of the luxury yachts we could see from the shore, must have dumped their cr*p into the water – quite literally. After The Princess somehow picked up salmonella and ecoli in the Seychelles with its pristine beaches and sea water, I decided that our beach holiday needed to end a few hours early and we retired to our air conditioned room.

I guess even the likes of those who wear high heels with their bathing suits, still have to cr*p…

On Cupcakes & Frozen Custard in New York

As friends and regular readers of this blog well know, I am fascinated by diets, weight, food, fat etc. So basically, I’m a girl 🙂 In all seriousness, I know thin girls, fat girls, slightly overweight girls, super skinny girls and obese girls and no matter our size, most of us obsess over our weight and/ or food in some form or another. I may be on the slightly more obsessive end of the scale, (if you’ll excuse the pun), but I’ve come to realise, over the years, that I’m a lot more normal than I used to think, in this respect. And so, it should come as no surprise that when I travel, I can’t help taking note of the food/fat phenomenon amongst other cultures (for example, on the ski slopes of Austria in 2010). My trip to New York at the end of May was no exception.

My main observation was: THERE ARE NO FAT PEOPLE IN NEW YORK! I looked and looked and searched and searched – purely out of curiosity – and I honestly couldn’t find any. I’m sure they must exist somewhere, in some part of the city…(and no, I did not leave Manhattan) … but they weren’t making themselves evident during my three day visit there.

As a case in point, The Sister and I stood in a 45 minute queue at The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, trying to buy one of their famous burgers.

Home of delicious burgers in Madison Square Park, New York

The kind folks from The Shake Shack have a method designed to a) keep their long-suffering queuing customers in good humour in 30 degree New York heat and b) entice you with their yummy, junk food. What they do is they hand out free nibblies. The Sister and I got handed a tiny, teeny pot of something that resembled ice cream. For all my food weaknesses, I can usually say “no” to ice cream, but it had been a long wait and I decided that one little bite wouldn’t hurt. The waitress handed it to me and declared it to be “frozen custard”. Now, I have tasted custard, I’ve tasted yoghurt, I’ve tasted frozen yoghurt and I’ve tasted ice cream and I’d like to declare that the American innovation known as “frozen custard” is un- frigging – believable!

“Oh my God!” I exclaimed in awe. “This is amazing!”

“What’s the difference between ice cream and frozen custard?” I asked The Sister (given that they look so similar).

Before she had a chance to answer, I heard a Southern drawl from the person next in line. She spoke as though she truly, in her heart of hearts, understood my excitement at my first taste of frozen custard and she explained the difference with a dreamy look in her eyes. I don’t remember the details, but I do recall her looking at me sadly and explaining that one of the key differences was that frozen custard had more fat in it, than ordinary ice cream. I believed her – frozen custard definitely tastes way too good to be true. The point is, this very sweet, very friendly Southern gal was the only person I saw who actually looked like someone who would know the difference between ice cream and frozen custard in the whole of Manhattan.

Instead of queuing for burgers at The Shake Shack, I saw New Yorkers with bodies to die for doing the following:

… sunning themselves in Madison Square Park, right next door to The Shake Shack

I mean, why wouldn’t you lie around in your bikini in the middle of the city if you look like a million bucks in your teeny weeny bikini?

… doing yoga in Central Park

…and running and cycling in Central Park and all around the city. Before I left for New York, I asked The Husband what he thought I should not miss out on, given that I had only three days there. Being the sports obsessed psycho that he is, on the top of his “to do” list was: a run in Central Park. And so, on my second day in The Big Apple, The Sister and I got dressed in our running kit, caught the subway to the Upper East Side and set off on a 5km run in Central Park.

Entering the famous Central Park for the first time…

It was a Sunday morning, overcast but not cold, so yes, it was a perfect day for some cardio but I have to say that never, ever have I seen so many people being so active in one area at one time. I kept on wondering whether we weren’t perhaps running “against the traffic” – we just passed jogger after runner after cyclist after walker after runner after sprinter after roller blader. The throng of exercise freaks seemed absolutely endless. Then, the next day, we took a stroll along the river, heading towards Wall Street and the Financial District. That morning was absolutely sweltering and yet, once again, we passed a constant throng of people running, cycling and playing tennis. Watching all of this was so exhausting that we were forced to stop for breakfast. This is what a place called Bubby’s in Tribeca ordinarily serves one person:

Breakfast for one, at Bubby’s, New York

The sight of all these ripped people (and the sight of our neighbour’s gigantic portion and the organic/ grain-fed/fair trade/ local farm-around-the-block price tag of $22 per portion) led us to share one between two…

Besides endless amounts of cardio, the other potential secret to New Yorkers have for limiting calorie intake is the institution of “brunch” over the weekend. On my first day, The Sister made “brunch” reservations for us – at 12:45pm. As far as I’m concerned that’s almost a late lunch, but as I would learn in the coming days, “brunch” in New York is basically any daytime meal eaten over the weekend. And you can’t eat two brunches in one day, can you? So, with a mere change in terminology, you have wiped out one of your three meals for the day. Pretty neat, huh?

