Well, here I am back on my sofa with freezing toes after a lake swim – the parents are probably basking in the post-grandchildren peace. Happy birthday to my Dad, who has been impressed by my afternoon nap skills for the last week although is now probably relieved to get his favoured sofa back. We’ve had a lovely week in France: the kids have put away their entire bodyweight in baguettes (daily), Aunty Tan has scienced at them, and the cupboard is stocked with Nutella.
Sunday: after a marathon sleep (even I crashed for the best part of ten hours) followed by an enormous breakfast we had a peaceful day, dragging the Horde out for a walk along the Blavet in the afternoon to stretch their legs a bit. We said ‘bonjour’ to everyone we met (because that’s what you do), saw cormorants and listened to the coypu shouting, and explored the little beach below the lock. I even managed to take some photos of the Horde where they aren’t pulling faces. We walked downstream to the little bar (closed) and back, which is around 5k. The Horde surprised me by wolfing down Dad’s coq au vin – anything in a sauce was unheard of a couple of years ago, so this is progress indeed.
Monday: after another marathon breakfast (I have never seen croissants disappear so fast) we headed for Pontivy to the Lantern Rouge, a buffet restaurant offering saveurs d’Asie. If there was a prawn in it, Thing 2 tried it. Over the week she also tried Patagonian garlic scallops, crab rillettes, galettes, camembert (she’s already hooked on Brie), Port Salut and pretty much anything else on offer. From a very early age she has always been my foodie child – if you took her eye off her in a restaurant she’d be peering solemnly at other people’s dinners over the edge of their table. Her Aunty compares her expression at these moments to the T-rex in Jurassic Park – “clever girl!” I think it’s more like the Velociraptors in the kitchen.
Later that day they explored a French clothes shop where they were spoiled by their granny, Decathlon where Thing 3 spent his birthday money on ‘cool trainers’, and they got to go to a supermarket where we were all overexcited by shelves with no gaps in them, fresh vegetables and the sheer variety on show.
Tuesday: saw the beginning of my vendetta against the angry cockerel over the road, who started crowing about 6am and just kept going. He was very lucky I didn’t turn him into a chicken casserole, quite frankly, as this anti-social behaviour continued all week. Dad described me as a little oasis of calm when he came down: audio book on and embroidery in hand while I enjoyed the peace before the chaos.
After breakfast Tan and I decided we’d get in a bit of training and headed off on a walk along the river – the plan was to do 90 minutes and then turn round and come back. We covered just over 10 miles, with a total elevation gain of a whole 6m, which of course is the joy of walking along a nice flat river. The return journey was downhill all the way…
We saw loads of cormorants, herons and various birds of prey, practised with our walking poles, snacked on Tribe bars and coffee, and bonjoured everyone we passed. The river was so still it was throwing off perfect reflections of the trees.
After a nap (me) we dragged Things 2 and 3 off for another walk to the lock and back, and were delighted to see the bridge lizards out enjoying the sunshine. Less fun was Thing 3, who appeared after his shower…
‘Aunty Tan, we have a….situation…’ This turned out to be a shower disaster, where he’d managed to create a waterfall with the shower curtain which flooded not only the bathroom but the sous-sol underneath, where water was pouring through the ceiling. It took many towels, mum, Tan and I to mop up and he was restricted to baths for the rest of the week.
Wednesday: the temperature hit 17 degrees and we – along with lots of French families – hit the beach at Port-Louis. Only one idiot went in the sea though. The kids explored rock pools and collected seaglass and shells, and we walked along by the fort to see the Resistance memorial.
In the evening we ate at the Vieux Bon Temps in Baud: galettes galore, and a burger for Thing 3. The kids were impressed with the flambe-ing of the dessert pancakes (grown ups only!).
Thursday: another early start thanks to that damned chicken, but I did get to finish the embroidery. Later on, abandoning the Horde to their grandpere, mum, Tan and I headed off to visit Barbara (hello Barbara!) who likes reading my blogs, and we put the world to rights over coffee before heading off to pick up dinner and other bits and bobs. UK Lidls always feel a bit grubby, but French ones are shiny and full of exciting biscuits so I stocked up. I also got some chouquettes for the Horde to try – not choucroute, which they would not have appreciated. The boulangerie was chaos, but the religieuse made it worth it, and the bread was amazing.
The rain set in over the afternoon so we stayed in and relaxed (I had a nap) and hoped for better weather the following day…
Friday: having asked the kids what they wanted to do (a choice of a visit to Vannes to see a historic town or Larmor-Plage for the beach). The decision was unanimous, so we headed off to Vannes where Thing 3 had a s Nutella crepe, Mum and I had kouign amman and Things 1 & 2 showed no interest whatsoever in the beautiful historic buildings. Sometimes I am not sure they are mine.
Saturday: I frogged all the crochet I had done over the week as it was too small, after another cockerel alarm woke me at 6am. Damn. The journey back to Calais was mainly uneventful apart from some patchy fog – and we even got put on a slightly earlier train much to the perturbation of the man in the car behind us who clocked that he was Z and we were A, and therefore why were we on the train ahead of him? The terminal was packed with post-half term returners, many of whom were sporting ski racks and snarfing down Burger King. It was reassuring to note that all teenagers in cars seem to sport the same stroppy faces as my own dear Horde….
The cats were pleased to see us, I think – Thing 3 was definitely pleased to see them…
Back to school/work tomorrow! See you next week…
What I’ve been reading:
Dead Beat/Proven Guilty – Jim Butcher
Jingo/The Fifth Elephant – Terry Pratchett (Audible)
Family favourite films watched – Young Frankenstein, City Slickers, The Princess Bride