Whenever Mrs Pensioner and I announce that we are leaving Brighton for a spell in our house in France, people wish us a good holiday, and when we return, they ask if we had a good holiday. I have given up trying to explain to people the difference between going on holiday and living in one's second home for a week or so. I wonder, if we owned a flat in, say, London and spent the occasional week or so there, would people still think of us as being on holiday? Or is it the fact that we travel to France, a country seen by most Brits as a holiday destination, that immediately makes them think "holiday"? Skip had it about right when he commented that we were probably checking that the cottage was ready for the summer lettings (if we ever get more than the one). We did have it in mind to give the place a thorough spring clean and I was planning to repaint the woodwork in the hall and on the stairs, as well as tidying the flower beds in the courtyard and weeding the gravelled bit. Unfortunately, little of that came to pass.
Mrs Pensioner's broken wrist is still not properly healed so she was unable to share the driving on either journey. Consequently, I spent (according to the on-board computer) 7 hours 58 minutes behind the wheel going down, so I declared Saturday a day of rest; there were, after all, another six full days ahead of us n which to do the work. On Sunday, we examined the white gloss paint in the hall and decided it would last another season. This was a great relief to me as I had left Blighty with a heavy cold which seemed to have got worse and really taken away what little energy I normally have. The Dearly Beloved was also coming down with a cold and frankly, all we wanted to do was collapse in armchairs and read. So we did - all Sunday, all Monday and all Tuesday. By Wednesday I hardly had the energy to get out of the chair but we went out for a meal that evening, neither of us having the energy to cook. Mrs P managed to enjoy her confit de canard (duck's leg preserved in its own fats) but my salmon in sorrel sauce was not a success. I was expecting succulent, pink fish, but what I got was an off-white, greyish lump served on tubes of pasta (also off-white and greyish) which was in turn on top of some whitish vegetables, the whole smothered in a white sauce with flecks of green sorrel. It did not look appetising, and my opinion was confirmed with the first mouthful of salmon, just about the driest salmon I have ever tasted. I managed (I think) four mouthfuls before giving up, explaining to the patron that I was unwell - which was quite true - but not being in the mood for a discussion, I forebore telling him what I thought of his salmon in sorrel sauce.
By Thursday, my cold had become more like bronchitis and Mrs P had lost what little energy she had. We ate sparingly of toast. Friday was the same, but on Saturday I felt well enough to drive home (8 hours 18 minutes this way). And we both had a small salad in the early evening which went down very well. Mrs P is due to see the consultant on Tuesday and will try to find out why her wrist is still so painful, and she is talking of me making an appointment with the doctor tomorrow. If I do go, it will be first time for seven years so I am hoping for a swift, overnight recovery.
So, did we have a good holiday? I think I've already answered that question.