Holiday-makers to France Do Get Fat

I’ve been in rural France for a week, soaking up some relaxation which was sorely needed after a long visit from my in-laws.  Eight people, one bathroom, one old man who saved up his morning shit until he had left the hotel to come to the house where eight people were trying to use the one bathroom.

After five minutes of soul-searching I decided not to write at length about the visit.  Let me sum it up thus: it was so bad at times that I hid.  I hid, in my own house.  It was so bad that K-man snapped in central London – I won’t go into how we ended up on Waterloo Bridge en masse on the hottest day of the year arguing about parking spaces, but in summary it was because a six year old child said he wanted to go.  Having just spent a week in France with five young children (belonging to our friends), it’s clear that no I wasn’t imaging it, and that yes my niece and nephew lack anything approaching appropriate levels of discipline.  There are reasons for that, and maybe I’ll go into it another time.  It was a bubbling cauldron of horror and I am glad they are gone.  I feel like a shit person about that, because it is not the kids’ fault, but it is hard to spend time with them.

So, France.  We went here:

We drove, which involved going on the Channel Tunnel train.  I’m not especially faint-hearted, but being in my car, on a train, under the sea is something that causes various flutterings in my brain.

The six hour drive only became fractious at one point, where we passed by Le Mans during a cumbersome battle with French toll roads and their national prohibition of clear signposting.  For context, add K-man’s proclivity to embark upon a journey with no map, some vaguely written guidelines, and an optimism that his sense of direction alone will carry us to our destination.  I never remember to buy a proper road-map.

K-man kept wanting to veer into central Le Mans so that he could become a famous racing driver by osmosis.  I kept alerting him to the fact that the directions say not to go into Le Mans and then mysteriously I would find that the car had done exactly what I said not to do.   K-man would raise his voice to tell me that we certainly did not want to go in the other direction towards Paris because we don’t want to go anywhere near Paris.  It turns out – hold the front page! – we did need to temporarily head around Le Mans in the direction of Paris.

But we arrived eventually.

The holiday was blissful.  Not as blissful as it could have been, since we did a fair bit of child-entertaining, but we still found time to read, relax, swim, tan, and most of all to eat.  I apparently didn’t find time to take any photos apart from of one of the children.

After three days in a row of red meat, heavy drinking, and a ton of cheese and bread, I was read to eat vegetables.  Vegetables are not a staple component of French cuisine, and so there was little point in trying to achieve a vitamin intake.  I gave up, and sat on my behind as it inflated.  I began to feel like crap.  Happy, lazy, crap.

We ventured out several times, enabling me to observe the curious French rural old-man gut.  This is a phenomenal sight.  Otherwise swarthy-looking men who have clearly done hard work in the fields their whole lives and from whose rear view you would not identify as overweight, turn sideways and display their protuberant guts.  It looks like they swallowed a beach-ball.  In many cases they would be leaning back slightly, I can only assume to try to readjust their centre of gravity.

I guess that answers the question of where all that duck-fat goes.   But why does it all go to such a defined area?  These are the things that keep me awake at night.

I got back home and immediately commenced the patented Eat Less Move Around More diet.  It has not been easy, and I must wonder when in my life it happened that I had only to indulge for a week and I would pack noticeable poundage on.  But after a week of resumed running and vegetable eating, I am feeling more normal and ready to tackle some writing again.

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13 Responses to “Holiday-makers to France Do Get Fat”


  1. 1 Jenn @ Juggling Life August 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    The Chunnel trip would not be friend, I think.

    Isn’t it something that even though we know we feel like crap when we eat like that we still do it?

  2. 3 Jen August 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Just thinking about your in-laws’ visit, with the ill-behaved children and the shitting old man, is making my blood pressure go up, so I don’t know how you lived with it.

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