Stuff Happens. The End.

Shellfish Tale

Reflections on a Normandy Beach
By A Plumber

Who would be a little cockle
Hiding on a beach,
Where furtive fingers hunt you down
And pluck you like a peach?

Perhaps you’d be a razor clam
Waiting for the tide?
‘Til someone tugs you from your hole
and takes you for a ride!

They rake the sands
They dig with forks
They rip the mussels off their stalks
And when you think you’re safe – oh f*ck it!
You’re rudely flung into a bucket.

Monday 15 September
I insist that we visit the Cathedrale Notre Dame at Coutances and very fine it is too. Beautiful slender stone towers and spires, gorgeous medieval stained glass and the most amazing and awe-inspiring lantern. We have a wander round Coutances and enjoy the window boxes and floral displays before following the coast road back. A stop to enjoy the view proves that not only is the sun shining but it’s hot as well so we go home, change and spend the rest of the day on the beach. Lovely.

Tuesday 16 September
Another run – really enjoyable with some good sightings of the coypu things. Pleasure enhanced when a large male jogger appears some 200 yards in front of me and I burn him off. Shallow? Moi?

Mainly cloudy and cold but during a brief sunny spell we visit Villedieu de Poeles which is a right old catch-penny. Ma strikes up a conversation about the holiday house hideous loo with a man she claims she thought was Tom. Trust her.

Wednesday 17 September
We are supposed to be going for fruits de mer at a restaurant but the prices, coupled with the poor exchange rate, make us think again. Since the shellfish at the supermarkets here are so good we buy all the ingredients for our own slap-up fruits de mer plus two bottles of good white wine for the price of a restaurant meal for one. Eat too much and have a roller-coaster of a night of wild and crazy dreams.

Thursday 18 September
Now longing to go home; there is a distinct feel of autumn in the air that reminds me of new terms and I feel that I’ve had my holiday and want to start doing things. The car has started making ominous noises. Boats? Cars? What else is going to break down? Me, probably. Just don’t let us be marooned here.

Nobody feels like doing much. I go for a run. An old man in a large van coming towards me removes both hands from the steering wheel to applaud me. Despite this I get back to the accommodation in one piece. I suggest a visit to L’Abbaye Sainte-Trinite at Lucerne-D’Outremer which is in a beautiful valley. We drive up and admire the Anglo-Norman tower but no one else feels like going inside. Have lunch and go to the beach where we watch a man making tender conversation with his dog whilst lavishly washing its bottom. They really do aime their chiens here.

On our way to the car Ma and I are accosted by an elderly Frenchman who asks in French whether we have been indulging in a spot of la peche a pied. Can he tell by looking at us? No, we assure him. We are English and we have been sunbathing. ‘Curled up comme a leetle cockle?’ he suggests. ‘I speak a leetle English,’ he tells us, making crafty eyes at Ma, ‘I love you!’ he announces, to Ma’s amusement. Really, she is not safe anywhere.

Saturday 20 September
It’s the best day we’ve had weather-wise – well it would be, wouldn’t it? We’re going home! Closer examination of the car has revealed the source of the ominous noise to be a dodgy wheel bearing. And it’s right where I sit – bloody great! Tom and I elect not to say anything to Ma but decide to allow plenty of time to get to Cherbourg. The wheel, fortunately, does not come off and the day pans out quite well, a leisurely lunch, a walk, some last minute shopping and off to the port.

We find a lovely quiet spot on the boat only to have our peace rudely shattered by a family with young children who attract yet more families with young children. It’s late, the children are tetchy, the parents more so. We could get up but I can’t be arsed so I drink my Scotch to cries of ‘Joshua! Share nicely!’ ‘Jo-Jo! Give Percy back to the little boy!’ and, worse, ‘Freddie! Do you need a POO?’ Ah, the perfect end to a perfect holiday. What else would I expect?


Debs said…
Love the poem and reading your holiday diary. Glad you got home safely too.
Elizabethd said…
Laughed all the way through!
Milla said…
I've enjoyed these, and am rather sorry your holiday's come to an end.
Flowerpot said…
great poem Chris and I laughed at your last picnic!!
Pat Posner said…
I've really enjoyed your holiday diary, Chris. I hope you go on holiday again - soon.

Love the French man making eyes at your Mum!
Lane said…
There was a lot of poo in your holiday but some great bits too.
Loved reading about it. One day Chris you will have a seamlessly perfect holiday!

Is your email address still the same btw?
Woozle1967 said…
Enjoyed your holiday, Chris!x
BT said…
What fun I had reading your holiday diary, rather more than you had on holiday I suspect! Love the old French guy after your Mum! Typical.

Angel said…
Your holiday sounds lovely Chris and well deserved break. Now back to the grindstone.

Hope to meet you soon with SBS!

Preseli Mags said…
I enjoyed reading your holiday diary too. I'm glad you got home safely! xx Mags
Zinnia Cyclamen said…
Was slightly worried by the title of your post - I thought 'oh no surely she's not going to stop blogging?' - such a relief to read about a funny holiday instead!
Fennie said…
Just been reading through your holiday blogs. Poor ChrisH! You are definitely loved by the Higher Powers who have singled you outfor advanced training in tact and patience - well there would be no point for someone who couldn't cope. There are legions of Buddhist monks in Tibet who would give the eye teeth for a tenth of the adversity that you have to put up with just to make their humdrum lives more interesting and so they could practice their serene smiles.
Still it doesn't sound all bad and Coypu watching accompanied by fruits de mer and a bottle of agreeable wine make me quite envious. Still could never cope with all that running. Plus vite! Indeed.
Mrs Rhubarb said…
I do like the poem, very refreshing . I hope you had the sense to go across and slap the offending mothers for having badly behaved children and being so coarse.
elizabethm said…
Lovely poem. And I like Fennie's comment - you can clearly do it all. Hope it all worthwhile.
LittleBrownDog said…
Oh, the vision of the man lavishly washing his chien's bottom made me cry with laughter. Even I'm not quite that bad. (Mind you, now I come to think of it, Brown Dog's bum does look as though it could do with a quick scrub...)

...Aaaah, that's better. Tres entertaining, as ever, Chris. Although I'm slightly surprised you didn't get back to find your mum had smuggled the leetle cockle man back in her handbag. And Tom had come up with a clever way of using him to fix the wheel bearing.

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