Thursday 21 June 2012


So let's see, I was in Australia until the end of May, then I was in Ireland, then I was in France, then I was in Ireland and now I'm BACK in France, but will return to Ireland next week and then go on to Finland.  I think that's right.  (Incidentally, woo!  Finland is a new country for me and I'm very excited to visit Helsinki.)

The first trip to France at the beginning of June was booked months ago: I had promised to accompany my sister and her menagerie to the island of Porquerolles for a long weekend.  I would be the resident au pair while my sister and George attended a conference.  I jumped at the chance of spending time with two of the adorable nephews (there is a third; he lives in Canada - but I don't want him to feel left out) and going to an island (islands are among my many obsessions.)

Porquerolles lies just a few kilometres off the Cote d'Azur and is itself only a few kilometres long and is mostly owned by the state and preserved as a national park.  You get to it by ferry from Hyeres, where you have to leave your car as the island is a no-car zone (except for the few permitted to locals).  Gregory was absolutely beside himself to take the ferry boat (or did he mean fairy boat?) though slightly nervous when he asked about pirates and the captain looked at him seriously and said, 'but I'm a pirate, you know.'

There is a village on the island, some vineyards, a fort, many beautiful beaches and some private houses.  All you need for a weekend holiday.

We rented bicycles (I love Alex's expression in this photo: 'I'm kinda nervous about this, but I trust you ... I think)

and rode along pretty paths under leafy canopies, stopping every now and then to look at the sea (or nap.)

We ate delicious glaces.  (Some of us are just learning about ice cream and make funny faces when we take a bite.  Doesn't stop us from consuming with gusto, however.)

We went to the beach.  (Some of us swam.  Some of us ate sand.)

Liberated from au-pair duties, we drank wine in the village square.

I walked up to the fort at sunset: incredible views -

AND went running first thing in the morning.  Here's Plage Notre Dame where I sat in perfect peace watching the sun over the water.

Such a beautiful place - I highly recommend, though be warned: accommodation is scarce and can be expensive.

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