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Rain in Provence? oh yes

July 20, 2011

So we went to sleep under starry skies and woke up at 6am to the sound of England. At first I thought it was a horrible nightmare and I had been transported to England early to enjoy rain and inclement weather, but as my senses returned after an assault the night before by some of the nice lady decorators Rioja, I realised that the tempest raging around us was happening in Provence, and was real and was not a nightmare brought on by my impending trip back to the UK.

Now, camping in the South of France is an entirely different animal to camping in the UK. I could not camp anywhere where one needs more than the skimpiest t-shirt and shorts throughout the day and night and where It is so dry that water is to be revered. In the UK camping outdoors would be impossible because of the near certainty of rain in any 24 hour period, but the south of France is normally completely conducive to the making camp experience, sitting around late in the evening, drinking wine outside until rolling into bed after midnight.

Thus the thunderstorm that set upon us at 6 30am was not immediately welcome. Breaking camp (you see what an intrepid camper I have become, all the lingo at my fingertips) thus became a bit of a downer, having to dry up and rescue various items that always live outside at this time of year in Provence.

In a rare departure from my iron clad routine, and to confirm that I have a softer and more humble side to me, on a whim, I allowed that nice lady decorator an exeat from preparing the customary bacon sausage and eggs for me, a job undertaken outside, and thus the expectation of being drowned in the torrential rain. I have this easy-going sensitive side that I like to expose occasionally, and I know she appreciates it.

So after she had dried up everything whilst I issued orders from the comfort of Bluebell, the venerable camper van, who incidentally was as a single mind with me, hating the inclement weather, we set off across rain lashed Provence, heading for the delightful and understated beach resort of Agay, close to St Raphael, where the camp site, the Soleil (rather inappropriately named in the circumstances), awaited us.

However, the Reverend Jeff must have been looking after us, because after fruitless visits to the various inns on the beach pleading for shelter, and with the prospect of a muddy night in UK camping hell, the sun suddenly returned and all was well with the world as my photo taken just after we had made camp reveals.

Campsite on the beach at Agay, near St Raphael

Today we will leave Bluebell to rest after an almost trouble-free trip of over two thousand kilometers, and set of for Nice airport where a plane will be waiting to take us to Lords. Of course there will have to be another airport, some tiresome travel, a hotel in Hyde park and some pints of London Pride involved before the start of play on Thursday, but you can read about that tomorrow.

That nice lady decorator is at the moment resisting my insistence that, as she will be seated in the MCC members enclosure on Thursday, the opening days play, at the home of cricket, and their traditional colours as evidenced by their remarkable red and yellow ties habitually sported by their members, should be taken on board in whatever costume she will choose for the day. I know I shall win her around eventually, like all of you needing to make forex transfers via Currencies Direct, but I will not mention that whilst on holiday.

Chris France

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