We’re back from Bretagne! I’m so filled with news and pictures, that I fear this post will be somewhat Dickensian. By the way, did you know that “Bretagne” is French for “Brittany?” Because I didn’t know that they were one and the same for the longest time.
My french in-laws were as lovely as always (even while looking constantly perfect). I hope my daughter gets the french genes, I hope my daughter gets the french genes …. And they are so filled with a sense of fun! We spent the good part of an evening planning the kidnapping of all the doudous (stuffed animals) of the nieces and nephews with a ransom note that would lead them to a series of clues.
Of course each of the aunts and uncles had to dress up too … I was a fairy (a fée), but lacking a wand, I used the toilet brush and became a “fée du logis” (the fairy that magically cleans your house when you’re not looking). One brother was a terrifying merman-sea creature in the bathtub, covered with seaweed. Another was the hermit in the garage, with a big hump back made possible by life jackets. Even Beau-Pere participated as the “sage barbu” (the bearded wise man), although there was some debate as to whether it should be the “singe barbu” (bearded monkey), Beau-Pere opting for the former and his impertinent sons the latter.
On Bastille Day we had a “boum” – a party – with rock music and appropriate lighting. All the under-ten set participated, including my 7-year old nephew who is an amazing break-dancer and one Petit Prince who never left the floor. This was followed by fireworks on the beach. It is going to be hard to convince him that normal sleeping hours are not midnight to ten.
My sister-in-law is a Bretonne and knows the area very well. It’s a given that with her we’re going to beach-hop and have loads of adventures. Except that this trip she wasn’t able to come until half-way through our stay, so for the first week we walked to the same beach every day and sat there looking at each other sheepishly.
On Bastille Day, the tide was at its lowest and highest mark of the … month? I’m not exactly sure how tides work – just that they go up and down twice a day, about 11 hours apart. At least they do in Bretagne. Anyway, what that news meant was that there was a crashing surf. It was too cold to swim on the 14th itself, but yesterday I was determined come hell or …. well, come high water, that I was going in!
It is hard to tell from this picture just how high those waves are. But it was glorious in spite of the biting wind and the freezing water. I felt so alive (and I don’t care how trite that sounds). Maybe I should have been an aquarius instead of a scorpio. Anyway, I got a couple of mouthfuls of salt water before I remembered to dive under the crashing wave instead of getting tangled in it.
It brought me back to my vacation in the Bahamas over a decade ago. Oh gawd I’m speaking in decades now. I am a good swimmer – used to swim competitively, was a lifeguard and all, but nothing prepared me for what must have been a high tide on the beach that day. After several attempts to extricate myself from the crashing surf in one piece, I realized I had to make a decision between my bikini and my life (to the very great amusement of my friends, who were clutching their sides helplessly).
I finally got out in one piece. (The bottom).
Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk on the cliffs, which are just so typically Breton. Wild, breathtaking views. Gales of salty cold air.
This (below) is a german blockhouse from World War II – the cliffs in Bretagne are filled with them.
And here is yet another beach, although much less wild. It’s Dinard – the Breton version of “Cannes” I’d venture.
I’ve chosen my beach house – the white one up there on the cliff (to be purchased from my blog-to-book proceeds) …
I am running out of steam here. Could it be that my internet connection is so slow it’s taken three hours to download the pictures for a post I’m now too tired to narrate? Dare I say a picture is worth a thousand words? Oh, Dickens would never approve!
So here are my darlings ….
Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.
A boy’s story is the best that is ever told.
‘Tis love that makes the world go round, my baby.
I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.
* This post originally appeared in my former blog, Perfect Welcome, and may contain some modifications or discrepancies in the names or comments.