Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Confirmed Three Weeker

I'm late blogging today because.....it doesn't matter! There's no set routine here.  This lifestyle of being a bohemian traveller suits me well. I wonder if it could be sustained after Louis has flown the nest?  Hmm! I've got at least five years to ponder that one.

Actually life on the road has stopped still.  No photos yet so I'm using shots from earlier in the holiday as my piccies have gone down well will some of you who've commented. Here's one from a gorgeous morning walk on the Crozon Pennisula that I took alone whilst Louis had one of those long teenage lie ins.  The next picture is another beautiful Chagall painting  from the exhibition at Landerneau.  You might even get a scene from Quiberon if I write enough.  Often I have no idea how posts are going to pan out

We've moved to a campsite for the next few nights. I heard on the grapevine, aka Facebook, that friends we met a couple of years ago were nearby. So we've joined them. Remember Bob the Fish who allowed Lou to experience his first catch?  I've already had a lovely time  catching up with him and his wife, Cloudy Karen, over a couple of jars of the pink stuff.   As I predicted it involved rather a lot of mirth.   They have a son, Ollie, who's here with a friend so Lou has people of his own age to muck around with.  This is v. good as sadly,  the teenage code  is different from my own and that of younger kids.  It doesn't involve approaching random strangers and making new acquaintances. That just isn't cool.  

There's extra costs attached to our conventional camping stopover that I hadn't factored in to the price of the holiday. But it's  offset to a large part by savings on diesel and the now common fees for parking and services at aires. And a camping pitch in August can be had at low season rates as French schools return earlier than ours.  I think I've mentioned this handy tip for UK travellers in an earlier post.  It's why we always come here at the end of the summer break.

Ooh there's space for another picture.  I've been rambling on this morning haven't I?  Here's a rather random one from that Sound and Light show where I met Cro.  The thing that the Viking is holding appeared to be a severed head. Family entertainment at its best! Haven't we done a lot and there's still  nearly a week to go!

Our North American holiday last year demonstrated the restorative benefits of a three week summer break.   It's such a lovely long time to have away from work. I'm so grateful that my generous NHS long service holiday entitlement gives me the privilege of being able to have extended time to chill, potter, ponder and play.  So I've decided to make this extra long break a tradition.   With an emphasis on self catering and focusing on free and low cost activities rather than visiting costly attractions this doesn't have to be expensive. Being on holiday for extra weeks can be just as cheap as staying at home.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Best of Days: The Best of Places

This is Ster Greich, my favourite spot  in France to park my motorhome.  It's nothing fancy,  just an isolated little cove where I watch the tide come in and go way out, tying me in to the cycles of nature.  When I was last here two years ago  I finally made the decision to live in my motorhome.  Yesterday no big plans were formulated.  Now seems to be a time for watching and waiting. I drank a verre or two on the beach, picked litter and sloes and swam in the clear water.  Like my own version of Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' maybe? When it comes down to it I'm quite a simple soul. This place never fails to inject a healthy dose of contentment.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Harping On

 We've spent the last two nights on the Quiberon Pennisula, the French equivalent of Portland.  At its narrowest point this little bit of land that juts out into the sea is just 22 metres wide.  Louis expressed concern that overnight it would break off, become an island and leave us stranded.  But it didn't happen.  We make our way overland back to the much bigger chunk of Breton proper today by four wheels. Phew!

Our aire was by this gorgeous bay on the Cote Sauvage where Lou dipped his toes in a lively sea.  Looks beautiful doesn't it?  Except the beach was strewn with rubbish and it took me two evenings of clearing it to get it to be acceptably clean.  It breaks my heart that fellow humans care so little for the world we live in.  How tortured they must be not to notice the damage they cause.

Now there's part of me that feels that if we do good it should be done without fanfare.  So ideally I'd like to do my litter picking without telling everyone.  But again, as I reported about my activities back in May on the Ile de Brehat,  I'm sharing my exploits in the hope that others join me.  I don't know if I'm making much impact but maybe; maybe. if I even save one or two animals over a year of litter picking on holiday and back at home  it'll be worth it.  And if I persuade anyone else that there's real dignity in this small act of cleaning our beautiful Earth then my efforts might be multiplied.  

