1976: August 29, Le Brevedent

Awoke to rain and a distinctly grey day. Had our breakfast indoors – boys had fried egg, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread and were obviously glad of a hot meal as it was all demolished swiftly.

Decided Deauville was as good a bet as any today, so went there and found it as busy as on a week day, market and all! Bought a copy of the ‘Observer’ at 4 francs (the Sunday Times was 5 francs) and Andrew read the football results avidly. Then queued up at a very good butcher’s for pork fillet, and were fascinated by the fussy French shoppers and their instructions to the butcher. Some amazing things in the shops – whole lobsters, garnished, at 200 francs, elaborate strawberry tarts at similar prices, colossal chocolate gateaux – mmm! Looked at all the expensive shops, mostly full of things we didn’t like anyway, and gathered that camel with navy is the autumn colour scheme. Some very peculiar people walking about, many obviously very well off, but was all too apparent that there are some things money can’t buy, and some looked more pathetic than anything else, painted and dyed.

Ate our lunch in the car overlooking the harbour and the yachts, watched some youths fooling about on one of the tandems for 4 people, and walked along the pier. A little passenger ferry runs to Trouville while the harbour gates are open, and seemed to be doing good business at 1 fr.

Drove on to Houlgate which has a nice sandy beach and a monument to ‘Guillaume le Conquérant’ and then to Dives which is now inland but is where he in fact sailed from. Now they are making a small craftsmen’s village there called after him, built around an old inn, all timber and very old. Some interesting crafts – painting, leather, jewellery, weaving, enamel work, etc. and some art galleries, some of which had some sculptures in Caen stone. We were all fascinated by two Siamese kittens and their mother who lived in one of the boutiques, the kittens were very playful.

Weather now intermittent heavy showers. Looked at the huge timber market hall in Dives, then went on to Cabourg across the river Dives, which is another splendid beach. The Grand Hotel spreads its way along the front – it’s enormous, and has a ‘bridge room’… quelle attraction! Walked along the little shopping street, buying Sarah a crepe which she enjoyed very much.

Drove home and cooked the tea – tomato juice, the pork fillet cooked with onions, mushrooms and wine, potatoes and haricots verts, then fresh fruit. It was delicious, the pork was really melt-in-the-mouth variety and we could all have eaten more. After tea, read our expensive ‘Observer’ from cover to cover, every word! Rain continued intermittently till we went to bed. Large caravan family have now gone home – all the way to Lisieux… There were lots of baby frogs in the wash rooms, presumably the damp weather had brought them all out, leaping everywhere. What with them, and the tawny owls hooting overhead, it was all back to nature today.

NB There is one family camping here who have all their meals out – the condition on which the wife comes. I was very impressed by such a strong-minded attitude but wondered how she could keep it up, with prices what they are.


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