Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The holiday

I am 30 this weekend. Despite my mantra of "thirties are the new twenties", I still thought it was only right that OH take me away for a surprise birthday weekend somewhere lovely to celebrate. I have been subtly ('wouldn't it be great to have a weekend away at some point this year?') and not so subtly ('look at these flight times') suggesting that taking me away was the right and proper thing to do. All of my newly 30 year old contemporaries have been taken away. One to New York, another Prague, another Rome, a fourth to New York again. Everytime I see the photographic proof on Facebook that someone else has received a surprise weekend away, I have chuckled with glee and rubbed my hands together as the evidence grows. Everyone is doing it. OH would be a bad boyfriend if he didn't take me anywhere.

I had decided that I wanted to go to France. Having only ever skied there and not really having experienced the France of Peter Mayle fame, I thought it would be fabulous for us to have a few cheeky little days away: long walks through the lavender fields; lazy brunches in a quaint village where we would charm the locals with our amazing linguistic skills; sunny afternoons in the vineyards quaffing the Chateauneuf du pape - you get the picture. So OH had quite a lot to live up to with my expectations being so high. So high in fact, that I decided I would book everything myself. The irony of the 'surprise' element of this birthday trip makes me laugh every time.

You may wonder what on earth this all has to do with triathlon. I am getting there, honestly. You may even already see where this one is going.

Despite my quite specific daydreams of what I wanted from this trip, I had not decided exactly where I wanted to go. Suddenly OH became quite interested - piping up now and again with his suggestions of where to go. What about Provence, he said? (I'm not sure why this hadn't occurred to me weeks ago bearing in mind my Mayle visualisations - I had been looking at Cannes). I did a quick bit of surfing, found a few gorgeous chateaux, and yes! We were going to go to Provence! It was like doing a deal with the devil. Once I had signed on that imaginary dotted line I had given the green light for OH to cycle Ventoux.

Ventoux, notorious for its gruelling gradient, is one of the most famous stages of the Tour. OH assures me it is like a mecca for cyclists. It would be like me spending the day shoe shopping with Carrie Bradshaw, he tells me, as if to try and convince me that to not let him cycle it would be a crime against humanity. How can he not at least attempt it if we are going to be staying only a few kilometres away? His puppy dog eyes widen. But don't worry - I am a hardened negotiator in these situations. OH and I have been away on way too many holidays together for me not to have guessed there was some triathlon-related intention behind his willingness to suggest a location for our trip.

So. The deal is this. OH can cycle Ventoux if we get to stay for an extra day (I had only been planning a 3 day trip). And we have to stay in a luxury chateau. And he really ought to get me a small birthday present for me to open on the day, alongside his funding this trip. He will get to cycle, I will get to chill by the pool with a book. With the thoughts of Ventoux-shaped glory in his eyes, OH readily agreed. In fact, he called me today to say that he has officially purchased the 'small, on-the-day present'. Result. I have tangoed with the devil and I think come out with a pretty good deal.

And to be fair to him, he has delivered. Our hotel looks beautiful - lavender fields abound with french wine and cheese featuring prominently on the dinner menu. We have a turret room (if only I had long hair for a Rapunzel re-enactment). I am very, very excited and cannot wait to go. Even with the Ventoux blip.

Of course, depending on when you are reading this, you will know that at the moment we're not going anywhere. Volcanic ash courtesy of Iceland is keeping all planes grounded in the UK. I will be so disappointed if we don't get to go. But OH probably even more so - his new nemesis, for the moment at least, just out of his grasp.

No comments:

Post a Comment