Zo and I have just returned from a wonderful long weekend in Port Grimaud, in the South of France. It was one of those holidays when you can’t quite believe how lucky you are – to be surrounded by great friends, family and such beauty. With its pastel-hued buildings and winding canals, Port Grimaud is impossibly pretty. You have to see it to believe it.
The main event each day was the beach lunch; consuming delicious seafood and magnums of rosé with our toes in the sand, inevitably followed by sub-par dancing and a drunken swim back to the boat. At Club 55 we were serenaded by a singer with a voice to give Adele a run for her money and a magician for whom a table of half cut Brits was clearly no match. Our wallets and health took a beating (I now have what is romantically referred to as a “St Tropez baby” aka a pot belly), but we wouldn’t change a thing.
Mingled in and amongst the holiday giddiness there were melancholy moments, for both of our cousins, Jasper and Tim, as well as Zoe and I, have lost our fathers in recent years. The memories of them made poignant by the summers we spent in Port Grimaud as children.
In the school holidays, like an immensely complicated jigsaw puzzle, Mum and Dad would somehow manage to slot themselves, along with 5 children and 7 suitcases into the groaning old Renault Espace and set off for the South of France. We would do the journey over 2 days, stopping occasionally when the “Are we nearly there yet?” became too unbearable to endure, or the heavily laden Espace needed urgent mechanical attention. Then, for 4 weeks, we would swim in the sea, scramble up rocky outcrops, eat crêpes and play Risk.
At the time, we didn’t really understand how incredible our summer holidays were. Our school friends would all holiday in Cornwall, and return in September with wild stories of their summer shenanigans in uber-trendy Rock. We kept France on the down low, preferring to let everyone think we were also surfing and partying with our cool friends in Cornwall. Now it is patently clear that what we had was profoundly special and the past weekend has made us more grateful than ever for all the memories.
This is dedicated to Dad, Uncle Sam and Uncle Patrick. You were the greatest men we have ever known and thank you for everything. X
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