Life Lately has mostly been about France. Preparing for two weeks camping, seems to take me as long in packing and organising. Then two weeks away. I now have that strange holiday feeling, I can’t quite believe it was just a week ago, that I was sitting on a long stretch of empty beach.
Last year, we spent 10 days in Normandy, on campsite we found via the Cool Camping website. It was super hot, the campsite was tiny, but big enough to have the things that seem to be a French standard; fresh bread and croissants delivered in the mornings and a pool. This year, with a bit more kit and knowledge, we camped again. Different part of Normandy, we found the campsite via Les Castels camping. Two pools and a really short walk to the beach. It was perfect.
It is difficult not to be obsessed with the weather when you live in England. The August we have returned to is has been dismal and rainy. I want to escape the many variants of English weather. Normandy proved to be a mix, when it was sunshine it was warm and stunning. When it rained it was relentless. That is Normandy weather and I think to guarantee sunshine it is worth driving further South.
Changes mean, it costs no extra to use data in Europe. However, having ditched the internet for 2 weeks last year, I did the same thing this. Camping is actually really good for your sleep, because it resets your internal body clock towards natural light, something I needed. Why mess that up with blue-screen light in the evenings. Stepping away from the distraction of social media and emails, quieting the digital noise. I definitely notice that my mind is clearer, less distracted and therefore I’m more relaxed, which is the point of holidays.
Read The Hobbit with my boy. I’ve never read it, as fantasy novels don’t appeal. I’d missed a treat. We both really loved it. Sharing books that appeal to both of us makes for treasured moments. The Hobbit was a win.
Also read: The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide. A couple and their relationship with a cat that adopts them. I didn’t think it translated very well from Japanese. Much as I like cats, the book just didn’t connect with me.
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Part of the book deals with the life of a young man, Tom at the end of school and into university and his relationship with his friend Adrian and a woman he meets at uni. The latter part of the book is Tom looking back at events as a retired man. It is a book about memory and interpretations of events. It was a fascinating read and it gave a lot of food for thought.
French Car Boots
French produce markets are great for cheese, vegetables, a slice of local life and plentiful across France and most towns host one a week. Having discovered Vide-Greniers (French car boots) last year, before we left the UK, I researched possible car-boots. Disappointingly, a couple were rained off. We did manage a day of car-booting in seaside resort. Buying an old bottle with French text embedded into the glass for a Euro. Some metal awards for ‘best cow in class’ from the 1960s and a collection of toy cars, all for a handful of Euros. The fun is in the browsing. As the day progresses, lunch time arrives and most sit down at long tables for freshly cooked seafood or chicken. It is very much an event. Find Vide-Greniers and brocantes (vintage) markets here. Or ask at local tourist information who often keep a list.
Hydrandea and Dream Homes
It has been a good year for Hydrangea and they seemed particularly abundant in France. I found my dream property, should I win the Euro lotto, complete with gorgeous display of huge pink hydrangea, gravel drive, paint work in a pale French blue and hidden in a country lane, half a mile from the sea. Every holiday, check out the estate agents and look for my local dream home. I’m not alone in this?
Gardens and Beaches
We spent a couple of days on the beaches between Vauville and Barneville Carterret. Miles and miles of sandy beaches, fringed with grassy dunes. Pack a picnic, there are very few shops and only the odd bar. Very empty, save for the odd second world war bunker. After a beach morning, we spent a couple of hours wandering the cool pathways of Jardin Botanique de Vauville, a lush micro-climate of loveliness. Botanical garden, landscaped into different areas, featuring unexpected trees and plants from across the globe, that thrive in this hidden spot, caught between the hills and the sea. Stop at the garden’s Salon de The for tea and little custard tarts before leaving. Adults 8 Euros, children free.
Back home with another month of school holidays a head, the tent is packed away, but I’m itching for another camping trip before September.