We awoke to beautiful blue, almost cloudless sky with little wind. We’d been planning to be in Damvix in the Marais Poitevin to meet up with Mike and Linda Eaton on Sunday. Since we have such a wonderful pitch on a largely empty campsite (the nearest other campers must be 50 metres away) and the weather was looking reasonably stable, we had decided to maximize our time here and stay until Sunday morning. The wonderful local oysters were also demanding a repeat visit and today looked like a perfect day for it.
Having been here for almost three weeks now, my remaining few hairs were in need of a trim so Carol set about my head with my travelling rechargeable beard trimmer. One simply must look presentable for oysters. As we were making preparations for another bike ride to La Tremblade, Carol announced that we had had a visitor crawling over our sandals just outside the caravan door. A small lizard, clearly not as skittish as some, had waited long enough for Carol to change lenses and snap it. Maybe the Teva material looked uncomfortably familiar to it?
Carol had picked a somewhat circuitous route to La Tremblade in an effort to avoid the more direct but relatively busy road outside the campsite and, eventually finished with hair cuts and lizards, off we set. The "somewhat circuitous" route turned into a very circuitous route as we struggled to find the appropriate cross-country lane amongst many lanes, none of which were signposted. I tried asking a local which was the road to Dirée but my question was met merely with a quizzical look. That could, of course, have been the fault of my French. Eventually we seemed to arrive at a hamlet that we assumed to be Dirée but it was something of a leap of faith since, like all the lanes, it didn’t have a name posted either.
We were on familiar territory now, though, and were soon at La Tremblade in our favoured oyster shack putting together our own, do-it-yourself, plateau de fruits de mer: 8 huitres (oysters, #2 fines), 8 palourdes (clams), assiette de langoustines (langoustine/Dublin bay prawns/scampi – how many names does one crustacean need?), bouquet de crevettes rose (prawns), assiette de bulots (whelks, cooked). Accompanying this feast with another bottle of the delightfully tangy blanc marine, we were set for a splendid lunch.
This area seems to be hollyhock city; they are all over the place. By way of example, a little way along the quay at La Tremblade was what estate agents might describe as "a bijou property full of character" acting as a backdrop to a small but colourful collection.
The weather began to look "a little less settled" as we finally left the quay but, seafood not being calorie-free, we decided to cycle back the long way via the forest cycle tracks to work off some of them before launching into more courtesy of our remaining rotisseried chicken for the evening meal.