We woke up this morning to the sounds of cicadas and the unmistakable dance of sunshine filtering through the shutters. After a raft of family holidays spent not ungratefully in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, held to ransom by whatever the Atlantic decides to throw at us, there is is a tangible feeling of euphoria. Just to know that the day ahead is going to be sunny and any plans we make will not be rained off by gales or sea fog. In fact the pleasure is in realisation that for once we dont even need to make plans and endless contingency plans to keep the family from mutiny.

Morning yoga on the terrace, a quiet swim before the family awakes and a breakfast that rolled into lunch is to me doing exactly what a family holiday should say on the tin.

Today we can live in the moment, lazy minutes and idle hours in the sunshine if we want them, spontaneous bursts of activity if we dont. We are in Provence on a home exchange. http://www.homeforexchange.com. Unfathomably, an otherwise sane French family approached us with the view to spending three weeks in West London, (Shepherds Bush to be precise) and six cheap flights (courtesy of that marvellous website http://www.skyscanner.net) later, we Brits find ourselves here in Ventabren in their lovely villa surrounded by all the vistas and flora of this much celebrated region.

The art historians among our older teens have headed off to Aix for a late afternoon stroll in the birthplace of Cezanne. Although I suspect shopping and a bar may be higher on their agenda, while us parents and younger offspring plan an evening excursion to yet another impossibly picturesque hill town, to quote Henry James:

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language”

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