When I'm in Brittany at the same time as my friends Jill and Simon, Jill and I try to arrange a Girl's Day Out in the company of Hilary, another friend who is a permanent resident of the village.
We usually take it in turns to decide where we go and what we do, suffice to say it always involves a good lunch, a little exploring and a great deal of talking and laughing. Which is the perfect recipe for a Sunday.
Last Sunday there was some discussion, it was Jill's turn to decide, she wasn't sure, I was longing for the sea, Hilary mentioned Roscoff but since I would be driving ...
I've never been to Roscoff, unlike Hilary who frequently catches a ferry from there to Plymouth. It is, of course, in Finistère, which I always think of as wild and 'foreign', and a little like Laurie Lee and the notion of not venturing further than the next village in the valley, I tend to stick to my own turf, but it was a sunny Sunday and we had a fair wind and so ...
Roscoff it was ...
In the distance you can see the île de Batz - Brittany tourist board link here. Ile de Batz is a beautiful little island with sandy beaches, legendary dragons and serpents, exotic gardens and a lighthouse that you can visit.
Next time, we agreed, we'll spend a day over there.
As ever we learned something, this time it was a history lesson, that Mary Queen of Scots, also of France, having been betrothed to François II, arrived in Roscoff in August 1548 at the tender age of six.
We had lunch at L'Auberge du Quai just round the corner. It's a really nice restaurant with friendly staff who do not look superior if an English diner speaks less-than perfect French, and an extensive menu, naturally leaning towards fish but with plenty for meat-eaters. I had fish soup, salmon tagliatelle and the apple tart with salted caramel sauce. It was delicious but next time we are there we promised that we'd throw caution to the winds and share a huge platter of fruits de mer.
When in Finistère etc ...
After lunch we wandered...
Into a chocolaterie.
What a happy wandering that was!
Tempting, so tempting but all I bought was a box of macarons for The Ragazza.
My friends, who like to window-shop, remarked on my tendency to walk with my gaze upwards, why was that, they wondered, until I pointed out the architecture the angles and corners of roofs, the little turrets, the lace-dressed windows and the stone facades. Ah, yes, they agreed, look up...
As we walked we could hear music, beautiful music, it was coming from the church in which there was a concert in aid of the children of Madagascar taking place. If we had known we would have bought tickets, we agreed, what a shame, but still lovely to be able to enjoy the music as we passed by.
We popped into a salon de té, Not for tea but to buy a present for Hilary's husband - a large china mug decorated with horses and ponies and donkeys. While we waited it was beautifully gift-wrapped, bien sûr.
The tide had come in by the time we began to head back to the car and was lapping at the foundations of the buildings that back onto the seashore. I was fascinated by this, by the proximity of the water, the sound of the waves on the rocks, it seemed a little wild and dangerous, in an exciting way.
As I said, that's how I see Finistère.
And it occurs to me now that the roots of that may lie in the relationship I had with a man from Finistère when I lived in Brittany - a rather wild and dangerous liaison but one that was exciting and never, ever dull.