Sunday, June 05, 2011

Half Term in Brittany



Saturday - by chance, we met eddie's work chum on the ferry. He's French and heading back to his home town, Le Mans, with his other half. Crossing made me, Lottie and Lucy a bit sick. Drive down to brittany was fine but the toll roads to begin with held us up a bit. 5 euros to cross the big bridge just outside Le Havre and then a couple more toll stops. Nearly all the lanes were ticket holders only and all the Brits made long queues behind the toll lanes that allowed cash. Jacques met us when we arrived at around 8pm and showed us how the house worked. Rather nicely, they'd laid out breakfast bits with some specialities of Brittany and a bottle of cider. We thought the cider might be better straight away rather than leaving it until the morning.

Sunday - grey skies. Pool heating not working. All shops closed. Fortunately prepared for all this as we brought a paddling pool for the twins if the pool was cold and the rest of us brought wet suits. Also we stopped at a Carrefour near Rennes on the journey over on Saturday to buy essentials and ring Martine (Jacque's wife and house owner) to say when we were arriving.

Later on Sunday afternoon, we popped to the beach at Pointe De La Torche nearby and watched the surfers. We had a few accidents for half an hour ... Lucy fell off a rock and grazed her knee and Lottie did the same shortly after. When we got home I was about to sort out their plasters and walloped myself on the cooker hood so I've now got a huge gash on my forehead too. However. It's all an adventure.


We brought Humf DVDs for the twins and True Blood DVDs for us to watch in the evening. Lucy has her CDs to keep her entertained and a Jacqueline Wilson book and her Nintendo DS. She has been allotted the end rooms of the house for playing in during the day as they are totally separate from the rest of the house. They are where the animals used to sleep when the house was originally built. They are accessible by a little wooden door hiding behind the wood burner.

Monday - still grey and no sign of Jaques fixing the pool heating. However Eddie wanted to go to Brest to the diving shop so we all headed off. Eddie bought himself a new mask for free diving (chasse sous marine) and a shorty wetsuit for helping Lucy with her scuba in the pool. He also got a rubber weight belt for his free diving. On the way back we stopped at Quimper. Ascension Thursday this Thursday so they're building up to that and there are various signs up talking about forthcoming road closures. We got there at lunch time so most things were closed except for food and drink places. We all went into a French public loo - that was funny. I would have loved to stay in for the full 15 minute limit to see if we if actually get a shower down. We then went to Plonoeur Lanvern to the Casino (?) supermarket where the twins were a royal pain in the arse. Lottie has learnt to say "please may I have..." which whilst terribly polite, can be very frustrating. She said "please may I have " about 514 times in the crisp aisle. Then we all came home and Lucy and I did some snorkelling and scuba in the pool. Then the twins and I had a bath while Eddie and Lucy stayed in the pool a bit longer. Children all now in bed. Beer out and watching crap tv. Sun now out and blue skies.

Tuesday - Cold pool and grey skies. Decided to try Penhors beach as all the previous guests seem to have recommended it. Cold and blowy when we got there and lucy had forgotten her coat. Still it does get better. Eddie leant her his jumper and we rock pooled for a bit. We then visited the shell fish museum (seriously) and then had coffee, coke and orange juice at the sea side bar. On the way home we went via ploneour lanvern to find the post office for stamps for postcards. It was, of course, closed as it was lunchtime - still -we know where it is now. Back at the cottage, Jacques says the pool is fixed. The outside shower is certainly hot now. Shortly off to fetch a few bits from town before we brave the pool.

Town provided us with stamps and a post box and post cards are now off on their journey to England. Upon return we donned our wetsuits and jumped in the pool. Considerably warmer and lottie managed a swim despite no wetsuit. Eddie tried the BBQ out afterwards. One of those kettle types. Got very hot. The 0% beer turned out to be lemonade so Lucy is having that. I'm trying the 2% beer and cidre as wine seems to be too strong for whatever is wrong with my hip. Twins now in bed and Lucy reading. We're watching French TV til Lucy goes to bed and we can switch to the True Blood DVDs. Eddie has got a fire burning in the log stove as our bedroom is mezzanine style, overlooking the lounge, so the fire makes the bedroom nice and warm.

