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Jersey and Brittany

imageSunday 6 August 2017

Thanks Flybe!! Your flight from IoM to Manchester this afternoon was over 3 hours late leaving resulting in my daughter missing her Flybe connecting flight to Jersey!

Not at all a good service which means a child minder will be needed for her 5 year old nephew she was supposed to be looking after in Jersey.

Compensation will be claimed, especially since she was, as a result, routed to Exeter for an overnight stop, to catch an early morning flight to Jersey from there to Jersey.

I think I will try and avoid flying at the same time as her again, as on top of the 3 hour delay in the flight to Manchester, there was another 3 hour delay in the flight to Exeter and another 2+ hours delay the following morning due to staff illness. 21 hours it eventually took her as opposed to 5 and a half. Shambles!

Well, that was Mel’s attempt to get to Jersey, now, on Wednesday 10 August it is our turn and we were flying Easyjet to Gatwick, late in the evening, overnighting there and a lunchtime BA flight to Jersey from Gatwick the following day – what could possibly go wrong?

Well, we made it, but our journey to Gatwick was very near the cut off time for keeping the IoM airport open, leaving something like 80 minutes late.

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Sarah & Ali’s kitchen for the summer!

Sarah & Ali have sold their house in Jersey and are camping whilst they find another house – a difficult task at the moment in Jersey.

We are well past our camping days and had sought help from our friends Laura & Jim for accommodation whilst Mel had joined Sarah & Ali for a week in self catering above Big Verns.

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Suitably dressed in his IoM T Shirt

Harry was pleased to see us.

By all accounts, the experience at the self catering unit was not good and certainly not worth the £1500 they had paid, having to call out Environmental health over some issues.

We started off on Friday with mini golf at nearby Les Mielles, followed by a visit to the Elephant park, boy was it windy at both but the 2 coffees and a cold drink at the Elephant park kiosk for £3.20 was a bargain, and dinner at Roccos at Les Mielles Golf club house; excellent value at £88 for 5 + Harry, including drinks. http://lesmielles.com/roccos/general-info-opening-times

Saturday 12 August

Early ferry to St Malo in appallingly cold and wet weather; crowded boat and an expensive coffee kiosk. Passport control not too bad and we head off south, Sarah driving her van, to Decathlon in Rennes by which time the weather had partially improved.

Lots of heavy showers on drive to our gite at Rose cottage near Langudic via a food stop. Finding the cottage wasn’t too difficult although neither of Sarah’s Sat Navs really worked properly.

Cottage is one of 3 – a converted barn in traditional Breton style. The other two are occupied by two German families who are related to each other. Mel was likened in age to the eldest daughter who is 18 – she was chuffed.

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Pool & cottage

Harry wants to be in the pool all the time but it is time for bed pretty soon, he is absolutely zonked.

Very well stocked cottage with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, dishwasher, washing machine and all clean crockery and utensils.

Sky TV has the basic British channels which helped in catching up with the first Premiership game results of the season, a 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool and Match of the Day.

The chairs are comfortable, the water hot but the one thing it lacks is an Internet connection and whilst there is electricity, running water and sewage disposal there is no phone reception for about half a mile.

A lovely clear sky tonight but only one shooting star visible.

Sunday 13 August

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Auray Town Hall

A short journey to Auray and a walk through a deserted town and down a steep hill to the riverside which was vibrant with locals lunching outside in the sun.

Lots of quaint streets and old buildings in a town not dissimilar to Dinard near St Malo.

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Auray riverside

Lunch, after an ice cream and a cake, in a children’s playground, as you do, and an attempt to get the sat nav to get us back to the house, having previously set it to the cottage as “home” – it failed miserably – sending us to totally the wrong village.

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Colourful canned fish shop

A long session for Harry in the pool again and a meal outside, temperatures have risen today, it was shorts weather.

Another late night watching football and one with a fantastic smattering of stars with a shooting star but not the promised meteorite show.

Monday 14 August

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Carnac standing stones

Visit planned under a cloudless sky to Carnac for the standing stones, The Carnac alignments, and then on to Quiberon. Luckily managed to park near the standing stones for a walk around the perimeter fence.

A bit underwhelming we thought but nevertheless, impressive when you consider when they were built (Neolithic era) and what tools they had at the time.

