Sunday 23 July Wessons & Seaford

First time out on the bike since my trip to France and subsequent back problems, so I am a little apprehensive, but all turns out ok.

The roads are still damp in places from last nights downpour, and more rain is forecast for later, but I aim to be home before the rain.

I head over to Wessons in Horam- one of my favourite shorter rides.

The big decision to be made as I ride over, is what will I order to eat?!

The thought of a Cheese and Ham toastie jumps into my head…Mmm, havent had one of those in ages so thats that sorted!

The cafe isnt as busy as I expected, and I manage to grab a seat outside at the front.

The guy who was behind me in the queue joins me on the table,and we are soon chatting. His big fat breakfast comes out before my order, Work that one out!

Two other bikers join us, Stewart and Tyrone and we continue the chat. One of the great things about a biker cafe- you get to talk to strangers who soon become friends!

Turns out they are both members of the local Top of Town facebook group too.

They are planning on going to Pyranees in September. I suggest they visit the Picos too. Check out my blog post of my trip there and you will see why I recommend it.

They ask where I’m headed and if I’d mind if they tagged on. Not a problem for me, although I explain Im only heading down to Seaford to visit Steve’s Dad, John.

Its a good ride down- My pace may have been a little slow for them, (a couple of times we are overtaken by other sportsbikes) but I’ve learnt to ride my own ride.

We say goodbye at Seaford as I head off to see John.

After a cuppa and a chat with John, who I think is looking really well (must be all those meals on wheels he’s having) it’s time to head home if I want to miss the rain.

A good blast back, stopping briefly at Chelwood Gate to buy some freesias from the nursery there.

I get home just as it starts raining…result!

Put my flowers in a vase

Crack open a beer, put TV on to watch BSB from Brands

And read the two freebie biking mags I’d picked up at Wessons.

And to finish the day off a little later I’ll be off to Beer Club down at The Old Mill to catch up with friends.

My favourite kind of a Sunday

Monday 29 May: Day 5: Rain stops play…or does it?

In the morning I get a call from Mr P, ” Is it OK if they pop in for a coffee?”  Of course says I.

Bikes duly parked up, outside my little French house.. 

…everyone heads round back to the garden – with their motorbike textiles on, the damp seating is not a problem!

So good to catch up over a cup of coffee or two.

 I suggest they say for lunch before they head off to the Musee de Résistance in St Marcel, which is gladly accepted.

Whilst I’ m in the kitchen pulling together lunch, Dave and Nigel very kindly sweep up the mess that I have made on the patio whilst paint stripping.

Only Brits on holiday would sit outside to eat in this weather.

As we finish lunch the heavens open ,  so I suggest a game of Breton Kerplunk.

There aren’t many rules:

  1. Winner is the one who has least balls at the end.
  2. If you touch a stick you have to pull it out
  3. If you throw the dice and there are no sticks of that  colour left you miss a go

Simples.. Although there are little tricks to playing that everyone quickly cottons onto.

The first game finishes with most of the balls/marbles balanced on four sticks and Dave who had started off so well, ends up losing.

 But that’s one of the joys of the game, it does take some skill but in the end it is also down to chance.

We are all quite competitive,  and the language gets very colorful at times! And that’s with playing in the afternoon when we are sober. Can you imagine what we’d be like after a few glasses of wine.

Just as well we are all good friends! 

There does seem to be a bit of a   ” Team Sofa” going on with Nigel and Carol coaching each other.

As well as  lots of banter about balls or lack of!

By the time the afternoon ends it is all pretty even, with winners and losers all round.

So there it is, if you ever wondered how a bunch of “tough” bikers spend an afternoon when it’s raining there you have it…playing  à grown-up version of Kerplunk!

Friday 26 May: Day 4: Stripping( of the DIY type

I’m awake early this morning, but after a coffee in bed I fall back asleep till gone 9am. 

What a lazybones!

Especially when Sara was up and out to go and find a pitch at a market about 40 minutes away.

Once I’m up, I throw on some old clothes and start my chores: firstly putting up the new washing line and secondly stripping the paint from the patio doors.

Here’s a couple of Before pictures.

As you can see in some places the paint has already peeled off, but in others it’s solid.

I hadn’t realised it was going to be such hardwork!

Here’s my stripper outfit!

Hair tied back and glasses to stop the paint chips.

After a whole morning of scraping, it doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved much.

After lunch I take half an hour rest in the shade on my lounger. 
Here’s the view, three ways:

Late afternoon Sara and I head for the beach.

We stop off on the way to pick up some Gel Paint stripper.

We go to Plage Sainte Barbe, The write up says it is off the beaten track and family friendly It’s high tide and when we get there it is packed, and is more of a surfing than swimming beach.

So we decide to try another beach, further down the coast.

Theres quite a few to choose from, but the problem, even at this time of the day is parking.

It’s a lovely little sandy beach,  with just a hint of surf.

I will definitely be coming back here.

A reminder for future visits. Take the road to Quiberon but turn off at this sign 

We stay at the beach for a couple of hours, then drive home, stopping on the way to pick up a Burger King!  

