Ladies of leisure

For the first time since our arrival in France the sun is not shining. We awoke to the dull and dreary grey mist that slowly crept closer and closer, the trees in the distance shrouded, the cat, Billy, more than happy to snug up in an armchair and ignore the call of the wild. It’s lovely. I know the start of this post may have overtones of displeasure, but in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. Waking to such a picturesque scene was a real delight, the forecast for the day would not suit those who enjoy being baked whilst scantily clad, but for us, those bred for harsher climes, this is a refreshing start to the day. There’s been a little rain overnight, the pebbled driveway is damp but it still holds faint traces of the silvery trails that criss-cross back and forth to and from the various garden beds, no need to wonder where the snails and slugs are hiding. There’s a pale light creeping in the windows, enough to move around our rooms without stumbling into furniture, but not enough to see clearly by. If we were back in Australia this would easily be described as an early-winter’s day.

After being on-the-go for the last week we’re having today as a quiet day, spending it playing board games with friends whilst drinking cups of coffee, of chatting on all sorts of topics, catching up on some reading and writing, and of course being questioned in-depth by Monsieur Mog. After a lovely luncheon of mackerel pate, salad and coffee cake we decided to take in the sights of Mont-Saint-Michel and the bay. As we were travelling up from the southwest I was surprised to see the mount looming on the horizon even while we were quite some distance away, it’s towering spires reaching far into the skies, heralding the pilgrims in with every ring of its bell. Access to the mount is currently being ‘reinvented’ and as tourism is such an important part of the local economy the town planning masters have had the brainstorm of putting in a car park which is a comfortable walking distance, or ‘free’ shuttle bus ride, to the attraction. By ‘free’ I mean ‘included in the price of your parking fee.

The mount itself is a definite ‘see to believe’ sight, the stone bastion of the Abbey itself towers way above the small half-wooden medieval village that had sprung up around its base. The only downside to visiting in the afternoon is the swarming hordes, the groups of school children on excursion, the bus-tour groups conveying tourists all nose-to-ear as they shuffle along the narrow cobbled walkways, and you stuck in the middle of all of them trying not to strain your neck staring in awe. Given the way the noon-day sun had burned off the morning mist we were now sweltering and decided to pause on our return to the car to partake of a little cafe glace.

Once back we took the opportunity to sort and repack our bags ready to head off in the morning. We rounded off the day with some lovely roast pork, glasses of French wine and lively conversation. All in all we’ve had a great time catching up with our friends, their hospitality and generosity making it impossible to have anything but a fabulous short-break.



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