Last night I ordered a bottle of red wine. This is unusual because Mirinda prefers white and given I don’t mind, I’m happy to go with her preference. Every now and then, however, she says I should have a red. The thing is, when I order a red I wind up drinking about 2/3 of it because she tends to drink less. This means I tend to end up a bit happy.
Back to last night and I was happy as usual and suddenly noticed that my walking was almost normal and my knee had stopped hurting.
I should explain about the knee…all week my knee has been in great pain. Every time I bent it it would hurt like buggery only to return to a dull ache afterwards. It has been very annoying all week. I even brought a stick with me in case I needed it…which I did. Yesterday, in particular, the pain was horrendous – annoying given we were on boat watching birds. Still…needs must!
Anyway, this morning I woke up, hopped out of bed and made a coffee and realised that my knee, while still sore, was nothing like it had been. It still hurt to bend it but it was easily manageable. I couldn’t wait for Mirinda to wake up to tell her that the red wine had done the trick and sorted out my joint problems. Now if only I could find out how to cure the problem with my feet…gin, perhaps?
Enough about my limbs. After an extended laze about the gite we headed off for Roscoff.
We took the coastal route because it was three times as long and because it was a lot prettier with lots of places to stop and admire the views.
One place we stopped at was Terenez, a very small seaside spot boasting three restaurants and a lot of small boats. When we arrived it was very low tide and most of the boats were sat in mud.
We stood and watched as group of about a dozen French kids (all pre-teens) hauled catamarans down from the road to the water’s edge. It was, quite frankly, highly entertaining. While it was clearly quite gruelling, the kids all seemed to be having the time of their lives. They were from the Ecole de Voile de Terenez (Terenez Sailing School).
Having watched for ages while they didn’t really get anywhere, Mirinda decided we should go to the nearby creperie and have a coffee. I’m always a bit concerned about going into what is clearly a restaurant and just having coffee but Mirinda insisted…and it was fine. So we sat and watched the kids and their boats from the comfort of the creperie with a coffee each.
Eventually all the boats were at at the edge of the ‘beach’ and the teams started hoisting their sails. There then ensued a very long conflab with all the kids surrounding the ‘teachers’. This was all happening a great distance from us in the creperie so we have no idea what was going on.
Eventually we tired of waiting for something to happen, paid up and left. As we walked back to the car one of the ‘teachers’ and a student clutching something fluorescent, passed us heading for the boatyard so, I guess, something needed replacing. Anyway, I hope they all managed to get a bit of sailing in because all we saw was them learning how to push catamarans around the roads and across rocky beaches.
It was then back on the road and onto Roscoff.
Now I thought Roscoff was a character from a Chekhov play but, it seems, that’s not the one we were visiting today. Roscoff is a port on the coast of Brittany where Brittany Ferries actually started. The company began when a group of farmers wanted to transport their onions (and artichokes and cauliflowers) to Britain but no other ferry company would sail the long haul to Plymouth.
“Nuff said!” They replied in French and they created their own ferry service.
Now it’s a thriving port where British holiday makers set off for the rest of France pretty much the same as we do from St Malo. Another port where British tourists emerge from the holds of massive ferries and buy gallons of cheap wine and tons of smelly cheese.
Roscoff is also the birth place of the Onion Johnnies, the French chaps on the bicycles with the onions stung around their necks. In fact there is a museum to them which we didn’t visit…maybe next time.
Having found a place to park and gone for a wander, we decided it was time for lunch. Sadly, according to most of the restaurants in Roscoff, the time for lunch had passed us by as their kitchens all shut their doors at the same time as we approached. This put me off Roscoff almost immediately. I mean, really. The place was crawling with tourists all checking out the menu boards but food there was none…just the tantalising descriptions of it.
Eventually we found the wonderful Creperie sarl les Amour Jaunes. They serve food all the time! They even cook chicken, something I’ve not found this time in Brittany. This general lack of poultry has concerned me. Maybe there’s a French chicken shortage…I don’t know. All I know is that it’s a damned problem when I have a need for chicken that takes almost a week to fulfil!
So we had a lovely meal at the Creperie of Yellow Love then headed down to the gorgeous little church of Our Lady of Croaz-Batz.
When this church was originally built (1520) it was on the shoreline. It’s now quite a distance from the shoreline, especially during low tide when it’s about ten miles.
There’s a lot of stuff about the church that’s amazing but, in my opinion, the most amazing is the Altar of the Virgins. This is a huge sculpture containing three famous virgins: Barbara, Genevieve and Judith. There’s also a medallion with St Margaret in it but that’s not included in the photo below so I’m ignoring her. Let’s look at these three saints…
Barb was locked in a tower by her father (which is why she’s usually depicted carrying a small tower) to protect her from the outside world..like Rapunzel. Somehow she became a Christian while locked in this tower and rejected the man her father wanted her to marry. Her father reacted to this by drawing his sword and threatening to kill her. She fell to her knees and sent a prayer up and was transported to a mountain gorge. Somehow her crazy-ass father found her and dragged her off to the local prefect who ordered her to be imprisoned and constantly tortured. Every night a bunch of angels visited her in her cell and healed all of her injuries just so she could go through it again the next day. Seriously? Eventually she was sentenced to death so her loving dad cut her head off.
Gen had a much better life. She confessed to her father when she was about 15 that she wanted to dedicate her life to the Christian God and, with her parent’s blessing, became a nun. She moved to Paris and lived a long life. She was a vegetarian who had only two meals per week. I imagine she was quite skinny as well. When the Huns came to invade Paris in 451 rather than run away, she convinced the inhabitants of Paris to just pray. This (according to the Catholic church) made Attila change his mind and attack Orléans instead. I’m not sure what poor Orléans had done to upset God but at least Paris was saved…this time. Anyway she died of something natural.
Judy is one of my favourites. She doesn’t actually appear in the bible (she’s in the Apocrypha). She seduced the general Holofernes and chopped his head off before he could engage in a night of sexual pleasure. According to the account it was the only way to get close enough to the general so she volunteered, being a sweet and innocent virgin. However she wasn’t a virgin. She was a widow and someone that Holofernes had a bit of a crush on. Rather than have her town taken over by him she decapitated him instead. Interestingly, I haven’t been able to find any mention of her being a saint…and this is the first time I’ve seen it written that she was a virgin!
Here they are in all their religious glory:
[My apologies for the length of that last bit but this is the only new church we’ve really visited this trip and I’ve gone a bit mad…sorry.]
After the church we wandered around the streets a bit before heading back to the car for the drive back to the gite.
We were thinking of going into Locquirec for a wander but the weather was a bit wild and woolly so we decided to stay in and watch Miss Marple solve another case – Endless Night – before retiring for the last time.
The last time in the gite, I mean.