The point is, I think, that life never really is what you plan it to be. Life is a half-cooked microwaved croque monsieur when you were anticipating steak frites on the veranda (I think that's the weirdest sentence I've ever written). Life is an early bedtime on your birthday because you don't feel well. Life is a pair of sandals drying on the decking, soaked through and dirty. Life is a week of rain on holiday. Life is choosing a restaurant, walking for 25 minutes and finding out it is closed. Sometimes life just feels like a series of things that never quite seem to go to plan. Being the control freak that I am, I find this hard to digest (like the soggy croque monsieur). One of the phrases I find myself most often uttering, usually whilst shaking my head and raising my hands in despair is, "Why does nothing ever go right?" or "Why is nothing ever simple?" Of course what I really mean by this is, why do thinks often not go according my plan? Why has the image in my head of how this would go, and what this would look like, not been realised?
Here is the story of my holiday so far. Biblical, torrential rain every single day. Rain in Quiberon, rain in Ile De Ré, rain in Biarritz, rain in the Dordogne. My holiday wardrobe has been my raincoat, jeans and trainers. I brought five bikinis and they sit crumpled and buried at the bottom of my bag. My umbrella broke in the wind. Our journeys have involved watching rain stream down the windscreen, the wipers working overdrive. On the one day of beautiful sunshine in Capbreton I sat on the beach with Bodhi watching Tom surf. A woman shouted at Bodhi and swiped at him as he ran past her, and he quickly got too hot and had to come back to the van for shade. We tried to re-book the ferry tickets to come home earlier but we weren't able to. And oh how I have whinged and whined and riled against the sheer unfairness of it all. This wasn't supposed to be what our holiday would be like. But there is no such thing as supposed, is there? If there is a grand plan or a higher being, it probably isn't concerned with whether I get to wear my new ASOS bikini teamed with the perfect red nail varnish I picked up in Sephora. And so - if life isn't a perfectly curated Instagram feed, if life is, instead, a microwaved Croque Monsieur or a broken umbrella, or a wet holiday, or an injury in the warm up of the football game, then how can I stop being so bloody disappointed and whingey all the time?
Here's a thing - maybe it's enough just to go to France. To experience the world (even in the rain). Maybe the moments that really matter are the messy, unexpected ones that make you grateful and help you grow. I started writing this blog post a week into our holiday when we were in Biarritz, and I thought I couldn't take another day of rain. We're now ten days in and I finished writing this in the Notes app as we drove through the pouring rain towards our penultimate stop. It's gutting, it's disappointing but it's just the way it goes. France is pretty beautiful even in the rain, and there will be other holidays, other bikinis, other beach days and other opportunities to get a freckled nose. And that's worth being grateful for.