Monday, 4 November 2013

Salty water

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea"
- Isak Dinesen

We left her as ready as we could for the coming storm. The inside of the boat was left as if we were moving – kitchen equipment wedged into place, ornaments lying down on the bed. Every fender we had was put out. Extra ropes were put on. The skipper then triple checked everything. With the office aware of our absence and furnished with contact details for us there was nothing else we could do except hope that our home would be safe.

We had a hire car and set off to meet up with family for a long planned and much looked forward to week. The gite was lovely, a rambling group of houses with chickens, cats and dogs wandering freely. The setting was beautifully rural. Wood burning stoves and an orchard completed the scene. It was only a short walk through the forest to the coast. With a wide sandy bay popular with birds and other sea life, ‘promenading’ along the beach became a favourite way to spend time.

The storm of the 28th October was fierce. In France it was given the name tempĂȘte Christian and in the marina winds reached a speed of just over 98 kph (BForce 10/storm). Further inland the windows rattled and the trees creaked and rustled. In the morning when we went out for a walk there were many branches and leaves down but otherwise there was little to see. Having received no text or phone call from the marina we breathed a sigh of relief.

It was another day before we checked for any emails – we were on holiday! There was a message from the marina that a window had been slightly broken and our home was not weather tight. By this time it was dark and some wine had been enjoyed. Although we were concerned, the decision was taken to travel back first thing in the morning. We were fortunate that the damage was slight. The cockpit had been cleared of all equipment before leaving her and apart from a puddle on the floor and a hole where the window should be there was no further damage. It took the skipper with the help of his Dad and brother just a couple of hours to replace the window and secure all the others more firmly.

Morlaix was very nice. The town, as so many others, is built along its river. There is a stunning viaduct carrying the railway high above the town. We walked many steps up to the footpath to enjoy the view.

helping Grandad in the kitchen

finding interesting things in the hedgerows around the gite
 - honesty growing wild

 On the way back we stopped at Locquirec for a wind swept picnic lunch overlooking the water. This is the start of one of the many pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostella – a place which has been an integral part of our journey.

Another day was spent in Lannion where the market fills all the streets. It sprawls its way up the hills of the town, meandering through both back streets and the main square in a profusion of colour, sights and sounds. As far as the children were concerned the highlight of the day was the chance to go on a merry-go-round.

still in Brittany, dual language French/Breton road signs at Lannion
Sadly on the Thursday evening our beloved sea dog Susie collapsed. She died peacefully a few short hours later. The gite owners could not have been kinder or more understanding and she was buried in the lovely orchard. She leaves a furry hole in our crew and will be much missed.

It was a week of eating and chatting. There was a cool dip in the swimming pool followed by hot chocolate in front of the log fire. We enjoyed playing with our nieces and the children had a wonderful time together. There was even a games room which to the children’s delight had lots of Lego.

After a lovely week together it was time to pack our bags and head back to the boat. We really appreciate the support our families have given us during this trip. Sharing time and part of the adventure with them is very special and gives us many memories to treasure.

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