Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cooking in Valence, swings, iced tea, concrete and a lime-green Twingo

Take a fair-haired, pale-skinned person from wet Belfast, and drop him in the fan-assisted oven of Valence in France. Apply factor gazillion sun-cream and watch the <s>tan</s> lobster red glow develop.

By 11 in the morning, the ground is sizzling. And at 6 o'clock in the evening (18:00 if you're reading this in France) it's still uncomfortably warm outside.

France - Valence anyway - is a country without swings. Too dangerous? Too much fun? Could lead to sunburn if left sitting in one too long? I don't know why, but even the biggest parks we've found don't have them. Instead they have metal slides, facing the sun, that are so hot by mid-morning that you'd need to kit toddlers out with asbestos trousers and gloves to be able to go down them.

And supermarkets are full of every variety of Iced tea (the glace) except for the original lemon stuff. Peach, Mango, Isotonic, in bottles and cans, but no Lemon.

There was something a bit funny about the buildings on the road down from Lyon airport and in Valence. Last night I finally put my finger on it. No brick.

Lots of red roof tiles, but not a brick in sight. Every building seems to have been constructed with thick walls of concrete. Given the strength of the sunshine, windows are bigger than expected, though they do all come with metal shutters to reflect (or absorb) the worst of the heat.

Concrete - painted or unpainted - blurs into a sea of creamy-grey. All in contrast to the stonework and cosmopolitan architecture around the centre of Paris. I think Valence needs a touch of Kevin McCloud to cheer it up!

But no complaints about the little lime-green Twingo (no power steering) that we've been given the use of to get about. Va va vroom ...

1 comment:

ratbert said...

funny details: creamy grey! asbestos trousers. great. it is amazing what tiny things stick in the craw (and mind) when you first drop into a country. its like being a little kid again noticing what adults do not see. enjoy france!