Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Wonderful Chocolatey Creations of George Larnicol

I've posted about the chocolate lion in the Concarneau branch of Georges Larnicol before.  Its willy looks contains about the same amount of chocolate as an old style large Toblerone,  before they made the gaps between the triangles bigger.   I hope and pray for  a day when humankind isn't trying to get one over on each other anymore, a world where big organisations embrace the spirit of generosity.

Anyway I won't be posting about the lion today.  You can do a good thing to death so anyone who wants a peep can go and have a look at my original post.  But I thought I'd show you some of the other chocolate creations in the shop.  Like the lion they all huge.  Like this lighthouse that was at least four feet high.

And the rocket suspended from the ceiling.  I'd have loved to have seen a chocolatey moon as well.  Perhaps that another job for the guy who likes to use cocoa products instead of lego.  Incidentally we did spot almost luminous green cheese in the market yesterday that had been infused with pesto. Brought back by an astronaut perhaps?

I think that this is my favourite creation, such surreal subject matter.   We're leaving Concarneau today but will undoubtedly be back on other of our trips.  As Louis has acquired a bit of an addiction to Georges Larnicol chocolate lollies I expect I'll be able to marvel at the strange art of the chocolatier once more in the future.11111111

Monday, 21 August 2017

Off Grid-ish

A technical motorhoming post today for those that are interested in the gubbins that we have at our disposal on the road that keeps us comfy.  Here's the view from Klaus the Knaus  my motorhome where we're parked at the moment on the fringes on Concarneau.  I've kept the above the cab window in shot as proof,  We visit some wonderful places in France using the free or cheap aires.  These are designated motorhome stops, usually in car parks but sometimes on what appears to be downgraded campsites.  The last two at Landerneau and Plougonvelin were like that.  It meant that we were able to hook up to electricity.  Many people use them.  In the time that I've been travelling in France as a single mum with kid in tow I've never felt unsafe.

Aires with hook ups are in the minority.  Most of the time we're self reliant.  We can be self reliant for about three days, more if we're in an area where I can impose strict potta-potti use guidelines.  Here's what we've got that means with can go off grid - for short times at least.

One hundred litre water tank: - You'd probably use that amount in the morning before work at home. Here it lasts us about five days.
Grey water tank: - holds dirty water from washing selves, dishes and clothes.  It is not in any way connected to the toilet so can be emptied down drain holes in the street.
Aforementioned Porta Potti:    A bit of water is augmented with blue liquid to eat up you know what!  We're supposed to use  special toilet paper that degrades more quickly but have normal stuff at present as we've run out and it's a bit tricky to get hold of.  There's a separate compartment that holds flush water which also has a bit of the blue stuff added.
A solar panel on the roof:  Supplies a leisure battery which powers lighting
A gas bottle:   This lasts yonks.  It provides hot water, heating when needs and powers a three way fridge when we don't have an electrical hook up.   The fridge uses electricity from the main battery when we're moving along as well.  It's very clever and I keep my fingers crossed that I won't have to replace it any time soon.  It sounds as if it would be an expensive repair.
An assortment of chargers for the cigarette socket to charge mobile phones and power banks:  We fight over their use a bit.  This includes one which I can use to charge the laptop. However this has a fan which runs down the main battery.  I found this to my cost last year when I had to ask a nice man for a jump start.  So I have....
A trickle charge:  Just a long bit of red wire with croc clips.  It was homemade. I attach it to the positive terminals of leisure battery (charged by the sun, remember) and the main battery to keep us nicely topped up so we can move on when needed.

I might have said before that I never feel deprived living in my motorhome.  Having access to perfectly adequate heating, lighting, cooking facilities and access to technology makes this possible.

Sunday, 20 August 2017


We are at the aire for motorhomes in Concarneau, one of my favourites stopovers in Brittany.  From the van's window I can see the sea through the trees of a wonderful wooded area where black squirrels have been spied on previous visits. It's just a two minute hop, skip and jump down the path to a beautiful beach.  I went down to litter pick and watch the sunset last evening.  Yes, I think we'll be here for a few days.  There's no rush to move on.

