Ah well, that's us finished for another year.
We did eventually see the sun at Le Touquet - on the morning of our departure. I had to take a few snaps of it, but poor old Alice wasn't able to play on the beach since we had to travel. Despite staying relatively close to Calais for a couple of days, we were due to sail back from Le Havre, so we drove south once again for a last night in our favourite hotel in Rouen (the Mercure), where we visit two or three times a year in any case. So we left Le Touquet mid morning (packing all the things into the car was a work of art!) and arrived in Rouen in time for lunch.
Normally, we just wing it with the car, but this time, with the bikes and all, I booked ahead to leave it in the hotel's underground garage. A wise move since it was nice and secure and was only a lift-ride from our room. Lunch at Flunch, which we all like (again, it is a shame somewhere like this doesn't exist in the UK), followed by an afternoon at leisure. I think all the travelling (and the rediscovered summer heat!) had got to Alice, since she ducked out and stayed in the hotel watching TV and playing on her mobile, while Jac and I went shopping. Call me a bad parent, but there is something very liberating about leaving kids behind! I just wish it were possible more often.
So there we were in Rouen, and with no spare room in the car we were essentially restricted to window shopping. For me, I restocked on some toiletries. I had intended also to get some Eau de Toilette from Printemps, but was very surprised when the sales assistant, having served the guy in front of me, just walked off and left me standing there. So, I dumped the scent and I too walked off. Not a word to me, very ill-mannered, and I must admit that this has happened to us a couple of times on this holiday. I already mentioned the cafe in Strasbourg, but while we were in the hotel at Le Touquet, I was waiting to speak to the receptionist about something when this old chap sauntered in front of me, and butted in. In that case, I waited until he had finished and then blocked his route. When he was looking disrectly at me I told him (in my best French) that I had been in front of him in the queue, and that he was a very rude man. But it takes a lot of effort and I must admit my French vocabulary is not strong in the area of "polite" insults. But still, I wasn't going to let it spoil the holiday.
Saturday evening in Rouen, and we ended up at a restaurant we've been acouple of times before, called Le Comptoir de la Place, and again we received an excellent meal at a reasonable price. A stroll back to the hotel and an excellent night's sleep. Fun and games, though, this morning, when none of the lights would work. So, we ended up having a shower in the dark and I missed my shave altogether. The original plan was just to spend the morning at leisure in Rouen, then to head somewhere for lunch and to amble along to Le Havre, but the lack of light (plus it was very overcast and in fact was thundering when we left) made us check out soon after breakfast. We tentatively agreen that we'd go to Deauville for lunch, although en route we had an impulse change and instead visited Port Audemer. We had of course passed by many times, but this time we stopped. And this proved a good move, as we found an excellent little restaurant in which to lunch. I had a gallette, my only one of the holiday, and Jacqueline had a meat dish which I'd never seen before. They brought out some raw meat (beef and lamb), and a really hot stone on which to cook it. So, she sat there cooking her own lunch! Smelled lovely, tasted good too according to Jac.
After lunch, cruised up to Le Havre, avoiding the autoroutes, and in fact had time for a last half hour on the beach (albeit the weather was somewhat overcast) before heading for the ferry. We were fortunate and got on really quickly, though the ferry soon filled up and looks absoultely rammed whenever we venture out of the cabin. We've hardly seen Alice since we set sail - she has gone to the kids' zone and when I checked on her was playing happily down there. Jacqueline is dozing on the bed, and I've just been to the shop (where I picked up th eau de toilette I was after, and 5€ cheaper than Printemps. I have a day's grace tomorrow, then its back to the grindstone on Tuesday.
Watch out for some photos when I get around to it.