Lobster Run

12th-14th September

French Leave

With the weeks of waiting over and our bags packed we were on our way, albeit with some trepidation, due to the weather ‘wonderful’ forecasts. We met up with our fellow fearless adventurers and of course all had interrogated Google, MetUK and Meteo France ad nauseum. Twenty people with twenty versions of the expected meteorological conditions over the next few days, but not one of us optimistic enough to claim a rain free week-end was in store. Pah, we’re tough.

Safely on board the ferry, advised to go to the a la carte restaurant as soon possible, we threw kit in the cabins... like enthusiastic Germans at the poolside aiming for the sun-loungers, we raced to the restaurant and exultantly subsided into our places. A leisurely evening was had chomping prawns et al, appropriately sluiced down with fine wines. Good practice before retiring to bed, eager for our first sightings of France.

The crossing having been a just a little rough, we docked on time and clomped down the stairs to find our bikes all still upright. Phew.

French countryside, terra firma, hurrah. Snaking along coast roads, sun one side, big ominous black clouds gathered in our direction, but with luck and immaculate timing on our ride-leaders part, we stopped for le dejeuner, and amazingly missed the deluge!


Full of joie de vivre as well as French food, we continued through beautiful countryside and picturesque villages finally arriving at the inland port, Dinan. An old walled city with 13th Century ramparts still in place, and street upon cobbled street of medieval houses - a table outside - menu please! With such surroundings, convivial company and, yes you’ve got the idea now, great food, the outing was bound to be a success. Incredibly we again missed the rain... perfection!

A further short ride after lunch, we were suddenly riding down a long drive between rows of beech trees. Aha, the manoir, and there was our host, Even, such a warm smiley welcome.

Baths, showers, fresh clothes... taxis. The local restaurant had opened exclusively for us for dinner so most of felt like A-listers... or had the local residents been warned the Brits were coming. In sole possession, we enjoyed a gourmet meal and returned to the manoir, all bon-viveurs happily sated. Again.

Leisurely breakfast. Leathers on... a days ride through the wonderful campagne de la France.

But the highlight of the week-end was still to come - the Seafood Fest at the manoir. From aperitif to digestif, this Epicurean experience was not to be missed. Piles of empty shells, and just a few bottles, we adjourned in house-party style to the bar where Janice and Ruth played barmaids par excellence. The rest of the evening - a warm and sociable alcoholic haze. What else.

But Sunday morning arrived. as day follows night. It was good to see that even after a heavy night the bike owners were all up early and waiting at the bike wash to clean the steeds, and reluctant though we were, we left to drive through some lovely leafy lanes into Caen, and onto the ferry and home. Bon voyage - tres magnifique!

Margorie Webster