Thursday, 18 June 2015

Holiday Roundup

Hey There Peeps!

You may or may not have noticed that I've been MIA around the blogosphere these last couple of weeks. With good reason. I've been recharging the ol' batteries over in France, taking a jolly little holiday with Nick.

Brittany may typically have the weather we normally associate with the UK (i.e. prone to torrential rain and bracing winds) but in the coastal area of La Turballe, we were lucky once again to have had great weather. I say "once again" as for the first time, Nick & I have returned to exactly the same spot as the previous year, staying in the very same gite.

Despite my attire, it was incredibly hot. I'm wearing my thick lumberjack shirt because I forgot to pack many long-sleeved shirts this time around. I'm fair skinned, burn easily, even with sun cream and prefer to keep myself covered up when out in direct sun. I love the warmth but I'm pragmatic about reducing my risk of skin cancer. I mostly lounge around in the heat, in shade. However, when taking a stroll along the tide line, I cover up.

And this is why I LOVE walking along the tides. That wonderful feeling around your toes, when the waves lap around your ankles as they crash onto the shore.

However, even though there were brave souls venturing out into the sea to swim or snorkel, I waded in no further than my ankles. Mainly because there were hundreds of jellyfish floating around. They were mostly the smaller, purplish variety. But then there are these big buggers which you could have the misfortune to bump into. Their sting may be mild but I'd still prefer not to come in contact with a stray glutinous tentacle.

Now this is what I prefer to discover and photograph when taking in a coastal stroll. The joy of rock pooling is in that moment you come across a living creature other than a crab or shrimp. Especially when it's one which displays a gorgeous bright orange red colour.

We turned up to this particular beach when the tide was out. In the distance, you can see people with buckets raking the sand and collecting shellfish. We'd been to this spot several times before and this was the first time the sea was out enough to reveal a path to the island. Excited at seeing somewhere new, we strolled out. Halfway down, Nick remembered with alarm that he'd left his mobile phone in the car, in full view. Whilst he rushed back for it, I carried on down to island to sit and wait.

When I finally saw Nick approaching me again, I could see him waving his arms in a gesture to get moving. Furthermore, as he came closer, I could here him shouting to me that the tide was quickly moving in. I'd only been sat there a few minutes.

Yup, the stretch of water between the beach & the island was quickly coming in. We were the last two to make our way back. You can just about make out that the guys ahead of us are already up to their knees. If we had been 5 minutes later, we would have been stranded until the tide went out the following day. Unless we swam. Oops!

Away from coastal adventures, we took a trip to a Bonsai & cacti centre. Inside the greenhouses are displays of incredible bonsai trees (at incredible prices) and succulents, including rare specimens. Outside, they have a labyrinthine trail of plants and trees to snake around. Between us, we took hundreds of photos. I'll share just two. This is Nick squatting beside a young bonsai oak tree. Yes it's a thing.

And then there's this. It may only be Nick & I who have never come across them before. You may have seen them and think they're common, wondering as to why I found them fascinating. They're wild strawberries. Which is not unusual, I grant you. After all, we have them growing in our own garden. It's that this variety has the fruit growing upwards and out, looking like the central bud of a flower. Not, as I'm used to seeing them, dangling down from a stalk.

I couldn't do a round up without mentioning food, especially as I indulged in two of my favourites. If you know me of old, you already are aware that I'm a huge fan of the delicious french treats, Macarons. Well this beauty was served up as an eclair version when we dined out one evening.

My other favourite is to have a Fruit de Mer, which is a large dish of freshly prepared shellfish topped off with either a crab or lobster. It's a hands on meal, where you get down and dirty. You have to break, pull apart, smash and scoop your way through the many varieties of (some of them live) shellfish. It is not for the squeamish. But if you love the taste of the sea, it's amazing.

And finally. This photo is one I took especially for my friend Neet. These fabulous socks, decorated in macarons were a fun Xmas gift from her last year. I saved them especially for this trip where I gave them their first outing!!!! Thanks Neet :D

Now that I'm back in the UK, I should be feeling fully recharged and invigorated. In truth, it feels like another lifetime ago. A distant memory. I'm back into the full swing of normal home life, as if I never went away. And I know it's the stereotype but the one thing I definitely missed and headed straight for when I returned home was a proper cup of tea. In fact I'm sipping on an orange & cinnamon flavoured one now, as I type. Bliss!


kjjc said...

it doesn't come much better does it? France, macarons, sun, sea, sand, company of a loved one, good food, Pure bliss and then bump-home, cold, washing, usual day-to-day tasks. Thank goodness for the company of a loved one to take us through until the next time. Looks like you had a good time.

Michele said...

Fab photos, Paul - it looks like you had a wonderful holiday! Love the socks! x

alexa said...

Oh, I feel like I've had a breath of sea air myself, just looking at your photos :). I love that black and white one of you with the colourful plate of fruits de mers in front - very nicely done. Welcome home to the little comforts, and hope the two of you enjoy looking at your photos and remembering such happy times. I am very glad you didn't get stranded!

Neet said...

Yes, I noticed you were MIA but the lack of your postings has been more than made up for with this lovely account of your holiday.
So glad you got good weather (we have had some very cold days here - after two glorious sunny days) and I love the photos and the stories behind them. So happy in the fact that my 'bessie-male-mate' did not get stuck out at sea!
Love the photo of the fruits de la mere (have I got that right?) - very clever photography - I am more than impressed.
Glad to know you are close by and sage and sound.
Neet xx (forgot about the fun socks)