Well it's been a really interesting week since I've got back off holiday, with so many things I wanted to write about that I've not actually got round to writing any off.

For those of you that don't want to trail through my previous posts, I returned to England on Monday from a nice relaxing two week holiday with my close family, -- Mum, Dad, John (23), Lorna (18), Simon (15), Richard (6), and Charlie (5) --. Also on the holiday were my brother's girlfriend Steph (21) and my Aunt and Uncle, and two cousins -- Rob (18) and Suzie (14).

We normally go away with a more elderly member of the family (last year both Dad's parents, and my Mum's Dad came out, along with a different uncle) but this year we decided to keep it to the younger generation, and hired Chateau Martini in Segonzac, Perigord, France. It was a really big place (can sleep 17) with a panoramic view over the valley and a private swimming pool. The only downside was that it was rather basic - and due to its size it rarely gets a complete occupancy, thus some rooms smelt a bit 'musty' on our arrival. It was a lovely place though, built in the early 14th Century and with really thick stone walls. It didn't have any creature comforts, and the kitchen was about half the size of the one in my student flat last year - but with BBQs being my speciality and the order of the day, we spent little time in the kitchen.

We celebrated my brother's 23rd birthday when we were out there and I celebrated my break from uni/work with the purchase of a fishing rod. I spent most evenings of the holiday heading down to the river (Dronne) in order to go and spend about 2 hours dipping my rod into the stream. I'm unaware if a rod-license is needed in France (as it is in England) so I made sure I didn't fish in open spaces (most of the places I fished began with a rather enjoyab le 4x4 ride in the Land Rover to reach the riverbank). However, I think it's pretty much safe to say that a fishing license would have been a waste of money, as I managed to catch a total of ZERO fish in the 10 nights I spent by the river. Fish 10 Andrew 0.

It's very relaxing though, and having the time to sit by a river and literally do nothing is now something I realise to be only permissible on holiday - there's too much to do at home in order to justify spending any time doing nothing.

We also went Canoeing on holiday, down a route that we frequented about 10 years ago with one of my best mate's family. Unfortunately the river was a little more empty this time and I managed to lose my flip flops after getting out to pull my cousin's boat over the weird. I was not a happy bunny. It's nice to swim with the fish though (even if you don't catch anything). Working in IT does push one away from spending time with nature and being so close to it is something I have always enjoyed - I need to make sure I get enough time out of the office now I am back.

I also visited the Nontron Knife Festival and the car broke down on the way home, but I've stuck them in different blog posts.