Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Christmas lights and flapping fish

Wonderfully sunny morning. As I was running along the beach (are you impressed Pete?!) I noted a couple of local ladies dwelling by the shore, as I approached I saw that they were trying to rescue a large flatfish that had seemingly beached itself. Not being as brave as the locals I was relieved when one of the ladies waded into the sea and helped the fish back out. In my broken French we briefly discussed the creature and the improved weather before parting company feeling warm that we had done something good already today. As I headed back on the return leg a group of ten more mature locals filed out of the very plush thalassotherapy spa of Grand Hotel Loreamar which fronts the beach. Led by a younger lady they headed into the water and proceeded to partake in aqua-aerobics. Not wanting to be outdone I plunged in too, albeit further up the beach so as not to be confused with them!

Returning to the apartment, via the boulangerie, a couple of large lorries parked up on Rue Gambetta which is normally pedestrianised. A crane pulled a man into the air and it was only after I rounded the corner that I realised what he was up to, hanging the Christmas decorations. It still feels too early given the weather but I guess back in London and elsewhere neon flashing lights and baubles have been dazzling shoppers for weeks. I must find out when the lights are officially turned on. Before heading up to start working I noticed how busy the cafes are. The work ethic in Pays Basque seems to be fantastic, frustrating to begin with but respected once you get used to it. Work seemingly never begins before 0900 (except in the port) which gives everyone plenty of time to take coffee with friends or family. Lunch is mandatory and lasts at least an hour, and the work day tends to finish at a respectable hour too. Whilst workers in the UK perhaps earn more dollars, the French earn far more by enjoying time with those they love. Off to Le Rex cinema to see Quantum of Solace in French this evening, I will report back tomorrow.