Just back from France. Usual pre-holiday and post holiday upheaval but what a great break.
The day before the holiday, the family car decides to have a pre-holiday tantrum involving leaking gas from the air conditioning - according to our sources and Renault, this could be as extreme as intoxication from inhaling poisonous fumes to purely our imagination (is that the same imagination that can't hear the brakes squeak during a service or is that just us?)
Anyway the car cannot be fixed before 10 am and the ferry leaves at 11am so the simple choice is risk it or take the work car? Well the work car wins but this comes with a few limitations - mainly size!
Now camping in France requires certain things - a tent big enough for 5 and big enough to take up most of the boot space! The basic camping equipment and clothes. The old adage that when you pack you should half it and half it again was not an option and we stripped (literally) down to the bare bones. We left the Glamping in the UK and went Camping in France.
Result - the best camping trip ever according to the kids and the big kids agree too! Who needs a chair, cooking equipment, or a table when you have the ground to sit on, cook on, sleep on, you get the drift!
The campsite we stayed on had a fishing lake. They conveniently sold cheap fishing equipment for those amateurs that just wanted a beer and the idea of fishing. Well I am of course (or so I told the kids) an experienced fisherman and my hunter gatherer skills have been honed from an early age!
The '5 Euro, made from bamboo, one step up from a crabbing line' fishing rod, was not going to stop me. So with three kids in tow, a hunk of dried baguette and the obligatory bottle of beer, we went fishing. After at least 5 minutes the kids had reduced in number to one, they hadn't fallen in or been eaten by a pike, but had realised that fishing involves 3 things kids under 9 just don't have. 1 - Patience, 2 -Patience or 3 - Patience (that's why you need the beer). The adventure playground proving far more exciting.
Having baited the hook and surreptitiously eyed the competition an observer might compare me to Tom Sawyer, fishing with a a stick for catfish, with my neighbours being a fully kitted Captain Birdseye the deep sea trawler after cod - the waiting game began.
Now we all have the story about the one that got away, and I would have loved to have the perfect photo of me holding a 10 kg carp (Yes I had taken the camera, but after 20 minutes, one bottle of French Beer (why are those bottles so small?) and 2 bites from fish. I was feeling more confident. a rebait of the hook and the next one was mine. You could see the fish in the water tantalisingly close.
At this point the playground had provided a much more riveting and enticing proposition for even my third die-hard apprentice, and I was left to fish alone. Now if I was to tell you that within 2 minutes of my last cast, I had a bite; I struck with the rod and the fish was hooked, the rod bent, the fish fought back and my '5 Euro, made from bamboo, one step up from a crabbing line' fishing rod, snapped in half and the fish swam off dragging the the upper part of the rod with it. As the Dutch Man next to me on the bank is my witness is was a BIG FISH (Arms Stretched wide). To laugh, to cry, to buy another 5 Euro rod or just blog about the one that got away. Believe me or not, and non believers are taking the majority, I had it and I still 'have it'. Give a man fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish etc etc
Anyway I took loads of photos whilst away and I am going to now go and create a brilliant photobook. I know just the 'plaice'