1975: 19 Aug, Lez-Eaux, France

Poured with rain during the night and was still wet at breakfast time, so decided it perhaps wasn’t a very good day for sitting on the beach all day. Planned a trip to St. Malo instead, and set off for Avranches where we stopped for a walk around. Quite nice hill-top town with lots of flowers about, and a deafening noise from building workers re-building a shop. Found a camping shop and got a bung for the beat there, so the children can now use the boat. Also found a good bookshop and looked at lots of fascinating books including one about cats in French, so we naturally looked up ‘Siamois’ and ‘Burmese brun’.

Drove on into Brittany, through fields of maize and pasture with increasing numbers of fields of broccoli, cabbage and onions as we went west. Took the road down to the coast, past people selling garlic and passed lots of stalls selling moules and other shellfish including clams. Several disused granite windmills along the coast which was a very shallow bay with lots of fishing nets out in it.

Stopped at Cancale for our lunch which we ate on a seat overlooking the harbour. Air very mild, and delightful view right across the bay beautiful. Had tinned salmon and rosé wine, very nice. Walked around after and saw the oyster beds with little stalls selling lots of varieties of oyster – some round, some long, some enormous, called ‘horses feet’ and 3Fr50 each! Srah bought one oyster at 1Fr and ate it, but I don’t think she really liked it, but of course she wouldn’t admit it. Every restaurant in Cancale was crammed with lunch eaters, looked enviously at the piles of moules marinières, oysters, fish, steak, bottles of wine, etc. Prices were horrifying needless to say!

Drove on to the Pinte du Groin past some lovely bays with emerald water, sandy beaches and pine trees. Stopped at the Pointe – a rocky headland with islands and crashing surf on the rocks. Really lovely view towards the Isles Chausey and across to the west, and the air was gorgeous.

On the way to St Malo passed some more lovely bays and stopped at one for a bathe as we were all feeling hot and sticky. Very powerful waves crashing in, beautifully refreshing. Sarah and Andrew had the surf board and the boat, and had a very good time. The beach was sandy, but quite coarse gritty sand, and shelved quite steeply.

Finally drove on to St Malo which has lots of nice beaches but the most revolting traffic in which we were stuck for hours. Found a space eventually and got out and walked around the town which is mostly re-built – it obviously was of tremendous importance during the was. Very narrow streets and pavements, several souvenir shops but also some very good antique shops including one full of telescopes, and ships’ bits and pieces. Bought a large box of chips which were delicious, to keep us going, but couldn’t see a fish shop anywhere. Sat by the harbour and looked at the ships and bought 2 very nice ink sketches from a young man who was working there.

Eventually got out of the town, into more traffic and found the road to the hypermarket. Parked and went in – terrific variety of shops there. The food section was quite interesting but had very little fish and what it had was very expensive, so we chose 5 pork chops instead and 2 charentais melons and lots of wine which was very cheap.

Drove home through the little granite towns and villages, past the bay which was now covered with water as the tide was in, and got back to the camp site at 8.30pm. Swiftly prepared dinner and by 9.0 were sitting outside eating pork chops and salad followed by melon, and accompanied by mousses. It was quite dark and we had the lamp on the table, the children enjoyed this high life very much! Something of an effort to get up and wash the dishes at 10.0 but we staggered through it somehow and fell into bed.

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