Enough doom and pre-baby gloom already. Upon the sound advice of elders and generally Those Who Know, Mr Green and I recently escaped London and environs for a week in sunny Provence. And sunny it was, hitting mid to high 30s every day while Marseilles airport registered 41C on the afternoon of our departure. A bit too much so for my Irish-skinned husband and for junior, who let me know in no uncertain terms when the amniotic fluid reached boiling point by thrashing around in his very own mosh pit. Still, our 'babymoon' location, in the countryside just north of Salon-en-Provence, proved nothing short of idyllic with its lavender bushes thrumming with bumble bees. And for the first few days at least we had total monopoly over the luscious inground pool at our B&B/villa. Only the crew of an Apollo shuttle could understand my giddy delirium at the sudden feeling of weightlessness. In the bath I may have been a sperm whale stranded in an estuary, but in the pool I was Willy freed! At one point I even managed to hitch a ride on Mr Green's back without crippling him, thereby vowing to find the nearest watering hole back in Kent so I can repeat the experience until a dorsal fin grows out of my skin (hey, at this rate of change, I wouldn't bat an eyelid.)
I was so taken by my newfound aquatic prowess that I accidentally ordered the coquilles St Jacques -- okay, so I confess to being a little taken by the name -- which the waitress merely described as 'white fish, very good'. Much to my dismay, out came a plate of scallops with the roes and all. Dismay, because all the scaremongers keep insisting that shellfish is one of a long list of foods which you must avoid like the plague whilst pregnant. Most cheeses feature on said list, as do pates, peanuts, cured hams, smoked fish, etc... But I needn't have panicked. Even though the waitress looked like she hadn't cleaned under her fingernails since 1986, my dismay quickly evaporated. What the coquilles lacked in freshness they more than made up for in cooking time. Hours passed and by some miracle I wasn't sick. Which made me wonder, as I tucked into lots of lovely warm goats cheese salads with impunity, whether the French aren't more laidback for a reason. Because life is too short maybe and the risks too slim to warrant such scare tactics? I'm not sure of the reason exactly but I relished their philosophie all the same. Then licked my fingers.