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August 29th 2011
Published: September 2nd 2011
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Biscarosse LacBiscarosse LacBiscarosse Lac

My Pathetic attempt at a Panorama. Apparently i got the dimensions wrong. But i just can't go through it all again. Click on it to see minorly clearer!
So i'm writing this on the way to picking my littlest sister up from Bordeaux. She is the latest in a long line of visitors and for me her arrival really does mean that i am now on holiday - my work is over and i have 6 days left to profit from in France.

I feel as if my 2 week hiatus has rendered the majority of you ill-informed. As such before any kind of entry about the ending of my season, i feel i should detail various ventures undertaken with a variety of visitors.

My aunt and cousin arrived about 2 weeks ago now and stayed for a grand total of 5 days, during which we kept as busy as possible. 15yr old boys require constant diversions to prevent boredom descending. For the avoidance of all doubt sunbathing does not count; this involves lying still and doing nothing - an activity which apparently qualifies as uninteresting at best.

It having been God knows how long since i last saw him, my cousin Scott actually came as a bit of a shock. Every female over the age of 16 will remember the day she went back to
The TentThe TentThe Tent

Luckily here you can't see the tree. But i promise it's just to the left. Made entering/leaving slightly more technical.
school after the summer holidays sometime just before her GCSE/O levels. She will remember this day so vividly because nearly every member of the opposite sex in her class will have undergone an alarmingly fast transformation in the previous 2 months. Most of them would have grown about 2 feet (at this time i went from being 3rd tallest in my class to 17th) with broader shoulders, their arms and legs seem to respond only grudgingly to cerebral commands. In short at this age they start to appear much more man than boy. Although they do often still manage to resemble a bewildered puppy which is finally growing into it's oversized feet, but now has no idea how to control them. But it is my little cousin, the same age as my baby sister, who is undergoing this intense growth spurt (no signs yet of it stopping) and so for the first time ever i felt old. I can't quite believe that it was 5 whole years ago that i marked the same transition in my own age group. Time flys.

Our first adventure together was putting up a tent. As most of you have no first hand experience

of my family I shall explain why exactly this is an adventure. There is a gene which runs almost without exception through my family tree - this is best described as "scattiness." We are the people who re-enter the house 3 or 4 times before actually managing to leave. Firstly it's the car keys that we have forgotten or misplaced, then purse, then sunglasses and finally car keys again, as whilst searching for the 2nd item the first managed to get relost. (As a consequence of this almost hallucinatory ability to lose an item that i was holding only 2 seconds previously in about 2 square metres, i spend a good portion of my life searching for things. And it means i am always late leaving the house.) The only exception i will permit is that of my middle sister - who doesn't often undergo these rather stressful dramatics. She is also neat as a pin and offensively tidy - only her remarkable inability to follow a conversation around the dinner table and her propensity for falling over (don't blame small feet Bex, they weren't what made you fly off of the cross trainer at the gym recently) leave me

...failing at skimming.
with any hope that we are actually related.

So anyway putting up a tent between the three of us, in whom this gene runs particularly strongly, was no mean feat. (Also i'm sorry Auntie Deb, but it has to be said - you are far worse than either Scott or I!!) There are lots of easy-to-lose pieces and which idiot decided to create instructions with no words and only pictures? Huh? This is not universal! This is impossible! Especially when the picture for band your tent pegs into the ground looked like an alien with learning difficulties had just landed upside down on the tent and was now proceeding to enjoy a lolly. Nonetheless we succeeded in putting up the tent (door directly in front of a tree, so every entry and exit was carefully co-ordinated but this is a minor issue only.) So yes miracles do happen as it went up despite the fact that we actually managed to lose the instructions halfway through, although maybe this is what helped in the end. Who knows?

In the first few days our desire to surf was thwarted by an utter lack of waves and it is because of
Auntie DebAuntie DebAuntie Deb

Just before she failed at skimming!
this swell dearth that one sunny afternoon, about 10 days ago now, i could be found in the shallows of Biscarosse Plage, face down in the sand, my arms and legs splayed wildly apart.


