Thursday, October 19, 2017

Melody, Douarnenez, Pont Croix and Audierne

Oh I am the smartest person! LOL (I wish) I worked out how to use google maps and embed our travel maps in my blogs. Ha. So satisfying. By clicking on the plus or minus signs on the lower right hand side of the maps you can enlarge or zoom in at will. This helps if you're not quite sure which part of France we're traveling in ... just zoom out using the minus sign until the whole of France is visible.

I apologise that there's not much chat in this blog. Mainly photographs. People and fun incidents are what I really like to chat about, and there haven't been that many for me to tell you about recently. I do want to give an idea as to where we are though, so here goes.

This first map is our wander down to the coast at St-Gildas-de-Rhuys. I just called it St Gildas in my previous blog, but when I was doing this map I discovered that the real St Gildas is part of Vannes and not really on the coast at all.

What the map below shows is the time after our first visit to St-Gildas-de-Rhuys, when we went up to Rennes, back down to St-Gildas-de-Rhuys, up to Mauron to collect my pot plants from a good friend, and then out to Pors Peron where we've bought the leisure home.

Not being securely trained at this stage, and with no fences to contain her, Bridie had to be on a lead outside on the patio for a week or three. She wasn't too happy about it, but sadly that's how it had to be!

At last the shed was put up and I had one day in which to paint the windows ... which I did :-) And so our little "complex" became complete. Just waiting for the garden to take shape now.

There are a few more pics of our stunning roses on my Road Trips with Milly Facebook page. Here:

The days were really hot this summer and we were, of course, reluctant to either leave Bridie alone in a closed-up and hot leisure home, or take her out in a hot motorhome, so we didn't do too much traveling around. We did spend a day in Douarnenez where we had lunch; an evening in Pont Croix for supper; and a look-see day in Audierne where we found a gallery I may submit to.

Douarnenez - above and below. Different parts of the harbour.
I've found a load of more pics of Douarnenez which I'd like to keep with this blog. Instead of overloading the blog, I've made a separate page for them which you can find here :

As you can see, there was loads of boat activity in this part of the harbour.

Pont Croix

Pont Croix is our local town for small shopping expeditions to the Super U, filling up with diesel, the Vet, and the doctor.

Apart from one evening having moules 'n frites  in the town square, I haven't yet properly visited the town. It was a lovely evening though, watching three young fellas playing French bowls (petanque?) and giggling at a large party of folk as their group swelled to about two dozen. It's exhausting for the lips and cheeks being French! As each person arrived they went around to each and every person already waiting there and double-kissed them on the cheek - sometimes not even really looking at the person at all! It was a lesson learned - never arrive late at a party. Arrive late and you're the one going around doing all the kissing. Arrive early and you only need to stand still and offer your cheeks.

The views of the bowls game, and the town square, we captured that evening ... a whole 2 of them. Obviously our meal and spending time together was more important!

It's heartening to see that young folk are keeping the tradition of petanque and bowls (I haven't yet found out the difference between the two or if they mean the same thing!) alive. There's a very active club on the edge of town as well. Way to go Pont Croix!


Our afternoon in the coastal town of Audierne (see map above) was also mainly about boats and the harbour. The first pic shows you a road leading up the hill which I'd like to investigate one day, but on this afternoon our main aim was to find La Galerie which our friends Gearie and Linda Kenworthy had mentioned to us.

Below is the pic of La Galerie

Boats, boats and more boats ....... if any artists out there would like to use any of the images as painting inspiration, you're most welcome. It would be great if you emailed or Facebook-ed me an image of your painting though ... would love to see that please.

Well, that gives you an idea of the environs we're now living in. Next, we'll take you one peninsula up from where we are. We spent a really lovely week at l'Abbe ... with people to talk about! LOL

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Another feast ... this time Oysters

Here, at the Oyster Farm at Larmor-Baden on the coast near Vannes, is the best example of the Breton flag (regional flat of Brittany) flying that I have been able to find. I found a bit of info about the design and meaning here, if you're interested in flags ...

