Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why not Blaye?

At dinner Monday night Gerard went over the map with us and made some suggestions. He really urged us to go up the coast and see Ile de RĂ© and Ile d'Aix. There is also one of biggest zoos in Europe in nearby Royan...

Time is running out. We feel it accelerating towards the end of our exchange. Now more than ever we are prone to wonder what we have forgotten to do, what we we'll regret not having done, what we had planned to do etc... It's gets a little weird sometimes, we feel a bit guilty just hanging around the house even this house is a great hang out.
So Tuesday morning everybody gets up very late. I float the idea of going to Blaye, a 300 year old fortresse just downstream from Bordeaux and the confluence of the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers. I can tell right away from Beth's nonreaction that it's a little too sudden for her to handle such a chirpy suggestion. I can see the thought bubble over her head - in it I see a car, a busy highway, a ticking clock, kids strapped in car seats...
She hesitates and I sulk a little...

I take the kids out for a scooter promenade and when I come back a couple of hours later, Beth has come round to the idea of Blaye. But first we have to feed the kids lunch. This seems to take awhile and before long I'm feeling tired... the day is getting away from us.

Beth and I go out on the terrace for a drink. The air reinvigorates me.
Let's go, I say.
Okay, she says.
It's three o'clock, the skies are overcast, and there's a bit of wind but what the hell...
We ask the kids if they want to see a fort....they are game, so we load up their scooters, some jackets ... fifteen minutes later we're on the road.
Talk about a prickly process leading to a good result...we had a great time. Once we got past Bordeaux and down to the scenic river drive from St. André to Blaye we were treated to an absolutely charming drive through vineyards and port towns and tightly packed houses with impeccably kept gardens.

The road was narrow and windy and slow, so much the better for taking in the sights.

When we got to Blaye 90 minutes later we found that the citadelle is a fortified village with homes and shops and galleries. It was a great late afternoon balade, the air redolent with the scent of flowers.

We capped it off with crepes, wine and coffee.

We got home at almost nine in the evening, safe and sound and satisfied.
It was great for Beth and I too excercise that fast twitch decision-making muscle, otherwise known as impulsivity. Sometimes when you're thinking for four instead of just for yourself, you lose a little faith in the efficacy of that kind of thing, but it's good to remember that impulsivity is what our kids do best. They don't really mind if we join in the fun.


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