Day Four: Black and White, and Grey

by | Feb 4, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

It wasn’t long before the familiar black and white flag,

I left Caen at around nine on a grey foggy Saturday morning, feeling much more confident behind the wheel. The roads were quiet and within minutes, I was on the toll-free A84 Autoroute, (No tractors).

It wasn’t long before the familiar black and white flag, adorning the road sign appeared. I’d arrived, at least in Brittany. In two hours I’d be home. All of the signs doubled up, French and Breton, from then on. I could see the distinctive peak of Mont Saint Michel to my right as the road skirted the English Channel at this point and the murk lifted.

Leaving the main road, things became familiar but not enough to abandon Google Maps. I pulled over in a small industrial estate and changed the destination from Plougonven to 2 Rue Courte. A few minutes later I pulled onto the drive of the huge house, Shimamoto taking the place vacated by Kenji eighteen months earlier.

I knocked on the door and was greeted with a bear hug and kisses on each cheek, by Alain, looking as rugged as ever, his errant whiskers and pony tail more from the Wild West than the west of France! The same greeting was forthcoming from Christine and I knew then that in the words of Alain, I was in my Famille Française.

I was shown to my room but not before saying hello to Vasillia. The young woman, in her early twenties, is the youngest of three adopted daughters. My host had rescued the siblings when just orphaned babies, in Cambodia. The Two elder ones were living successful lives in Paris and Vasillia was busy preparing her first fashion show, having studied the subject in the capital. Testament to the love and devotion given to the girls.

I was shown to my room and immediately knew it was right. The bare stone walls were a contrast to the chinzy, slightly female decor. The bed with its hand quilted cover and multi layered blankets, reminded me of sleepovers at my Nana Forster’s when I was a boy.

The desk in the corner would have been the envy of Hemingway, and I made it my own. Just then, a tractor drove past the window below, doing what tractors do best in this part of the world, work!

Dinner was at seven precisely and lasted over an hour. The conversation was interesting and lively and, what’s more, predominantly in French! The meal consisted of raclette combined with baked potatoes, cold meats, fried mushrooms, calamari and broccoli. In addition there was a large bowl of pink shiny prawns to remind me of where I was. This was followed by fruit salad in syrup made from coconut sugar – delicious.

One of the three cats fell asleep in the box from the raclette machine. Two had been added to Bobbie since my last visit. They were both Mancun, which is a very special breed, I thought from Manchester! I was later informed, by a cat obsessed Egyptian, that it’s spelt Maine Coon and comes from the US state of the same name.

Well, you learn something every day. More about the cats when they get used to me, and I them!

I retired to my multi layer bed and fell into a deep sleep immediately. After all, I’m home!


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