So we drove up the coast to Erquy, where we thought we'd try a new place for lunch. Our (fairly) regular hang-out has been decidedly patchy the last few times we've been, but we love coming up here so much, and an evening out here has become very much an expected element of the kids' yearly visits, so we thought some lunch time reconnoitring of other possibilities was called for.
This place was less classy in appearance, a little cheaper, but in fact the food was better, as was the view, and the service OK, considering they were rather short staffed for an unexpectedly sunny day at autumn half-term. Tom had sea bass then lemon and ginger panna cotta, I had moules frîtes with cream and an outrageously gooey and large chocolate brownie with custard ( 'a bumpity ride in a waggon of hay for me', says Jane...). We enjoyed ourselves and our meal, despite finding ourselves downwind of a cigar smoker (not banned on open terraces, which this was, though it had an awning, and not usually a problem, but the draft didn't favour us), and with an intermittently screaming toddler at the next table (sue us for child-free curmudgeons, see if I care; in fact we felt for her parents, and well-behaved older brother, and respected their efforts to socialise her, but the shrieks were piercing and she was an awful little madam), and a surprising number of flies for the time of year and the waterside, one of which caused me to spill half my glass of wine attempting to swat it away, fortunately the wine mostly spilled neatly into the poubelle de table for the mussel shells.
But the weather and the atmosphere were very conducive to pleasure and relaxation, and there were a charming family with two small boys in shorts and wellie boots all hungry and full of sea air on the other side, who took the place after the departure of a cheerful lone elderly woman with an utterly beautiful red-gold silky dachshund, curled discreetly beside her on the bench, whom she lifted up for us to say hello to when she noticed us smiling at him.
'I'm not prepared' said Tom 'to go the rest of my life without a dog.'
Funny really, he was the most adamant when Molly went that there could be no more. Now we find ourselves gazing at dogs in the street with the tragic hunger of women on IVF gazing into pushchairs*. However, we know we mustn't weaken, at least not for the moment.
After lunch we strolled to the end of the sea wall, and looked across the harbour, to where children ran in and out of the water and the beach was covered in sand castles.
Tom wearing his last year's birthday waistcoat, which I'm afraid to me has a touch of 'yes my wife knits, why do you ask' about it, but he's touchingly fond of it.
This flotilla of little catamarans were heading out after lunch. I like them because I am having an uncertain love affair with the colour orange at the moment, and they look rather like monarch butterflies.
The very small blue boat in the foreground, which I'd not noticed here before, caught my eye because I was sure I remembered seeing it for sale, photographing and posting about it, on the other side of the bay at Port le Légué at St Brieuc a few years ago. I tracked back and confirmed that it was indeed the same boat though with a few alterations, which also confirms the usefulness of blogging as an adjunct to memory (though whether there is any usefulness to such memory is another matter...), as well as that I used to write and post with rather more energy and originality than I do now, but perhaps one always feels like that, and anyway, I suppose it's better to have had it and lost it than never to have had it at all.
I wonder if they sailed it all the way across the bay?
* it always amuses us when, in these documentaries about dogs and cats from an evolutionary and behavioural perspective, the earnest researchers assert how these animals have succeeded in finding a place in our lives because of their resemblance to human infants, when anyone could tell them that puppies and kittens are infinitely more adorable than babies.