It’s my birthday! Yay!! And we’re in France: double yay!!!
I feel very blessed to awake to an avalanche of birthday wishes. I get to speak to Mum, my niece Tay and sister Sylvia too, the cherries on top. Birthday love is making me feel a lot like this:
Keeping in touch when travelling is much easier with all the technology options we have. I can only listen in fascination as Chris describes it in his travel days: weeks for delivery of airmail via “Post Restant” a post office at a nominated city, far ahead in your travel iternery. You then had to go there to collect it, write your reply and wait weeks for it to arrive back home. International calls were for emergencies. Wouldn’t you love to sit down with someone from the 70s and blow their minds with what we can do now? On a handheld device? I doubt they’d believe you, even science fiction struggled to see this coming.
Chris, normally very keen to get the day on the way shows extraordinary birthday restraint. It’s the laziest of mornings, and there’s nary a word of complaint. I did see his lip twitch slightly once, but he got it under control. Besides, there’s emails to send, chats to have and Facebook thank yous to make. And it’s going to be another scorcher today, even hotter than yesterday and I’m in no rush. It’s a novelty, having a hot day for my birthday. In Melbourne’s Spring, it’s either cold or raining. I must admit though, I’ve been incredibly spolit the last few years with birthdays in Paris, New York and London – it falls very conveniently at the end of our travels. Can’t complain about a gloriously sunny day in the pretty Honfleur either.
There’s only two things on the agenda today, a fancy birthday lunch then it’s time to bid goodbye to France and board the ferry to England where we will begin the journey to Cornwall and the wintering process to put the motorhome to bed until next year.
We were just starting to get used to slowing down too. I wouldn’t have said no to couple (ten?) more lazy weeks of pottering through the French countryside, which boulangerie to frequent and which fromage and vin to pair it with, being the toughest decisions to make in any given day.
I’m finally ready and we’re off to Bistro du Port for a very special lunch. They specialise in seafood: Chris has the sole meunier, I can’t go past the ultimate birthday treat, grilled lobster in a butter tarragon sauce. Delicious!
A bottle French chardonnay sets it all off nicely. Later we rouse ourselves for dessert, tarte aux pomme for Chris and cafe gourmand for me, a tasting plate of teeny desserts: dark chocolate mousse, creme brulee, meringue. Perfect bite sized nibbles. Feeling exceedingly spolit and very relaxed.
All too soon the afternoon draws to an end. It’s time to leave for Le Havre, back over the amazing bridge, tide out this time revealing how shallow much of the water is.
We’re on the ferry with much checking of documents and a police search of the motorhome – illegal immigration still an issue, but thankfully not on the scale it is at Calais.
Our destination is Portsmouth, a five hour ferry ride. There’s plenty of time to read, blog and ponder on what a wonderful birthday I’ve had.
My only unfulfilled wish would have been to hear my father’s voice. The first year after you lose someone you love is a tough one, a year of every event being the first time without them. It’s the first of my birthdays Buc has not been here for. I can though, perfectly recall his voice in my head. I can hear him wish me a happy birthday if I still my mind and listen – he always gave birthday wishes in a certain way and signed off all his phone calls with his signature “I love you”. I hope I never lose the ability to recall that.