Liz arrived on the Tuesday evening ferry, pulling into our drive at about 8.15. We had a fish pie ready with sprouts and cauli ready to steam – a very English supper, a ‘plat de la maison’. My fish pies come in all guises, but they are usually based on pollack to which might be added any or some or all of the following: egg slices, mussels, prawns, scallops and bound with a white sauce which might be made with milk, soya and may or may not contain cheese and or parsley. The topping can be mashed or sliced potatoes
Nick and I had spent the day gardening and tidying up the house. There was laundry to do, some ironing. The time just went.
We sat Liz down with a glass of wine whilst we caught up on family news and held our mini board meeting. We need to manage the removal of some furniture and get it delivered to several destinations. There are other decisions to take and we managed to get the business out of the way before supper. We didn’t stay up very late and I had the pleasure of settling Liz in the little mauve room which is reserved for our lady guests.
We weren’t up especially early and ate a fairly functional breakfast in the kitchen whilst we planned the day ahead. Before we left the house Nick gave Liz a tour of the garden and sought her advice on various plants, and the strategies we should adopt. Her fingers are greener than ours.
First on the list was a drive to Barfleur to check up on the irrepressible Jolly. She’s still there, floating and apparently deserted. There is a steady trickle of curious passers-by who wander up, stare at her for a while, and move on. She must have passed through whichever hoops were required in order to maintain her right to remain in the harbour. We drove on to the Gatteville Lighthouse and Liz and I braved the bitter wind beating onto the beach to look for seaglass, shells and scraps for her collage work. We then drove round the coast a bit so I could look at an embayment which I hadn’t noticed before. It may be a nice shore to work.
We drove back to St V and made ourselves a soup lunch with a platter of crevettes roses to follow. We’d just settled down to variously write cards, do the crossword or snooze when there was a ring at the door and Daniel walked in. He was invited to pool later. I also asked if he would like to eat with us – chicken cooked in cider – but the expression on his face told all. He is a man of conservative tastes, but nevertheless an excellent cook within his repertoire. He would come later in the evening.
We set off to walk round La Hougue in the bracing westerly wind. We tramped round the shore until we came to the narrow sea wall which surrounds the inner fortifications and then wobbled our way round the tower in a clockwise direction. The tide was very low and we could see the oyster workers going about their business and occasional locals were picking winkles amongst the weed-covered rocks.
At some point we dropped onto the beach and came across a mauve-coloured tangle of net which is raw material aplenty for arty-crafty work. We took it to a spot above the high water mark, weighted it down with granite boulders and thought we might come back to retrieve it in a day or 2. We walked on, across the rock platform and the sands, eventually coming up by the little Fisherman’s chapel. On round the marina, we walked on and into the town to buy pastries for tea and Liz had a quick look in Maison Gosselin. She’ll need a longer spell there to do it justice.
After tea and a joint crossword session (I do like doing them in tandem) I put the chicken dish together. We were still eating this when Daniel arrived for some pool. We bantered whilst we ate our cheese then adjourned to ‘les combles’. Whilst Nick and Daniel played several games of pool, Liz did some embroidery work and I tinkered on my laptop. It was a convivial soiree the wheels of which were oiled with a little bit of malt and Calva. Sante!