Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Gabrielle!

It was Gabrielle’s birthday yesterday, a day off, of course… well, sort of. A few days ago, we discovered, for the first time since keeping chickens, an infestation of red mites (dermanyssus gallinae, more of which in a future blog). We’d ordered two products, one to dust onto their feathers and a liquid to clean their house. That all arrived on Thursday and we were keen to try and relieve their itchy and bloodsucking stress. After tea in bed, with cards and presents, a quick breakfast was followed by putting on wellies, sparking up the borrowed power jet cleaner and sloshing disinfectant about … I know how to treat a lady on her birthday!

We tootled up to the coast, a delightful small town called St Briac-sur-Mer, for a delicious lunch followed by les trésors du bord de mer, le temps d’une marée, a guided walk on the beach at low tide to discover “the abundant riches of a hidden world” and this is a nuance we hadn’t really taken note of, “idéal en famille”.

Our guide was a slim woman in her early 50s, with a weathered face, engaging eyes and possessing an abundance of knowledge and enthusiasm. As the group formed around her van, it was clear that we were the only couple without small children. I made her smile by asking whether having children was obligatory (it wasn’t) and, although we felt like we’d joined a littoral school trip, we passed a fascinating couple of hours, learning, amongst other things, how to sex a crab.

When we returned home, Gabrielle had received an Internet greeting card from some musician friends, Maryté and Jean Pierre, who’d risen to the occasion by writing in English: “Happy birthday Gabrielle. I hope you many years in the middle of pretties flowers all near your favorite gardener, in the violin sound. You already miss us and I hope to meet you, sooner or later, for drink some bear or wine and to have a good time. I kiss you and Stuart. See you later. Bye.

And just in case you’re thinking of coming on holiday to Brittany in August, don’t, the weather is awful and the beaches rammed full of holidaymakers, see photo below.