Monday, 1 September 2014

Busy Doing Nothing.....

...except  swimming - cooking - reading - shopping - cycling - playing house in the motorhome - eating - dancing - foraging - needlepoint - self healing - sight seeing - napping - fishing - walking - beachcombing - meditating - socialising - litter picking - boules - beer, wine and cider tasting - lino cutting - writing - planning - star gazing - photography - sunbathing - crabbing - cafes - paddling - singing - boardgames - making friends - loom banding - phoning home - laughing - creatively visualising - driving - card games - watching bands - practising the lingo  - laundry - reiki -  lighting candles in churches -  talking - wildlife watching - go karting - listening to music on Spotify - aqua aerobics - quizzes.  Phew!

That's a summary of what we did on holiday.   I'll drive to work for a well earned rest this morning listening to this wonderfully upbeat song that Louis and I chose as our theme tune for Summer Holiday 2014.  

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Free Wine!

Back in the land of Blighty after an interminable wait to get off the ferry. Disembarkation involved lots of reversing practice six inches from a couple of coaches as I was parked in a corner spot at the bottom of the boat's hull.  Yikes!  Uniquely on this getaway Louis and I both came back unscathed. There were none of our usual little forays to hospitals, pharmacies or dental practices.  The van is in one piece too so that counts as a rather successful holiday.

Now I'm home and all is quiet as Louis is spending time with his dad and then goes away to stay with relatives until Thursday evening.    It's probably time for a bit of calm as there's been some jolly decent partying going on over the last couple of weeks.   Thanks to all our new friends who helped Lou and I lay down very pleasant memories in one of my favourite parts of the world.

This caught my eye in E Leclerc, the big hypermarket near the ferry port.  It's the self same device that I came across in Le Vignoble at Plymouth's Royal William Yard when I went out with Salty Dog back in June. A chill cabinet dispenses little tasters of wine when a credit card type device is inserted into it.  Except this one was free. Imagine the scene if such a thing existed in an English supermarket.  There would be carnage and maybe fights over the claim to free booze.  It would be something akin to the parties that I hated in my undergraduate days where there was too many people scrabbling greedily for too few drinks as hardly anyone had brought a bottle. In St Pol, nobody skulked around the machine getting pissed up for gratis. What's more the machine was completely unsupervised and seemingly you could help yourself to as much as you wanted.

 I moderately tried a couple of snifters of a couple of wines that were outside my price bracket.   They were  yummy enough to make me contemplate a bit of wine machine abuse.  The thought occurred that to avoid drink driving I could stay on the supermarket aire, unatmospheric as it is, and pop back in for shots every half hour or so until closing time.   Perhaps I could have brought my own olives in a little bowl to enhance the experience.  'Je reste ici'.  I tried a joke on a dour French couple, the only other people availing themselves of the opportunity for a bit of 'degustation'.  They did not find it funny.  'Pas en France' the lady scolded me.  I scuttled away with a 5 Euro bottle of fizz instead.  It came in jolly handy.

For last night I had the most fun that I think I've ever had in a car park.  We joined up with some other motorhomers, that we'd just met, in the lovely scenic free aire just outside Roscoff for an impromptu pasta feast provided by Paul and Sue from Manchester,  drinks which included my Vouvray and lots of laughter.  I'll tell you more in another post about a thrifty tip too far from Paul that made me giggle my socks off.  One post about motorhome toilets in a week is enough though.   To think that if I'd have given way to temptation I would have missed a brilliant evening!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Une Petite Promenade en Velo

The campsite, Le Plage, where we've been staying during the last week, does exactly what it says on the tin.  Access to miles of sandy beach that then gives way to craggy coastline is right outside the back gate.   There's a track that was historically used by customs officer s to keep an eye on nautical to-ing and fro-ing. No doubt local wreckers might have used it too.  Today it makes a great cycle path and I've been taking solitary trips out whilst Louis hangs out around the campsite with his mates. Everybody's happy!

My favourite little jaunt takes in the picturesque little port at Kerity.  I then whizz past a myriad of lighthouses at St Pierre before reaching the wonderfully named Chappelle de la Joie where I've taken to stopping awhile, gazing at its beautiful modern stained glass window and contemplating my navel.....and other things.  My mind has been working overtime on dreams and schemes this fortnight I can tell you. We leave here today and I'll be missing my little coastal bicyclette trips but  I've spotted lots of motorhome stops along the way  to use when the campsite is shut. Its got me thinking about a childfree return to the area later in the autumn, with the bike on the back of the van of course.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Or Better?

Do you remember that I creatively visualised Louis catching a fish the other day?  Well here's the urchin Louis, who sorely needs a haircut before starting his new school next week, with his first. Not the ruddy great sea bass that I imagined but a perfectly serviceable sardine. Bless! At least it's the right silvery colour.  Perhaps this is how this process works.  You get small versions of what you wish for first off maybe?  I'm sure that there's situations where that might not be advantageous at all!

