Sometimes its just so important to get away from it all.
Over the weekend, myself (and 19 other family members) descended on the hotel-restaurant L'Escale in Escalles, Northern France, for my Uncle Phil's birthday. As usual I managed to out-Blaine Blaine, by miraculously managing to get more food down my gullet than I have body volume.
A quick accidental-paddle on the beach (click here for a photo, and here for more), and some brief exploration of the local towns and villages (as well as their restaurants), and all in all, that 24 hours in France may well have been 240 hours, it was so relaxing.
There's something that I particularly love about Northern France. Maybe its because it feels closer to home for me, culturally, than the more southern reaches.
But maybe its more the poignancy of its position within World War Two, something that you are never far away from, what with the abundance of the cemeteries and the memorials, the monuments and the museums; the way that the flags of every nation fly proudly across the towns, ensuring that we can never forget what happened there, the way that the world pulled together, and the bravery of the men who did what they had to. Maybe that's just it - I look at the scenery, and I see my Grandad, 60 years younger. I can only imagine his fear back then. But I can feel and share in his pride today.
I was saying at the start that sometimes its just so important to get away from it all. But maybe, sometimes we just need the time to think, the time to absorb our surroundings, and to share that time with those that we care about.