Still, the extent to which New Yorkers are in shape is completely at odds with the extent of tempting yummies on EVERY street corner. Red velvet cupcakes, cheesecake, giant chocolate chip cookies… delish tasting calories are simply ever present in this town. And someone has to be consuming this stuff, or else the gazillion bakeries simply wouldn’t survive. The only possible explanation is that there are just SO many people that when you divide the calories up between everyone who can only but indulge from time to time, that leaves you with an insufficient number of calories for a red velvet cupcake boep… that’s my theory anyway.

Because cupcakes truly are the epitome of evil. I found this out when I picked up a stash of American magazines at the airport. According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, the state of Massachusetts had attempted to “ban school bake sales of non-nutritious foods”:

Long live the Great American Cupcake!

While people with mouths rejoiced in Massachusetts, The Sister and made like her fellow New Yorkers and brunched on brown rice sushi at Dean & Deluca after our run in Central Park. We couldn’t quite face the soy milk cappuccinos, though.

Maybe next time…

“Brunch” at Dean & Deluca




Velcome to America: My Bizarre Encounter With Immigration Official, Azov

As I think I’ve mentioned before, The Sister moved to New York in January of this year and I thought it a perfect excuse to spend a long weekend in a city I had only dreamed about, read about in books, or seen in movies, prior to last month.

I could have sucked The Husband’s frequent flyer miles dry and flown there on Business Class via London, but that would have wasted precious time away from my child which could have been spent shopping in New York. And so we scraped together our SAA Voyager Miles and I hopped on the 17 hour haul from Joburg to JFK in cattle class. The last time I had 17 straight hours ALL TO MYSELF to do WHATEVER I WANTED where I ONLY had to think about YOURS TRULY was in March 2011, before The Princess was born. So, yes, I was excited at the prospect of the flight!

And it turned out to be great: I read a book, I slept and slept and slept (no sleep aids or special pillows required), I wrote, I chilled. I didn’t even turn on the TV. Basically, I had a ball.

17 hours later, we touched down at JFK and I made my way to the immigration queue. I still had my ESTA visa waiver on my British passport from a trip two years earlier and so I handed this, together with my UK passport, to the immigration official. That was when one of the most bizarre interactions I have ever experienced, occurred with Azov, the immigration official.

AZOV: (Inspecting British passport). You live in England? (Raising furry one-brow).

NATALIE: Er, no. I live in Johannesburg.

I interpret a slight pause which I may be unfairly attributing to a prejudicial perception of Azov’s lack of knowledge of the globe.

NATALIE: In South Africa.

AZOV: Souss Africa! Humph.

Another pause. I figure it’s best to let the person with all the power do the talking – after all, he holds my girls’ weekend in New York in the palm of his hands – unless he asks me a direct question.

AZOV: Why you live in Souss Africa?

And here we have the direct question. Play it safe, here, Natalie. Just stick to the basics. Who gives a continental what an immigration official thinks of where you live?

NATALIE: Um… I was born in South Africa and most of my family is in South Africa.

AZOV: But why you not live in England?

NATALIE: Well, because South Africa is my home and (putting on fake smile and trying not to grit teeth) I like it there.

Another pregnant pause with Azov still staring at me intently and raising his furry one-brow.

Against my better judgement, I find myself growing annoyed and I give some more reasons to defend my choice to live in the country I was born in:

NATALIE: And because it’s exciting and there’s alot of opportunity.

AZOV: But you no like London?

NATALIE: (Deep, deep breath. Muchos patience required with this man). No….. I didn’t say that. I like London very much.

Azov looks confused and possibly even suspicious.

AZOV: I no like Africa.

NATALIE: To each his own, I guess.

This idiomatic expression appears to be completely lost on Azov, but he is undeterred.

AZOV: I travel to 30 countries, but I no like Africa.

Really? You don’t say? Tell someone who cares, dude!

