Sunday, November 02, 2014

Last of October

Rainy wet and changeable today, I can hardly believe the weather we were enjoying on Friday. We often do have good Indian summers here, but that was remarkable. Odd how the weather often seems to know about the change of the month, and to close in sharply at the beginning of November.

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. 


Mailizhen said...

Lovely post. And now I'm hungry. As for this: "I am having an uncertain love affair with the colour orange at the moment," let me just say that I am having a deeply certain love affair with the color orange, and have been searching for months and months for the burnt-orange sweater that I see so clearly in my mind, and which I'm afraid doesn't exist anywhere but there.
- Alison

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh what a wonderful post. I laughed and teared up in parts. The 'monarch' boats are brilliant! Ever since my lion king left, I've been thinking of a Dachel (having grown up with one), but keep making excuses. Which is a good thing now that I'm laid up with two bum ankles. But I also cannot imagine going through the years without a furry companion.

Glad to read that your wine saved itself by falling in the right direction!

Zhoen said...

Young furry animals really are much more cute than bare babies. Although there are occasional exceptions.

Doing the same with red as you with orange, drawn to red like a hummingbird.

Love that Tom loves your knitting.

The Crow said...

Hooted so wildly and loud at your postscript that I startled the Cat Who Lives in My House, Sometimes.

Stella said...

You will be doing us a service should you succeed at a daily post........we shall be both entertained free of charge and inspired. Good luck with that......a difficult goal, I find. Your photographs are wonderful, as is your knitting! I am intrigued by the spider webs, looking like nothing I've seen. Lovely to read of universal loves: the sea, the doorstep and dogs. I do enjoy your posts, Lucy.

Roderick Robinson said...

I suppose your "(fairly) regular hang-out" at Erquy is the post-flight place where we assembled as a foursome. If I tried hard I might, if I wanted, dig up some inadequacy about the food but I'm not tempted. The dominant impression was one of confirmation, no doubt a delusion; that this was one of the reasons human beings of both genders were put upon the face of the earth - to come together and take pleasure in each other's company, profiting from the new encounter. A day when the social credit balance was greatly augmented.

At more or less the same time you were in Erquy we were in The West Arms in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog a shabbily comfortable higgledy-piggledy hostelry with threatening low beams. After the meal, in front of a wood fire, we talked to two other couples for a full hour. Most unusual, since our tendency is to retire with a book. Even at our advanced age we are, it seems, capable of evolving. I even ordered Chateau Cissac, despite being off cab. saub. for more than a decade, and was rewarded by some genuine maturity.

Is Apocalypse just around the corner?

Lucy said...

Thank you good readers.

Alison - you would look most fabulous, all lithe and dark as you are, in that burnt orange sweater, I fear I must be more careful with the colour and stick to socks and mittens, of which I am drawn to some of the modern Baltic examples, where the colour is combined in gorgeous pure local wools with deep pink and mustard yellow, which look just wonderful together. But you have to find the right shades; I would love to come and stay with you in your capacity as an Airbnb hostess and go shopping in yarn stores to find just the right supplies for me to knit you your dream jumper!

R - we have some wiry dachsies (I thought they were Teckels in German?) coming to visit soon, I shall try to take their pictures! I would worry though, about back problems with them, though these belong to our vet who says if you watch their weight they should be OK. One of the things I'm still getting over with Mol was all the health problems, pain and stress she went through, which haunts me still, and I hate the idea of going through that again. And we have other things we must do for a while.

Z - oh I know, some babies are very nice, and in fact puppies and kittens when newborn are a bit squirmy and ugly. Herbivores have the most instantly attractive young I suppose. Red and orange both need to be the right shade; I often like the idea of them but then the reality doesn't quite match, but the quest goes on. Tom is indeed a knitworthy man, a fact of which I am most appreciative.

Crow - glad you have a cat friend, don't frighten him off!

Stella - now you're someone who's only turned up in the last year, which is cause for celebration and an indication that there's life in blogging yet. I don't intend to try to do anything very clever with the daily posting - the feeling that one needs to do something worthwhile and non-repetitive is one of the discouraging factors, I think. I'll probably do lots of short knitting posts, which is and easy option as I've often got the photos on-line already anyway. It's really just to get back in the habit of contributing something here again, and already I feel more inclined to visit and respond than I have done, so I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

Robbie - Thanks, dear, that was nice. I was kind of worried afterwards that the meal had been fairly indifferent, but as you say, it's the company that counts really, and the good cheer. We like the people at Le Vivier (where we went) and the service is usually pleasant and reasonably even, but lately there've been too many disappointing elements, and we thought it was silly to feel too bound to one choice. In fact most of the restaurants along there are much of a muchness, local fish, which you can get lucky on if it's well prepared, and lots of oysters and mussels, and a good view and holiday atmosphere, which go a long way. I felt perhaps the one we tried on Friday was trying a bit less hard to be elegant and actually succeeding a little better with the food, which is quite a promising balance. The interior is quite pleasant, so we'll try again later in the year, winter Sundays up there are a nice treat.

Your Welsh hostelry and wood fire sounds wonderful, the beams would be no threat to us! Glad you had such a happy time.