I was spoiled as my closest friends made the trek to France for a week of fun in the (well mostly anyway) sun in the Lot valley.  The venue was a fantastic, a modern house conversion with a pool and a huge ice maker for all those bottles of champagne.  The nearest town was Cazals, a sleepy place packed with UK emigrants.  It had a charming restaurant, the Auberge with fabulous steak frites for only €8.  The nearest large town was Cahors, famous for deep, robust red wines and its medieval bridge.

One of the highlights of the week was canoeing along the Dordogne.  The river (or at least the stretch we visited) flows slowly in high summer, and magnificent chateaux are visible from every bend .  However, it is clearly a popular holiday outing as we dodged and weaved with masses of canoes as if fighting the M25 rush hour.  It was smooth sailing (or paddling to be exact) until I decided a water fight would be a good idea. David and I lent over to one side of the canoe, trying desperately to shower each other with our paddles. The next thing we knew there was a big splosh as we toppled into the river, our canoe overturning and dispersing all our stuff into the murky water. I then discovered that the river was flowing a lot faster and was a lot deeper than I thought.  I tried to put on a life jacket, but was told by David that they were needed to help keep our now almost submerged canoe afloat.  So much for river safety!

At the house we made a makeshift water volleyball court across the swimming pool using a badminton net, and a table tennis table from various household bits.  This provided hours of endless fun and much competitive posturing between us all.  The sparkling wine and other lubricants helped too!

My birthday dinner arrived and we decided to walk to the restaurant 2km up the road and, also up a rather steep hill.  Armed with some wine for the walk it was easy going.  I wasn’t quite so easy going when we arrived, only to find that they were closed. So much for my reservation made in ‘French’.  We made a plan (true Zimbo style), and went for dinner in the town down the road which was fabulous.  Thanks to everyone for coming, I had an amazing time!!!