I went on a family holiday to Hossegor, southern France, ate more cheese than I have ever eaten in my life and had my reset button well and truly pushed. It's funny what a little family time can do, even if it's not your family and they don't really speak a lot of English and you don't really speak a lot of French.
We stayed close to the beach and drank rose with every meal - rose that tasted like it had been made from actual roses, the kind that have been grown in prime manure and sprayed delicately with the mist of distilled water. It was what some might consider, heaven.
Ghizlaine, a friend from Mozambique, is a French Moroccan woman with what is seems, many many talents. She's like this beautiful exotic goddess, with wide intelligent eyes, a former life of business success but actually just wants to be a surf rat and hang out at the beach. It was her family and they were rad.
Her father, an Arabic Moroccan man moved to France back in the 60's, where in a controversial and very progressive collision, met her mother who ran off to Morocco to marry him. Their eldest child, Medhi, still lives in Morocco with his five sons, all of who are utterly adorable. The two eldest, Selyann and Neil are also a pair of surf rats and returned me to proper grommet-hood the week we were in France,
I needed it, a lot.
Being in Mozambique for so long had made me forget a little what it's like to froth out as a surf nerd. "Remember that air that John John did in Keramas like four years ago?" "Yeah that was sick, and then Julian did one almost the same a couple months later". These are the kind of conversations I had forgotten about, and suddenly I was having them again with a 13 year old with a thick tan line on his neck and strawy blonde hair that sprouted like it needed to be trimmed into a bowl cut like Jack Robinson.
The groms ripped, Ghizlaine and I battled to keep up with them in the busy French beach break surf, but bit by bit I could feel myself turning my froth-o-metre back up to it's teenage high. It's strange when you are young and in love with a hobby so hard that you can never imagine anything else becoming a priority over it. And then, without even noticing, you find yourself opening your laptop when you know there's swell, not even feeling the anguish of unsurfed waves.
Anyway, France was magic. Warm and packed with men in too short shorts and good looking Australians. Everybody stands on the beach staring at the surf, it's kind of weird actually, just watching as the shorey violently licks their shins. I don't even know if they know what's happening in the surf, if they know what they're watching, never-the-less they look on anyway.
I flew back to England after ten days, they nearly didn't let me in the country, which I was almost relieved about. England was actually a pleasant surprise a second time around though. I worked in a waffle shop with a guy I met in Sri Lanka, who the night I met him was in a bar fight and got his nose broken. That was random coincidence. I lost in a surf contest but didn't really care, because I spent the weekend at a festival that was basically just a huge outdoor nightclub.