Gîte: A gîte is a specific type of holiday accommodation. A gîte is a holiday home which is available for rent. Gîtes are usually fully furnished and equipped for self-catering.
She stands tall and proud,
Elegant on the outside, decorative.
Flowers hang by the door, swaying in the breeze.
Shutters open wide,
Daring the observer to take a closer look through netted curtains.
Looking out onto fields of corn,
Nestled in the perfect spot,
Tucked away and private.
Yet inside holds a secret.
Once grand and new, once solid and clean,
Now she lies dusty and dormant.
Only coming alive when a family enters,
Bringing with them laughter and life.
Look closely and you will see the fireplace crumble,
Touch too hard and a light shade will fall,
Exposing live and dangerous wires.
She is tired inside,
In need of some love.
She is old and worn.
Strong wooden beams support her still,
Strength on the inside keeps her standing on the outside.
Looking at the outside no one could know what is hidden in the depths,
Until they dare to enter deeper.
She could be grand again if someone just took the time to look after her,
Nurture her back to her former glory.
She is not lost forever.
Appearances can be deceptive.
Restore: To return (something, esp a work of art or building) to an original or former condition. To bring back to health, good spirits, etc.
You know the phrase ‘I didn’t know how hungry I was until I ate something?’ or ‘I didn’t realise I was so poorly until I felt better?’ Well now I’ve invented a new one….’I didn’t realise how much we needed a family holiday together until we had one!’
For the last two glorious weeks we have been in France, staying in an old and crumbling gite near Royan, which is on the west coast near Bordeaux. Just the five of us for two whole weeks. The last time we went on holiday abroad for two weeks was four years ago, and then only week of it was just us as a family (then only four of us) and the last week was with my mum, brother and sister-in-law. It was the holiday where we got engaged, proposed to at Mont St Michel and it was lovely, but not in the same way as this. This has been magical. We have slotted into a relaxed, carefree routine and blended together as a family. Work and PND have not enabled that to happen for many reasons over the last year or so. My husband often works long hours and can be in Bristol on a Monday, Leeds on Tuesday, London on Wednesday and then Edinburgh at the end of the week. Sometimes we are definitely like ships that sail in the night and only have time for a brief ‘hello’ before tiredness sets in and one of us has dropped off to sleep on the sofa. We haven’t had a “date night’ when it has just been the two of us for at least the last six months, if not longer. And often the children see daddy briefly in the morning as he’s rushing out of the door or for a bit before bedtime. Weekends are also often so busy visiting lovely family and friends that again it’s never just us. In essence we’ve almost been too busy to be a family.
So last year when I wasn’t very well and it was a difficult time for us all, my husband thought it a good idea for us all to have something to look forward to. A two week holiday in one of my favourite places, where I used to holiday as a child and is filled with wonderful happy memories. We saved up and found a gite we could afford. The gite is very traditional and is a bit tired and things tend to fall apart in your hands the minute you touch them, but it’s been our home for the past two weeks and has been fantastic!
Somehow France has worked it’s magic. It’s relaxed us all; the 12 year old has had less hormonal moments than usual and even the 1 year old has been sleeping! Work and the groundhog repetitiveness of everyday life have been forgotten. The silly things my husband and I used to bicker about no longer important. I’ve actually managed to read two whole books and I haven’t worn any make up or done my hair once! It’s been so refreshing!
But more important than all of that is the little traditions and memories we are making as a family. Songs on the radio that become our French holiday songs. Games on the beach and in the sea that become our holiday games. Time spent making wonderful memories for the children to look back on when they are grown up, just as I have been remembering my wonderful holidays from when I was a child. You can read a poem I have written about building memories here. And also, in the evenings when the children are all in bed, my husband and I have had precious time to ourselves, time where we’re not too exhausted to have a conversation, time to listen to each other and laugh.
I know we’ve been very lucky to have been able to afford a holiday abroad (next year we will almost certainly holiday at home) and that this holiday as been the perfect first one as a family of five. We shall all treasure it forever and need to remember how important time as a family is. It is so easy to get eaten up by everyday life and all of the cr** that it can bring so….my mid-year resolution is to make sure that we have more time together as a family….and that my husband and I will have that all elusive ‘date night!’
Travel: Travel is the movement of people between relatively distant geographical locations, and can involve travel by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat, airplane, or other means, with or without luggage, and can be one way or round trip.
In the car,
A long way to go.
Are we nearly there yet?
For the millionth time ‘no!’
Then straight on.
Missed our turning,
Gone very wrong.
Children are bored,
Whinging and grumpy.
Bum is numb,
Road is bumpy.
Keep them happy.
Oh no! Smelly nappy!
Play eye spy,
read or sleep.
Distracted for seconds,
Attention must keep.
Long way to go.
Sometimes drive fast,
Roadworks, drive slow.
Pins and needles,
Sat for too long.
Packed full of bags,
Room for us…none.
French bread and wine!
Holiday begins now,
Stinky cheese is all mine. 😉
This poem was written with the help of my 12 year old daughter during our long journey to our gite in France!