Grey can be better than white
16th November 2011
Every year we have our pre-Christmas runs of getting in the shopping from the other side of the sheugh for respective friends. The family buy French things for their friends and I get British bits and pieces for my French friends.
Our efforts though at making the runs in December have been thwarted these past two years by snow. Two years ago the family didn’t make it until March and last year it was a very last minute decision for Anton to dig the car out at his end and brave the gritted roads on this side.
This year we decided to do the family run to me in November. As Anton and Debs only have a few days available in the run up to the New Year it is easier for me to grab a night over there when the weather looks fine over the following days. Not the same for them as they have to make plans.
Anton did his TGV impression coming down the coast and they arrived only minutes after I had put the hoover away ! They were so quick I hadn’t even managed to warm the wine.
Thursday morning dawned somewhat grey (after weeks of being told that we were due for pots of sunshine the weather failed to live up to expectations) so we had a look at the forecast and decided that the day looked more promising towards Normandie. I had rabbit stew to prepare for the meal so we made the short drive down to Le Treport and Dieppe.
Le Treport was grey and it was a bit blowy up on the top of the cliffs but down in the town it was quite warm. The family had never been so we negotiated all the staircases, visited the church, looked at all the fish, were looked at by all the crabs in their boxes, and drank hot coffee along the sea front.
Considering that it was mid-November the restaurants and cafés were doing a pretty good business. We thought about staying for lunch but decided in the end to motor on down the coast to Dieppe.
As we travelled down the sun came out here and there and the scenery took on an autumnal glow. We parked up along the esplanade and walked down and into town for food and drink. Dad was saying that he and mum had been over to the town from Newhaven years and years ago but apart from the fact that they had stayed near the castle, their main memories were of mother being unwell and the stormy return to England.
We had a good meal and warmed up nicely. Like Le Treport the eateries didn’t seem to be short on customers. The frites were excellent but needed walking off afterwards so we finished our dander along the quay to look at all the boats and then drove up to the château on the cliff top (we had already more than done our quota of climbing for the day).
This was my third visit to Dieppe and I wanted to take a look at the château hoping that it was going to be a castle type place. Instead it houses the town collections which from glancing through the windies looked more art than Norman blood, guts and setting fire to the neighbours.
So we set off again with the rain approaching from the sea. We spent our last few moments at the Bonsecours Chapel on the hill overlooking the far side of the harbour (It has the twin of the German machine gun position outside the château). A very pretty fisherman’s chapel with numerous plaques commemorating lost sailors and boats.
It was raining as we went in and poured all the way home, but we had certainly had the best of the weather so no complaints. No fluffy white stuff falling from the sky all day (well apart from that large one that went baaaa ! and leapt off the headland – or did I dream that bit ?).
Friday morning turned bright and sunny and we went off in search of wine and shopping. Whilst in theory colder than the previous day the sun made sitting in the car very comfortable.
A couple of weeks and it will be my turn to run the gauntlet of the rain and snow. Got to get those Christmas puddings bought.
The other thing we think we have learned is that orange rind mixed with ginger and whisky goes to make good chocolate truffles. I’ll be trying that recipe again.
Posted : 19 November 2011