We’re currently on our jollies, enjoying crazy temperatures in rural France. The missus is French and so this is part holiday, and part homecoming for her, giving her time to spend with her family. Unfortunately we’ve also got the kids, so have to entertain them. Which is why we find ourselves in the local pool , which is not without merit, but has a few things that niggle me… such as :
- The entry fees – they aren’t too bad when compared to the UK, but they lower the price if you live in the area. My missus smiles, in her most disarming way, and explains that her mother lives in the village, surely that will suffice in getting us in at a reduced rate ? Non, it will most definitely not. The lady behind the counter dismisses our claim to being ‘locals’, and would almost certainly have blown smoke in our faces, if she were still allowed to smoke indoors. It seems only being born, bred and then never leaving entitles you to the one-euro discount.
- Ice-blast showers – they need you to be clean to enter the pool, clean and border-line hypothermic. This is then followed up with the murky-foot-cleaning pool of grossness. That shallow, scum-filled few inches that guarantee you will return home with some extra foot fungus. Oh and it’s French, so will probably make your feet want to dance along to Michel Sardou, and will get incredibly itchy if you are viewing The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
- Speedos – French pools do not allow the wearing of, somewhat more flattering, bermuda shorts in the pool. Therefore it’s on with the budgie smugglers. Now I’m no Dirk Diggler, and I may as well be naked with these things on as they are so ‘figure hugging’. And this all-too clear outline of my meat-and-two veg is not helped by reason number 4.
- Sub-Zero pool temperatures – this has the immediate effect of making me envious of Action Man figures, with their – comparitively – bulging scrotum. My testicles have vanished, to be seen again on Saturday, around tea-time, while my ‘little man’ is doing an impersonation of a terrapin’s head that could well win at next year’s BGT. At least the kids’ pool is a bit warmer – there aren’t even any icebergs in there.
- Bikes in the pool – There are a couple of stationary-bikes off to one side of the pool. The question of ‘why are they there ?’ is soon answered, as one of them is lowered into the pool. An elderly customer then gets on and starts pedalling away. In the water. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, the French go and start riding bikes underwater. Next year’s Tour De France will be starting in Venice, I suggest.
- Having to take the kids – self explanatory this one.