Their holiday was very much centred round water. When I think that a year ago both Otto and Willow were reluctant to get into the water, their progress is remarkable (helped by some excellent swimming lessons in the run-up to summer).
By the end of the summer both were swimming with confidence – Otto mainly under water, Willow with her head firmly gazing at the sky – leaving the adult supervisors somewhat stressed at times, as you never knew whether they were about to sink or not. Otto is also an enthusiastic jumper, yelling as he leaps, usually something from Harry Potter.
As well as using my bassin, the family loved swimming in our neighbours, the Pressleys, pool (with Beth and Tim and their two kids), in the local little river down the road, and, best of all, in the river at la Corconne, the campsite where Kate and Jude spent their childhood holidays and learnt to swim.
Otto and Willow are not keen walkers, so the walks were in the main undertaken by the parents at the start of each day, while I looked after the children and took them to Bréau to collect the daily dose of croissants and bread.
Early on they had a hot but enjoyable pony excursion, led by Vanessa, whom Otto in particular is very attached to. They also enjoyed a couple of trips to the tree climbing park ‘Les Accros d’Anjeau’. The first time we went with Beth and Tim and their two, Joe and Kitty. Quite a feat getting four children round an increasingly challenging course, though all were brave and tried. The star of the first visit was Willow, who has the instincts and balance of a gymnast, and fearlessly tackled three circuits, including one meant for 6+ .
The holiday was also enhanced by a visit by fellow Dulwich parents, Rob and Kon and their son Toby. I hope they will come again.
Willow turned out some excellent arts and crafts for a four year old. Left to herself she could happily spend an afternoon with paper, scissors and glue. Otto is currently focussed – dare I say obsessively – on Harry Potter (he could win a Mastermind special subject competiton with his detailed knowledge). Old heroes like Batman are just history now, and only Star Wars offers any competition. They played less on the swing or in the shack or garden than their cousins, but on the other hand, enjoyed sessions in the jacuzzi.
The parents were not idle either. Poor Kate had an unexpected long and irritating work crisis, culminating on her working most of her last day’s holiday. And Steve spent much of the hottest time of the day creating new steps to make it easier to get from the terrace to the path leading to the pool. He is frustrated at not being able to finish, but hats off for some sterling and much needed work.