She has a name at last and I will explain all that at the end of this post. These pictures are from a day out at the coast nearly two weeks ago. We haven't got Mary out again since then but I see better weather coming soon so we might get to camp soon - but in the meantime a day out and a picnic by the sea is a good enough compromise.
This time we filled up with enough water to get the boiler going and check that the hot water runs (it does), but as we can't get near the house with it we couldn't use the new clean hose for water so K had to fill by hand as you can see!
One thing I can't get over is because you are sitting so much higher up than in a car, and being a van it has a huge windscreen, you get a much clearer view of the countryside and I am appreciating it so much more. The sky seems so huge too and it's going to be good for getting snaps whilst on the move. So long as we keep the windscreen clean, and no, splatted bugs is not my idea of fun insect photography!
We headed up to the stretch of coast between Cancale and St Malo, but sadly for some unknown reason the coastal road was closed halfway along with no explanation, so the beach I had planned to go to had to be changed. We ended up parking in a layby on the cliff top along with about five other motorhomes to have our picnic, but we did at least have a view of the sea. Afterwards we walked a bit along coastal paths and saw that we were really close to Pointe du Grouin where I find all sorts of interesting wild flowers and butterflies in summer.
Looking over at the semaphore station on Pointe du Grouin.
This coastal path is the GR34 - one of the Grande Randonee walks in France - this one goes the entire way around the Brittany coast.
Blackthorn was just beginning to flower.
Picnic time, so nice in comfort and warmth!
As we fancied a walk on a beach we headed for our favourite spot at Port Mer. The tide was out a really long way and we had a great time wandering on the beach. The few restaurants here looked closed but it is hard to tell because it was mid afternoon by this time and of course nobody is sitting outside in winter, so they could be open for lunch. Indoors.
It pays to check out that lone seagull you often see - as in this case it wasn't, it was a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)! Not an uncommon sight these days, both in winter and summer.
These were so distant it was only because K heard their cries that we even noticed them - Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) on the beach. I haven't seen any in Brittany before.
I was nearly falling over trying to get down and take photos whilst squatting - could have done with waterproof kneely pads! Then I'm like an old lady struggling to get back up again!
But what are we taking photos of in the next two images?
These strange things!
They were totally fascinating and there were loads of them around the low tide area. When we came home I found out that they are Common Whelk egg cases! Here's some brief information from Arkive - more info about them on their page here. Whelks are of course edible and one of the things you will find in a Plateau de Fruits de Mer over here - but personally I think they are gross as I don't eat snails, whether from the land or the sea - though I have tried them. Never again!
"The sexes are separate; breeding takes place from October to May, and the eggs are attached to rocks, shells and stones in protective capsules. Each capsule contains as many as 1000 eggs, and the capsules
of several females are grouped together in large masses of over 2000 (2). Only a few of these eggs will develop; most eggs are used as a source of food by the growing embryos (3). There is no free-swimming larval stage (4), instead, crawling young emerge from the capsules after several months (3). Empty egg masses frequently wash up on beaches, and are often mistaken for sponges (2). They are known as 'sea wash balls' because they were once used to wash with (3)."
On the walk back up the hill to the car park I saw these amazing summer flowers, still going strong in this sheltered spot where frosts are rare!
Then it was time for tea and cake in the warmth and comfort of the Marymobile. :-)
So, how did she get named? Well it seems you have to give everything a name these days, including your stoma (mine doesn't!). But I was starting to find it a bit irritating calling it 'it', 'the van', 'the MoHo' and felt we needed something a bit more interesting but easy to say. We'd played around a bit with names and I really wanted something to honour my late in-laws, as it was their inheritance which paid for it (yes I know I said I was going to buy it from the money I'm supposed to be receiving from my uncle but god knows when that is going to arrive, and by the time the lawyer has taken off his £130 an hour fee there will probably be nothing left!).
I liked The AlfandMaryMobile but that was too much of a mouthful, and K kept calling it the Winnebago. So we joked about the Mary Bago (as her name wasn't Winnie) and eventually settled on Mary for short. K was brought up on caravanning holidays around the British Isles with his brother and parents and I know they would have been thrilled to know that we had bought something like this with their money. In fact my brother and sister in law are talking about getting one too! I wonder what they will call theirs? :-)
The Wrinklies, as we used to call them, on their 70th wedding anniversary in November 2012. I'm so glad we were there for it.
Thanks very much, Alf and Mary. I miss you. xx