This is the work of the Devil. I know really that someone with my level of equilibrial dysfunction should never attempt to rapidly transverse receding waves by sprinting and then launching oneself onto a very slim piece of polished wood. However i did it anyway, obviously, and so it was that my new best friends arrived: bruises. Everywhere. My shoulders, knees, elbows, hips all suffered and a nasty purple looking beast took pride of place on my right bumcheek meaning that for a few days afterwards every time i sat down or stood up i looked like a 90 year old man with severe haemorrhoids. We can safely say i didn't excel.

There is something satisfying though about waking up in the morning and feeling your muscles complain about what you put them through the day before. To know that you have pushed yourself in some way. It's more brutal but i always feel a bit more alive if my arm twinges
What is Scott doing?What is Scott doing?What is Scott doing?

Homosexual rabbit? This was when my life didn't contain 11 bruises. Oh the happiness of those days.
when i stretch for the house keys or if my legs ache when i crouch down to get something out of the fridge. Too many people these days have forgotten the difference between 'taking care of oneself' and 'mollycoddling.' Our bodies weathered thousands of years surrounded by a lot more savagery than today, pushing a little bit harder, stretching a little bit further or running a little bit faster aren't going to kill us. On the other hand laziness might depress you. Take your pick - but i know which one i'd choose every time. (The worst are people who enrol at a gym just around the corner but then DRIVE there and stop at the garage to pick up some much needed choccy on the way back- Shame on you!!!!)

Sorry, enough of that, had a mildly philosophical moment obviously. To bring it back to a more amusing, if somewhat shallower level, I am going to tell you about Aquapark. Someone basically had the bright idea of putting various huge inflatables - slides, climbing walls, balance planks etc in the middle of Biscarosse Lac; a gorgeous, shallow, freshwater lake. So i was following aforementioned philosophy of activity and
Marc, Cha, Meeeee!Marc, Cha, Meeeee!Marc, Cha, Meeeee!

My mother will not be pleased - why am i hunching? Back straight megs.
instead of lying sunbathing, my cousin and I decided to visit said park.

It was all very entertaining (not worth a half day ticket - but it was a very enjoyably passed hour) and for my 3rd go on the megaslide i attempted a sideways pencil roll. This extremely cool move unfortunately backfired as i slipped when launching myself and therefore went tumbling head over heels all the way down instead.

About 5 seconds before i was spat into the lake, i remembered that hitting water at speed from a great height often displaces even the most tightly secured bikini's - panicking that my breasts were about to become the park's newest attraction i spent the last 3 metres aggressively clutching my chest (in i'm sure a devestatingly attractive manner.) I was lucky, my entry upside down and head first into the lake didn't even begin to dislodge my bikini top. However... as i surfaced into a large group of chuckling french men i became aware of an irritating weight around my ankle. Unfortunately what had occurred was that in successfully saving my bikini top, i had failed miserably at preventing the escape of my bikini's other half.
Gangster SurfGangster SurfGangster Surf

I'm trying to look laid back and cool here semi surfer. But basically i'd just given up - charlotte had not - hence she is still fully clothed.
That is to say - my new, lovely blue polka dot bikini bottoms were in fact now hanging precariously around my right ankle.

Not wishing to draw attention to my near nakedness i smiled stiffly at the men's comments and started very casually to move away from the group. I say move as my movement's could not be described as swimming. Firstly, the very act of swimming places the rear in far too close a proximity to the surface (this lake was also particularly clear, as it was if any of the men surrounding me had thought to look down, my predicament would have become immediately obvious.) Secondly, i had to hold my right leg perfectly still and straight to retain my bottom's - i must have looked like someone water testing a prototype of Heather Mill's false leg. But needs must.

Unfortunately for me i started moving back towards the mouth of the slide and so it was that at the exact instant that i finally started to return my underwear to it's rightful place, a rather portly french man exited the slide and landed practically on my head. This obviously resulted in some underwater tumbling, some
Equipe Marco and Me. Equipe Marco and Me. Equipe Marco and Me.

