Things usually got better from there and I have many happy memories of our stays - which made me nervous about this trip, since I suspected Howard and I weren't as organised and grown-up as my parents and would fail horribly at looking after ourselves.
I needn't have worried. We went to bed before midnight and got up before noon, just about, we didn't run out of anything, and the gîte was so well-equipped that we didn't need the bedlinen and mugs I remember callmemadam packing in my childhood - or even our emergency stash of sugar, salt and loo roll.
The gîte itself was beautiful: set below and away from a quiet, narrow road, among oak trees that kept fooling us into thinking it was raining, it was half-timbered and pointy-roofed in the traditional style of the region. It looked about two hundred years old; in fact it was younger than me. The high ceilings made it feel spacious and most rooms had two possible exits, allowing many moments of drawing-room farce.
It made a welcome change to be based in the same spot, rather than each day being a 300-mile slog to the next hotel, and to start each day in relaxed fashion instead of loading all our luggage onto the bikes for a 9:30 departure.
We read. We watched DVDs. We played Tomb Raider: Underworld on my DS Lite. We fed acorns and melon rinds to the five goats who lived in a run behind the gîte (one was particularly bossy and greedy, and had to be distracted if you wanted to give a treat to any of the others). We ate an unfeasible amount of cheese (including the regional speciality, Camembert) and had exceptionally vivid dreams.
To be honest, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the entire holiday at the kitchen table eating cheese and drinking cider, with occasional forays to the Intermarché for further supplies. But we made ourselves go out and do stuff occasionally.