Sunday 2nd to Thursday 6th June
[Editor’s note: Let no-one say that Lesley was lazy in Lacanau, she was extremely busy walking, jogging, cycling, paddling and doing her calisthenics and yoga.]
The last six days have disappeared in a bit of a blur. We did all the usual Lacanau things; strolled along the shore to the sailing club, walked into Moutchic for breakfast (or a beer depending on the time of day), Andy and Lesley paddled their canoe, even I had a go, sunbathed on the beach and swam to cool down, and of course there were plenty of barbecues.
We also did the boring jobs that life on the road brings, such as sweep out the van from top to bottom, do the laundry, scrub the flies off the windscreen and get a haircut. Two years ago, when I reached Lacanau on my epic cycle ride the length of France, I was sorely in need of a haircut and ended up having the most expensive haircut of my life in a Coiffures on Lacanau Ocean’s main street. After six weeks I was again beginning to resemble Patrick Moore, but reluctant to repeat the error, I borrowed Andy’s clippers and allowed Wendy to trim my flowing locks. You will all be disappointed to hear that there was no jeopardy – she did a good job!
Talking of jeopardy, there was some on Monday when we walked to Le Moutchic for breakfast. When we got there, none of the bars were serving le petit dejeuner! We were about to walk back to Le Tedey with our blood sugar levels dangerously low when Wendy managed to persuade the guy at Le Boucantier to put a couple of loaves in the oven while we waited over a coffee. Breakfast was saved, as were my tears.
Breakfast of the trip must go to the one we had at La Braconne, my favourite café on the main street. Petit Dejeuner Complet, ham and eggs on toast, bread and jam, orange juice and coffee all for €7.50, almost the same price as we paid for the bread and jam in Le Moutchic. That was the day that we cycled into LO and after breakfast we sunbathed on the beach until lunch and tucked into moules frites. It was a good thing we had to cycle back.
It was Wet Wednesday! Only our second wet day in over 40 on tour but goodness it rained. It was the first real day where we were holed up in our vans. A good day for reading, cataloguing photos, playing the guitar, tuning the ukulele, and making websites. Yes ‘Vintage Youth’ has gone live. You can find it at vintageyouth.co.uk and if you are old enough sign up too. Andy has done a great job on the basics and now it is up to the rest of the us to fill it with good things. If you are part of our walking group, or would like to be, then the details of our Midsummer Meet are already up.
On Thursday, our last full day together, we were going to go for a ride around the lake and have lunch at the Bicyclette Jaune on the other side of the lake. However Andy and Lesley had to go alone as I discovered that on the return journey from LO I had broken a couple of spokes and had buckled my back wheel.
That evening we were invited to drinks by the couple next door. Andy and Lesley had helped them move their caravan into place the day before and they wanted to say thank you. We were a little surprised when they suggested we meet at 5pm as it seemed a little early, but it was a good thing that we did as we stayed for three hours. They were a charming Dutch couple in their early seventies called Vim and Dia and both spoke excellent English. Vim had been a policeman (probably not just your ordinary bobby on the beat) until he retired at 57. Two years later he satisfied a boyhood dream by training to become a train driver and for the last eleven years he is a relief driver one or two days a week. He described how he finally persuaded the selection panel to take a chance with him by offering to do the three months training unpaid. Vim also introduced me to the unusual Dutch habit of whiskey before a meal – he insisted I try it, and another one. By the way I have spelled it correctly it was a fine Irish Whiskey, I just wish I could remember its name.
And so, in the gathering gloom, we had our final meal together. It had to be… Paella.
It’s been a great six weeks travelling together. We spent the meal reminiscing and planning the next trip(s) before packing everything away as there is one hell of a storm forecast for tonight and tomorrow!