Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Megavalanche 2 - Six Degrees of Gastro-Intestinal Distress.

Of the many things I got wrong about going to France in July, my epic misjudgment of the weather and the resulting effect on packing turned out to be a fairly fundamental error.

I like it warm.  28-31ºC – the sort of temperature which on the rare occasions it happens here in the UK provokes screaming headlines about KILLER HEATWAVES and the inevitable onset of the End of Days, and sees off scores of pensioners who have forgotten how to undo their cardies.  And I was labouring under the misguided impression that France in mid-July was warm.  We’ve all watched the Tour, seen the glistening mahogany limbs of the peloton bathed in the golden French sunshine.  I was completely reeled in with tales of the previous year’s event’s 30ºC dusty high every day.  Of the hub of the social scene being the Outdoor Pool in the centre of the resort - the small town at the top of the famed 21 hairpins and our base for the week -  where frolicking (actual frolicking!) was said to have occurred.  And thus, I packed accordingly.  I even ordered factor 50 sun cream off the internet, so worried was I about my woady blue pasty british shoulders.  Joke’s on me, lads.

The cyclist and I had a single jumper each with us that we had required for the journey - this being July in England.  I’ve never been a particular fan of the sock and hadn’t bothered to pack any for myself, the only footwear I had with me anyway were my converse and a cheap pair of flipflops.  I had one pair of jeans, and three pairs of shorts.  A wistful bikini never even made it out of the suitcase.  As a last minute thought I’d thrown my North Face down jacket on to the back seat of the car as we left, and this was to be my constant and faithful companion in a cold and hostile land.

France was in the grip of some of the very worst weather on record for July evah, with temperatures across the entire country some 10ºC lower than the average.  The terrible weather started the day we arrived, and lifted the day we left, because it wouldn't be funny otherwise.  News reports for the duration of our stay were full of angry residents cursing the weather gods.  The Tour was a complete wash out, heavy rainfall contributing to crashes and last minute course changes.  When we got to our apartment, it was 4pm and 6ºC outside.  

Six.  Degrees. 


The cyclist was starting to feel a bit unwell.  He had been driving now for about 20 hours all told (he had to do all the driving because reasons), and risky service station food had been consumed, so this wasn't altogether an unreasonable turn of events.  It took ages to find the apartment, and then there was a fun 45 minutes where the girl who was meeting us to give us the keys was waiting around the corner from where we were because 'In front of the swimming pool' actually means 'In front of the ice rink'.  All the time, the cyclist is getting paler.

The apartment was beautiful (yay TripAdvisor!), but on the 6th floor with a tiny lift and absolutely no way of getting the bike in other than the stairs (Boooo!).  We unload, and the cyclist decides this is the point at which he has had enough, and lying down will be happening from this point.

We head to bed as his tummy rumbles kick in.

I am woken at about 2am by the cyclist engaged in a noisy bout of the epic shits, rounded off with a vomit to be sure the poison's out.  All goes quiet.  'Are you okay?' I whisper-yell to the bathroom door.  'Fucking Olive Oil ice-cream. Fuck's sake', and he's off again.  I roll over and go back to sleep, supportively.

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