We went to Le Touquet in France last weekend. I couldn't help thinking-'How can I use this?' for most of the time we were there.
Le Touquet was filled with locals and English tourists milling about; some with pushchairs, some with dogs, some with cigarettes hanging from their fingertips. The shop windows were filled with clothes, shoes, chocolates and pastries to drool over.
Something about being abroad heightens the senses. I noticed the richness of the milk when ordering a café au lait, the bitterness of the complimentary chocolate placed on the saucer and the blandness of unsalted butter on crispy baguette thrown into baskets and put on tables in restaurants. The croissants at breakfast were so fresh they deposited flakes everywhere when I spread jam on them.
On the beach there were children flying kites and building sandcastles behind windbreaks. The sand blew into my face as we followed the path through the dunes and climbed a slope to the summit as sand filled our shoes. We sat on the beach, shielded from the wind by the dunes as the children searched for shells to fill their buckets.
Going through the Eurotunnel was like taking a trip into the future. There's a sci-fi feel as you drive up the ramp onto the two-storey train. The doors beep as they close between the carriages. Instructions come through the tannoy in English and French about putting the car in first gear, keeping the windows half open for ventilation and not walking between the cars. As we waited to reach the other side I couldn't help thinking that we were under the English Channel, a thought I cast out of my mind as soon as it crept in.
So the question is how can I use this?
There are scenes in my Book 2 which take place in France. I've been to France many times and lived in Grenoble in 1993 when studying French, but it's good to see the country with fresh eyes. My hero and heroine in Book 2 will be taking a trip to France which will probably lead them to Italy. I might book them a ticket for the Eurotunnel with an overnight stop at Le Touquet.
Are you always thinking 'How can I use this?' or do you have any other comments?