Yesterday afternoon we cycled down to the ferry stop where we take the boat trip into the ancient walled city of the town.  It's got some wonderful boutiques and eateries.  I bought the ring that graces the index finger of my right hand there last year.   A fish spa had opened and Louis begged to go.  At 10 Euros for fifteen minutes it wasn't not going to break the bank so I agreed.

The garra rufa fish which are housed in tanks in these places are like tiny ineffective piranhas.   They're not going to tuck in so voraciously as I understand that they have no teeth.  As soon as my feet were in the water they flocked, even weaving in and out of toes.  It's supposed to be relaxing.  I question that.  But it is a bit of a giggle having your feet gummed by little creatures the size of minnows.  And afterwards?  Well all toes remained intact.  And we both agreed that our feet were defnitely softer and smoother.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Picasso Alone

Not much of this holiday to Brittany was planned in advance beyond that nerve wracking Parcours course that I wimped out of a few days ago.  Louis also wants to go to an aquapark.  I've factored that into the equation.  The only thing that I wanted to see was the Picasso exhibition at the Fonds Helene and Edouard Leclerc. That's why we've ended up back in Landerneau where last year's touching Chagall exhibit was enhanced by a good free view of Iggy Pop.  I avoided the Festival de Bruit this year as after the Iggy set got a bit lairy.  Strains of foul mouthed rap and hip hop echoed around the cutesy French valley until the early hours.  The van shook to the beat and ,as I like my kip, I was a bit perturbed.   We've timed our return to the town a bit later on this year.  The aire de camping car is a haven of tranquility.

The queue to see Picasso was 'enorme' when we arrived in town on the first day.  It put Louis off and I headed off yesterday alone.  Even our customary game of 'Spot the Willy' that we've played in art galleries since he was little wasn't enough to tempt him.   No matter.  I'm good at doing alone,  Here's one of the first pictures in the exhibition, one by Jose Ruiz y Blasco, Picasso's dad.


Louis probably had a premonition about the exhibition. It was surprisingly light on penis representations.  Picasso was more of a boob man - square ones mainly.  Here's one of the two that I spotted.  The other was on a drawing labelled 'Femme' and seemed to be emerging from her face.  I was rather puzzled but there you go!

Here's an example of cubism.  I thought that it was a bit curvy given its genre.

I think that this was my favourite pictures in the whole exhibition. It depicts Jacqueline, Picasso's much painted second wife.  What may it more pleasing was that it was hung next to one of the preparatory drawings.  I'm a bit of a pleb really when it comes to art as this commentary will attest. But I do find it interesting to see how a work has evolved.

A Janus type image perhaps.  I hardly ever know how to interpret what I see when I look at art.  Just thought that it might be a depiction of past youth and a future where the nose continues to grow.  That's a biological fact.

This was another that pleased, a depiction of Paris.  No cornered body parts in sight.

And here's one of Picasso's doves.  He must have gained inspiration from his Dad's work.

Sometimes I wonder if artists are having a bit of a laugh when they produce a piece of work. 'Foot Bath' looks like something a four year old would be praised for at nursery.

And then just when you think that this bloke can't paint for toffee you come across something like this.

The final painting in the show that Picasso painted after he'd passed ninety.  He really was prolific up until the end.  All that interest he had in young women must have given him some va va voom!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Dinky Ink

There's lots about me that's quirky.  My brother told me that recently.  He  believes that it's why men are wary as they read my idiosyncrasies as meaning that they is some inner darkness that means that they should stay away. Oh my!  But I'll stick to being me for I haven't really a clue how to do normal.  And anyway I'm content with how I express myself through appearance, language and creativity, my slightly off the wall belief system and in the way that I do things slightly differently from others.  I told Louis the other day, that being cool isn't having the right gear but it's about exuding a sense of being comfortable with who you are.  I truly believe that.

One of my little oddities is that I write with a fountain pen.  I wrote a post years back about how I thought that it might be an eco-friendly choice.  Really I use one because I like the weightiness of using one and yes, I admit I think it's a classy bit of kit.  My writing is horrible and I used to get lots of admonishment in school reports but it's slightly better with a fountain pen.  There's another reason.

