Category Archives: Beach

1975: France – August 23, Lez-Eaux

Chateau Lez-Eaux by G Hague and M Hague

Fine sunny day fortunately, so we went ahead with the plans for a lazy time on the beach. Did some washing, breakfasted outside and then went to Jullouville to do our shopping. As we got out of the car, delicious whiffs of baking bread greeted us, and the smells continued to the gorgeous patisserie where there were some super cakes and tarts, so we each chose a tart – 2 plum, a peach, a pineapple, and a pear.

Lovely food shops in Jullouville, clean, beautiful fish/meat/charcuterie/cakes and a great variety available. Bought pâté, pork, peaches, tomatoes and then continued on to Carolles to the beach.

Spent a nice lazy day here, though it did get a bit chilly in the afternoon when it clouded over. Children didn’t go in the water as it was too cold but played various games instead. Large numbers of people trotting out the the wet sands with enormous codding nets. As we ate our lunch a young gendarme in T-shirt and shorts came and told it was forbidden to eat on the beach. This was news to us – no sign telling one about it anywhere, but it did explain why we had never seen anyone eating on the beach. As we had nearly finished it didn’t matter too much.

Came home at 6.00ish and ate a large tea of hors d’oeuvres, beef stew, rice, courgettes, and then the tarts which were every bit as delicious as they looked, and the whole meal went down very well.

Children spent the evening playing table tennis while we chatted to a couple who are on the way to the Dordogne with their caravan. Eventually went to bed about about 11pm feeling rested and cheerful.

The little garden house at Lez-Eaux by Gareth Hague and Mary Hague


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.

1968: Norway – Day 14 – Kristiansand – Black Prince

Lovely sunny morning, keep fit boys at it again early, closely watched by Andrew and Sarah (who didn’t try copying them however). After breakfast we took our things to the beach. Found a nice spot under the pier for Gareth, then Andrew and Sarah went down to the water in their swimming things but didn’t go in the water much as it was rather cold. Sun beautifully hot, cars rolling up steadily all the morning. Owing to the size and wooded nature of the beach, it didn’t seem too crowded though, and we weren’t uncomfortably close to anyone. Loads of kids about, tendency – wise we felt – to dress all members of a family in same colour costumes, made it easier to identify them anyway. Nearly everyone brought li-los with them to toast on and several had the kind you can fold into a seat. Lots of jelly fish about, so care needed by children were unscathed.

Came up for lunch 11.45 and after a quiet lunch packed up the car and drove into Kristiansand. Very few cars waiting for the ship, loads and loads driving off however, looked like a full load. As we could see what was going on, the waiting was not as frustrating as it had been at Harwich. The accessibility of everything was such a contrast to England where getting near any docks is impossible, they are so fenced off. Here everyone could have a good look at what was going on.

Once on board we found our cabin quickly and were far better organised than last time. Put Gareth for a sleep then went back on deck to watch the departure. Bit of excitement as they lost a ladder from a small boat with someone (the pilot?) boarding us very low down. Ladder later retrieved, man safely on board. Watched Norway receding – a low rocky coast, very pretty complete with striped lighthouse which pleased Andrew, just like his birthday cake.

Once out of the harbour, sea became much more choppy. Despite sunshine impossible to stay outside for much longer and everyone retreated within. Sight of stewards putting out little cardboard boxes rather sinister… went down to our cabin and soon everyone except David sick. Gareth managed to be sick over David which was rather a nuisance as he had no spare shirt in the case unfortunately. As it was his terylene lawn one it was easy to wash and dry by the morning. Thoughts of another meal at the cold table faded away rapidly – thought of any food faded pretty fast in fact. Spent a very quiet evening lying down (children went to bed in their clothes!) and listening to the slap of the waves against the porthole, quite terrifyingly loud sometimes. David went for an occasional stroll around and reported all very quiet, most people obviously lying low. Weather calmed down a bit during the evening, though still far from smooth.

1968: Norway – Day 2 – Kristiansand – Mandal

Once out of Kristiansand, driving less alarming, and we bowled along wooded roads quite fast. Even had a road under a road which surprised us so early on. Yellow markings on the roads, surface a bit variable. Country very pretty, houses made of wood and painted in white, mustard, dark red, pale blue and green. Not a great many animals about, mainly a few brown cattle. Pale beigy coloured horses. Strawberries planted everywhere mulched with polythene.

On arrival at Mandal, search for camp site. It was not really open, but we could camp. Unfortunately no proper toilet/washing facilities open, the previous block had been damaged by frost, now one nearing completion but not ready yet. Rather disastrous till we discovered the existence of some more-or-less ready ones. Got the tent up, children played on the beach, which was a nice one with clean sand and gentle waves. Camp situated in the pine trees and well hidden. Mr and Mrs Romford had a hut, they are quite big with one main room and a smaller one (with bunks) and kitchen corner. Exceedingly boring conversation about their Yugoslav holiday. Had an early night – tent crammed with everything, we must organise this better.

