Fog and mists. Sainte Foy-la-Grande finally provided the necessary, rather large good coffees with which to swill down the Bergerac provender (the baguettes held in reserve for lunch). The café is just behind the market hall in the view I include here. It was busy. Sainte Foy-la-Grande was not. Did they forsee a time when this would be the norm? Sainte Foy-la-Grande is the town which yielded the fine Meissen fish plate that graces our kitchen wall these twenty-five years or more, here at Bullsmead Towers. Bought it for a fiver. I have suddenly had a thought! Could I repair that chip in the plate's rim, the reason for it being so cheap? Hmm. A bit of painted polyfilla . . . hmmmmm.
You will, once again, find no reference to our next diversion on the route exhibited on the previous two posts concerning this journey, so I shall not reproduce it again herewith. Mme Melling took us off the straight-and-narrow and via various rutted tracks and country by-ways, to visit the pile where Montaigne wrote his philosophies et thoughts down (mostly in that tower illustrated to left and to right of the ancestral home, pictured above).
I understand from the literati (my family) that this chap was an all round good egg and a bit of alright when it comes to views on life, loves, philosophy, cats, etc; in Fr of course so mostly beyond my humble comprehension (I blame my school). I have heard of him though (see book from shelf at Bullsmead Court). No tour of the place was available (thankfully) but we were permitted to wander round, for a small consideration, although not at the front of the big house as the present incumbents were in there stuffing their faces no doubt with petit dejéuner-en-crôute. The son and wife were deeply moved by the whole environment and I felt that indeed, it had character.
I am pleased to report that the weather lifted and cleared somewhat as we proceeded hereafter. We eventually arrived on the coast and our oft used route: we stopped on the sea-front once more at Saint George-de-Didonne to consume our sandwiches which we had brought from Bergerac. Excellent, excellent, why would any person on the road want more? Tasty, rapidly assimilated, moderately priced and satisfying. No long waits for service – or that illusive pudding – or terminating coffees – or long waits for l'addition, then similar wait for card reader gadget. Open the bag, take out the napkin and get it down you. Wipe fingers, brush crumbs off paunch, motor on. Simples. St Georges is quite refined but the out-of-town beach requires chestnut palings to contain drifting sands. Mother and child (unknown to us) are on the wet sand, not walking on the waters.
Our further excursion in this phase of our retreat back to the motherland does feature on the planned route back: namely, reaching the hotel in La Rochelle by means of the coastal road through La Grande Côte, and via La Coubre, Ronce les-Bains, Rochefort etc. We did just that, stopping briefly not far up the road from our very first ever easter rental on this coast, in La Grande Côte, making abeyance to Cordouan, out there in the bay. Now under lighter skies and low light, we motored on to set foot again on the beaches of Pointe de Coubre. The snaps below give you the idea. That's Cordouan, beneath the image of the fishing pavilions at La GC. Monument Historique y'know, World Heritage Site expected, etc. etc.
All pictures on this post are by your author with the exception of the strangely deserted scene in central Bergerac; that image was donated by Young Adam.