Another one of those days in August

As we now are 4 we cannot fit us & 2 visitors in a standard 5 seater car so we decided to hire a people carrier for the recent visit of the Grandparents (August being their preferred month of visiting because they live most of the year in Cyprus but it’s too hot for them at this time of year so they come over to France for a more pleasant temperature & to see the grandkids). Not a great time of year in our area though for visitors as it’s hectic with all nationalities descending upon us for 4 weeks making roads a pain, parking impossible & filling restaurants. We prefer to hibernate in our village for the whole of August if we can.

Anyway I searched online and was staggered at the prices of the hire cars, for 1 week most hire car companies wanted 1000 euro for a 6/7 seater. I know its school holidays so demand is high but I have to say I never anticipated it would cost so much.

In the end we hired 2 cars, 1 for the weekend they arrived which was a normal cheapish 5 seater so my husband picked them up from the airport alone and then another at the end of the week which was a 7 seater Ford SMAX so we could all go out for a trip together. This combination saved us more than 50%.

Having spent the week in our village (great for me and the kids as we love being at home) we had promised to take them into Pezenas for a walk round & lunch out. We decided on a Friday - I cannot cope with the Saturday Market, a toddler & a pushchair in the middle of August in Pezenas - it’s way too busy and parking a bus sized vehicle would have been a joke anyway.

I also planned to combine it with taking the cat to the vets for his vaccins which were overdue & for my monthly toxo tests. Now those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that my lovely Stanley is currently living as many cats do across 2 homes. He moves in with us when we’re home but lives the rest of the time with my neighbours.

Anyway I had planned to go round to my neighbours with the cat box at 9am ready to collect him. I’d had to explain to her that he must not see the box beforehand or he will run off. All was going to plan until her partner’s ex father in law died and her partner & son went off to Cantal for the funeral leaving his son’s dog with my neighbour. The dog and Stanley do not get on at all which meant he decided to sleep outside on Thursday night (he came into ours until 11pm then banged all the kitchen cupboard doors until I let him out - still knows exactly how to wind us up & get his own way).

So at 8.50am we set out trying to find him, we couldn’t find him. Our neighbour said she’d seen him go up the hill but we couldn’t see him. We wondered if he was hiding under her bed as he has a sixth sense about when bad things are going to happen to him. No he isn’t indoors she said. We called him for 10 minutes, looking under all the tourist cars parked in front our house (much to their curiousness) until I decided we’d have to call the vets to move the appointment. Just at that point my husband noticed him hiding in next doors courtyard. He was boxed in…literally.

Next step…getting the rest of the pack in the car, 9m old in…check, 2 year old in…check, Nanny in…seatbelt on…(this is always a source of amusement - she can never ever do the seatbelt up), check. Grandad in…seatbelt, check…, Cat in a box …check. and off we go. By now it is 9.20am and our appointment is 15mins away in Pezenas. We decide to go the back route (avoiding tourists, very scenic route but slightly windy roads). As we arrive at the village next to ours (half way to Pezenas…) 2 year old announces she has tummy ache then promptly vomits all over hire car. Great. Stop, vomit again, turn around & go home.

We remove car seats, children, grandparents but leave the poor cat to suffer the smell (his instincts were clearly correct - something bad was going to happen). Husband decides to drop grandparents (who are itching to get out of our village) into Pezenas for a lookaround and take the cat to the vet alone (with fear his French would not be up to scratch to understand vet terminology). I put 2 year old into shower, leaving 9m old in car seat wailing downstairs - what else could I do? Imagine trying to clean up a 2 year old & stop 9m old crawling a. all over sicky car seat, b. trying to get into shower, c. generally getting up to mischief.

Once the yukky stuff was all banished, I called the vets to let them know Stanley would be late. Pas Probleme. Phew, I then noticed his vaccin booklet was in my bag. Called them again to explain…Pas Probleme.

Next I took the kids out for a walk for some fresh air - after half hour Stanley returned not looking too happy. Apparently as we were late with his vaccins (3months overdue) he now has to start again so in a month’s time we have to go through all this again (without the vomit I hope).

Hubby cleaned up the hire car, toddler sat on clean fabreezed wet seat as we took the tourist route, long straight tree lined road into Pezenas to meet Nanny & Grandad for lunch. I sang the Wheels on the Bus about a million times to try to distract her from any travel sickness on our 10 minute journey and we arrived in Pezenas.

We met up with the Grandparents who’d installed themselves in a cafe & had ordered 2 teas. ‘Did you ask for milk?’ I enquired ‘err No…do we need to?’ ‘ok well it will probably be black - is that ok?’ ‘err No…’ 'ok I’ll ask for some for you (this always happens). As usual I ask for our 2 petit cafes & then for some milk for the teas, nice waiter smiles, says ‘bien sur’ with a knowing look disappears off, returning 2 mins later with our 2 petit cafes…no milk. Nanny a little shocked - no milk but they then surprised me & drank it black exclaiming ‘oh it’s quite nice actually’…perhaps they could Survive France themselves.

We went for lunch to a little place called Pomme D’Amour - they do the best Moules-Frites a la creme d’ail in Pezenas. I hurried everyone along to get a table as we hadn’t booked - with 2 kids you have to get there early or it’s full. Unfortunately we were 12.05 and another family were just installing themselves with high chair & booster seat at a table of 6. No more high chairs/booster seats. This is why I always say we have to get there for 12.00 on the dot or pre-book (much to our various guests amusement who think I’m being too organised!).

Anyway we kept baby in the pushchair - not a good feeding experience for her and 2 year old kneeled up/stood up on a chair. We had a nice lunch and then came home.

When we got home I realised I’d forgotten to pop into the Laboratory for my monthly toxo blood test…too many plates spinning.

Saturday we stayed in…then Sunday we took everyone off to the airport, dropped Mum and Dad at Montpellier then we went on to Avignon. Just as we were within 10mins of airport…‘Mummy I’ve got tummy ache’…yes you guessed it.

Thanks Tracy - will have to give it a try, thank goodness the car seat washes well. I’m sure No 2 is glad the seat goes up to age 10 though as she won’t have to inherit that from her sister.

PS Heading down your direction on holiday on Thursday (complete with drugged child and travel bands) so will check out the moule frites!

Hi Suzanne,
Do you use anything for your kids travel sickness? My son started being horribly travelsick at the age of 2 and we use NausiCalm which works quite well. I literally had to beg the pharmacist for it as she kept offering me all sorts of homeopathic treatments that had to be taken the day before travel!!! This is a syrup that can be used just 15mins before departure so is much more practical when you just have to pop out for stuff - my son is 4 and a half now and can’t go further than 10 mins in the car - it’s a real pain and I do feel sorry for him, it must be awful. I know it’s drugs but he is so violently ill without it, he has to take it!