After a stimulating week of shells in archaeology and shells on the seashore I was nevertheless ready to board my flight home. Before we left Kirkwall for Sonia and Terry to drop me off at the airport I popped into the Tankerness House Gardens which houses the Orkney Museum, next door to our pad, to take some photos of the folly in the grounds. The small folly with a strange pointy roof is decorated with shells and known as Groatie House, which has an interesting history. I transferred from my Kirkwall flight to one at Aberdeen that would drop me at Heathrow. Nick met the flight and we drove home.
With just a day to prepare for a crossing to France I unpacked, put my conference papers and some of the shells that I collected to one side and started to think about putting a bag together for St Vaast. This would contain a minimum of clothes since we are to travel on Monday with Maddy and Andrew and return to Dorset on Friday in order to take in the Conch. Soc. AGM.
Maddy and Andrew arrived at TOW on Sunday evening and first thing on Monday we boarded the good ship Barfleur bound for Cherbourg and our second home. During that week Nick and Andrew put in two good days of logging. Nick and Francois have bought a second beech tree that had to be felled because it is now dangerously close to the main road between Quettehou and Valognes. At the end of the week Nick and Andrew spent the morning at Le Vast helping Alain remove the cladding of ivy from a henhouse. Meanwhile Maddy and I did a long walk from St Vaast to Pointe de Saire, via the village of Jonville and returning along the high water mark from the Pont de Saire and then retracing our steps along the beach wall all the way back to the town beach. It is a good 12 km.
The visit highlight must be dinner at Fuchsias. Andrew had kindly offered to treat us all, it being his birthday. The new menus, at least new to Nick and I, are excellent and truly good value. Fuchsias meals are characterised, for me, by small quantities of a diverse array of ingredients which go to make up a beautiful plate of food. Andrew pronounced the meal the best he had ever had!
We returned to WK on Friday night and as it turned out the day we drove to the Natural History Museum for the AGM was fraught, very stressful and resulted in Nick experiencing an alarming episode in the middle of the meeting. Fearing a TIA I watched Nick’s contorting face whilst supporting him in his chair. It can only have lasted a minute but it was a frightening one but I managed to extract a good even smile from Nick when he came to, which indicated that a stroke type seizure was unlikely. Subsequently after hearing my description of what took place and what Nick remembered of the episode, both his French and English doctor diagnosed a vasovagal event, posh term for a fainting fit.
By Sunday afternoon we were back in St Vaast to await the arrival of Wig and Ian.