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Sunday, October 27, 2013
I remember some (a good many, in fact - maybe even too many) years ago, there was a TV Programme which I picked up on BFBS in Germany television, something about comedians, the stand-up types, and one of the comedians amused me greatly as he declared, in his strongly Bradford accentuated voice:
"Tired, but happy, we wended our weary way back - from the beach"!
What made it even more amusing was this accent together with the colour of the comedian's skin, he was from the West Indies or somewhere like that, certainly not Bradford!
Nowadays, it is still the truth, for many people, and a lot of them are here in my area of France at the moment.
I've never really been a beach man, but from time to time (a maximum of twice a season, if I can't avoid it) I'm obliged to present my lovely physical features (the Cap d'Agde is the world's largest nudist beach area, over 40,000 - every day - every year) to the greater public, for their greater pleasure - unpaid, unfortunately!
On these occasions, I leave what is basically a sleepy little village, early in the morning, the streets are still empty, the crickets are chirping because the sun is already up high, and all in all, what I would really like to do is hide myself under the large tree, on the public bench, in the shade, moving around only as the shade moves - a sort of human sun-dial, but I'm not allowed to.
No - I must accompagny the holiday makers, basically because some French friends, tourists themselves, have as usual invited us to "Carnon Plage" where they have their little holiday appartment.
These people are actually from the Maurienne ( a region in Upper Savoy) and are more used to 2,000 metres than sea level, probably the main reason they come.
It is kind of them to invite me, every year, and so I can't say no, or they wouldn't accept my invitations to them, and then I couldn't accept their invitations in Winter to the Upper Savoy..... complicated is life, isn't it!
Anyway - we're on our way, and when we join the main road, a 6 lane, occasionally 8 lane thing, I recall WHY I don't go often!
6 or 8 lanes - 8am or not, it's blocked, we advance at a stuttering 10km/h. Fine, it's only about 20km to the beaches of Southern France, "la Grande Bleu" but 20km's at 10km/h equals 2 hours!
Invariably it's around 30C, nowadays of course, with the air conditioning in the cars, it is more than supportable, if you could only get the younger members of the party to keep the bloody windows shut! Of course, with the "clime" I never want to get out, and - without doubt - the "clime" is the best and quickest way to catch a life threatening summer cold or flu.
So, immediately, I am reintroduced to the first of the "pleasures of summer"!
We arrive, only an hour on the route, plus another hour looking for somewhere to park the car, "someone" will have the pleasure of paying a small fortune for the pleasure - and that's MY ice cream money gone!
Years ago, people came on bicycles, or in buses, trains and so on, the ice cream vendors made a fortune and we were all happy! Maybe we're going backwards, because a NEW tramway, from Montpellier to the beaches, should be ready by 2014 or so, and should be cheap, no parking to pay, and it's air-conditioned too, but it doesn't go in the same direction as my direction! Never mind, I'll have to wait until Nimes get busy building a similar thing, say in 2080.....?
I'll look forward to that!
Anyway, we're there, and the next joy of "summer" looms!
My head is not amply covered with natural protection, years of tearing it out have made it suffer, so I invariably forget my "sun-hat"!
Since I've got the sun cream, I liberally cover my cranial space, often.
Of course, this really is like basting a turkey breast in the oven, and the same result follows.I know right now, at this very instant, that for the next 10 days, I'm going to forget - every morning - and passing a comb through my sparse collection, I'm going to hear the strange sound of crispy crackling being ripped off my crane, followed immediately by excrutiating pain.......!
Shoot! It's one of the "summer pleasures" in preparation.
The next thing is the fright I get when I step out of the vehicle.
The noise, the screaming and shouting of excited kids and their parents, the car horns as the drivers dispute the last available, payable parking space.
The weepings and wailings coming from the people who are busily trying to drown themselves with some new fangled thing called a "jet-ski", intermingled with the screams of those who have just had their members chopped off by a too closely passing jet-ski!
The poor gasps of - alternately - pleasure or disgust, from those people who haven't been to the beach for a while, something in the order of:
"But...but....they're all naked....!"
Sometimes the facts of life have to be explained....and understood...!
Gone are the chirpings of the crickets - the famous "cigalles" - gone are the quiet little streets, not a tree with shade to be seen for miles and miles, but - if you cut your drinks budget for the day, by half, you can "hire" a parasol, which generally will cover about one half of your body!
Two parasols would do the job, but no drinks budget!
Then comes the biggest of all those "summer pleasure moments"...!
We've reached the sand. First pleasure is a wholehearted scream, involuntary, the stuff is changing to glass so hot is it!
We've squeezed past the sardines laid out on the beach, never have I seen oil with so many different colours, from pale white to bright red and back again.
Of course, the girlies don't see any of all this - they're far too occupied in scrutinising the golden brown, to perfection roasted, crispy, ready for eating "lifeguards"!
But - they're working!
So - I look around to find something similar, but of a different sex - which is finally not appreciated by the girlies!
I honestly don't know what they would do if one of these Greek Gods approached them with an "indecent proposition" - just as I don't know what I would do if one of the Greek Goddesses from Lesbos approached me!
The problems do not require solutions.
'cos there ain't none like this one!
The final, or almost final "summer pleasure" is to be found in the water, when one watches, fascinated, a piece of unspecified brown stuff, bobbing up and down, surrounded by other "articles", just in front of your eyes and nose.
"Doesn't matter, I didn't want to swim anyway" - it's time to make our way to our friends flat - Luchtime!
A final "summer pleasure" on the beach, just to round things off - a good scalding from the free freshwater showers! Freshwater which, I'm convinced, the picknickers on the beach (poor beggars) use to make their tea with.....!
Leaving the beachy and sandy area, for which I have once again sworn - the LAST time in my life to visit - I start considering how to treat another one of those "summer pleasure" moments.
Have you ever noticed that if you go within 2 miles of a sandy beach, when you get back home, you've got the right to clean up invading sand for the next 12 months?
I simply don't know where it all comes from, but it's everywhere - in your shoes, in your socks, worst of all - in your underpants, it's in your ears, eyes, nose, and probably every other orifice imaginable! I'll check that later......
Considering the number of people on these places, and the quantity of "fine sable" each one takes home with them, I'm always amazed that there is any sand on the beaches!
Of course - it's in the cars, probably in the engines too, to the joy of the local garages, and logically - it's in the "sandwiches" of the picknick - no, it's not over salted, it's over sanded!
Anyway - to my joy, it's almost finished, my "annual outing" and after our meal with our friends' (which I'll describe elsewhere - keep your eyes open for it) I'll be allowed to sort out the parking, the sand, baste my skull, and otherwise try to recover!
Of course, always assuming I make it back home, I have, as usual, forgotten all my heart medicaments, so maybe, with a little luck, I won't be:
"Wending my weary way - back - from the beach........!"
Traduction de l’Anglais par Google.