Motorhomes are permitted to stay overnight on the big gravel parking lot at the back of the oyster farm and when we arrived - fairly early as we like to do - we were the only folk there and had our pick of parkings. I like that. I love the space to breathe. Especially in warm weather. As soon as seat belts are released I'm back there opening the sky light, windows and doors to flood the fresh air in.

I have an Irish story which indicates that this fresh air addiction may well be another South African weirdity. Some years ago, good friends of ours from Pietermaritzburg in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where I used to live, came to see us in Ireland. On their way to Connemara, they diverted to Cork for interesting ancestoral reasons. The first thing they did on entering their room at a B&B was to fling the windows wide open - as you do. The landlady rushed in, closed the windows, saying: "I know you're South African, but we like to keep the windows closed to keep the bees out". Yeah, well, habits die hard and I often think of that incident with a chuckle.

We thought we were going to be the only ones there for the night ... ha ha ha. This is how full it ended up being ... that's us squished in the middle. Not really our scene to stay in such an overcrowded space, but the pull of a fresh seafood dinner was too strong!

And there were more motorhomes on the other side of the parking lot too ... I think nine in total parked up for the night. Eeek. France is a very motorhome-friendly country and folk sure make good use of their hospitality.

During our afternoon walk-around we sussed out the restaurant built on the edge of, and a wee bit into, a walled-in oyster pool.

Being eager beavers - and hungry to boot - we arrived early so got the pic of tables. The clouds were looking a little dicey though but we took our chances and settled in for a long and delicious meal.

Just as the delicacies arrived and were arranged on our table, the rain started in earnest and there was a mad scuttle of all the diners to move food and drink to tables set out beneath an awning ... quite likely set up for just an event! It reminded me of the Johnny Cash movie where his brother and himself had a little saying in their youth, something like: "I saved my feathers for just such an occasion".

So what do you think of this as a seafood platter? We loved it! Those little blighters in the middle, in the red dish, were a blighter to extract to eat though. We finished the meal with a traditional sweet of Far cake and caramel sauce, a Breton speciality. I found this desciption, and image, online: "Far Breton is a traditional cake or dessert from the Brittany region in France. Its base is similar in composition to a clafoutis batter: a flan-style eggs-and-milk custard with flour added. Prunes or raisins are common additions."

Before the rain started, the tide was out and this was our view of the oyster pool:

Then the tide started coming in and the water began to spill over:

Heavier and heavier, until you wouldn't know there was a pool there.

The pics below are just some of the equipment used at the farm. All fairly self explanatory. Sadly there was no facility for learning what was used for what and how.

And so, next morning, we were off fairly early, heading back to St Gilda's for the last of our lovely much-needed rest days. Even Bridie got good at resting and sleeping. When she wasn't draped on one of the front seats waiting for whichever of us had left the motorhome, she was as chilled and cool-dog as we were ... even resting her head on the steering wheel.

Our next reason to start the ignition was to move in to Melody, the leisure home we have bought, on the west coast of Finistère, as our travel base.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A feast of photography

A blog post ago I mentioned we stayed along the Nantes to Brest canalside at St Samson. What I hadn't done by the time I wrote that post was go through the feast of photography Alan and I had at a tiny town called St Gouvray, between St Samson and Rohan. There's an abandoned farm house at the edge of the village.

For many a moon I had wanted to stop and photograph this building but we were always on the way to somewhere and the opportunity didn't present itself until now. Good thing too because the day was perfect. A fresh and sunny morning with a bit of dew still on the grass.

The chosen images below are in no particular order and are simply a celebration of an ancient building with boarded doors, open windows, furniture still arranged inside (giving strength to the suspicion that folk still use the building at times), a piece of sculptural wood at an open window, the inevitable spider webs, bricks showing through plaster, wood piles in the garden, door handles, shutters ... and Alan taking his own pics.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.