Here are another 10 reasons why I love long summer afternoons by the water;
1. It’s big. Great for those all important lengths if a spot of early exercise is your thing (see 10). And it’s hardy enough to take a crowd of enthusiastic kids.
2. Safe and clean. We bought a new rigid cover for the pool a couple of years ago. This is required by French law anyway, but it’s reassuring for parents to know that they can cover up the water whenever an adult isn’t present. M. Doutres, the concierge, pops round once a week to make sure that the sanitation and filtering are all in order, and to clear away any leaves from the bottom.
3. It’s refreshing. I’m a bit of an running nut, so my favourite time is early on Sunday morning when I follow a 7 mile loop around Fourques, Trouillas and Terrats. It can be baking hot, so when I get back I dive in for a few lengths to wind down – after a shower of course, there’s one by the pool. If that sounds a bit excessive, you can replicate the experience with a walk across the vineyards in the late afternoon sunshine.
4. South-facing. Which means that you get to swim in the sun pretty much from sunrise to sunset – a good 14 hours in high summer. It also means that the water warms up nicely, although it can be a bit fresh in the Spring.
5. Dive in from your bedroom. You can walk straight to the pool from two of the double bedrooms. Great for changing and also means you can take a swim without disturbing other parts of the house. Perfect for early risers.
6. Anything goes. Well, almost. What we mean is that although there are properties in the vicinity of the villa and the garden, it is completely secluded by walls and tall trees. Which means that you can swim and sunbathe in complete privacy.
7. It keeps the kids quiet. Not sure if quiet is quite the right word. But it does give them plenty to do when the grown ups just want to recline or take time out from visiting the sites. A day by the pool also means sleepy heads early on in the evening, and peaceful slumbers for all concerned.
8. Sundowners. Why does a cool glass of white wine taste so much better when the sun is setting over a swimming pool? It shouldn’t make any difference whether you’re in an ordinary garden or at the waterside. But somehow it does. I suppose the effect is increased by the lights in the garden flickering across the surface. And the wine of course.
9. An evening swim. Probably best reserved until high summer. Still, you can’t beat a dip in the pool when the stars are out. Lie on your back, watch the constellations and drift, drift, drift.
10. Exercise. We’d be fibbing if we didn’t say that food and drink are two of the main attractions of Fourques and the surrounding areas (see the stories tagged food and wine). If you want to balance the calorie intake, swimming is a good way of burning off about 500 calories an hour.