Nous allons à la rivière aujourd’hui, en route to which I discover possibly my most annoying habit yet: reading out loud all the French signs. Worse, and more bafflingly, I have to do each one in a different, strange voice. Miel, in a hoarse growl; Les Chevals, in a giddy high-pitched squeal.
At the river, the beautiful Euro-women have pouched, puckered stomachs over their bikinis which match mine, and I feel completely contented, even with the children jumping into the river from 60 feet up the cliff face. When there is a particularly painful sounding water-landing, the whole river bank applauds in that sarcastic French way. The noise I took for distant thunder at first is actually plastic canoes scraping over shingle in the echoing gorge, and when we’re in the water, we must dodge the canoes and paddles, as we have better speed and versatility than many of their pilots.
My lunch is pa amb tomàquet, my mother’s go-to summer lunch, warmed in the sun for a few hours. Its olive, salty smell is the most summery scent I know, more than cut grass, more than sun cream, more than anything. It is my mother making several baguette’s-worth of Catalan goodness for me and my sisters and pushing us back into the garden. One day I might even give you the recipe.