A light rain puts an end to a planned bike ride along the shore this morning. There’s something so remincent of home about Arachon, it’s the Melbourne bay in miniature complete with round bay, wide sandy beach banked by grass and a bike path.
It made me feel quite homesick yesterday as happens from time to time on these trips. Whilst it’s wonderful to be free to explore and discover new places in these three month stretches, the reality of the other nine months is that most of them are spent at work. I look forward to the day I can enjoy my house, my neighbourhood, my city during the day, each day, not just a few precious hours on weekends. And then there’s that part of me that wonders what on earth I’d do all day without work to focus me. The eternal debate, which has yet to be won by either side.
Arachon is almost deserted in the rain. Yesterday, it literally pulsed with crowds. As we leave, we see a glimpse of its grand houses, set on large blocks framed by palms and well manicured gardens. This is indeed a desirable, high end summer getaway location.
It’s fair to say that the day lacks direction. Our aim is to hit the Spanish border, but it’s an impractical distance to drive in a day. We set off along the coast, passing from the Cote des Landes to the Cote d’Argent. TomTom is playing tricks on us, forcing the journey inland when we prefer to stay on the coast. It takes a scheming bit of programming to outwit it. I’ve noticed that TomTom has become disobedient of late. Approaching the rebellious teen years perhaps? Or perhaps he’s sulking about only coming out to play for a few months a year.
It’s at the latter when all hell breaks lose. We’re at the checkout with all the goodies….no credit card. Panic sets in. Cash gets us out of the supermarket line, but where’s the card? I know I don’t have it – an old argument (14 years ago 😂) about the safety of handbags saw me eschew all financial responsibility when we travel. Online banking shows a transaction from two days and 150 kilometres ago. Google timeline shows exactly where. Neither of us is keen to retrace that distance, only to find it not there. A call in broken French (my end) and broken English (vendor end) reveals they don’t have it.
Our bank suggests a number of options ranging from temporary suspension to emergency replacement by international courier. We have contingency plans, but there’s no doubt this is a real nusiance, especially outside of a major city. Despite the (lack of) evidence neither of us can quite believe it’s gone. Temporary hold placed, we rip the motorhome apart, and finally have success. There it is, fallen between couch cushions, a victim of loose pockets and a change of shorts. Relief abounds. Thank goodness for that. If nothing else, it will refocus us on security.
The credit card drama eats well into the afternoon and zaps our enthusiasm for a long drive. We pick a spot and settle for the day in Saint-Julien-en-Born. A walk shakes off the last of the adrenaline rush and reveals a stunning pond full of flowering lotus. Further calm is found in a wee cheese platter and a cocktail.
I can’t quite shake my malaise in a directionless day. I miss home, yes. I miss my father dreadfully. It’s never going to be normal that he’s no longer with me. I miss the comfort of my long lost beloved cats and rabbits. There was love, warmth and a great deal of comfort in those furry little hearts.