Thursday 25 May: Day 3: Erdeven

It’s a lazy lie-in sort of a morning, with a bit of pottering about thrown in for good measure. 

Our lunch is my standard #littlehouseinfrance fare: cheese, ham, curly lettuce, crisps, more cheese, rillette, spring onions, baguette with lashings of scrummy breton butter, oh and did I mention the cheese!

We head out for the beach about 3pm. We stop at the supermarket on the way as Sara needs sun cream and I’m able to buy a few bits I need for the house. 

The beach we are headed for is near Erdeven

The car park is very full and amazingly free- in UK you would be charged probably a tenner to park this close to the beach.

I spot these signs as we walk across the path to the dunes…

…but don’t really register what they are saying, until we actually get onto the beach.

Yes it’s a fully grown nudist beach!

OMG!

Sara has been down this way before, but now quickly backtracks that the beach she thought we were on must be further down the coast.

Well, there’s no going back now,  so we head towards a spot between some others who are in their cossies! 

The pair of us are giggling like schoolgirls, wherever you look there are willies dangling about! And I feel SO overdressed!

As we sit there a stream of thoughts run through my head:

-I wonder what sun factor they use?

– Where the f*ck do I look?

– Why do I keep looking THERE?

– Wish I could stop giggling like a school girl

-Is it a coincidence that we watched Naked Attraction on Channel 4 last  night?

-Who knew there were SO many variations? 

Should I just go with the flow and join in?
In the end the only thing to do is to get in the sea and swim!

The sea has a small swell as the waves break onto the beach, but unlike yesterday it is a sandy underfoot as we go into the water. It is also colder, but once in just as nice.

How blue is that sky?

In the end we spend about 3 hours at the beach.

I contemplate joining in with the nudity, but just can’t bring myself to do it.

But as a compromise,  and another first, once safely in the water I take off my cossie and swim naked. ( I do put it back on before getting out)

We hadn’t planned to eat out, but the blackboard outside this restaurant Galileo, advertising  “Sardines Grille” tempts us in.

And I’m so glad it did. The place is like the Tardis, a front room area, spreads out to a light and airy terrace room and outdoor terrace.

The sardines are delicious,  and Sara’s goats cheese salad is huge.

We finish up with a Cafe Gourmand, ordered in honour of our friend Helen, and a firm favourite when eating out. Why wouldn’t it be? 3 little puds and an expresso… perfect.

It finishes off our day nicely. 

And what a day…we will be laughing about this for days to come! 

And two more firsts:

~first nudist beach, ever! 

~first naked swim in the sea

I wonder if this holiday has any more suprises left.

Wednesday 24 May: Day 2 : Junk finds and the beach

I spend the morning pottering round the house- trying to sort out the patio door nets so the blasted French flies don’t get in the house; sorting out my clothes that are left here, getting rid of the items that I really won’t ever wear again; and editing the book collection getting it down to those that I want to read.

Sara eventually returns from her market scouting trip – her gps led her a merry dance. We have some lunch and then, having emptied her van of all her pottery and stall equipment we head off on a shopping expedition.

It seems rude not to make use of her van whilst she is here ;0),  so we are going to Emmaus, to try and find a vintage wardrobe for my bedroom.

Emmaus is like a charity shop but on a warehouse scale. They have almost everything, excluding clothes.

Here are some of the more unusual items I spot as we wander round.

Unfortunately all the wardrobes are too large, typical when I have the means to transport one home.

On our way out we spot a couple of gorgeous upholstered chairs and I can’t resist buying one, at 40 euros it’s a bargain, and once covered in a material more to my taste it will look stunning.

Sara seems to have other plans in her head as we pack it in her van…Fifty Shades springs to mind! 

Next stop, the supermarket, to buy picnic food to have on the beach. And another opportunity for me to utilise Sara’s van by stocking up on heavy essentials such a wine and water!

Fully stocked, we drive South past Séné, to Pointe du Bill…What a great little spot.

I imagine in the height if summer it is a nightmare to get to, as the road is narrow, winding it’s way through a village, but this evening it’s not a problem.

Tomorrow is a holiday in France, Ascension, so I’m guessing there’s more than the usual number of people on the beach for a Wednesday evening in May, although it’s not in anyway crowded. 

The sea is as calm as anything and so inviting… 

…and surprisingly once we are fully in the water it isnt too chilly either.

We swim and float, and float and swim.

It is a little bit of heaven.

I can’t believe that in 13 years of owning my #littlehouseinfrance this is my first trip to the beach! It certainly isn’t going to be the last- we are already planning where to go tomorrow! 

The worst bit is getting  out and having to navigate our way over the underwater pebbles – I think some beach shoes need to be purchased!

It’s now gone 8pm and the temperature is still 25c. 

We happily sit and eat our picnic whilst drying out.

The one thing missing is some chilled white wine…next time

But we make up for that when we get home, enjoying a nice bottle of red, whilst chatting and watching trash TV  until the early hours!

