6am and our ferry ‘Barfleur’ slid across a Poole harbour so smooth that it seemed almost solid. The water glistened like a jewelled mirror, just as it had on so many wonderful days when we had flown across its surface on our windsurfers.
Poole Harbour is a very special place. The light is exquisite and unique. Everything seems keen and in focus. Even the air surrounding you seems to shimmer with the brilliance of a magnesium flare; sharp and clear, as though it is charged with its own strange energy.
Poole is Europe’s largest natural harbour and its excellence for windsurfing is partly because it is shallow – so shallow that in the huge expanse of water, you can stand waist-deep almost everywhere! Needless to say, large ferries need to stay in a well-dredged shipping channel to avoid grounding. Professional pilots are employed by large ships to guide them safely out of Poole harbour.
On the Maladroit Mastery of Multiple Moves, the Perilous Pitfalls of Polarity & the Liabilities of Loss & Levelling!
Our final stop, St Coulomb is on a peninsula; we have a Left Beach and a Right Beach to choose from. We took our first evening stroll on Right Beach. It is unbelievably beautiful!
It was a golden autumn evening, with a deep blue sea rolling in and crashing on the sand. The jagged rocks of two small islands punctuated the bay, with white waves and spray swirling around them. Paragliders added colour to the skyline. For our 17th anniversary, there was even a lighthouse in the distance! (We were married in a lighthouse!)
We walked to both ends of the beach – the second end proving to have the most points of interest. We had, yet again, stumbled into a naturist area. On my 17th wedding anniversary, I had not expected to see another man’s penis! Continue reading “Le Cock-Up on the Côte d’Émeraude”→
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
It was a long-ish drive from Noirmoutier to St Coulomb, near St Malo – the last stop of our French Odyessy.
It appears that we have been getting a bit cocky with our caravan skills and it was time for the gods to hand us a leveller. Mark had nonchalantly reversed onto our pitch at Barbâtreperfectly; first time. However, it appears that we were to end our trip the way we began – on a colossal note of incompetence…! Continue reading “St Coulomb – Back Home to Mr Cock Up!”→
Saturday – We had planned to visit the town of Noirmoutier, but as I walked the dogs on the beach, there was an emergency.
A chap and his son were just launching their windsurfers. The son was a beginner, but the chap planed into the distance on his first reach! I raced back to the caravan. I had left Mark de-rigging, because no more wind was forecast. Fortunately, in my short absence, he had only taken down yesterday’s tiny sail, so I rushed straight back to the beach with my larger kit and had a cheeky, lovely hour! Continue reading “Island Life – Île de Noirmoutier”→
A Storm in a Teacup; The Ubiquitous Evil & The Wrong Kind of Wind!
8th September: The dogs were suddenly excited. Even we were aware of the delicious, briny smell of the sea as we crossed the bridge on to the Île d’Oléron. At 22 miles long, Île d’Oléron is France’s second largest island after Corsica. There is no toll on the bridge; Oléron is altogether more down-to-earth than its swanky neighbour, Île de Ré.
With salt-pans and mussel beds on each side of the road, we were overjoyed to see the gorgeous, big, blue expanse of the Atlantic laid out before us.
We mused that our trip is the longest period that we have been away from the ocean since we took up (‘became obsessed with’) windsurfing!!!!
5th September. We seemed to be oscillating backwards and forwards through time.
From the Lozère, we went from Gallo Roman, via Celtic to Prehistoric at our destination on the River Vézère, a tributary of the Dordogne.
Summer also changed to Autumn as we drove through the Parc Naturel Regional des Causses. Deciduous trees bordered the parched, golden fields with rims of blood red foliage. Neolithic Dolmens and Menhirs abounded. It was a complete change from the dark, secret forests of conifers that we had left behind.
Summer re-joined us as we crossed into the Dordogne. Temperatures soared once again into the 30s, while lush, green forest clung to cave-ridden limestone escarpments above the river.