Wednesday, June 29, 2022
We got to Plumanac’h around lunchtime, found the Schéré’s house and found our way in. It’s a different, larger house than it was last time I was here, probably 15 years ago. We had a little aperitif in the living room and made off to lunch at their favorite seaside restaurant. It was a very yummy lunch. I started with mackerel rillettes, followed with carpaccio St. Jacques, which is scallop sashimi, in a different culture. They were delicious with some of the frites that came with Gil’s burger. Dessert was the best, a crèpe au caramel au beurre salé with ice cream. Purrr.
We got back to the house to find out we were locked out by Constance, the other Schéré daughter, who was off having osteopathy or some such like.
So Gil and Jean went for a swim in the pool, which has its own little house, and Danièle and I went to visit her mother, Elizabeth Cosson, who will be 104 on October 7. I always remember her birthday because it is 3 days before mine. I don’t want to live quite that old, though, as there really isn’t that much left you can do. Elizabeth kept up her Paris apartment, went out every day, etc., into her late nineties, but she doesn’t do much now. She does live in a very nice place called Kergomar in Lannion, that provides total care, and she can look forward to a visit from a family member every day. Robbie will be flattered when he hears she has our Christmas card with its pictures of him on her wall and that I had no trouble finding the loo.
Oysters were obviously in season in Brittany, because they were on the Schéré’s dinner menu, too. Gil volunteered to shuck them but Jean said “non, non” and that he was good at that. Gil, being about the most competitive person I know, insisted that they have a contest. He gave up when Jean had shucked 6 of them before he had one open. Sandy would have loved to have been there.
And we had shrimp, too, and Danièle roasted a chicken, the wine flowed, and we had a local custard cake called a tropezière or something like that, for dessert. I must mention that the Schérés and Gil follow politics, avidly, to say the least, and that their favorite political commentator is an expat from Québec named Mathieu Bock-Côté. I must say, he has good insights into world affairs, but he does repeat himself. Likes the stage he is getting, I suppose. I knew we were exporting French entertainers, like Celine Dion, and the Cirque du Soleil, but political commentators, well, that’s a new one.
Thursday, June 30, 2022
We got up late and futzed around the house, me doing TA work and Danièle doing some of that and everything else, including laundry, for which I was grateful. In the afternoon, we went to visit her mother again and she took me on a bit of a tour, and shopping, of course. We visited a particularly nice cathedral in Lannion, built by the Ordre des Templiers (Knights Templars), filthy rich warrior monks at a time when they were not compelled to celibacy, in the XIIth century. The parish is called Brélévenez whose name has a lovely origin. It is made of of two celtic words “bre” and “levenez “, which mean “Mountain of Joy”. It had lovely vistas and I have pictures of same, but I found the graveyard even more interesting.
Here you have an actual china wreath. It’s beautiful, doesn’t look cheap like all plastic flowers do, is cleaned by the rain, or maybe the groundskeeper’s hose, and doesn’t fade. It just sits there looking elegant. It’s also a testament to the respect the site is afforded by the people of the town. There are a lot of these and they don’t get vandalized. Kudos, gens de Lannion. You know how to bring up your kids.
Friday, July 1, 2022
Jean drove us to the train station. It might have been Lannion, or one a little further that was even more convenient. On the way, I finally remembered to ask him whet Plumanac’h meant and here’s your answer: “Plu” is parish and “manac” is monk. So, it’s the parish of the monks and that explains why one part or the other of it appeared on a lot of road signs. And the town has just changed names, so I’ll be addressing my “thank you” note to “Perros Guirrac”. I forgot to ask what that meant.
The TGV got us to Paris by about four, without event, except that, when I went to get out of my seat, I didn’t take about a seven inch drop into account and fell into the table across the aisle. The seven inch in diameter bruise is still turning all sorts of pretty colors, eleven days later. I’ll spare you a picture of that. Jerome had managed to screw up again, and after waiting for him for almost a half-hour, we gave up and took a cab that was just there. We dropped off our bags at the house and went straight to Printemps on the bus. We sat down for an ice cream before making for the dress floor, because I had decided I needed one, and had just enough space in my carry-on for it, as long as I kept it simple.
Like everywhere else these days, Printemps dress floor is arranged by designer and Gerard Darel came through for me again. I am very happy with it. Danièle and I made an event of diner when we walked to Guilia, a short walk from the apartment, and a great place. The Schérés know Rashid, the owner, of course, and Danièle knew what we wanted to eat. It was a côte de boeuf for two, and it was rare and succulent with both garlic mashed potatoes and frites. Danièle started with a salad and I had terrine de foie de volailles, and we finished up with the dessert of the day a fresh home-made lemon pie. Rashid danced attention on us and recommended our bottle of wine, which was excellent. I love this picture:
Claude Lacasse said:
Hello helen happy that you have wonderful time and certainly very, very good food. Your impression of Mathieu Bock-Coté is right. C’est un personnage infatué de sa personne. Extrêmement séparatiste, pourtant il vit en France…Exceptionnellement quelques fois il écrit quelque chose d’intéressant. Love, Claude
Margaret Eastwood said:
Great blog, Helen. My favourite ever. Margaret Eastwood
Margaret Eastwood said:
I tried to reply at the end of your blog, but it went badly. I want to tell you this was my all time favourite of all your postings.
Dave (he put the name on your sailboat at RSLYC, I think.) just came back from Romania with COVID. Now you only have to quarantine for 5 days, which is good news. Unfortunately we will miss the 99th birthday party for a former dean of Engineering at McGill on Friday.
Keep on having fun,
Helen Megan said:
I got COVID last time I went to London. It happens. Hope Dave’s is no worse than mine. It was Martha, the IBM artist who went to live in France, who was responsible for Planxty and MacPlanxty, with the little toasting mouse in the “y”. I know she made a stencil – did Dave put it on from that? I always loved that design. We must get together some time this summer.
wow Helen love, I just printed that out, you have been busy…looking fwd to reading it, love….
Jill Leverton said:
Helen Interesting to see you visited Vannes, my sister, Jane, lives there now. Love Jill
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