Onwards to Quiberon we get stuck in an almighty traffic jam, we think it must be a public holiday today, so turn off and abandon that idea, opting for a picnic on the way to Port-Louis and then diverting to a very sparsely populated beach at Plage du Magouero.

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Anyone for muscles

Loads of baby muscles on the rocks here and three lifeguards in attendance which is good as they watched anyone venturing into the sea in their immediate vicinity, not that there were many.

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An inflatable 2CV

We end up at the Decathlon and Carrefour at Lorient which is surprisingly well found by the Sat Nav.

The Internet at Decathlon was not able to download the Manx.net emails but this was resolved in Carrefour, as was the downloading of the Kindle books from the Cloud onto Sal’s kindle.

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At least I went in

Once again, the Sat Nav sends us to the wrong destination when we attempt to return to the house but we now know the way!

Into the swimming pool somewhat gingerly as it appears to be colder than we thought it would be.

Once in though it was good for half an hour’s messing around.

Tuesday 15 August

Sal decides a rest is in order today so the rest of us head for the market at Etel which we thought would just be around a square in the centre of the village – another error, this was huge, spreading from the church to the river front on one way and at least half a mile the other way.

All sorts of stalls, shoes, clothes, ice creams, fruit, veg, meat, crockery etc. Although we arrived just before 10, it was quite crowded but by the time we left about 90 minutes later it was absolutely heaving.

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Port du Vieux Passage

We had spotted a broken ship the other side of the river and headed off for this in an effort to have lunch there.

However, we found Port du Vieux Passage to stop for lunch followed by a walk around the coast admiring some lovely houses and locating the isolated house on the rock in the middle of the river although not able to take a good photo of it.

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L’ile du Nohic

From the internet it appears it has recently been renovated from a very dilapidated state and may now be holiday accommodation.

Further along the coast we find the wrecked boat, maybe a pirate ship we told Harry, but in fact there were five wooden ships altogether, slowly rotting in the salt water and probably covered by the low tide twice a day.

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Pirate ships?

Some very interesting shells and rocks on the sea front by the mouth of the estuary.

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T Rex in stone?

Shops closed this afternoon, it appears to be another bank holiday, so back to the cottage and a swim, slightly warmer than yesterday, and a BBQ.

Let us make the best of the warm and sunny weather, we are hardly ever able to sit outside at home.

Wednesday 16 August

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Enjoying the sun

We manage to get to Quiberon today, far less traffic but somehow miss the main part of the town, heading to the sea for a walk along the granite coast and a delicious crepe.

Loads of people stopping by the heart stone so getting a picture was quite challenging without people around.

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Heart Stone, Quiberon

Leaving the coast we head back inland for a drive towards Port Louis and its fort on the opposite side of the river to Lorient.

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Fort @ Port Louis

This fort is built in a strange position as it is surrounded by a moat but the water in the moat recedes at low tide so somewhat useless to keep out marauding pirates, however it is an interesting fort to walk around with some stunning views of the river and its water traffic.

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Sea Rescue olden times in France

Inside, there is a museum including a history of the East India Trade as well as shipping in general and a large section on the French equivalent of the British RNLI, the voluntary organisation dedicated to saving lives of people in distress on the sea.

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View from Port Louis

Thursday 17 August

A dull and wet morning , so we delay our visit to Pontivy, although arrive at lunchtime when everything, even the tourist information boat on the river is closed.

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Bridge at Pontivy

A bit of a struggle to find Decathlon without a proper up to date and working Sat Nav and no internet access other than McDonalds where we stopped earlier for a coffee – you have to order by remotely on screen and pay with a card – no cash accepted, but once fed and clothed (we found Decathlon and bought waterproofs) we headed to Poète Ferrailleur, near Lizio.

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Poete Ferrailleur

Poète Ferrailleur is an interesting place all created by one person and with items salvaged entirely from scrap metal, wires, wood – you name it, it is there.

Lots of interactive things for the kids to do including a number of simple board games and many work by a push button.

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An exhibit at Poete Ferrailleur

Quite a small site and just outside the village of Lizio where there are a few other activities although we didn’t have time as we had to get back for a swim

Friday 18 August

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Pontivy shops

A slightly better morning, and whilst no rain we slightly delay our departure and again for Pontivy for a proper sit down lunch, our first one out as opposed to picnics we have been having.  The café was chosen even before it’s name was found.

