August 22

22 August – ‘All Over The Place – Europe, Part 2’

Completely forgot it was my birthday today until I was getting my clothes out of my suitcase and came across the birthday card my Mum and Dad had sent me before I went away. Once I got down to breakfast the crew and Ben had bought me cards and a DVD of ‘Love Actually’ to watch on the bus (I consider ‘Love Actually’ to be the greatest aeroplane movie ever. Rubbish enough to not resent the fact you aren’t watching it on a proper screen, but just watchable enough to hold your interest. You can put that quote on the cover, Richard Curtis).

And what better way to celebrate your birthday than visiting a flamingo reserve and dressing up in a pink leotard and tutu. Fair play to the people visiting, they barely batted an eyelid as Ben and I tried to blend in with the exotic birds by standing on one leg in our “flamingo camouflage” and interviewed Fred, the head of the park. Every year flamingos fly here from Africa for the summer, and so in the 1940s Fred’s grandad decided to turn the lakes into an official attraction. The birds aren’t quite so pink this time of year as they don’t get to eat as much of the plankton that turns them that colour – but they’re still the pinkest birds you’re likely to see in Europe I would have thought.

Fred seemed quite amused by our flamingo dance routine based on their mating dance, which really is quite ridiculous (sorry flamingos), so hopefully people at home will find it funny too.

Once filming was done we made our way on the bus to the town of Montelimar where the team had booked a table for my birthday dinner in a lovely little square with a classically grumpy French waiter. I even got a flaming sparkler in my dessert that I’m quite sure would be illegal under UK health and safety regulations, which topped the day off nicely.

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