corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hols II

The Ibie.

Next stop was the Ardeche, where we had eight days of the kind of beautiful weather that could have even transformed me into an avid camper had it not been for the three French families who shoehorned their tents onto the pitch next to ours at a beautiful, supposedly quiet, little camping a la ferme. They must have had a dozen kids between them and they screamed every hour on the hour throughout the night. They (the barely-old-enough-to- walk kids) went to bed a couple of hours after us and got up a couple of hours before we wanted to be awake and got progressively more tired and cranky the longer they stayed.
But generally our stay was great, we basked next to a river called the Ibie where generations of Corders have swum and sunned themselves amid the scent of wild thyme mixed with lavender.

Mum's new house - the one on the right with the blue shutters.

We also helped mum move into her new house despite the fact that it had no electricity, running water or a kitchen. Even the pool wasn’t finished. The deprivation of it all.Helping move gave me one of the great moments of the holiday. Lugging furniture around one day it felt like the entire male population of mum’s tiny village spontaneously turned out to help - even the little man with battered cap, scuffed dress shoes under his shorts and the same self-rolled cigarette that has been hanging off his bottom lip for the 25 years I’ve seen him around. After we shifted mum’s furniture, we all went to her neighbor’s garden for a midday Pastis. It was about as quintessentially French as a bloke in a striped shirt with strings of garlic slung around his neck.This idyllic scene was offset by the unbelievable snottiness of a waitress in a restaurant in Vallon, the town closest to mum’s house and one which relies on tourism for its survival. On Esther’s birthday all she wanted in the evening was to go out for an omelet in town. We went to a nice restaurant which had omelet on the menu. Trouble was it turned out to be the lunch menu and this waitress refused to have the kitchen cook the birthday girl one in the evening. It suppose it could happen anywhere, but the French do seem to have a bit of a reputation for this kind of thing.It’s getting late so that’s going to have to do for now. More later.
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