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Cafés Richard from Maison Richard

 

with a walk around the old part of the town with it’s fascinating buildings.

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La Balade du Pere Nicolas

Internet obtained in the car park of McDonalds before we head for Parc De Loisirs, a sort of mini adventure playground, called La Balade du Père Nicolas with lots of go karts, slides, more board games, a train ride, of sorts, and many small and medium animals.

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A big slide for big kids

The brochure advertised a giraffe but where it was is anyone’s guess, and the brochure from both last year and this year advertised a steam engine but the engine was off the rails and probably hadn’t been moved for years so the train was pulled by a tractor. Harry didn’t seem to mind though.

The big slide was a hit however and the zip wire certainly was being used consistently but was being abused by a few larger children as it had a creaking and cracked support but there were not too many other queues, just a few local children pushing in.

Leave in time for a last swim in the pool before we head for Jersey tomorrow.

The Parc is aimed mainly at children from age 4 to 10 there were a few families with older children who still seemed to be enjoying themselves. Harry certainly liked this attraction and at €7 entrance it was good value for money.

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Last swim

Saturday 19 August

Last day and a pack up, clean and tidy the house and set off at 10am. There was a cleaning charge of €65 if we didn’t clean so Harry was put to task hoovering – he enjoyed it, we think.

More by luck than judgement we find IKEA in Rennes (neither Sat Nav could help). Whilst we didn’t buy anything, Sarah did for a friend; prices seemed higher than in the UK.

Onwards to the outskirts of St Malo and we spend more time before the ferry, this time in Cora and then in the new nearby Decathlon passing the old site now occupied by gypsys.

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Harmony Men on Condor ferry

Condor ferry an hour late from St Malo and on the boat are some members of the Harmony Men, Jersey’s leading male voice choir, who I sung with when I lived in Jersey all those years ago – thanks for the free wine, Les.

Shattered, we get back to Laura & Jim’s for a well earned rest after dropping Mel off at a house for a comfortable bed, rather than camping and a meal at Pizza Express, St Brelade’s Bay.

Sunday 20 August

Take Mel to airport (she was only 30 minutes late this time) and then head for Elephant Park with Harry who now has a bike with him. It is strange having to return him to a campsite rather than a house. Harry is loving the experience though.

Too late for Sunday papers by the time we get to the shops.

Monday 21 August

Sarah brings Harry to Laura & Jim’s as she has hurt her back and is off to the chiropractor. We take Harry to Colleen’s for breakfast, a play on the beach and then a cycle around the park at Quennevais.

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Harry on Greve d’Azette

For some strange reason, the cafe at Quennevais sports centre was closed for refurbishment, despite it being the middle of the summer holidays’ so back to Elephant Park again for some drinks and a little play.

Meet up with Sarah & Ali at a house in St Lawrence for a viewing, a fantastic opportunity if they can get it, but there are some issues in this unfinished house which would need to be resolved first, like a retaining wall that needs building.

Tuesday 22 August

Collect Harry from Sarah’s work and back to Laura & Jim’s where he manages to scrounge another breakfast and samples the trampoline.

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Trampoline exercise

A hot day but not at first, so we opt for a morning cinema visit with Harry to watch Nut Job2, he didn’t like the mice!

Now off to Milbrook station café for, a play and paddle in Milbrook park, he did enjoy that although it was very noisy and crowded.

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Somerville hotel

Out tonight with Laura & Jim to Somerville, always a good meal and with stunning views over St Aubin’s bay.

Wednesday 23 August

Our last day with Harry and after another go on the trampoline and another breakfast we head off to St Catherine’s for a look at the sand sculpture and a ride along the breakwater before heading off to the park at Gorey, and a paddle in the sea.

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Sand sculptures at St Catherine’s

Ali is off this afternoon, so he collects Harry whilst we head back to Laura & Jim’s to pack.

Late (in the evening) BA flight to Gatwick although it was about 15 minutes early leaving, and overnight at the Sofitel.

Tomorrow is a day in London with a lunchtime meal and a visit around the old Highgate Underground station which is long disused before a flight home just in time for the arrival of some biker guests for the Manx Festival of Motoring.

Sarah, Ali & Harry have another three weeks under canvas before settling into a short term let whilst still searching for a suitable house.

 

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Bye bye campsite

 

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Jersey at Easter

116Wednesday 5 April

Only home at 10pm last night from my witness duties in court in London and we are off again, this time on the afternoon fast ferry to Liverpool.

