Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I did on my holidays

Advice to holidaymakers: Do not go to Brittany out of season.

First Week

1. Stayed by the sea on a traffic island. We did have the beautiful view of the sea that was promised in the advertising pictures, only the owners had cutely forgotten to mention that the triangular apartment block had roads on all sides. Being at the point of the triangle, we had roads on two sides including right below our ground floor balcony. I wonder what the locals thought of my pyjamas.

2. Looked at the sea. There was a very cold wind so didn't go in. The heated outdoor pool was closed for two weeks' renovation.

3. Visited a Breton town on the only decent hot day when I might have gone in the sea. That was not my idea. I am now speaking to my Beloved again.

Second Week

We stayed in a farmhouse an hour's drive from anywhere interesting. It was a wonderful place with an old winding wooden staircase and a woodburning stove. There were horses and a lovely weimaraner dog to pet and chickens to watch. We had three days warm enough for us to swim in the outdoor pool and chat to the owners who live onsite. They were great people and we really enjoyed meeting them. If anyone fancies a country holiday in Brittany, have a look at the owner's website.

The local lake was shut for the season. Well, the lake was there but the boats weren't.

Not all the locals were friendly. We went into a bar to get a coffee and waited for the owner to appear. A couple of French people followed us in. When the owner appeared he asked "who was here first?" and when I said I was, he said "I shall serve you last." We left.

It took nearly an hour to get to Pont-Aven, which is a lovely town with a network of bridges over a river. It's full of art galleries and very pretty, so that was the highlight of our stay.

I didn't buy a clarinet. I did take it with me though and My Beloved and I had some good fun playing tunes together.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where to find interesting book recommendations

I was looking up a favourite website to point a friend toward it and realised I had never put it on my blog. How could I not direct you towards the website that that put me onto Tanya Huff? Well, here it is.

GLBT Fantasy Fiction Resources

This website reviews science fiction and fantasy books that have a gay-friendly perspective, from the well-known to the obscure. There are also a number of articles about related topics. Readers are invited to submit their own reviews but there is a level of editorial input ensuring that the quality of the reviews is maintained.

The books reviewed include The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, Orlando: A Biography by Virgina Woolf, and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. I read this last book a very long time ago and it seems to me that it does what good science fiction should do: it makes a wonderful story of a distant world, while questioning the way this world is.

Really intelligent science fiction these days surely has to include an openness to the various forms that human sexuality takes. There is not just a clear male/female divide; intersex conditions are unusual but they exist. And people are not swans. Although some of us make a lasting relationship with one person of the opposite sex others do not and prefer our own sex or multiple relationships or both.

Even if you don't usually read fantasy or sci fi, I would head over and have a look. It's a great place to broaden your horizons.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

How to book a holiday

We still haven't had our summer holiday yet. I forgot how much colder it is in September and we're only going as far as Brittany. That's north France so not much warmer than it is here.

My brain fog is back. (I need to get the doctor to give me B12 weekly again because monthly doesn't seem to be enough.) This made booking the holiday interesting.

The original plan was for My Beloved, my Older Son, Older Son's Fiancée and me to travel out together to a gite with a heated outdoor pool for a week. Then MB and I would move to a different gite near the sea and OS and OSF would come back and cat sit. It meant booking three separate ferry crossings but I managed it. After all, what could go wrong?

1. I booked both places to stay for the same week.
2. When one of the owners agreed to change our booking I had to rebook every ferry crossing so that OS and OSF could join us partway through the holiday rather than go home partway through.
3. I forgot that if we travel on a ferry on Sunday overnight then we will arrive on Monday, not Sunday.
4. I forgot that if OS and OSF travel on a ferry on Saturday overnight then they will arrive on Sunday, not Saturday. (Yes, even after making that mistake once I managed to make it again.)
5. I've emailed the property owners so many times with the wrong details that I just hope we're all agreed as to who is arriving when.

I got MB to check the details and he says they are now correct. I won't be sure till we get there.

We'll be away from this Sunday until the 19th September.

(Edited to add link to definition of gite.)
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