Sadly my consultancy work – it’s a four letter word – has kept me busy and meant a delayed posting of this, with no time for rants, religion or jokes.
Pont de Hoc
Off down to Pont de Hoc. On D-Day 225 American rangers scaled the cliffs to take out a heavily fortified Kraut gun emplacement. Whilst they achieved their objective only 90 survived.
Pointe du Hoc is a promontory with a 100 ft cliff overlooking the English Channel on the coast of Normandy in northern France. During World War II it was the highest point between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. The German army fortified the area with concrete casemates and gun pits. On D-Day (6 June 1944) the United States Army Ranger Assault Group assaulted and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs.
Then drove to Marie St Elgise – famous for it’s church with a D-Day paratrooper dangling from it – for lunch.
The town’s main claim to fame is that it played a significant part in the World War II Normandy landings because this village stood right in the middle of route N13, which the Germans would have most likely used on any significant counterattack on the troops landing on Utah and Omaha Beaches. In the early morning of 6 June 1944 mixed units of the U.S. 82nd Airborne and U.S. 101st Airborne Divisions occupied the town in Mission Boston, giving it the claim to be one of the first towns liberated in the invasion.
The early landings, at about 0140 directly on the town, resulted in heavy casualties for the paratroopers. Some buildings in town were on fire that night, and they illuminated the sky, making easy targets of the descending men. Some were sucked into the fire. Many hanging from trees and utility poles were shot before they could cut loose.
A well-known incident involved paratrooper John Steele of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner.
Then in the evening we went to a local restaurant that the owner had told us was only closed on Sunday evening. He speaks with forked tongue. It was closed. As luck would have it we bump into the owner who now says it is closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact it sounds like it’s hardly ever open, just when he can be bothered. Typical arrogant French, with attitude and about as enterprising and as much charm and get up and go as a dyslexic sloth.
Peek a Boo who have we here.
I walk off and throw my arms up in Gaelic disgust. He’s a complete waste of oxygen.
That’s two restaurants in town we’ll not be going to. In fact by the time they’ve seen my Tripadvisor review we’ll probably have a lifetime ban.
Go to Campanelle where we are greeted with a smile and hearty welcome. Great choice of food, both al la carte and formula; awesome food; great silver service with a laugh and a smile. Reasonably priced. Never had Galletes before, they were awesome. We’ll be going back there again.
A small whisky and a small bourbon and I manage to survive an episode of Homeland before drifting off to bed for the best nights sleep for months – a sleep of the just.
Excitement bubbles over. It’s market day. The women can hardly wait, so after breakfast we gallop into town. Barry and I leave them to it while Barry has a freshly made sausage baton and then we tootle off for a coffee.
Back to the caravan to discover an ant invasion. Wendy has a complete meltdown. Spray the little bastards but still they keep coming.
Drop the roof down on the car and have a pleasant sunny ride down to Carantan to the big Lclerc. Sadly they don’t sell the Elijah Craig whiskey. Typical arrogance of the French as they must think Wendy may be a thief, as they demand to see inside her shopping bags. Standard practice in French supermarkets. What a disgraceful way to treat your customers. Arrogant and disrespectful.
Dinner of Fajitas for us all round at our ant colony. I think we’re winning the battle. Down a couple of bottles of wine and finish off the Double Rye.
I really do like people who fly the union flag. Flying it in France probably infuriates the locals, so even more reason to do it. After all said and done you’d think they’d be grateful for us saving their arrogant necks in two World Wars, but none of that. Anyway one of the Brits on our site is proudly flying the Union flag and one celebrating our soldiers. Sad new is the Union flags upside down. You would think that anyone who bothers to fly the flag would at least take the trouble to fly it the right way round.
Drive out to Pontbail, a lovely little fishing village. Have a stroll across the bridge and out to a restaurant on the headland. We were going to have coffee but when we discovered they didn’t know what a Latte was we decided it was best to abandon that plan.
Have a coffee in the town, sat enjoying the sunshine, although it’s a tad cool in the wind.
Interesting little town. So far we’ve never seen a booze shop – aka off-license – in any of the towns and villages. Yet this place has two. One of them has the best selection of whiskies I’ve seen in a ling while, plus a butcher that even sells wine and some whisky.
Bread, cheese and wine for tea – aka dinner for any southern softies brave enough to read this non-PC monologue.
A quiet evening in watching Homeland.
Off up to Cherbourg for a weekly shop at Leclerc. Manage to get a bottle of Elijah Craig.
Call in at Barfleur after Cherbourg. Allegedly one of the prettiest villages in France. Well it was quite quaint but if that’s one of the prettiest then the rest must be somewhat dire.
Have a stroll around the harbour and stop for coffee and chips – a famous English food combination. Amazing, despite repeating our order they manage to screw up 2 out 5 items. What can you expect it’s France and our waiter was so busy mincing around with the gay meter turned up full throttle, he probably couldn’t even remember where he’d left his gold lama posing pouch.
As her indoors has no idea what’s for tea – see above for Southern softie translation – I end up having bread, cheese and wine again. Oh how I have to suffer.
The economy in France must be on the up, there’s fewer stolen toilet seats these days. Only need a blow up toilet once – what a cracking idea for Dragons Den that would be, they’d sell like hot croissants in France.
When we booked our caravan pitch we never bothered to specify a “No smoking pitch”, but now we have a human chimney on the pitch next to us. His Misses obviously doesn’t smoke and forces him outside, so we get the benefit when the winds in the wrong direction.
Wendy and I take a cobweb destroying, open top, drive down to Carentan. Visit E.Leclerc, oh the excitement, I’m orgasmic.
