1975: Aug 20 – Lez-Eaux, France

A fine night, for a change, and pleasantly sunny so we breakfasted outside. After writing up the holiday books and after I’d done a load of washing, we set out to spend a day on the beach.

Drove down the back lanes to Carolles, where we did our shopping for lunch – 2 kinds of pâté at the butchers, and noted the location of the Relais Routiers which served moules marinières at any time, a fact which we stored in our memories.

Arrived at the beach and settled ourselves with all the impediments – lunch bag, clothes bag, books, lotions etc. Tide was well out, and a large expanse of sand and rocks stretched away to the green sea. Quite a lot of people about, sitting under their umbrellas. Children took the boat down to the sea and the surf board and spend some time out there.

Ate our lunch – pâté was delicious – and had the fizzy cider which was very pleasant. After lunch the children went down to the rocks and spent a considerable time collecting shrimps, little fish and crabs in a pool they had made. The water was very warm in these pools, too warm for some of the creatures I should think. Went to the sea for a bathe, it was lovely, and Gareth consented to get in the water and bounce up and down as the waves came in. He still doesn’t like the water much though, and is very careful about what he is prepared to risk.

We came out, Andrew and Sarah stayed in, and had a super time surfing, swimming out to the raft and diving in, and diving into the waves. I should think they spent half the day in the water, it’s a wonder their skins weren’t shrivelled and horrible. Lots of groups of children about from colonies de vacances, they make an enclosed area in the sea for them with enormous lines of floats – we couldn’t understand what these things were for ages!

Eventually we packed up and left to go up to the Relais Routier. Here we had steak and chips (Andrew and Sarah) and moules marinières (rest of us) plus cider, and it was all very tasty, and we were certainly ready for it. Arrived back at the camp site at about 7pm and the children went off to play table tennis. Had a bacon tea at about 8pm and then David and I read until about 10.30, the children having gone at about 8.30.

NB Mussels are raised on vertical poles which are planted out in the bay at regular intervals.

Sarah’s note: if I tried to get my kids to bed at 8.30 today they would just laugh hilariously.

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