During this lengthy interaction, he has intermittently been tapping a few things into his computer and now asks to take my fingerprints. I follow his orders, of course and there is the blessed sound of silence for a short while.

But I should have known by now that Azov was not the silent type…

AZOV: You say there are opportunities in Souss Africa… What you do?

Ha! Sneaky one! I honestly hadn’t seen this coming. You insult third world countries, get their economically active inhabitants travelling to America to bring up the topic of economic opportunity and then it’s only natural to enquire as to the nature of those opportunities… All of sudden, Azov no longer seems as idiotic as he’s been sounding.

I tell him that I have a small, part-time business but I realise that this is the one time I really need to play up the dreaded “Housewife” title. After asking what The Husband does, he drops the occupation topic and reverts to his favourite subject:

AZOV: So you stay three days in New York and you go back to Africa after?

NATALIE: That’s right.…(Unable to resist): As part of your 30 country experience, did you ever travel to Africa?

AZOV: No, but I no like to go. Except where big mountain is. Where that?

NATALIE: You mean Kilimanjaro in Kenya and Tanzania?

AZOV: Humph. Maybe. I see. Maybe one day.

Don’t do us Africans any favours, Azov!

AZOV: Okay! (handing me my passport). Have good time in New York!

And zat, dear readers, vas my velcome to America. A true story, believe it or not.

The End of our French Adventure

The Husband’s sojourn in France ended on a high note.
Even though he doesn’t exactly have a mop of hair to manage, he can’t go more than a week without getting a haircut. Our two weeks in France were no exception. And so, on our second last day (miraculously, a non-cycling day), we took a walk into the village of Fayence in search of a “coiffeur hommes”. This coiffeur hommes was not manned by an 80-something year old Frenchman with a pair of shearers and a shaving bowl. Instead, we were greeted by an attractive 40-something Frenchwoman with some sort of modern hair-cutting machine that The Husband approved of. The hairdresser couldn’t have been friendlier and The Husband even tried to practise his French on her but the real clincher was when she paused, looked at him in the mirror and said, “You know, you look a bit like Bruce Willis.”
Well, The Husband was in seventh heaven. The hot French hairdresser had made his day.
Buoyed up by his new-found mean man looks, his confidence in practising his French that evening was up too. He decided to practise a sentence on the waiter at our favourite Fayence restaurant. We were thinking of ordering the crayfish risotto and wanted to know whether the crayfish was served in its shell. I wasn’t entirely sure how to say this in French so I translated it literally from the English: “is the crayfish still in its shell?” It didn’t sound entirely right but I was at a loss as to how to phrase it any other way and so I taught The Husband this literal sentence in French. He, very bravely posed our question to the waiter. But the waiter beautifully finished his sentence because, you see, in French there is a wonderful word which means “out of its shell”. “Decortique”. Isn’t that just so neat and beautiful? Sigh… French is such a beautiful language.
After our last dinner under the stars on the terrace of our villa, we retired for our last night in France, before waking up the next morning to a 24 hour journey back to SA. We had to check out of the rented house by 10 in the morning, even though our flight from Nice was only at 4pm. When I say “our” flight, I mean myself, The Princess and her nanny, Charity. The Husband had found out a few weeks ago that he had to fly straight to London for work. I was terrified and decided I had nothing to lose by asking the French granny at the check-in desk whether there was any chance Charity could be up-graded to business class? Pretty please, with a swish of creme fraiche on top? Of course, there was not a frigging chance of that and so The Princess and I were going to be all alone sans daddy and sans nanny on the long haul flight from Paris to Jozi. Oi.
We had a six hour layover in Paris where The Princess fell asleep once only on Charity’s shoulder, lulled into slumber by the soothing music in Sephora. She promptly woke up 20 minutes later and was as wired as anything for the rest of the night which is precisely what I had been afraid of. Our flight was only leaving at 23:20 and I figured by then she’d be hysterical if she hadn’t slept. I was praying I’d have no-one next to me in the two-seater configuration but it was not to be. The flight was jam packed. Luckily, the guy next to me was a father of two kids under the age of five and was the most chilled neighbour you could wish for. A Brazilian engineer living in Maputo and building a mine somewhere in Mozambique, he kept on telling me that everything I apologised for was “no problem, no problem” in his thick Portuguese accent. And when I think back to my tolerance for babies on planes, I should be ashamed of myself. A tiny peep out of any kid on an aircraft in my former life and I would’ve shot the “pathetic” parent the blackest look ever… How the tables turn.
Fortunately, The Princess reserved her two hysterical screaming fits to nappy changing time in the bathroom. The first time, the well-meaning stewardess who was holding her while I mixed her bottle, told me she thought she’d heard some butt thunder. There was nothing but pee but The Princess was still outraged at being dragged into that tiny bathroom and placed under those bright lights and boy did she let me know it.
The next morning, just before breakfast we really did have a Code Brown on board. Of course, it would be one of those Code Browns that had smudged all the way up The Princess’ back and soiled her vest, so we had to do a full clothes removal and re-application. NOT a happy princess.
That aside, though, she really behaved well. I was too terrified to “abandon” her in her little bassinet as I was certain that would produce screaming, so she simply slept in various positions on my chest all night and I think the two of us actually got a fair amount of sleep. She must’ve sensed her mommy was panicked and that she needed to behave.
When we finally got our bags and met our transfer company, the idiots hadn’t sent a safe baby seat for The Princess, so we were off on our next adventure: The Princess’ first train journey aboard the Gautrain. The Princess is strictly a one-poo-a-day girl but on very, very special occasions she has been known to poo twice a day. Today was one of those occasions. With ten minutes to spare until the departure of the Gautrain, we had our second Code Brown on board. It was too bad, though. There was no time for a nappy change. We had a train to catch. And so it was that The Princess, Charity and I, boarded the Gautrain with a monumental whiff wafting about us, for the final leg of our two week adventure.
Twenty minutes later, we were home AT LAST. And what fine weather we have come home to! Summer is upon us. The Princess and I celebrated by taking a stroll to Tasha’s in all our summer finery. Long may it last!