Give it a kiss it may turn into a Prince.
Afternoon we drive down to Baupte for a walk. Park looks very nice but the walk’s about as enjoyable as a stroll around Khyber Pass in downtown Blackburn.
Evening is curry and bread and butter pudding round at Barry’s, all washed down with wine and some Elijah Craig – it goes down well.
Stroll into town with Wendy. Have coffee at the cafe with all the Holy gamblers – after an hour on their knees in the cold damp church, with a missing spire, they all troop in here to gamble and drink. Oh and gorge themselves on the free bread and sausage.
Then in the afternoon we go for a walk around the Plan d’Eau – a lake – not a very long walk I might add. And as for the cafe, well it was that scruffy that even the cockroaches had left for fear of food poisoning.
Evening finally finish off Homeland – improved towards the end.
Lazy morning. Dot and Wendy drive off in search of new exciting supermarkets, so Barry and I have a saunter into town. Not really sure why, other than to spread confusion and discord. Well we knew it was Monday and expected most of the lazy beggars to be shut but everywhere is shut, including our favourite cafe. So no Whiskey crawl for us. Even the flower shops, lawn mower shops and hairdressers are shut.
Somethings up, must a contagious national outbreak of “idolitus couldn’t give a damess”. Turns out it’s yet another bank holiday.
Finally find that Hotel Commerce is open. Is it worth suffering the rude, chauvinistic arrogance and surliness of the harridan waitress that lurks in there? Our thirst gets the better of us. No chance of a whiskey though all they sell is wine and the usual urine coloured drink that they try and pass off as beer.
Saunter back to find Wendy and Dot have struggled to find an open supermarket, even E.Leclerc were closed. It’s just like England in the 1960, except that you can’t understand a word they’re saying.
Dinner around at ours. Corned beef hash with some wine and eventually some Elijah Craig Bourbon – very quaffable – and nicer than Jack Daniel Select barrel. Alas the Elijsh Craig has all evaporated.
We finally get to Lego Land!
Drive out to Saint Vaast La Hougue with Dot and Barry for lunch. A pretty little fishing village. Prettier than Barfleur.
Have a very pleasant lunch. Their fish tartiflet was awesome.
Lazy evening in catching up on Designated Survivor. Don’t you just love how many times he says “the American people”.
Time to pack up.
Barry enjoying his Moules Frittes. Mind you he didn’t enjoy the aftermath of them.
Saunter down to the market for a final coffee whilst the sun dries off the awning. Then in the afternoon it’s take the awning down – takes about 2 hours, with coffee break – followed by clean the caravan. Pack up most things ready for tomorrow.
In the evening we’re all off out to the Pom Cannelle for dinner. Well would be if the idles, feckless French souls could be bothered to open on a Wednesday evening. A pity, really looking forward to one of their Gallettes – really good food and service.
Have to compromise and go to the Fish restaurant, whose proprietor seems to open when he feels like it. Service was good and food was ok, but the menu was not inspiring. Spent most of his time grimacing and telling us what choice was off the menu today. Along with other diners, spent half the meal searching for the salt and pepper, which were carefully camouflaged to look like a couple of shiny flat pebbles. Can’t believe what pervert made or bought those!
Back to Barries for a final bourbon nightcap. End to a perfect holiday, even though it was in France.
Pack up the caravan in the morning then it’s a pretty lazy afternoon so we have an exciting trip to Carentan E.Leclerc and Lidl to while away the afternoon. Then it’s afternoon tea with the Gaudens and we set off to Caen.
Pleasant drive to Caen apart from when we get to the port. There’s a large illegal immigrant presence and a corresponding large armed police presence. Suddenly we’ve a giant lorry up our exhaust pipe, honking away on his horn at us. Really dangerous as we’re going round a bend. I can see why as the immigrants are trying to board his lorry like a hoard of pirates trying to board a ship. I’m furious at the danger and am so tempted to stop and walk over to the police and complain. Pull into the car park.
Wendy meets her Prince Charming.
There’s illegal immigrants marauding everywhere and the police are constantly moving them on. Why the hell they don’t just arrest and deport them. Weak and wishy governments yet again.
Have dinner at the port watching the marauding immigrants.
Then it’s a long , boring wait to board as the ferries late.
Off the boat fairly quickly and then it’s a MacDonalds breakfast before our short drive up to Brett’s.
Shower and settle and in the afternoon we go a long walk around Cowarth Park. Call in for an afternoon beer. My god you can tell we’re in the rich South, don’t think I’ve ever paid as much for a round of drinks nearly fell off me perch and my credit card had a catatonic relapse.
Brett really loves Waitrose, what with a free coffee and a free newspaper can’t say as I blame him. Awesome choice of foods. But alas not something they have in Blackburn, I wonder why?
Brett made dinner in the evening. Yet another one of my sons who cooks. Must be in their genes but obviously by passed me along with the gardening gene.
Changing the drab guards.
Go into Windsor. Just happen upon a changing of the guard ceremony but they’re boring black uniforms, not blood red – always handy in battle to hide and blood on the uniform.
Pop down to Eton college but the grounds aren’t open. Toddle off for lunch in Sunningdale.
In the evening Brett coooks again.
Have a stroll around Virginia waters then watch the polo. It’s quite entertaining and best of all it’s free.
Then the long, road work ridden, traffic jammed drive home.
End to an awesome holiday.
In honour of the 6 French people we have met over the years, who were pleasant – most of them on this camp site. I’ve decided to revise my view of France. No longer will it be known as “A lovely country spoilt by the French” but henceforth I will be fair and state “A lovely country spoilt by the vast majority of the French”.