Excellent souvenir snap.
panicked splashing and then finally the depressing realisation that my bikini was now hanging even more precariously from my big toe. It was just typical that this gentleman had a conscience and so immediately dashed over to apologise for almost concussing me with his 14stone (90kg.) Chivalry at it's most inconvenient. I had very little time to consider the options available to me for stopping his approach and so i reverted to the tried and tested english method when abroad and just started screeching (stop related) phrases in english and gesticulating wildly with my hands. He seemed rather perturbed by this, stopped where he was and tried to explain loudly in franglais that he was neither a mass murderer nor a psycho and therefore had no intention of hurting me. When this failed to stop my babbling, he eventually gave up and just stared at me quizzically, before turning from side to side to search out who i was with. He was probably wondering when my carer was going to arrive on the scene. I am sorry to say that my next actions did nothing to prevent the image of an english nutjob loose on the beach as i suddenly
Bordeaux CathedralBordeaux CathedralBordeaux Cathedral

Sorry my photography leaves so much to be desired. Impressive, not quite as good as Durham but nonetheless not bad.
realised that my stupidly loud spluttering had attracted a circle of french men. The time for subtlety was past. Now was the time for speed. Only problem is that my body never responds well to my brain's commands in a stressful situation. As such, in snatching my bottoms back from their dangerous resting place, i executed almost a full roly poly, accidentally giving almost everyone around me much more than they'd bargained for when they paid the 5Euro entry fee. I then swam hurriedly off ignoring what had just happened. Except that to all of them, it must have just seemed that i made a lot of noise until everyone came running, then mooned the world and bobbed off smiling and nodding. I embarrass myself with such alarming regularity that i'm stunned i still blush.

Needless to say this outcome was perhaps better than having to negotiate sans bottoms a long ladder (the park's exit), a jetty (back to the sand), a rather classy restaurant and then a large section of the crowded beach before retrieving my towel. My cousin obviously found the small part of this i told him hilarious. Despite his questionable sense of humour it was
A night out.A night out.A night out.

There are many more pictures and few stories from this night to follow in the next entry. Aaahh the alcohol.
lovely to see both Scott and my Aunt. Thank you for coming!!

The next visitors were a rather larger group. And didn't actually belong to me but to Marco, another one of our team. 5 of his friends arrived from Nice and i have never met a more welcoming group of people. I was included in everything and we spent practically the next week as an 8. I have never had to fight to hard in my life to pay for even the slightest things and despite the fact that having an english girl trail around after them must have become tiring, they never had anything but smiles for me. (Margaux, if you are reading this, thank everyone again for me!!!) We went surfing again; i was, as usual, terrible but did sort of manage to stand up once in the end (wooo!) I was even included the day that Marc and Cha were working but i had time off. This meant that the 6 of us; Fab, Laurent, Camille, Thomas, Margaux and me headed off to Bordeaux. It was just a lovely, lazy afternoon of wandering, although i did manage to terrify everyone on the car journey. I basically have to fall asleep pretty quickly if i am a car passenger otherwise i get quite awful carsickness. This is not the problem, i don't usually snore or dribble or anything, however apparently waking up chez moi is either scary or hilarious. Cute was another word mentioned but i refuse to believe this is possible. I basically spend the first 30 seconds after i open my eyes with no idea what is going on. My eyes go extremely wide, incredibly blank and then they shake from side to side in an attempt to get their bearings. This doesn't work very well and after that i'm just blurry and confused for a good few minutes AND i have absolutely no memory of anything i might say in this time. Which has got me into trouble more than once. Thankfully not this time - although i did make Camille scream which is some sort of accolade i guess.

Am beginning to minorly stress that i'm so behind time with this blog and am beginning to accept there may be things i just don't have the time to write up. However this one had to be done. Mostly to thank these visitors for keeping me busy and distracted. You are all angels.

French love and until next time. Meg xxxx


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