Cement for our Marriage

The French are so funny. You cannot throw a stompie and hit a French person who doesn’t smoke. In cafes, in the street, they’ll blow their smoke right on top of your baby without batting an eye. They’ll smoke all over your fragrant, Provencal plate of food. Chefs and restaurant owners will sit down with regular patrons and smoke on top of you while you try to savour the taste of their wondrous French fare. You can also bring your smelly mutt to most restaurants and to many hotels.
But God forbid you should pollute the environment by misclassifying your recycling.
For the latter, hefty fines are apparently imposed. You are also, we just learned last night, not allowed to poison rodents in your own home. According to our landlord, Steve, this might just be illegal – he’d have to check but he certainly did not look impressed when we called him over to introduce him to the rodents that have been rudely interrupting our dinner for the past ten days. Steve informed us that these were neither rats, nor mice. Rather, they are “harmless” rodents known as “mulots”, indigenous to the South of France. Sort of like field mice, he described, only bigger.
Much bigger, I’d like to add.
Just one of the South of France’s many contrasts…
That said, we still dream of one day owning a holiday home here. The Husband has decided that inland in the countryside there are “too many insects”. I’m not sure if this means that we should rather be setting our sights on Beijing if we want a holiday home that’s insect free, but we’ll see…
So far we’ve determined that our next French adventure will be on the coast. To this end, we explored the little hamlets of Agay and Antheor, close to St Raphael and just west of Cannes, the other day. Agay was cute but it was Antheor that was really spectacular. A less up-market version of Clifton with cliffside houses overlooking a pristine, turquoise sea. With The Princess perched in her pouch on The Husband’s chest, we descended the 130 steps (I counted on the way up to try and keep my breathing even) to one of the many mini beaches. It is nearing the end of high season now so things are still busy but thankfully the masses have gone home. Because of this, we were able to enjoy the beach with just a few other people. It made our day when we could just overhear a woman near us remark to her partner that The Princess was “magnifique”. We were basking in pride!
The Husband has become rather caught up in the romance of the French language and as such is making an attempt to learn it. The method at the moment involves us lying in bed with him painstakingly reading Tintin in its original French version and me translating. I have to say that he’s learnt quite a lot. Although he still gets confused with his basic Spanish and will find himself asking for “la cuenta” in restaurants instead of “l’addition”.
His love affair with the French language, however, is mild compared to his ongoing love affair with cycling. Over the years as I’ve seen his sporting obsessions go from rock climbing to mountain biking to road cycling, my view has always been: “Have fun, honey, just don’t torture me.” This has worked pretty well for us until two days ago when he drove three and a half hours to summit the famous Tour de France climb of Mont Ventoux. There he overhead a South African accent and proceeded to meet a 66 year old teacher from Cresta who had just ascended Mont Ventoux on a tandem, with her husband, a retired butcher.
“She took up cycling when she was 43,” he told me afterwards, “so there is plenty of time for you!”
I explained what he already knows, which is that when two people both like to be in charge, a tandem is not a good idea. He said he’d asked the teacher whether a tandem hadn’t perhaps negatively impacted her relationship.
“Not at all!” she replied emphatically. “It’s like cement for our marriage!”
I was thinking it’d be more like quicksand for ours, but the next day we went to the nearby Lac St Cassien – a beautiful, azur body of water just 20km from Fayence. Because The Husband can’t sit still, we hired one of those pedal boats. We climbed on, started pedalling and i found that my feet were just going around and around without any effort at all. I asked The Husband if he felt the same but of course it turned out that he was doing all the work.
“You see, baby, it would be just like this on a tandem!” he said.
Now we’re talking…

