So, we drove over an hour from where we were staying to the thermal baths at Casteljaloux, only to be told the boys weren’t allowed into the pool in their baggy trunks.
A raised eyebrow and a sharp ‘Non’ every time a pair was presented for inspection.
The French can be funny about mens’ swimmers, but we should have known, we have been caught out before. Of course they had some skimpy tight black nylon types for sale - probably mainly for the Brits - but at 25 Euros a pair, we were the ones who looked horrified.
Not a totally wasted trip though, because the youngest and I had sensible costumes and passed the inspection. My husband couldn't stop himself asking if our towels had to be a certain size too. She looked at him as if he was a bit simple and shook her head.
And you know what? I thought for about the hundredth time since Friday how good it was to have him back. Him and his wonky old sense of humour.
Nine months away on tour (with a couple of trips home). Not the longest, nor the shortest, but definitely the last.
I know I’ve made the mistake of saying that before, but this time I’m confident I’m not tempting fate - partly because he’s getting on a bit and hasn’t got that long left in the army, but mainly because I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it again. Ever.
There has’t been a lot to laugh about over the last nine months. This one really knocked the stuffing out of me. I’m not completely sure why - he’s been away for longer and to more risky places. Maybe it’s because I’m older and the kids are older (and more challenging I think); maybe it’s been a slow build up over the years of tours and weekly commuting until there simply wasn’t room left to deal with more. Anyway, I reached my limit. Hit the wall. Whatever you want to call it. Just didn’t cope so well.
It felt like such an effort sometimes not to show the anxiety and despair bubbling up inside; to keep the routine going; keep the kids happy. Keep it normal. There were many days when April seemed impossibly far away. The end of a rainbow.
But here we are! Somehow we made it. Though I do feel as if I kind of rolled across the finish line, a bit broken and spent, like the snail in Turbo.
France was a great idea - a sort of buffer - time to get used to each other, away from the pressures of home, because as much as it’s lovely to have him back, it does take a while for things to slot into place. A chance to breathe before I give him a to-do list as long as your arm.
And it does feel good to share again; to have a laugh; to start letting go.
Good to have my best friend back.