Well, I’m back from my holiday. It turns out – for those of you who don’t know – that Beaune is in the area of France that is the capital of French wine making – Burgundy (Bourgogne) wine to be precise. The hills around the entire area are literally covered from top to bottom in vines, and there are miles and miles and miles of wine cellars under the town of Beaune. We were staying with friends who uprooted from the UK and moved there about 4 months ago. And now I know why.
We needed a relaxing holiday to take our minds off life in the UK and work and that’s exactly what we got. We had walks in the woods, played boules in the warm sunshine, went wine tasting (and bought rather a lot of expensive but excellent Bourgogne red wine). We checked out the historical sites in Beaune, did some generic tourist things (like a trip on a road-going train that took us on a tour of the town), and we went out on a long drive to various places of interest in the surrounding countryside (including where the film Chocolat was filmed and some beautiful French castles).
We had a lot of fun and did more than of our fair share of speaking “Franglaise” which is using the minimum amount of French possible with mostly English – very typical of British tourists. An example is going into a shop and saying the following: “Bon jour, can I have a couple of bottles of red wine? Merci”. The point being that you’re not really speaking French at all. However, as the week progressed we spoke more and more of the native tongue. But I will do my best to improve my French for the next trip.
It goes without saying that the food we ate (from the baguettes to the Beef Bourgogne) was excellent. It amazes me that you can’t buy a baguette in the UK (or at least I never have) that tastes anything like the ones in France. I mean, it’s only a loaf of bread! Food in the UK is dog food in comparison. The weather wasn’t blue skies every day but it was always nice and warm and relaxing. There hasn’t been a summer to speak of in Yorkshire, just a couple of nice days here and there (like today as it happens). So it was great to experience some proper summer weather.
As well as being a well-earned holiday it was a trip both back and forwards in time. Our friends have a couple of sons aged 3 and almost 5 who reminded me and my brother of ourselves when we were that age. When they’d misbehave we’d say things like “that’s exactly the sort of thing I used to do” and remember how we used to drive our parents crazy. My glimpse of the future was what it must be like to have kids. You really do have to put yourself in second place behind your kids if you want to stand a chance of bringing them up to be decent people. And you have no escape from them, you need to pay attention 24 hours a day. A lot of responsibility and the buck stops with you. The kids were great fun though and we had a great time with them. I will have children myself some day – if I’m lucky as nice as those two – but not for a few years though!
One interesting thing to come from my holiday was a conversation we had about the reasons for going home. It turns out – much to my surprise – that the number of reasons I would give to come back to the UK was incredibly small. I never realised how thin the thread that keeps me living in Yorkshire really is. Food for thought. You’ll notice that I didn’t post anything to my site while I was away. And you know what? The thought to write anything never even crossed my mind once. And if there is an indication of what a holiday should be like, I guess that must be it.
The bottom line is that I had a superb holiday. We were away for a week and it felt like an hour. It was great to see my friends again and even better to see their life after their move to France (which has left me somewhat jealous). I’m suffering from a mild case of post-holiday-depression in that I have to return to work again, but that will pass. But the trip has left me wondering what I want to do with myself in the medium to long term. I can tell you what I’m going to do in the short term. I’m going to have a drink and then step outside into the sunshine and kick my football around some more. Oh yes.