The drive verged on infernal. It was on the worst day of the year in France, the day that all the French move for their holidays. The queues at the payages were 30 minutes, the gas stations were filthy and smelly, the rest places ran out of rest places.
We left at 11pm, driving to the Channel Tunnel. Straight onto a train and 45 minutes later, French soil. It was decided that I would drive the first few hours so I duly took 2 double espressos, a lion bar, two guarana pills and some very expensive guarana elixir from the health food store in London. 20 minutes later I pulled into a rest place and slept for two hours. Cheers to the effectiveness of large doses of caffeine!
As we drove deeper and deeper it got hotter and hotter. By 8pm it was Hell. There was a 13Km queue into Montpellier so we did an hour of shortcuts. That part was great. The sound of cicadas and the smell of the pines really making it all worthwhile.
In the house here is a swarm of bees in the upper staircase here and they had swarmed. 400 dead bees, loads of beetles on their backs all over the place and spiders the size of plates looking rather miffed at their habitat being disturbed. Luckily I knew they would be there and had asked someone to shovel them out. Isadora and I went around the house with the sage wand, warding off all the spirits and then we slept for 11 hours.
Today I am a husk of my usual self. But we have had croissants, the hammock is being installed as we speak, the internet will take another week to switch on (why is that?) and lunch was fabulous: great cheese, beautiful tomatoes, peacocks strolling by and the endless rubbing of the cicadas who apparently all stop in unison when the temperature reaches 35 degrees.
We opened the kitchen door this morning to find loads of crickets all hopping about and a small scorpion. A passing pea hen came and chomped them all up. It is great to be on holiday, but sadly the au pair opted to look after the dogs at home and the dishwasher here does not work….