I say hotel bliss, but this is a far cry from a blissful hotel. For starters, it’s only a two star set-up. This means the rooms are small, the towels are small and instead of duvets there are sheets with those cheap acrylic bed covers. The heating is electric and thus stuffy, when the wind blows our window goes “whoooooOOOOOOooooo” so I have stuffed loo roll into the ventilator bit to stop the whooo-ing. To detract even more from the potential luxury of staying in a hotel, we’re in Montluçon, a small industrial town in central France, known for not much other than tyres and the consequent mass unemployment that followed when Dunlop shut down. To make matters worse, our Hotel Kyriad is situated next to the big shopping emporium à la Carrefour. McDonalds McDrive is the closest restaurant. And it’s snowing. So all in all, not the most glamourous of holidays.
So why are we here?
L’Homme is working here, performing Pinocchio at the big theatre just two minutes from our hotel. Both l’Homme and I used to live near Montluçon and we’ve still got tons of friends here, so this was the opportunity to come and see everyone and to show-off Tommy, child genius and blue-eyed wonder in Spiderman slippers. And also to spend a bit of time together as a family and to train Tommy up in the theatre (he’s learning how to set the stage and is getting very good at the trumpet). But when we turned up at the hotel the day before yesterday I sniffed at everything in dismay and wondered what on earth I was doing here. Two days down the line and having not spent a single second cooking, cleaning, washing up, sweeping, hoovering, dealing with laundry, loading nor unloading dishwashers, I have to admit I rather like it. The big breakfasts are good too. And eating out at restaurants in the evening is a treat. There’s also the major plus of being here during this last snowy, freezing spell; had I been at home it would have been a 24 hour a day mission in up-the-stairs-log-carrying and woodburner-stoking, whereas here I just go “click” and it’s warm. I’ve seen long lost friends and am going to see more and it’s very nice to be able to say I’ve got projects going on in Marseille and London and show them photos of our big stone house with a view and have Tommy charm their socks off. It’s funny how when you sum up your life to friends you haven’t seen for a while, your perspective shifts and you realise that the essentials are actually on track and even pretty good.
But this is going to lose me readers! I know you only read this because it’s nice to know someone else is struggling along through life more than you are. Don’t worry, I shall no doubt be back to struggledom as soon as we get home and shall get back to writing strugglesome entries post haste.
Right now I’m going to have a shower, and delight in the fact I can make a mess and that it’ll all be tidied up by big fat fairies by the time we get home after lunch.
(I should add that while writing this I have been bitten on the big toe, smashed round the head with a helicopter and have had to repair a small lego go-cart whilst simultaneously playing Buzz-fights-Spiderman and encouraging a certain small person to eat a piece of fruit.)