Dinner in Ile de Re

After a very hot day we cooled off in St Martin, a beautiful town halfway down the island before enjoying an aperitif in La Flotte sitting by the port. 

From La Flotte we started heading back to La Rochelle when we stumbled across the perfect roadside restaurant selling freshly caught fish and seafood. 
It was fantastic. We sat by the road facing the sea and enjoyed prawns, langoustines and the most delicious whole fish called Bar in French which was  grilled with fresh herbs and was the best fish I have ever eaten. 
For Big T a fresh plate of Fruits de Mer with prawns, whelks, mussels, cockles, clams and other things in shells. Washed down with a local Chardonnay it was a certainly meal to remember. 
Tired and full we meandered back to La Rochelle as the sun set like a Rothko painting. 
We managed to climb up the stepladder to the mezzanine bed. A lovely day. 

Ile de Re

Having managed to climb down the stepladder from the mezzanine bed, we set off to explore the nearby island of Ile de Re. 

We drove over the connecting bridge, apparently the most expensive road in France per metre, and arrived on a little utopian island where everyone cycled and was happy. 
We decided to explore and before long found ourselves passing through a picturesque village, La Flotte. It was immaculate with a small port, waterside restaurants and everything painted in shades of grey and green. 

From there we drove across the island and found an old church near another tiny village. We parked and decided to look for a beach. 
Having let Agnes off the lead, she bounded off, we shouted, she vanished and we were left wondering what to do. Agnes hadn’t quite mastered puppy recall meaning that if there’s a better option, she’ll take it!
We found a small path (with thorns of course) and emerged at the end slightly scratched to discover a black and tan puppy leaping around on a very hot sandy beach. 
We set up an umbrella and in the meantime Agnes took off across miles of rock pools with a random couple she saw walking. After a bit of shouting we followed her, one of us wearing shoes, one without. 
It goes without saying that the one of us wearing shoes didn’t swear, didn’t have bleeding feet and made pretty good speed over the rocks. The one not wearing shoes was not very happy. 
I (I mean) the one wearing shoes soon had the small dog back on the lead and before long we were safely ensconced under the shade of the umbrella and peace was somewhat restored. 

We decided to eat lunch before going on further. It had been a little fraught and we were all a little hot and bothered…

La Rochelle

After the tranquility of the chateau and the picnic among sunflowers, La Rochelle took us by surprise. 

It was packed with people enjoying their summer holidays. Ice creams and les gaufres (enormous cream covered waffles) were the menu of the day. 
The town itself was a walled citadel with ramparts facing the Atlantic and a series of small connecting quays creating a long promenade. 

A labyrinth of one way streets made our game of “Find the Airbnb” a challenge but we were soon parked, keys in hand surveying our next challenge, the mezzanine bed. 
AirBnb is a gamble, sometimes it pays off massively and other times, not so much. 
This time the location was fantastic but we were sleeping in a bed wedged under the beams, at the top of a precarious stepladder. Still, good location!
We set off to spend an evening exploring La Rochelke, moules mariners on the menu. 

To La Rochelle

We had a fantastic drive from Durtal to La Rochelle as we meandered along the back roads enjoying stunning fields of sunflowers. 

Suddenly we were immersed in the paintings of Van Gogh as the bright yellow heads surrounded us. 

We picnicked in a nearby field in bright sunshine with cornflower blue skies, fresh bread from a village on the bank of the Loire and a selection of decadent French cheeses before continuing our journey to the coast. 
It felt very different to life in London. 
Back in France!

Dog in a cone

Following on from her adventures in Margate, Agnes has had a sore toe.

It started as a small lump of fur (or a burr) stuck between her pads and then after a couple of days of well-intentioned licking, it developed into a very sore and swollen toe which wasn’t healing despite salt baths, antibiotic cream and anti-inflammatories from the vet.

With the threat of an estimated £300 vet bill for exploratory surgery, it seemed it was time for the cone of shame in order to let things heal. Poor Agnes, at least she looks good in blue!

The Cone of Shame

The toe is healing nicely now that she’s stopped licking it so it looks as though we’ll be able to set off on our adventure bright and early on Saturday morning.


The Optimistically Mediterranean Garden

Saturday and we took delivery of a couple of massive pots in order to finish off our optimistic Mediterranean garden (also known as the Prison Yard).

After rolling the largest of the pots through the house on a towel (think Stonehenge or the Pyramids) we were faced with a condundrum. How to get an extremely heavy olive tree into an extremely heavy pot when neither object could be lifted.
We finally decided (after a little contemplation) to lie the tree down on its side, lie the pot down on its side, wiggle the tree into the pot and then use the trunk to lever the whole thing back up.

And after a great deal of effort and logical thinking, it was mission accomplished. Olive tree in pot in courtyard garden. Done. It’s highly unlikely it will ever be moved. Agnes stamped down the soil in the pot to help!

The second planting was much easier as the bay tree plopped happily into its new pot and the Zen Poo Garden (the gravelled side yard frequented by the dog) looked very different to its original state.

With our new privacy trellis in place and as of this week, new exterior lights which create an ambiance so nice that we’ve been sitting outside every evening, the little courtyard really has become the oasis we’d always envisioned.

Dog sick in a Mini

Just as we set off from Margate, things took a turn for the worse as the Little Dog Agnes decided to be sick in the back of the car. 

During the next couple of hours Agnes was sick repeatedly and we started to be very concerned. She was lethargic and seemed to be fading fast. We needed to get her home.

Luckily we made it home before things got too bad and Agnes was soon lying down covered in a blanket. She had a drink of water and finally had stopped being sick. It might have been the heat, something she ate or perhaps it was spending a stressful night with a cat. Either way she had been very ill.

By the next morning Agnes was feeling a lot better and was almost back to her happy self and by Tuesday the Little Dog was back on top form and eating properly again.

Hurray, that hadn’t been much fun for anyone!