25 September 2018

the third return…as it was…

WELL ALL IN ALL, it panned out pretty damned fine.

Not in weather terms of course, that would have been asking too much. For sure as eggs are oeufs, the moment we disembarked down the ramp of the Amorique in early morning Roscoff, the patter of raindrops besmirched our windscreen and the wipers began their two day stint.

To be fair, it wasn't powering down; rather, a more-or-less steady drizzle was the main course accompanied by low light levels, mist and mirk. However, I am pleased to be able to report that we were not admonished by our passenger, no, not once. She took it as being as it should be, whatever, and as I know her to be unafraid of inclemency, joined with us to accept the thrill as life's rich tapestry, warts and all. We had crossed the channel in comfort, our guest had gleaned the freebies associated with our travel advantages (breakfast, free water etc, even though we promised a breakfast in Roscoff which we never-the-less partook of), and was content to don waterproofing as and when to get the chance to stroll across the littoral here, the armoured lock there, and the fishing port and sluices thereafter . . .

We opined that the weather certainly strengthened the atmosphere of the granite beach we sampled a few miles west from our point of arrival; was more in keeping with the long muddy inlets of the Port du Bec and certainly harmonised with my fond recollections of moules-frites enjoyed in rain swept bar-restaurants with steamed up windows. Mrs Melling and self had not hitherto experienced a crossing of the Loire at St Nazaire without being able to see the bridge towers, or the truncated view back across the river from St Brevin which we anticipated showing Beryl with some relish. There certainly was no relish, or croissants either, at the bar at St B, and we had to wait until the place opened as it was Sunday morning. But the coffee was good and strong so we got going thereafter with hardly a backward glance, the view anyway being obscured by mist and rain-freckle.

Meticulous followers of these postings will have studied carefully the nuances of the route south published earlier and still may be puzzled by the absence of some of the places seemingly passed through in that schedule. But that is the point y'see! Worked out in detail it may be, but a straight jacket it is not. Beryl was able to witness first hand the way Mrs Melling adjusted our forward progress to take in muddy backwaters, old saltings and tidal crossings to nearby islands (Passage de Gois, for example). Not to mention (which I already have) the moules-frites which we cunningly engineered to be close to in time to reserve a table for the mid day repast [Le Mord'eau at Bouin]. And I think (I know) Dr Gummow liked it!

Anyway to cut a long story short, it rained to La Rochelle where it sort of cleared up, and then, thereafter it improved to Cahors. The Viaduc de Millau showed itself off under patchy skies and Marseillan was cloudless blue, warm, welcoming,  as it always is, for our excellent and reliable fish lunch on the waterfront at La Pacholine (Mrs M gets a clean head start with the soup, see left!).


We ran to schedule and delivered ourselves thereafter unto Orange (for the shop) and then unto Sablet. Another jolly jaunt! And with due thanks to Beryl for her support and her generous sponsorship of this endeavour. I hope we may do it again, but, of course, via another variation . . .