Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A perfect day

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Today has been a perfect day - a perfect beach day.  We're still parked up on the Aire just outside St Denis. It rained on and off last night, although it remained warm.  This morning I headed off into the village to get some breakfast - croissants and a banette.  I wanted to go into the Bar/Tabac for 'Un Creme' on the way back, but there were a few 'local old boys' in there so I lost my nerve. Post-breakfast washing up done, Cathy had a good spring clean of the van - bedding taken out and given a good shake, all floors swept and cleaned, toilet & shower scrubbed - I supervised. After that strenuous activity we decided to head into the village to explore more.  We came across the morning market in its last throes so quickly bought up a few things - rotisserie chicken, Pineau, rose wine, bread, pizza (for tomorrow's breakfast!) and goat's cheese. We brought these back to the van and I made up a salad of tomatoes, onions, red pepper, garlic, the remains of our breakfast bread, Anglesey sea salt, black pepper and olive oil.  We left this to infuse and headed back towards the village.

By this time it was a bit drizzly but still warm. We headed down to the beach to one side of the port and, with the prevailing wind from the south west, we sat by the dunes which provided some shelter. There was a group of French school children learning to Kayak close in and we watched them for a while, even understanding most of what the instructor was saying.  This was mostly because he shouted slowly! After an hour or so there we walked past the harbour to the beach on the other side.  During this transit the clouds disappeared and, finally, the hot sun shone down upon us - hallelujah! We found a lovely warm spot in the soft sand and crashed out.  As the mizzle and mist had lifted, we realised we could see La Rochelle in the distance, with the bridge to Ile de Re and the island just to the left of that.  While Cathy sunbathed I went for a walk along the beach and sat on some granite rocks to watch the tide roll in.   We found loads of stones with holes right through them and collected some to take home; on our deck we have a collection of similar stones and encourage visitors to choose one to take home, as a stone with a hole brings good luck.  You have to look at the stones and choose the one that 'calls' to you.

With such fierce, coastal sunshine we were soon feeling the effects of an afternoon with no suntan lotion (it was raining when we left the van), so decided to head back to the Marina for a beer and some people watching. Refreshed, we stopped off at a small but well-stocked mini-market to top up with a few essentials.  Back at the van I braved the site showers, which were hot, powerful and clean, something we haven't found on some of the expensive campsites.  Dinner was the salad I made earlier plus the rotisserie chicken - nice and simple, no cooking.  Washing up done, chairs and "krypton-factor" table put away, we're now sat inside the van in total peace and quiet - no TCPs shouting at each other across the site!  Cathy is reading and her beach hut lights are shining on the dashboard!

It's been a very relaxing day after a few stressful ones and has made us realise that short hops with some downtime is essential.  Tomorrow we continue our journey north - we're heading for Tours and hopefully a visit to Villandray Chateau, with a 25,000sq metre potager, plus formal gardens....that is if "That Woman" in the Garmin knows where it is.  If not the Wallace & Gromit voice of the iPhone NavFree satnav will get us there.  I took some photos with the iPhone today, but can't upload these until we get home and I can upload them to the MacBook.

We've also made a decision on whether or not to buy our own motorhome - was it thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate 'No' in Roman times?