It's terribly difficult to buy ink in the UK except in specialist shops and bigger branches of WH Smith. And Quink is expensive these days, about seven quid.  It's a  big beast to carry around in my handbag so I always have to remember to refill at home or work.  So  I was delighted to find another thing to love about France.  The big  Leclerc supermarket at St Pol de Leon had an amazing array of ink cartridges.  I'm not so alone here then in harbouring antiquated writing habits.  They sold these dinky little bottles of ink too that are just right for tucking in a pencil case!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Late Musings

By the time you read this we won't be camped near the fort.  We'll have moved onto Landerneau to see a  Picasso exhibition and take advantage of one of the best public swimming pool that we've ever been to.  But for some inexplicable reason we lost phone and Wifi in the middle of yesterday morning so I'll have to post late.  It is as if we are dead to the world.  If signal has failed across the entire region of Western Brittany, the beautifully named 'Finisterre' (end of the world)  I will have to resort to phoning Mum and Dad from a kiosk.  Long gone are the days when less than weekly contact sufficed, even if it is just posting on my blog.

Being without those e-distractions isn't all that bad.  There's more time for all those things I love to do on every holiday.    I swam in  the sea at the plage de Berthaune.  It's a similar length stroll away as my own beloved beach at Fishcombe Cove is at home in Brixham.  I went for a rainy cycle ride and explored the neighbourhood.  It's easier to do that on two wheels than in a lumbering great motorhome.   I walked by the coast and read of course.  When I left home I thought that bringing half a dozen books was an over generous stash.  But I'm on my third already.  OMG the second was potentially life changing non fiction!  But I'm trying to build up some momentum before a book post so I'm not going to tell you anything about it now.

Of course, seeing that we're in France we're eating and drinking like kings.   I have a new favourite sandwich, made with a crusty baguette of course.  They sell carpaccio in the supermarkets here.  Of course they might do at home in Waitrose and suchlike but I'm a thrifty single mum and rarely shop in the posh places.  It's thin slices of raw beef marinated in oil with herbs to those of you who aren't already in the know.  Not a vegan's first choice I'll admit but to lovers of rare steak like me and my boy it's lush.  I pop it in buttered that's also been spread with avocado.  That's it – apart from the crisps of course.  If a posh deli owner is passing and happens to read this I recommend it for your menu.  It goes down a treat!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

My New French Word: Le Vertige

Photo: Tourisme Bretagne
Ah the French word for 'vertigo'.  I think I had some of that yesterday.  We are camped near Fort Bertheaume for three nights, a beautiful spot that we discovered on our ramblings last year.   About five minutes from the aire de camping car where we're parked up there is an island with one of those fortresses that Napoleon was fond of building.  It's home to Bertheaume Iroise Aventures,  a parcours course with zip wires.  Louis was keen to do it last year but he didn't have the right footwear.  He still wears Crocs in preference to anything else a lot of the time in spite of the fact that they're horrendously untrendy.  I know that because, as a handsome boy, he's getting a fair bit of attention from teenage girls.  Then they notice his footwear and their looks of admiration turned to scorn.

Bedecked in trainers we set off to do the course.  I had no qualms about it.  After all I'm a graduate of the Go Ape course in Haldon Forest.  But let's cut to the chase.  I'll 'fess up to wimping out early on around the circuit.  Sheer terror set in from the beginning of the course, not an emotion I'm seeking on my holidays.  My legs shook and I hyperventilated as I had to negotiate my way between metal things in the rocks which always seemed just a bit too far to take a step easily.  I feared for my knee which has the ACL repair.  It doesn't get insured when I go on holiday anymore.

 At the start of this 'monkey bridge' I turned and shot back to one of the exits.  I basked in the sun at the top of one of the fort's turrets whilst Louis went round the course with ease.  There was part that he wasn't supposed to do as he's under 16 but he snuck around it.  I thought he would.  I contented myself to goes on the two zip wires that run from the mainland to the island.  That was enough bravery for me for one day!