Big traffic jam to get out of Liverpool as there is a Premiership mach tonight but eventually get through tunnel and off to Shrewsbury for our overnight.

Thursday 6 April

No problems on route to Portsmouth via Flic’s in Reading after helping her move some books from their garage.

Friday 7 April

A bit of retail therapy at a few nearby shops and dinner tonight at Pizza Express in Petersfield, a place I don’t think I had been to before although might have had a visit when, as a Scout, we camped at nearby South Harting.

Saturday 8 April

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Portsmouth’s spinnaker

Foggy as we arrive at Portsmouth Harbour for our long crossing to Jersey for a long wait before we board – not a busy ferry despite it being the week before Easter but we are soon on our way past the Spinnaker and some interesting sights and ships as the fog clears quickly.

A very smooth crossing and again, probably another first, leaving Portsmouth in the morning.

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HMS Warrior 1860

Lots of reading time on the crossing to Guernsey and the town of St Peter Port is looking good in the sunshine on our stop for about an hour before we head off for Jersey.

Sunday 9 April

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Passing the time waiting for a bike ride

A bright and hot start which goes down hill rapidly with fog rolling in whilst we stand around and watch Harry in a taster cycle race at Les Quenevais.

Monday 10 to Thursday 13 April

Harry in Sports bugs at Le Rocquier School in the morning, so dropping him off at 8:30 and picking him up again at 12:00 each day.

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Peaceful Greve de Lecq

A Monday visit to Social Security to talk about Jersey pensions, Tuesday morning breakfast at Colleen’s in Greve de Lecq and all afternoons spent entertaining him with Lego Builder – his toy of the moment – and a build your own rocket.

Friday 14 April

Good Friday, so Sarah and Ali are off all day.

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What a view from Pizza Express

Evening meal at Pizza Express in St Brelade’s Bay – possibly one of the best located Pizza Express restaurants around but very noisy as lots of groups are taking advantage of the Bank holiday.

Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 April

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Daisy chain construction

Some time to reacquaint ourselves with some of the delights of Jersey such as a walk around the Reservoir at  Queen’s Valley picking daisies for a daisy chain and on Sunday evening a lovely meal with Laura & Jim at the Sommerville Hotel – plans hatched for holidays this year to Florida and next year to Alaska.

Monday 17 April

Easter Monday and whilst Elizabeth Castle was free to get in yesterday it would have been mobbed so we go today especially as the tides are right for the DUCK to go on the water which is on his “to do” list.

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Visitors up for a parade

The interaction with the public inside the castle is wonderful including marching soldiers and rifle firing – the latter not being one of Harry’s favourite things though.

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Castle bound transport

Now been to the castle more times than the 12 years we lived in Jersey – still fascinating though and Harry does like the freedom to run around.

However, a storm appears to be on the way meaning yachts are scurrying into the harbour for shelter.

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Storm clouds approaching

Tuesday 18 April

Harry off school as it is an inservice day at his school – go off to buy some plant pots that match the ones at home, a sit on the beach at Gorey and a catch up with Sue Thorne at Holme Grown.

Sarah & Ali are interested in moving house so we are off to St Brelade’s for a viewing of a house that needs a lot of work doing to it. All dependent upon schools, mortgages, planning (bounderies) and a few other issues though, so nothing definite.

Wednesday 19 April

Take Harry (who is a bit reluctant) to school and off to Ransom’s for breakfast, pack up the car – leaving their present house for the last time as it pans out – and down to town to meet with Sarah and Ali for lunch at Costa before queuing for well over an hour before we get on the delayed Condor Ferries boat back to Poole which leaves an hour late.

A bit of a jigsaw as two boats arrive at the same time, one from Guernsey and Poole and the other from St Malo.

Cars from Guernsey and Poole going to St Malo have to switch ferries as do the cars from St Malo heading for Guernsey and Poole.

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Not long to go, Flic.

All this takes place in a very confined port area – it is amazing they all get to their correct destinations.

Thursday 20 April

After a night near Poole, we head back to Reading to check up on Flic followed by a very long (time wise) drive to Liverpool to head home.

So much traffic and a journey that normally takes about 3.5 hours took 5.5 hours and we only just made the ferry before they pulled up the ramp.

We are back to look after Flic very soon though.