The first week in Thollon was largely spent at the open air baths in Evian-les-Bains. Bathing in pure Evian water (non-carbonated). The baths include a 50m pool, a kiddies pool and a fenced off area of Lake Geneva for diving and swimming. It is a marvellous spot, beautifully manicured grass which deserved better than my white, hairy body being sprawled over it. The French rules of swimming attire (the ones that meant I had to impulsively buy Speedos last October), apply in the Evian baths too. This time I was prepared and arrived with my rather natty Lotto swim shorts. I put them on, walked about, had a swim and tried a bit of running. They worked perfectly. These briefest of briefs even remaining in place when I performed the ever dangerous climbing out of the pool manoeuvre. I lay on my towel and settled in for a contented doze.
Thirty minutes later, Victoria returned from the Lake and informed me a testicle was peeking out the leg of my shorts. I quickly remedied the situation but applied some precautionary sun cream in case of re-occurrence.
The baths were quiet the first week. The French children still enthusiastically cycling everywhere with stick-on Bradley Wiggins sideburns and speaking English with a broad accent. Then the Olympics arrived. Particularly the swimming arrived. Most particularly the French swimming team arrived. Bang! Three gold medals and every man and boy descended on Evian baths to show off their swimming moves, their diving prowess and their lunch boxes. Many of the older gents either hadn’t squeezed into their speedos for a few years or chose to cut the circulation off from their family silver. The pools became a sea of barely covered testosterone. The diving area came with sound of belly hitting water. The name “belly flop” sounds a quite pleasant thing. I know it isn’t from the edge of Carrick swimming pool. The sound of a belly flop from the middle diving board on to the surface of Lake Geneva is not a pleasant one. I lay there ensuring my wares were not on show.
The sights of Lake Geneva are best seen from the Lake. The Haut Lac boat bounces along the coast from Lausanne.. The spectacle of spectacles is the Chateau de Chillon, a cracking castle perched on the edge of the lake with a thousand years of history, amazing defensive features and a superb exhibition of furniture and arms. Were my girls interested in these feats of architecture and craftsmanship? No. They were interested in where people were executed and where people went to the loo. Prisons and privies. They sat on every toilet and tried on every manacle. They ignored ramparts, sideboards, tapestries and suits of armour. Except for the ones with codpieces. Rebecca giggled at that.
The execution theme ran strongest. How I laughed when I saw the toilet was for men and headless women only.