I wake to bright sunshine and after munching on a mini pain au raisin I hop round to the beach for a swim. I am loving these swims more and more. After the shock of immersion, particularly when the body has been warmed by the sun, within a minute I am warmed up and then swim gently, sometimes on the spot just enjoying the pull on my arms as I breaststroke in the lovely water. My glass of rose at La Terrasse afterwards is refreshing and we sit and watch the passers-by. I experience a momentary flush of holiday well-being.
Back onboard Francois is busying patiently in the kitchen. He has bought some pretty red mullet which he is gutting and he is cutting up some cute little squid. These morsels will be lightly fried and then eaten with a crust or two of bread. The French don’t bother very much with vegetables. This tasty lunch is followed by the customary siesta then I must shop at the supermarket for my Bolognese sauce ingredients. I’ve decided to offer a Spaghetti Bolognese meal after walking past an Italian restaurant in the marina every day. It’s a long time since I enjoyed this classic Italian dish.
The following day we head out to sea after a lunch of Choucroute with petit sale, frankfurters and Strasbourg and Alsace sausage. Francois has decided to take us west along the coast towards St Tropez. This stretch of coast does not look so intensively developed as the coast running out from Cannes. The village and port are very picturesque from the sea with the bell tower and the round tower of Portalet. On our way back to Frejus we turn inland and find ourselves at the entrance to the lacustrine settlement of Port Grimaud, known locally as Venise Provencale. It is a canal town which looks as if it has been established longer than its 50-year history. It was a marshland swamp until a young architect, Francois Spoerry developed the area using local materials and architectural styles traditionally used in the region in order to achieve a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood. The canals splaying out from the port host 2,400 dwellings and 2000 moorings distributed over twelve islands connected by fourteen bridges, 7km of canals and 14 km of piers. In many instances you can moor your boat in front of your living room!
Many photos and one video later Francois skilfully negotiates a passage out of the canal network with its fringe of bankside residences. I have been fascinated by his ability to steer his boat to very precise requirements: the canals are narrow and most of the housing, built as terraces of dwellings have small gardens giving onto a narrow strip functioning as a pontoon along which boats are moored. Room for manoeuvre is in places very tight indeed.
Towards the end of our run back to Frejus I start to make my Bolognese for the following day. It is simmering nicely as we tie up to our pontoon. Our light supper is distinctly molluscan: Murex and Octopus. Eaten with Pave and some of Nick’s mayonnaise it is all I need to round off the day.