Day Seven: True Freedom and a Saint’s Finger.

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

This rocky finger, poking out into the Channel

Is there such a thing as true freedom? If there is, I think I’m close to experiencing it at this moment in my life. Yes, I still have restrictions on things I can do and still have to pay my way, to a certain extent. However, waking up in the morning and checking my banking app is, for a change, a pleasant experience.

Gone are the lists of pub names; Dog and Rabbit, Mean Eyed Cat, Wobbly Duck, Left Luggage Room. More striking is the absence of such things as Council Tax, Northumbrian Water, Gas, Electricity, and even TV Licence!

All of the former the price of my previous attempt to escape reality, all of the latter I thought were inevitable for life. It turns out neither is true. All I do now is hand over a daily sum to Christine, feed Shimamoto and I get the key to the prison gate.

***

Following my simple breakfast I take a leisurely shower, get ready and introduce Shimmie to the Breton countryside. We travel north to the channel coast and the tiny village of St Jean du Doight – yes literally The Finger of Saint John.

Legend has it that a young man was visiting a place called St Jean du Day in Normandy, when he experienced a strange phenomenon. A growth, resembling a giant wart, appeared on his knuckle. On returning home, to his seaside village in Brittany, this lump erupted revealing an amputated finger.

This digit was believed to be that of John the Baptist, who baptised Jesus in the river Jordan. From that day, the village was known by the same name and is the subject of many a pilgrimage. A miracle or a PR coup, you decide! The village is indeed pretty and the church a suitable tribute to the prophet and Saint, who lost his head in the name of his faith.

An Icon of Jesus with the head of John the Baptist.

A five minute drive from the cosy village brings us to one of my favourite spots, the half mile long beach. Surrounded on either side by rugged rocks, this straight stretch of undisturbed sand is a popular spot in summer. I find it hard to believe that the sea gently rolling up the sand is actually the English Channel.

Further west, lies the promontory of Primel -Trégastel. This rocky finger, poking out into the Channel, is a sign of things to come, further on, down the Atlantic coast. As I consider this, the thought occurs to me that I could easily stay here for my remaining days on this planet.

The Customs House

As I clamber over the rocks towards the tiny Maison du Douaniers, (Customs House), I finally shed the rest of my worries and find the place I’ve been seeking since Miriam departed this world. Perhaps this is what she meant, not a young, flighty replacement for her.

My final experience of the day is the work of the Dutch artist Leon Keer. A giant bag of toy boats suspended from the gable end of a house. The label on the packet reads Kit de Secours, (Emergency Kit). A nod to his sense of humour, as well as his huge talent. Check him out on Instagram.

“In case of emergency.”

Finally, I return to Shimmie for my first formule sandwich of the trip. Ham and cheese baguette, lemon tart and a can of Lipton Peach Tea.

As my late Mam used to say. You’ve had too much fresh air today. You’ll sleep well tonight!

2 Comments

  1. Kenneth Childs

    Looks and sounds idyllic Brian. Enjoy.

    Reply
    • brian

      Getting there Ken!

      Reply

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