On Friday morning Paul, Viv and Hilary bade us a brief farewell and set off for Brittany. Nephew Tom is to marry Delphine on Monday and P and V have rented a gite for a week in the area. Nick and I tidied up and readied the house for Marian, Katharine and David who are to spend a week in St Vaast from Saturday.
At the end of the afternoon we left St V and drove south and west to a small hamlet called St Meloir des Bois. There we found the others installed in a house in the centre of ‘town’ next to the church and Creperie Sucre Sale. We settled in and over the successive couple of days our nieces and their families duly arrived. On Saturday afternoon we drove north to St Jacut de la Mer, a sprawl of bays and sands centred around a peninsula.
Hilary was very take with the regimental configuration of the mussel farm on the shore there and immediately pulled out her sketch book and found a suitable bench from which she could work. The rest of us descended the much-trodden steps to the shore at the north end of the peninsula. The huge sand flats exposed when the tide is out, and the offshore islets which dry out at low tide are magnet for the French peche a pied public – just look at the images from the internet via this link. I have worked this shore a good few years ago along with a group of Conchological Society members when we were surveying honeypot shores along the Brittany coast.
We took supper at the Creperie that evening, enjoying Breton galettes made with buckwheat flour and containing a range of delicious fillings. I chose Noix de St Jacques et Poireaux fondues. For dessert we chose, unwittingly, monstrous and totally sumptuous Crepes Gariquettes. I would have been happy to share mine with the other four adults.
Sunday was a busy day for the family and they decamped from the gite at 5pm to move into La Malouiniere de la Ville Gilles, at which mansion the evening reception would take place on Monday evening. After a calm and quiet evening with Hilary and a meal at the Creperie, I slept for only a few hours before I woke at 4.30 and after trying to resleep I rose and went downstairs to sort out my photos from my iPad. If I allow too much of a backlog to accrue the memory fails and prevents me from taking as many photos as I would like.
At the appropriate time we dressed ourselves in our wedding finery and set off for St Lunaire Mairie where the first of four events in our day as guests would take place. Family and friends arrived, many of us on foot having parked at Delphine’s family home. The little folk were the object of much attention, not least the youngest at two months!! And already smiling :) The civil ceremony was conducted by a rotund and twinkly affable mayor who added personal touches to the occasion. Delphine’s parents had generously included Nick, Hilary and I on their guest list for lunch at their home. We were regaled with a lovely selection of quiches and salads.
At 2p.m. we presented ourselves on the quai at Dinard to board a pleasure boat for a trip across St Malo bay. It is a bit of a bumpy and windy trip but the skipper manages to find a lighthouse behind which we can tuck in, whilst we drink a champagne cocktail and Tom and Delphine exchange rings and tie a fisherman’s knot. Once ashore we drive to our Chambres d’Hote at les Chesnais and this is a stone’s throw from the venue for the evening reception. A champagne reception on the lawn with croquet, boules and mölkky, is a delight with beautiful canapés, then we sit for a two course dinner which incorporates games and later dancing. Towards the end of the evening a selection of French gateaux and plates macarons are served with yet more champagne.
This has been a wonderful day with a mix of French and English language and custom. How lucky Nick and I are to be part of this blend of the best of each nation. At 2 a.m. Nick and I fall thankfully into bed.