Part Eight – Saturday 31st August 2013
We had a bit of a lie-in this morning as it was our last day, and we were going to have a long night’s drive home later. We like to leave the apartment tidy and get most of the washing done and with the packing as well, it can take over the day if you allow it. But the idea was to have some poolside time and still enjoy our day. And Peanut still had a challenge to conquer…
She was not too happy about her challenge. Swimming is a big deal for Peanut as she has spent most of her life terrified of water and although she knew she could do it, it was more of a mind challenge than a physical one. So to the pool we went and straight in and at it, and again a yard short of doing a length. Agonising! A second try back the other way, and again short by a little and now she was getting out of puff. “Happiness” would not be peanut’s middle name if this challenge continued to elude her on the last day! She took a breathe, pondered and realised that the problem was something to do with seeing the end and stopping too soon. So for the third attempt I got out of the water and sat at the end of the pool on a sunbed to act as her target so to speak.
The third attempt of the day loomed. Peanut kept her eyes down and tried not to look ahead, instead focussing on the bubbles just in front, and remembering to breathe – which helped. Oddly not remembering to breathe in, but out. The problem she had was she held her breath until the moment when she needed another lungful and then of course had to breathe out first and by then there wasn’t enough time to breath both out and then in again.
To a swimmer this must all seem rather odd, but it took all of Peanut’s concentration to get this done. Eyes down, breath out, don’t think where you are… And then all at once it was done, the end was reached, the length monster was defeated! Mrs Peanut could wear her one length badge!
I was so proud of her, this was a gal battling demons to overcome a real fear. This is a gal who has parachuted fearlessly out of an aeroplane, but dreaded a ducking in the pool. But now a whole world of fun in the water awaits and I was just delighted for her. I leapt in the pool, scooped her up and swam around all four sides of the pool pulling her on my shoulders. I made her wave to the imaginary crowd on each side of the pool, not once but three or four times on each side. I was proud of her and the world was going to know!
So now she could relax and feel very proud of herself. It has taken me nearly 10 years of patience and encouragement to get her here, and as she says herself she would never have done it otherwise. We only get a short time to enjoy the water on holiday, as there are so many other things to do as well and Peanut never liked indoor pools, a relic of terror form schooldays I expect.
The rest of the day was spent reading and doing the last day jobs and packing up the apartment for a long break, as the earliest we can come back is Christmas and that is still not a done deal. Finally, all the jobs were done and we left at 7 pm and found the roads surprisingly busy. They stayed busy for hours too! It was like driving on the M6 on a Sunday afternoon but actually it was 11.30 at night approaching Lyon. It certainly kept us awake and alert. I can only imagine the horror of the drive if we had attempted it in the morning, as we had seen some depressing queues at tolls going north when we drove down the week before. Although it was very busy, it did keep moving at a good pace though and by the time we reached Dijon the traffic started to thin. We assumed that most of the traffic was heading for Paris while we sailed on to Reims and avoided all that. It is amazing how many people think you have to go through Paris to get to the South of France from the UK, or vice versa, but an extra 10 miles and still motorway all the way and you completely avoid it and save hours of time!
Anyway, it ended up being one of the quickest times for this journey that we have ever made and we had to have a sleep to use up some time. As it was we still got to the Tunnel at 8.45, over two hours before our ferry and were engulfed in Brits going home. We managed to get an earlier train than we had booked and so finally were home in Malvern Wells by 1.30.
It had been a very busy week, but putting a mini-break in the middle of a 9 Day holiday makes it a lovely way to spend your time. The juxtaposition of serious r and r either side of a hectic three days in the beautiful city of Venice made for a truly wonderful holiday which we both enjoyed from start to finish. Home now for a while and time to save up some pennies for next year’s adventures, which we have already started plotting and planning!
It’s all in the planning you know!