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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Monday, 25 June 2012

Hardly a holy-day

Just back from a villa holiday at Aniane, half an hour west of Montpellier.  That’s in France. Often the temperature reached 38.5 deg C and, since the telly received UK programmes, we congratulated ourselves on a fortnight away from our desolate homeland.

When we weren’t engaging in Schadenfreude we behaved like Jane Austen characters. Mrs LdP painted:
LdP himself wrote a 4000-word short story with a horticultural theme:
We linked up our MP3 player to the hi-fi and listened to Elly Ameling singing Exsultate Jubilate among other things:
Grandchild Zach, now a veritable merman, monopolised the pool:
The villa cost an arm and leg but was fitted with every luxury (eg, two fridges and a separate freezer). Thus we never drank tepid rosé:
Occasionally we got into the car (which felt like the corrugated iron shed in which they incarcerated Alec Guinness in The Bridge on the River Kwai) and took shortish drives that sought to be improving. This village, alas, lacked a suitable restaurant and so we didn’t stay:
Bouzigues, on the Mediterranean coast, was more promising which was just as well since Zach claimed to have lost the will to live (or walk) as a result of extreme hunger:
LdP kicked off lunch with six oysters eaten looking out over the oyster beds where they’d lately resided:
Then ordered a daurade (sea bream) which was so fresh it could reasonably be described as presque vivant. Granted this encomium the restaurateur merely shrugged his shoulders.
We did nothing that could possibly be described as worthwhile or that bettered our lot. In retrospect the days probably passed in continuous hedonism except that nobody had the energy to use such words. We returned yesterday feeling pleasingly guilty about what we’d done.


  1. I'd say eating those oysters and daurade would certainly have bettered my lot. Great picture of Zach diving, he looks like a super-hero flying between skyscrapers. Welcome home to floods, gales and meteorological mayhem.

    (Book arrived -quel treat! I'll e-mail.)

  2. Oh! That sea bream! And the Zackster has turned into a young man! With that diving shot, I think of him as the Great Zacksterini. A holiday filled with music, creativity, and good eats ... feeling pleased is natural.

  3. Sounds like the best kind of holiday, with family, good food, luxury accommodation and enviable weather (it's been cool and wet here too).

  4. Lucy: In one of the Zach pix I can imagine him continuing on upwards, forsaking water for the more exciting medium - air.

    RW (zS): I only go on holiday so that I can encourage you to even greater feats of imagination. First Zachster (sorry about the correction but it was your inspired word), now Zachsterini (re-spelled to match Zachster). Wonderful! Time you went on holiday yourself and came back with a supermarket bag of inventions that covers your activities.

    M-L: Ah, but I'm failing on the irony front, not getting through at all. Hedonism and all that.

  5. That daurade of sea bream or what ever it is appears to have been stuffed before grilling It also seems to be laughing. A change from the depression which is usually reflected in fish's faces.

  6. I enjoyed reading this encapsulated record of what sounds to be the perfect holiday. I also revelled in the humour of "nothing that cold possibly be described as worthwhile or that bettered our lot...continuous hedonism" That seems to me - backed up by your excellent photos - what being on holiday in the Mediterranean is all about.

  7. Oh, that's so funny. I was thinking "Zack, zack!" in the German sense and the spelling reflected that.

  8. Plutarch: Twasn't stuffed. That's the normal depth of its brisket and one reason why it costs so much.

    Lucas: "Nothing that could possibly be..." This seems to have been misunderstood. What I meant to say was that this was a holiday utterly devoid of intellectually improving activity. No churches, no delving into local customs, no etymological analysis. It also took place under the shadow of the Euro soccer comp.

    RW (zS): There's also a spelling difference of opinion between me and his parents. I say Zach, they say Zac.

    RW (zS)