Wednesday - Lottie, typically, has got some insect bites today. We headed off to find a supermarket for some milk as the shops are closed tomorrow and then on, to le Guilvinec to walk along the beach. This beach was quieter than pointe de la torche and less of a fishing place than penhors. We found lots of sea urchin shells. We then headed back to Pointe de la Torche for ice creams for the littles and beers for the bigs. Back home now and twins have gone to bed. Eddie and Lucy are having chocolate and banana crepes. Swimming pool is at 21 degrees.

Wandering round the house, I noticed that a lot of the paintings are by Jacques and the embroideries by Martine (his wife)... Which brings me in to the master bedroom. The house was refurbished in 1980 and again in 1986. The bedroom has a mirrored wall with a white carpet and some sort of animal rug (leopard?), in short, very 80s. There is a nude portrait on the wall - almost convinced then, that this must be Martine from late 80s sometime. It's fun being nosey.

We've been using the fantastically named "Casino" supermarket in Ploneour Lanvern for the last few days, however we thought we'd treat someone else to the terrible twins today and tried to find a L'Eclerc. The sign posts were misleading though and we gave up on that whilst driving around Pont l'Abbe. We found an intermarche near Plomeur and stopped there - this is Les Mousquetaires (pronounced Moosketaries in our house) supermarket which we used to frequent when visiting Normandy in the old days ... the styling has had a facelift since days of Carentan and the logo is unrecognisable from the Musketeers of old.

Lucy's granny Mo sent her a text today - it sounds like her old Nintendo DS which got lost last summer holidays at Woolacombe, may have turned up in their car. That would be quite a miracle... However I would now have to forgive all the people I have mentally blamed for nicking it.

Thursday. Sun is out and skies are blue. Bank holiday apparently too. Hide and seek going on in the garden. Lots of good hiding places.

When we got out act together we headed off To the Casino supermarket to get diesel and some BBQ bits before heading off on an adventure. We were planning to go to Concarneau but as we passed Benodet, I suggested we stopped there instead as it looked pretty and it was half as far away. It was tricky to park as it was lovely bank holiday weather but not too bad and we stopped close to the beach. Lucy had a go in the sea with her wet suit, then we got changed and headed off to a bar for beer, orange juice and coke again. We then stopped for the littles to ave ice cream. Lucy had menthe chocolate and the twins had chocolate. The lady serving was very sweet and gave the twins pink and blue spoons to eat them with. The twins has a snooze on the way home and we all went into the pool when we got back. It's up to 24 degrees now. Tom fell in so had a go at swimming that he wasn't planning on. We took some shots with the disposable underwater camera too. Eddie is now cooking BBQ meat and I've done ratatouille to go with it. The children are drawing pictures in their new exercise books up to the outside table and Lucy is being bossy. 

Weather forecast is 19.40 on m6 we've discovered so eagerly awaiting to tomorrows Forecast. We've been watching "scenes de menages" or something like that in the evening too which is some French comedy which we can partially follow though I must look it up when we get home on

Friday. Finally managed to catch the cows. The house is in a tiny village of three or four houses called St Joseph. Basically centred on the farm. Cows seem to be heading from the barn to the fields and from one field to another at all different times of day and whenever I see them racing up or down the road, herded by a young lad around Lucy's age, I never have the camera. This morning I was just heading to the skip with a bin bag of carefully sorted kitchen rubbish and I saw them leisurely strolling down the road from a field above the village to one below an a enough time to take a couple of pics.


Tom, Lucy and Lottie have just taken the opportunity while I was writing this and Eddie was looking up a good diving beach, to tear up lots of pretty purple flowers to make "pasta" so they're all in trouble now. This has also been the holiday of the cbeebies Octonauts magazine which is now torn to shreds and coloured in but neither of us dare throw it away just yet. Lots of flies - one big, buzzy one in the bedroom last night kept on landing on eddie and waking him up. Heading back to the ferry at 6am tomorrow morning so packing the car up tonight and making packed lunch and checking in with Jacques to show him that we haven't wrecked anything (yet).

Eddie has looked at the map. The forecast is for another lovely day and he thinks Beg Meil is the best place to try some snorkelling. Just a bit further long the coast than we were yesterday.

Back now and Beg Meil was the beach of a bazillion hermit crabs. Lucy and Ed did some snorkelling and then we stopped at a carrefour in Benodet on the way home to by some bits for packed lunch and breakfast tomorrow.

Saturday. Got to the ferry at Le Havres 3 hours early. Typically us. Still we got the best seats on the ferry


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