6 Days in France – Day 6 Unknown Unknowns

By 25th June 2017France17

Our last day.  A day for the kids.  We were hoping to get them involved in some activities and we could watch and chill out.  Last night we had discovered that there was a Lake nearby that did water sports, but on further research this morning, found out that most of the activities would be closed until the weekend.  Still, there was stuff to do and everyone was happy to give it a go.

After a short drive we pulled up to the car park, which looked empty.  Not a good sign.  The Lake looked lovely and we could see people doing stuff at the far end.  There was a cafe near the car park so we went in for a look around.  It had a bowling alley, arcade, bar and a few other bits and bobs.

Wendy asked the guy if the water sports were on, he said no.  So we chatted for a bit and decided just to hang around here playing arcade games and then head back home later.

Everybody loves to play air hockey.  There was one of the basket ball machines which I bossed.  And a punch bag machine that the men tested their manliness on.  I won’t say who won.  You will have to guess.

In the corner we spotted a soft play that the guy opened for us and Marcus ran riot.  He had the whole thing to himself.  We sat drinking coffees and snacking whilst the kids were happy just playing about.

A little later we spotted someone on a pedalo, so we asked the guy if we could rent one.  No problem.  Great.  We decided to get two, one for the girls and one for the boys.  Let the speed competitions begin.  Marcus and I just lay in the back, dragging our feet in the water, soaking up the sun.  It was great and very peaceful.

On the Lake

Now the girls were keen to get in the water.  But neither of them wanted to venture in first.  They had come prepared, with their swimming suits. But us adults were just in normal clothes.  The people on the other pedalo had started to jump in the water further along the Lake.  This made the girls even more obsessed with getting in. But why wouldn’t they?

And so we come full circle back round to fear again.  Remember the high ropes in the trees at the start of the week?

OK, let’s talk about Charlottes fear of water.  She hates it.  Even to wash herself (or so it would seem some days!)

She is a capable swimmer and will jump in the water at a swimming pool without any issues.  But in the sea back at home, or in a Lake here, she just won’t do it.  You can read on her face though that she wants to.  Which side is going to win?  The desire to get in, or the fear of what lies in the water?

And so I get to thinking about fear again.  As I encouraged her to get in we talked through the three main categories of fear –

  1. Known Knowns
  2. Known Unknowns
  3. Unknown Unknowns

So you’re sat there thinking, “why not just jump in”.  But if it was that easy for her, she would have done it.  This is about overcoming your fears.

Let’s start with Known Knowns.  What does she know that she is going to be afraid of?  She knows the water is going to be cold.  And she knows that there is no easy way to get back on the pedalo.  It’s also dawned on her that when she jumps out of boat, she is going to go under the water for a second.

We talk through those things and she prepares herself for that.  Now we come to the Known Unknowns.  The bits that she knows she is scared of, but can’t see.  Is there fish in the water?  How far is the bottom?  Will she feel things between her toes?

We cover those things off and eventually she jumps in.  All of things she has thought about happen, but she survives.  There is lot’s of screaming and ‘help me help me’s.  She clings onto the side of the pedalo like it’s a life raft in the open ocean.  But I am so impressed that she has got in.

Then this happens.  Just watch the fear on her face.

What is it?  She can feel something on her legs.   It’s not a fish.  Not the long grass floating up in the water.  Not one of us trying to freak her out.  Something else.  Something she is really unprepared for – this is the unknown unknown.  In this case, it was simply the rudder from the pedalo.  Once she realised what it was, she calmed down.  But for that split second, she was terrified.

I think that all fear can be boiled down into these three areas – things you know you are scared of (known knowns), things that you think might happen (known unknowns), and the stuff that you haven’t even thought of yet (unknown unknowns).

If you can’t get to grips with at least some of these things, it’s going to stop you from doing what you want to do.  Today, Charlotte nailed it.  And although it was a stressful experience for her, she has definitely won over her fear of the water.  (But still not the shower)

By the time Charlotte was in, her friend was in, her friends Mam was in (fully clothed) and so was I (in my … modest… underpants).  Even Marcus decided to launch himself off head first into the water.

Just before he jumped in

For the next half an hour or so we splashed about, swam and enjoyed the Lake.  The sun was baking down.  The water was surprisingly warm.  And in a small way, we all felt like little kids again.

After some time we headed back to the jetty.  We did that scramble around the boot of the car thing where you hope there is some item of clothing that you can put on and try to mix and match a dry outfit.  A spare pair of pants and a rain coat.  Even just a towel to sit on in the car.

We popped into a supermarket on the way back by which time I looked like a normal person who somehow had a perfectly neat wet imprint of their underpants showing through my shorts.  I just embraced it.

This final shop consists of some gifts, some things to take home for ourselves and some food to help us make meals out of the random collection of ingredients that was left over from the fridge.  Both families decided to buy wine to take home.  As I lay out about 30 bottles of wine on the conveyor belt the French lady in front of me gave us an approving smile and nod of the head.

Back to the holiday home now and time to get dry and then have our last meal.  We emptied the fridge and the snack cupboard and made what I will best describe as an all you can eat buffet.  It was impressive.  I think we could have fed the majority of residents in the village.

As I put the 5th slice of pizza in my mouth, I thought about trying to keep fit earlier in the week.  “I’m into fitness”, I announce.

“Fittin’ this pizza in my mouth”

Ah, the guilt free final meal.  I mean – it’s just all going to go in the bin isn’t it?  It would be a terrible waste 🙂

Time now to retire to the Hot Tub where we reminisced the about the holiday and how unexpectedly fun today had been.  But now, another great holiday was drawing to a close.  Tomorrow, we would pack up, head to the ferry and then slog it out all the way home.  It wasn’t a journey we were looking forward to, but a necessary evil.

This area of France – upper Normandy, wasn’t what I would describe as an ‘A List’ holiday destination.  But we had all had an excellent time.  Wendy would go onto say smugly “Everywhere has its own beauty”.  It’s starting to become one of her catch phrases now.  But she is right.

I asked Charlotte if she enjoyed the holiday.

“If I could do it again Dad, I would do it all exactly the same”

Job done.



  • Kasia says:

    That was really good read Daniel. Well done! Insightful as well. I don’t fear fear anymore but I’m still afraid of water. I think I need to read it again. But it sounds like day 6 was a good day.

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