Beats me how I ever achieved my Day Skipper qualification. Granted, I can tie a mean nautical knot, set a course based on wind and tide, tack and dodge the boom with the best of them. Yet for all that, boats just make me feel queasy; and that’s just on boarding. I was travelling to France on Condor Ferries fast craft from Poole, the infamous Vomit Comet or Chuck it Bucket. I’m convinced that it dances over to France, shimmying over the waves whilst throwing in the odd pirouette, several heel turns and a rumba.
All the way to the port, I’m peering anxiously out of the car window: “The leaves are moving on that tree! Does that mean it will be rough?”
In harbour, even the ripple from a passing boat can send me lurching for the ladies. On the journey I have ample distractions; newspapers, magazines, books to read and a list of blogposts to write. All of which I ignore, my time being fully occupied in working out the likelihood of my breakfast staying put.
When my kids were little they loved the fast craft as any request was invariably met. I would almost stuff my purse into their eager little hands and point them towards the shop so I could be left alone.
Yet again, I survive. With medication. And that of course throws up (ouch!) another issue; I’ve never seen Northern France as I’m comatose until south of the Loire, dribbling and snoring my way through la belle France. Except for when I’m not driving – then I can really play dead.
And so it was that several hours after leaving dry land, we pitched up in Dinan, one of my favourite towns in Brittany. As I entered the hotel the receptionist stopped midway through her greeting of “Bonjour” and swapped to “Good Afternoon”. How did she do that? Since I hadn’t muttered a word – how did she know I was English?” I had to ask. “It’s the way you walk” she said. Well, blame Condor Ferries for that one.
This town is just so damned pretty, there really are folk punting on the river, red geraniums draped over every building and the doors…oh the doors…!
See here for more typical Brittany signs and doors.
Knowing full well that at dinner I ought to choose something suitably bland and stomach-calming, I plumped for the moules frites. Impossible not to, here in Brittany. And even though I only ate a few before turning to the Americans on the table behind bearing my moule pot as a gift – let’s just say… I paid for it later.