Children seemed happy anyway and Gareth being much better now he has more familiar things around. The by at Mandal is pretty with numerous skerries, rather rugged, and pine trees down to the sand-dunes. Small automatic light-house in the dunes. Our main problem – lack of facilities – no shop open… just as well we had evap. and the milk we’d brought and a sliced loaf – and of course all our food. Tent organisation too.

1971: June 6, Marina di Venezia

Woke to a lovely sunny morning, but quite a wind. Cooked the last of the bacon for the children’s breakfast, that ice-box has been well worth getting, it keeps things very satisfactorily. Not much hot water this morning, a result of last night’s thunder I suppose. Bought Gareth his kite like a parachutist as his present from Venice and went down to the beach to fly it, but wind quite tricky. Andrew out in the boat with Germany boy and Paul – waves big, and boat capsized but Paul hung on to the ring and I carried him in. Lifeguards keeping a careful eye on this morning’s tide – one on the turn it was quite tricky.

Had a special Sunday lunch – chicken cooked on the spit (Pollo Arezzo), baby green beans, crisps, wine and fresh cherries to follow. Very nice, beans were especially nice. After lunch did some washing, children wrote and played chess. Lizards scuttle round in the sun – one near us has no tail, obviously lost it at some point. Birds getting very fat on all the food we give them. Went back on to the beach – Sarah not sunbathing today, as a result of her excesses, but smartly attired in black sweater, white shorts and gondolier hat. Still very windy on the beach, and clouds piled up later in the afternoon, so retreated to the tent, and we all made preparations for the rain – great bustle over the camp site! For an awful moment thought it was going to pass us by and all that frenzied preparation for nothing, but it rained hard eventually. Cooked up a nice evening meal of bouillabaisse, roast duck, beans and lychees (mostly out of tins) and retired early to get up early the next day.

1971: June 5, Camp Marina di Venezia

Another fine morning – rolls and fruit juice for us for breakfast, eggs for the children, in the shade of our little tree. Did some washing after breakfast, during the course of which operation Gareth vanished. Frantic hunts all over the camp site, and he was eventually found being taken to the reception office by a German lady who had found him right on the far side. Whew! He was very subdued for a while, let’s hope he doesn’t try wandering off again. No doubt, as he had found his own way back from the beach to get his cars, he felt he could manage from the toilets to the tent.

Went on to the beach. Andrew and Sarah played with the boat, Gareth and I built camps for Jerry Mouse and Panda. Sarah is a proper water baby, she loves diving under the water, and stays in for hours. Had a salad lunch with the corned beef and tinned fruit, then a siesta before going back to the beach. Sarah caught the sun on her arms quite badly (not wearing her beach jacket as she had been told to do) and retreated miserably to the tent, put to bed with soothing lotion, aspirin and milk, and fed parts of his tea by Gareth who was most concerned about her.

Andrew hunting around for his playing cards, having brightly left them on the table outside the tent in a brisk sea breeze… All turned up in the end, but got very fed up with the hunt, he was sent to bed in disgrace. Gareth being very virtuous, the only Good Child.

We were exhausted so went to the pizzeria and had a Pizza Romana and Pizza Marina. The oven is fascinating, shaped like a huge clay bee-hive, with wood fires. Imagine working there on a hot summer day! Had a 1/2 bottle of local red wine, and the meal was super – tasty filling, nice thin pizza – just the job! Went back to sobbing Sarah, more lotions and disprin and she went off to sleep, chuntering away. Watched a couple make elaborate preparations to sleep in the car – could not think what they were doing at first! People opposite with the teenage daughter obviously going tomorrow, doing some immaculate packing.

1971: June 2, Camp Marina di Venezia

Morning find and warm, just right for lazing around the camp. All wrote up holiday diaries after breakfast, including Gareth who is very busy with his, sticking things in and writing industriously. Did some washing – it really is luxurious having hot water at the outside basins, none of that endless boiling up of kettles for washing operations, in fact we only use our gas to cook, and we are not doing much of that!

Went on to the beach and sunbathed and bathed. Actually got Gareth to take his shoes and socks off and have a little paddle. Sarah in and out all the time, a proper water baby. Had a lazy lunch in the shade of our little tree outside the tent, then a rest. Whole camp site very somnolent after lunch, most people have some kind of siesta. Returned to the beach after for some more water, sand and sun. The beach is a lovely one, very sandy and gently sloping. The tide comes in just a few yards, they rake over the beach every day to stop it looking tatty. At the moment it’s pleasantly empty, but no doubt it’s jammed in the high season.

After giving the children their tea, we had ours – tinned gazpacho, fresh fried sardines, tomato salad, peas and asparagus. Delicious! Had our stroll around the camp site and beach. David having over-exposed his legs, suffering agonies with sunburn.  For some obscure reason, he did not expect his arms and legs to burn, he took plenty of precautions with his torso…