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Sausage of Knowledge

In Concarneau market on Monday Louis bought his dad this rather sensational sausage. I know it's lush because we nibbled samples. Anyway this piece, an eye watering 10 Euros worth , is now sitting in the cupboard in the motorhome. It's out of bounds being a special gift but it's been so tempting. Surely no-one would be any the wiser if I took a knife to it and carved off just enough to have a nibble. The temptation is almost unbearable It's like the sausage version of the apple in the garden of Eden!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Pebble Duck

Klaus the Knaus, my motorhome has lots of nooks and crannies and little things tend to get mislaid for a while.  And maybe there is joy when the whole process of losing stuff is taken as a whole.  Finding lost treasure brings much glee.

The other day when I was digging the fondue set out of its compartment under one of the seats by the dining table I came across many coins down there too.  A mixture of sterling and Euros as befits a well travelled van. It was just like digging about down the back of a settee.
I was also reunited with this stone that we found on Brighton beach over two years ago now.  I was wondering where it had gone just the other day. When I picked it up I marvelled about how wonderful nature was to produce such a wonderful likeness to a duck. Duh!  Then I realised that it had been tampered with.  It's a great idea though.  Perhaps if I pick up some permanent markers at the supermarket today Lou and I can be copycats and leave our own pebble trail  on the beaches that we visit.

It looks like I'm going to need to work out how to use Instagram.  I've been meaning to have a look for a while so this is just the kick up the bum that I need.  Then I can ask #Reco whether duckie was left on Brighton beach.  Or was he washed by the tides from somewhere else in the world? 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

My Second Favourite Aire

This holiday had to be a cheap one. Doing up a house for the last year has taken its toll on my finances.  A period of extreme belt tightening is required.  Or a windfall.  Now wouldn't that be lovely?

I contemplated a holiday in the UK . Cornwall or Dorset seemed to be beckoning.  However,  after doing one of my useful back of the envelope calculations I worked out that pitch fees would be no less than the Plymouth-Roscoff ferry cost.  It was more even for two weeks at the type of swanky campsite that would find favour with Lou. 'Sod it' I thought. 'We're off to France.

And so how are we doing this on the cheap? Well it's not rocket science. There were no new holiday wardrobes, we're limiting eating out and cafe visits,  doing free or cheap stuff like walks, cycles,playing on beaches,  freebie exhibitions and local swimming pools and not driving too far.  This last one is quite a biggie as Klaus the Knaus is a bit of a drinker. In spite of the economies we're still eating like lords.  Yesterday we plucked up the courage to get out our 'very Magor and Jerry' fondue for the first time in ages.  Readers who've been with me a while might remember the last time I used it. 

This idyllic woodland is just behind our van.  And the beach and rocky headland are just metres away.  There's other beaches too,  a running track and a swimming pool to die for.  But this is no fancy campsite.  It's an aire, another of my money saving ploys.  I've written about them before.  In towns across continental Europe there are designated overnight spots for motorhomes which are free or cost very little. There's also facilities to top up water and empty the grey tank and toilet.

 Now thsee shots have been taken at my second favourite aire, about a mile along the coast fron the walled city of Concarneau.  It was nothing to park here when I was last here.  Now it costs six Euros a night.  For such a beautiful spot it seems a very small price to pay.  I might be showing off my favourite aire of all time in a few days if there's a space available there.  

Monday, 22 August 2016

Widgy

My lovely friend Corn Pipe,  who has studied linguistics, recently introduced me to a word which I'm particularly taken with. Idiolect is a term that acknowledges that every person's use of language is different.  We all  have our own particular nuances when it comes to the use of vocabulary, pronunciation and grammatical form.

Now I think  the word 'widgy' is especially unique to me as I think I made it up. My Google search has yielded no evidence that suggests someone else invented it before me. It describes the extreme discomfort and sense of restlessness caused by a seemingly minor irritant.

Yesterday I was driving in sandals that are probably on their last legs.  The leather underneath the sole of my foot was coming away from the shoe's cork bed and rubbed against my heel when it rested on the accelerator pedal. Aaaargh!  My whole nervous system seemed to  be on edge even though just a small part of my body was being aggravated.  Now that is the feeling that I describe as widgy!