As I go to bed I admire my new chair, sitting proudly in the corner of my bedroom.

#lifeisgood

Tuesday 24 May 2016 To Caro

Last night, with a little help from my neighbour John I reverse my bike into my little green shed for an easy exit in the morning.

My new Held bag is packed and attached to the bike sent with Rok straps. I’m really hoping this might be THE bag! Over the years I have spent a small fortune on bike luggage and it’s never been quiet right. This bag could do with an outside pocket but other than that I think it’s pretty good: waterproof, roll-top along the length, handles and shoulder straps, good ring fittings and at 30l the right size…in the past I’ve had a tendency go for larger bags, but not needed now I have top box for waterproofs.

I wake up about 4 times in the night, my brain is obviously worried I’m going to sleep through the 5.45am alarm… But I don’t and I leave bang on time at 6.30am.

Those of you who know me will know what an achievement that is!

It’s a lovely ride down. Traffic gets heavy around Chichester, but not a problem on a bike.

I get to check in a 8.04. which is perfect timing as within 5 minutes I am waved straight on board- there’s none of that waiting around in a second queue like you get in the St Malo overnight crossing 

I’m the first on board, I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll be the last off!

What it does mean is that I have my choice of seats :0) so nab one at the front,giving me leg room and a view, but even more importantly it’s next to a plug,  so no need to worry about my phone charge…sorted!

The boat leaves Portsmouth at 9am, it’s a 3 hour crossing to Cherbourg, so with the hour time difference we will arrive at 1pm.

I tuck into the ham and cheese rolls, that I’d prepared earlier,  with just the small thought in the back of my head that I am turning into my Mum! I’m not even going to try and justify them, OK well maybe a little, I’d hate for you to get the wrong impression – the food on this ship consists of overpriced pain au chocolat and expensive sandwiches in flavours I just don’t like…so there!  But don’t worry, I plan to make up for it in overindulging in french lunches over the next two weeks!

The crossing is over in a relatively quick time. 

When I head downstairs this beautiful car is parked next to my bike. 

As I thought the ride to Caro was fairly boring- motorway all the way to Avalanches, including a long stretch with only one lane and a 70km speed limit.

From Dinad onward I picked up the normal route I’d take when I’m coming from St Malo.

My petrol light comes on, but the clock says I have 50 miles left in the tank so decide to push onto Ploermel – it’s the first 200 miles on one tank I’ve ever ridden!

I get to the house just before 5pm, and after scurrying around: opening shutters, getting garden furniture out and unpacking my bags and head back out on the bike back up to Ploermel to get the groceries. 

I’m determined not to go as mad as I usually do with food shopping when I first get here and I do manage to restrain myself.

Back at the house and my Tiger is happy to be in the French garage.

We are lucky enough that our neighbour mows our lawn for us. Its not a small job! And I don’t know how he does it, but it always seems to have been cut when I arrive. Can’t wait to crash out on the loungers!

Fresh Prawns for tea…Yummy!

A little later and I get a lovely suprise text from my friend Sara who lives in Le Mans, asking if I’ve arrived and could she stay the night,  as she is heading to sell her ceramics at market tomorrow.  The answer is a big Yes!

So after a little more scurrying – I wasn’t expecting visitors and had dumped most if my stuff- those of you who have toured with me will know what this means :0), Sara arrives and wr enjoy a pleasant evening chatting and drinking wine.

Saturday 13th 2017: NW200

Today I will be attending my first Road Races,  the NW200.
 Last night I flew to Belfast to stay with a fellow lady biker Jane, who I have become friends with through a couple of Facebook Groups, Celtic Sisterhood and Motorbike Women. This trip is the first time we have met face to face.

It’s an early start , leaving the house at 7am for the 90 minute drive North, to pick up our lift and Jane’s son Adam. 

Our spot for the day is at Métropole corner.

It’s not what you know it’s who you know…and Jane knows the right people, as we are lucky enough to be able to watch from this large private garden that the race marshalls use as a base…

…where we can also see the big screen

…and have our own celebrity,  Christian Iddon, BSB rider :0)

Smiley face selfie: me, Gillian from Road Racing Ireland Magazine, Lesley – Jane’s marshalling friend ( Thank you Lesley),  Jane and her son Adam ( check out his racing photography at FB page AB Photography- you’d never think they were taken by an 11 year old!) 

The first race started on time    but then they were delayed and shortened,  Firstly due to oil on the road,  then to the rain.

I had come prepared with suncream for the sunshine ( optimistic)  and waterproofs for the rain ( expected), but still continued smiling despite the weather.

The sun did come out for a while, but only once I’d bought Adam this woolly hat!

The racing was great, especially the last race, which was a real cat and mouse affair, being won by a whisker by local rider Glenn ( with two “n” S) Irwin.

The other races were won by Michael Schutter and Alistar Seely. The latter winning 3 of the 5.

All in all it was a great day. 

So amazing to be SO close to the racing action. You could almost touch the bikes. 

Here’s just a few of the shots I took:

 

And here’s a small taste of the sights and sounds…