Friday, December 2, 2011

Before December

A quick post before we get into the exciting time that is December...

School was off for the week and Steve was leading a course which meant we hardly saw him. I decided to pack the boys up and head away on an adventure for a couple of days. We couldn't go far because I had a doula client whose baby was thinking about coming early, and the boys wanted beach, so we picked a spot using google earth and headed for Boulogne-sur-Mer and the Cap d'Opale.
I'm having trouble with the new editor and can't work out how to get the photos on here properly so below are a few of our photos in no particular order.
Went rock pooling on a windy wave-cut platform. Here we're talking barnacles and limpets.

The first mei tei carrier I made out of curtain material is still being used. He's getting a little heavier but it's handy when we're amongst crowds and he has excess energy. We are not very good at holding hands as a family. My fault I suppose as I'm usually happy to let them roam and explore.

Went to Nausicaa, purportedly France's best aquarium. It was very disappointing overall but there were a couple of good bits, including an incredible sea horse unlike any I've seen before and this "tropical lagoon" pictured above. The sea lion "show" was absolutely terrible, and not at all worth hanging around for, especially when the boys just COULD NOT SIT STILL. Got out of there quick and headed for the wide open beaches instead. Much better.

This one above was on the third day just after dawn. We went for a walk on a lovely little beach in the rain. Tadhg, of course, took his shoes off and ran for the sea. Brendan explored the dunes and then was fascinated by the cliff erosion. I took the opportunity to talk about glacial till and vegetation succession. Not that they paid much attention. But at least it gave my brain some exercise.
Another beach another day.

Also walked on two tiny stretches (<1km) of the GR120 littoral path. But we found some interesting things to look at. I must find out what exactly this giant old war bunker type thing was used for. It was massive and imposing up there on the high ground overlooking the channel. This part of the coast is the closest to England, and we could see the white cliffs in the distance, when the clouds lifted enough that is :)

Tadhg saying to Brendan, "look, here's your favourite colour!!" What fun to get so excited about important little things like this!

The first night was spent on the 4th floor of a dingy old hotel, covered floor to ceiling in various shades of blue carpet, with rusting radiators and a lingering smell of cigarette smoke (thankfully not in our room though). I stood on the balcony as the boys fell asleep and worked out a fire escape plan which involved swinging to the balcony next door, shimmying down a drainpipe and then jumping on to some scaffolding. I figured I could attach T to my back and tie a sheet around B's waist and mine and then sort of help him along. Thank goodness there wasn't a fire.
I'm convinced that the first hotel I tried had an unofficial 'no little kids' policy because the way the receptionist said they had no rooms, even when I said two single beds was fine, was, well, not very friendly at all, and she had a sort of chitty chitty bang bang Queen of Vulgaria look about her when she glanced at the two little boys chasing each other around the lobby.
Blue carpet hotel was actually really comfortable, and the owner was pleasant and kind, but in the morning we set off early to find another one. The next night was spent in a very dated holiday resort where the only option was full board with meals served at very inconvenient times by very grouchy staff. But the swimming pool was great and it was only minutes from the beach.

What else? We were the sole diners in a little Japanese restaurant where I ordered way too much food and then had to eat it all so that it wasn't wasted. We found a park on the beach (I know, who needs a play structure when you have a mile of soft sand?) and you could easily spot the barefoot Canadian kid in a T-shirt surrounded by French kids in their winter hats and gloves.

And that's about it. It was challenging for sure, travelling with them on my own. The key was to get out first thing in the morning, let them run and run on the beach and not go back to the hotel until they were exhausted. Even if it was raining. Which it was, some of the time. Want to do it again though. Just to show myself I can :)

1 comment:

jo said...

sounds amazing. Really enjoyed reading about it. xxx