We woke this morning to the sound of the forecast rain pattering on the skylights. It was not enough to wake us but it was enough to confirm our intention of last night to heed the forecast and ease our pace for a day.
There was no need to hurry out of bed, through breakfast, or anything else. After breakfast we engaged with whatever activities interested us for relaxation. Majella spent much of the morning and afternoon creating with her aquarelles or reading. Pauline embroidered through the day and spent some time on preparing the crêpes for dessert at dinner with Debbie and Ian tonight. John and I worked on computers. For me it was a chance to catch up on a minor backlog of unanswered email. Luckily we were home to accept a Facetime call from the Gutkes. We have had a couple of calls from Judith and Vince and Dulcie over the past couple of weeks. It is wonderful to be able to keep in touch with family like this while we are so far away.
We paused in our relaxation to eat lunch of baguette we had left from yesterday with the remnant of the Normandy potato bake Majella had made last night.
After lunch Majella and I drove over to Moncontour to shop for a couple of necessary ingredients for dinner. While there we slipped into Le Chaudron Magique (Magic Cauldron) for hot chocolate. It specialises in food from the middle ages made with mostly local ingredients. I was tempted by the offer of medieval drinks and tried the Framboculum which was described as vin rouge doux à la framboise (red wine sweetened with raspberries). It was a somewhat heady mix in the middle of the day, sweet and pleasant but with a kick and served in a pottery goblet with a narrow mouth that made drinking a bit awkward.
After returning to Trébry I relaxed for another hour but eventually had to get out and do something. A step count of fewer than 2000 at 3:00 pm was too much to bear. There is nowhere much to walk in the village so I wandered along the road toward Mont Bel Air. A short distance on I decided that I could easily make it as far as the dolmen at La Cas Rouge and see how much more I needed beyond that. We had visited that spot previously on our trip to Rennes and coming back from Mont Bel Air on Saturday so I knew it was not far and expected I might find an alternative track home to make my walk more interesting.
I made it to the dolmen easily and walked past it to the road we had emerged onto after one of our bush trails last Sunday. I walked some way up that road and then used my Maps app to find a walking route back home, using the ‘parked car’ feature to locate home. The walk had a climb of about 70 metres and passed through rolling farmland interspersed with woodland. I was surprised by the number of well kept houses I passed along the way. Evidently there are more people in the vicinity than might be thought based on the limited activity we have seen. My walk was followed by more relaxing until our dinner date at 7:00 pm.
Debbie and Ian greeted us warmly in French style with kisses to both cheeks where appropriate. Majella engaged Debbie in some French conversation about the morning events with the French household across the way but after that we stayed with English. We started with the sparkling wine that we had bought on our trip to the Loire valley last week. Debbie served a main course of pork cooked in cider with mashed potatoes, beans and carrots. Ian provided a very nice red wine with the main course. The conversation ranged across children, grandchildren, travel experiences and more. Their son James is competing in cycling in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast next year, so we look forward to catching up with them when they come over to see him compete. We had agreed to provide dessert, so Pauline went back to our place (all of 20 metres away) to complete preparations. She returned with crêpes doused in an excellent orange sauce which we all enjoyed greatly.
By that time we were well into Ian’s second bottle of red wine and Debbie served a selection of cheeses – French emmental, cornish crunch, and roquefort – all of which were excellent and accompanied by the 2015 red we had bought on our trip to the Loire. Coffee followed and then the party cranked up a notch as Ian served a liqueur from a local supplier distilled from cider and flavoured with orange and spices. It was in a large jar, complete with orange studded with what looked like cloves, and was the equivalent of Grand Marnier or similar liqueur.
Pauline had seen a guitar across the room and asked about it. It was Ian’s but Debbie offered it to Pauline who proceeeded to play and sing a series of songs that we all enjoyed – Molly Malone, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, and Hard Times. It was a great night, thoroughly enjoyed by all and the short trip home was much appreciated by all.