On Saturday 23rd May we set off to France, minus Lucy, who wanted to stay at home and study for her AS Level exams.
Scott had booked 'the posh ferry' for us from Dover to Calais - where we get a really nice lounge, with drinks served etc.
We had fun waiting in the car before boarding - the boys were eating Chili Heatwave Doritos, Jack was happy playing with his brand new Nokia phone, and I was practicing videoing with my camera.
Nice views out the lounge windows in the ferry.
Le Havre - Half way from Calais to Bel-Air! I never get tired of taking photos of these bridges - love them!
We arrived at Bel-Air in glorious evening sunshine. Ken and Bev were there, and they have the place looking really good, with flowers everywhere. I love the old bike they had propped against the shed.
You can't beat sunny evenings on the lane.
On Monday 25th, we had a wonderful day lazing around a sunny Bel-Air.
Adding to my hand-sewn quilt, in the back garden.
A walk to the next commune.
View from the kids' room.
On Tuesday 26th, we drove to Le Bono, a commune near Auray, where we had walked to from Auray in the past. We parked up in the town, and walked down to the harbour, with the intention of picking up our route and going further out to sea.
A very old burial chamber, along the way.
We had a nice walk, finding new interesting bits.
We got to a place where the estuary opens out wide, and hung out there a bit before heading back.
We then drove to Auray and got icecreams from L'igloo, eating them in the usual spot.
While we were sitting there, we realised what manky shoes we all have!!
On Wednesday 27th, we went to Le Domaine de Kerguehennec, near Bignan, less than 10 miles away. We've never been before, and I was excited to go, after seeing pictures that Ken and Bev took on a visit they made here. It's owned by the council, and is a modern art centre.
I wanted to have a wander round first and then pick a place to sit, but the boys and Scott just wanted to set up camp and play football immediately. I felt pretty fed up, and so went for a walk on my own round the grounds and nearby lake.
When I got back to the boys, I sat on a grassy slope, reading in the sunshine on my Kindle. Scott didn't realise I'd got back for a while though.
On Thursday 28th, the boys helped in the garden, moving mud from the back garden to the banks in the front garden.
Ken and Scott also spent a while working out how to get a massive rock moved to the front garden too. I think in the end Ken had to use a trailer.
Ken and Bev have turned the end of the front garden into a vegetable patch, which was looking really good.
I finally made my quilt have a corner!
Ken and Bev taught Scott and I the game of Tens one evening, which we then taught the kids, and played addictively! It's such a funny game, seeing everyone's stress and excitement each round!!
On Friday 29th, our last full day in France, I went for a walk before breakfast to Yvon's wood. Everywhere was just looking beautiful, and the rhododendrons were in flower.
The first hydrangea to bloom in the whole wood!
The boys still chilling in bed.
We didn't really have a plan for the day, but the boys wanted to go and walk around the World War II ruins near the Surfing Beach, so we headed there. The main road through Plumelec was closed for a bike race. We drove a back way round, and along to the race car park, but we'd just missed the beginning of the race.
Had a nice time just ambling round the ruins.
I asked the kids if they knew the name of these bushes 'you know - the ones that were always in The Famous Five books', and here's Jack replying 'George Bush?' ...nearly!!
One of the nice things about this week was that the weather forecast was rubbish, and so we had no expectation of doing anything much, but actually, it was dry and warm all week. It was pleasant sitting in this spot on an empty beach, watching the boys play.
On the way back, we stopped off at a Dolmen which you can see from the main road. As well as the main one, there was a partially buried one, and one totally under the ground. They are dated circa 3500BC.
The underground one was totally pitch black, and quite scary! (The light in this picture was just form the camera.)
On the way back through Plumelec we stopped off to look at the Tour de France pictures painted in all the shop windows. They were clever - each related to the individual shop in some way.
The bicycle shirt bunting!
In the evening, Scott and I stayed up late having a really good talk, reflecting on life and all sorts.
We had a straightforward journey home, via the Eurotunnel. The boys enjoying spreading out!
When we were nearly home, we saw some hot air balloons across the fields, and decided to go and chase them! We figured they were taking off from the nearby golf course, and drove down to it.
The hot air balloons were small ones, some with a kind of suspended seat underneath. We spoke to one guy as he was passing right over our heads, only he got a bit distracted and hit the top of a tree!
We had a lovely time watching them for a bit, then we drove to Tesco to get a few things for dinner the next day. Katy and Dan had texted and said they'd like to come by on Sunday afternoon on their way home from holiday in Holland!
Finally we made it home. Lucy wasn't there, as she was staying overnight at the Hirst's house. Ben had picked her up in the morning to go back to his, then they all traveled to Birmingham to watch 'The Lamb of God' performed by YSA at Birmingham Town Hall.
The house was covered pretty much all over with Lucy's revision notes!