Monday 9th November
We left you at Le Croisic in the rain but with wifi. We sat indoors for most of the day but it wasn’t wasted. I reorganised the library by putting all of the books alphabetically instead of following the duodecimal system they had been in before. We played a couple of games, kiss chase, hide and seek and it and then we had a little tantrix session, probably not what you lot are thinking!
And Saturday morning broke sunny and bright and the aire looks almost inviting from this angle. We are behind the terminus for TGV trains into Paris and next to an industrial site but we forced ourselves to go for a walk and we’re glad we did.
Le Croisic is at the end of a peninsula, has lots of lovely little shops and a harbour.
It also has a swimming pig. When I first saw it I thought it was a large dog going for a swim but it was definitely a wild boar, very good swimmer. He got out of the water on the other side of the harbour and went into a drainage pipe so we think he might live there. Harbour Pig, Harbour Pig, does whatever a Harbour Pig does.
In the distance the Starlings are murmarating.
And the local fishermen are dropping a large square net into the water, waiting a while and then scooping up the crabs and white bait that get caught in the net. These three guys had it well worked out. A glass of white wine each, sandwiches and tobacco.
Can you see the French Lieutenants Woman at the end of the breakwater?
And then would you believe it, a flock of penguins. There is a Sealife centre at Le Croisic so being absolutely amazed that it was open, we wandered in.
I found a new setting on my camera, it stitches four photos together and allows you to take photos in low light without a flash.
Sometimes it worked really well but it really hammered the batteries and by the time we got to the sharks the camera had stopped working.
On our way back to St Nazaire Lucy did manage to get a photo of the salt pans. The pool is flooded and then the sun evaporates the water and eventually you can skim off the salt and get some grey crystals.
We parked inside the aire at St Nazaire this time, last time we had actually parked in the Theatre car park with everyone else but our leisure batteries seem to be struggling at the moment. We managed four weeks without power at Chipping Norton but when Frankie was in for his habitation check it was reported that one of the batteries was playing up and it is possible that I may have taken a good battery out and replaced it with something less good!!
Anyway, the aire at St Nazair is €7.65 per night but includes electric. Also by moving over 50 yards we managed to link into someones SFR wifi signal and had free wifi all night!
Sunday morning and after a quick walk to the submarine pen we find it is open! This lock was first built in 1862 but the Germans fortified it so it could be used during air raids. The submarine is actually an old French sub called Estadon (Swordfish). Built in Le Havre, it was based in L’Orient and when it retired was turned into a floating museum. It is notable as being the first French submarine to reach and surface at the North Pole.
We’ve learnt a few things about submarines. 1. I am too tall. 2. I am too fat. 3. I am too squeamish, I don’t want to share a bed with another man and a cold sea water shower with 64 other men.
It’s hard to imagine being coped up inside for 5 days at a time with no fresh air, limited water supplies and unpredictable noises and bangs.
Torpedo tubes up the front.
Once we’d finished in the submarine we climbed to the top of the lock. The sliding gate across this dry dock was the target for the Chariot raid with the St Nazaire bridge in the distance. We think we could see one of the two pumping houses that were blown up (middle left). We watched the Jeremy Clarkson documentary of “The Greatest Raid” last night and it was amazing and unbelievable that they reached the target and completed the job, albeit with the loss of 168 allied lives.
After finishing our tour of St Nazaire we headed off for Ilse de Noirmoutier, somewhere we had visited with Dave and Liz Marshall many years ago while we were staying at St Jean de Monts. We had aimed for an aire at the tip of the island but taking the bridge across, Stella still said we had 14 miles to go. The island is far bigger than we remember.
And a sunset for a view through Frankies windscreen. The aire was a little snug but we muscled in to get a front row and enjoyed the sun setting with a glass of wine, calvados, beer, Baileys (caramel), sangria and amoretto – not all in the same glass silly!