The Molé menfolk were in very sparkling form when I came to give Maxime his English lesson on Saturday, their good humour was infectious.
Maxime himself had the air of a boy in love. If this is the case, the object is a lucky girl, but it may be simply that being young, comely, full of grace and hope and energy and the joys of spring, having turned 18 and been given dispensation to turn your trusting parents out of the house for the night for the occasion, voting for the first time a week later, then driving three hours into deepest Normandy to find a course in town planning for those with a philosophical bent which was epiphanically revealed as exactly what he wanted to do, is enough. At the last minute I had slipped into my bag a comprehension text of an Economist review of a book by Darrin McMahon called 'Happiness: a History', which I'd put together for adult students a while back, and which I thought would probably be too difficult for him, and he devoured it with enthusiasm, unhesitatingly translating 'happiness' as 'joie' rather than 'bonheur'. I felt the better for seeing him, and two hours in his company was a tonic.
His dad was almost as twinkly. 'I'm off to St Brieuc, to Le Légué' he said 'Maxime, feed yourself. La Pauline is on the quayside!' And off he went.
This is more innocent than it sounds. La Pauline is a renowned local beauty, to be sure, but a wooden fishing smack, from the turn of the 20th century. The original sank with her crew in the 1930s, but this is a cherished replica of her, maintained and sailed and chartered by a voluntary association, which Jean-Jacques has belonged to for a year or two now. Usually she operates out of Val Andre, up the coast, but was having a spring clean at St Brieuc. I've never seen her actually sailing, but you can see her on many a postcard and tourist image of the Brittany coast, as she's very photogenic, and there's a page of information about her, with a photo of her in full sail, here. She'd be there, he told me, until Monday, when I asked if I could take photos, though it was just the hull, no sails or anything...
We didn't make it that day when they were working on her, we took a Sunday saunter on the following. I soon recognised the boat on the other side of the river, though I was surprised how neat and upright she looked out of water.
We worked our way round. I became aware that Le Légué at that moment, a fine breezy Sunday in early spring, with people emerging and milling and boats out of water being scrubbed and scraped and repaired and repainted, with its novelty and variety of shapes and angles and textures and colours, cobalt and sky and mimosa yellows and rusty reds, was exactly where I wanted to be. Nature and its greenery are all well and good, but the itchiness of spring demands always something other than what is there around one.
I took more pictures than I can really put in one post, so I'll put them up in bursts over a few days. For starters, though, some views of the lovely Pauline, and thanks to Jean-Jacques for the spur.