I asked for a benevolent grandpa to teach Louis to fish 'or something better'.  Well what do you know the enhanced wish came true in the form of a second fishing lesson off the harbour at Guilvinnec from Bob, the dad of Ollie who is Louis' partner in crime.  We ate the entire catch of three fish supplemented by moules, more sardines and langoustines from the fish van.  Oh and frites from the fast food bar.All washed down with something cold and white for the mums of course.   I'm liking Louis' latest hobby - a lot!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Porta Potti Blues


The Porta Potti is a two - sworded invention.  On the plus side it allows the motorhomer the freedom to go off grid without having to resort to primitive toileting arrangements such as digging holes. Somewhere in my wilderness backpacking kit I've got a folding trowel expressly used for that purpose.  At worst it becomes a seething cauldron of noxious sewage right there in your compact living space.

Things were going swimmingly the other evening.   I was tucked up cosily in my bed above the cab reading.  Louis was in the bathroom.  Suddenly my peace was disrupted.  The door opened, an unpleasant aroma hit my nostrils and he yelled, way too loud for someone who was just five metres away.  'Mum I need your help!'  'Shut the bloody door and sort it out yourself!' was my first compassionate response.  After all aren't children supposed to be encouraged to sort out their own problems? But it was not to be.  My friends will confirm that I am one of the most easy going people on the planet.  But on the rare occasions I'm riled lift off at Cape Canaveral looks a bit lame.  It's all over in minutes. After all that maxim 'Don't let the sun go down on your anger' is a goodie. While my wrath is in full flow I am a force to be reckoned with.  Harbouring ill thoughts and letting them fester, indeed like an ill maintained Porta Potti, is another matter entirely.  Bearing grudges never did anyone any good.  It's why that bloke with the long hair and whiter than white maxi dress talked a lot about forgiveness.

On this occasion I was justifiably cross.   Very cross.  I may  have said the F word in front of an eleven year old. Okay, let's come clean.   I did say it. I'll spare the vivid details but the situation involved solids, the open - close mechanism going into the toilet canister being repeatedly used without success and half a tonne of loo roll.  After half hour spent doing one of the most unpleasant jobs ever, I slept with the window open to air the van and got bitten to buggery by the local mosquitoes during the night.

Then there was the indignity of the clean up at the chemical disposal point the next morning.  It's a job where I'd rather have privacy.  Here it's  thoughtfully sited next to the washing up area where Louis' friends were doing their chores so no chance of that.   Kids take a keen interest in the grosser things in life and their noses were practically under the canister. 'Whose poo is that?' they kept asking. 'And why is it that colour?'  The chemicals added to the toilet make the contents a lurid green that Fungus the Bogeyman would be irresistibly drawn to.

If you visit someone in a motorhome there will usually be rules around when the toilet can be used. As a general guide the facility is there for decoration only unless in life death situations.   You may feel that this is unreasonable but I hope I've shown today that that near embargo on its use is an entirely sensible precaution from both a sanity and sanitary perspective!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


I am one of those people who are of the opinion that if you eat animals then you must be prepared to kill them.  However up to now I've been all mouth and no trousers on this front.  Lou's new fishing hobby has made me revisit this idea though.  That beautiful sea bass that he is going to catch at sometime is going to have to meet its maker at one or other of our hands.

Yesterday I lost my killing cherry. That's aside from the flies, mozzies and wasps that I'm unable to coax out of windows. They meet their maker at my reluctant hands and  I always feel a bit bad.   A fishmonger visits the campsite in the evening.   I chose sardines for tea that had already been decapitated and were ghoulishly dripping blood. Nothing that a rare steak eater can't handle.  Lou opted for the langoustines that were still merrily waving their claws around. 'How many do you want?' I asked.  'Seven.' he replied 'Six to eat and one to keep as a pet!'

In spite of a plea from Ollie, Lou's newest friend, to save the crustacean with the most appealing eyes  as a domestique, all went in the pot, boiled for two minutes after I'd thanked them for their sacrifice. Very delicious they were too. The experience brought me nearer to my hunter gatherer roots and that's no bad thing in a world where pre prepared food is the norm.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A Wet, Dry Run

It  tipped down torrentially in Brittany all bloody day yesterday.   The track between our pitch and those opposite has become a rivulet veritable as you can see.  Ooh la la!  I feel a bit sorry for the tent dwellers.

It's not supposed to do this of course. When you imagine a holiday the sun shines all the time - unless you go to the Lake District, Cornwall or Wales that is.  You're a glutton for punishment if you do and only have yourself to blame.

I viewed the day as a try out of what it would be like holed up in a motorhome with a prepubescent son if I was living in it as my main home.    Lou is changing after all.  I seems that I am even more embarrassing than on the last holiday and  under no circumstances can I  dance anywhere near him.  There also seems to be some love feud thing  going on between him and a young geezer called Archie over a ten year old blonde!

It's a worst case scenario as we will have the car  at home to escape to some warm pub or coffee shop haven - if it's okay to be seen with me of course.  But what do you know? The experiment worked really rather well indeed.  Lou read his latest Rick Riordan book voraciously and gamed a bit on his phone.   No doubt my scant knowledge of Greek mythology will be tested sometime soon.  I read, cut lino to set the limits of what crafts are possible in the van, blogged ahead and schemed and dreamed about the new life I'm planning for us. We marked our territory at different ends of the van, no urine involved I hasten to add. And there's enough space for us to harbour no homicidal thoughts  towards each other Hurrah! Something tells me this could be a goer!