It's been interesting to be learning again. My university French skills, buried in a filing cabinet in my brain underneath heavy piles of shoe receipts, copies of Time Out and bottles of nail varnish have resurfaced with every exchange with a local or member of staff. Much to my relief not everything has been forgotten or killed off thanks to London socialising. Given AM's interest in winemaking, we've been touring vineyards and I'm learning about wine production and the various qualities and signifiers of different regions. Equally as important, I've learnt that the information I process before the wine tasting is more easily recalled than that of the information post degustation.
We're also learning more about each other. (I'd rather not have learnt more about the catalogue of AM's farts and burps, nor learnt more about their regularity, but such is life). It's a miracle to me that we haven't killed each other yet. Especially given the past two weeks of extremely tumultuous weather and the consequence of my worsened mood and AM's lack of ability to go outside and be active. The man cannot sit still for more than five minutes and even when forced to, seems to feel the need to accompany the car journey/reading session/intended quiet time with a constant stream of visual commentary, history lesson or piece of useless trivia which we are now fondly (ahem) calling his 'wittering'.
We have set up camp in Biarritz for two weeks. That is not an entirely true statement. We have succumbed to the lure of a (more substantial) roof over our heads and have rented a cabin on a campsite for a fortnight. It's actually more of a trailer. We are trailer trash. That aside, I set about unpacking and nesting with glee. Somewhere to hang towels and stack books! AM's contributions so far have been to festoon his wetsuit from the roof of the porch so that it looks like a dead body is hanging suspended and fill the shower basin with sand. Deep joy.
Today saw the beginning of our two week long language course. Being the massive geek that I am I prepared myself by purchasing new pens and a notebook from the supermarket. My mind lent itself to flashbacks of school holidays spent in France, at the end of which we were allowed to buy new pencil cases and the workbooks with graph- like pages from the supermarket ready for the new term in the UK. There is really nothing better than stationery. Anyone who misspells it stationary needs a good talking to. (Ed - she got them the wrong way round and I had to give her a talking to. AM)
Apart from hopefully being something we both enjoy doing, the language courses should also help us should we decide we'd like to stay out here longer term. From what we've experienced so far, French working hours are only between 10-12:30 and 15:00-17:30. If you're lucky. Nowhere is open at lunchtimes. Ironically not even some restaurants. Or on Mondays. Or some Wednesday afternoons. Or when it's raining. My kind of working week...