Quelle Chaleur

You know it’s hot when you leave your phone lying out in the sun and it says:
Temperature Warning: I-phone needs to cool down before you can use it.
Since we arrived at our little pad in Fayence in the Var region of Provence, I myself have often felt as though I need to cool down in order to function. The Husband mentioned that perhaps we shouldn’t visit the south of France in August because of the heat, but I totally dismissed his objections, thinking that anything was better than winter. Boy, was I wrong. It is just too hot. It’s hot from about 8am in the morning and it often feels as though it has barely cooled down in the evening. And then there are the mozzies. I thought Africa had mozzies but I’m starting to think we have nothing on the South of France. They pounce at dawn, at dusk and throughout the day. I haven’t had this many bites since our trip to the Amazon. Not to mention wasps and horse-flies. The Husband was literally hunted by a horsefly last night when he went for a swim. He ducked under the water to try and avoid being stung but the buzzing b*stard was waiting for him as he surfaced. And that’s not all. Last night we were finishing dinner when some sort of creature ran across the shade-cloth over our heads. It sounded kind of thunderous so The Sister and I looked up, a bit concerned.
“It’s a bird,” announced The Husband.
“Ah”, we replied.”
But when “the bird” scrambled off the shade-cloth into the tree, I noticed he had a pretty long, skinny tail. It was a mouse. The next thing his buddy went running across to join him.
I swear, it’s the wild west out here.
On the bright side, however, our villa is a gorgeous Provencal style house with beige stone walls and blue shutters, overlooking a much-needed and magnificent pool. One needs to dip in the pool every twenty minutes or so to avoid overheating, like an I-phone. And so The Princess has had her first swims, although she knows that this is not quite the same as her bath so she’s a little cautious and clingy.
Yesterday, for some glitz and glamour we went to Juan Les Pins, next door to Antibes, where The Princess swam in the sea for the very first time. She seemed to love it, although she did cling tightly onto her daddy’s ears, just in case. I love the beach set-up on the French Riviera. It’s SO civilized. You hire your sun-lounger with super padded mattress, you rent your fluffy white beach towel and you snap your fingers to get the attention of the “plagiste” (the very tanned, muscular “beacher” dude) who brings you drinks and an extra umbrella, should you so wish. Of course, you pay through your nostrils for all these privileges, but it’s so worth it. Not least because of the excellent people watching the Mediterranean scene affords one. If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to be too tanned, it most definitely is. I have never seen such over-fried Caucasians in my life. They have literally turned themselves into the colour of mud. And I’m not just talking about prune-faced, bejewelled old grannies who were born in an era when no-one knew the dangers of the sun. I’m talking about teens, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, forty-somethings… all turned pitch black from the sun. At the moment, The Princess has a definite tinge of red in her hair and her skin is absolutely lilly-white. Her daddy is much the same and her mommy is not exactly olive-skinned so the three of us are happy to stick to the shade. The Sister, on the other hand, has been working hard at trying to turn her English rose complexion a darker shade. Charity, The Princess’ nanny, thinks that anyone who deliberately lies in the sun in this heat is deluded. It’s been so hot, that she has gone from being utterly terrified of the water to wading out into the shallow waters of the Med and hanging out in the shallow end of the pool.
The Husband, however, has not let the heat distract him from his cycling obsession. He was delighted to learn that a Tour de France climb went right past our villa’s doorstep and wasted no time getting on his bicycle to emulate the routes of cycling’s greats. Right now, as I type this, he is off on his longest ride ever: a 200km epic. And this is by someone who often refuses to sit outside at restaurants in Joburg in summer on the grounds that it is “too hot”. He is officially mad. I just hope he doesn’t come home dehydrated. And that about sums up our little sojourn in the South of France for now. I think I need to take my Mac indoors before it issues me with a temperature warning…