11 May 2009

2006: May 11

Full English breakfast at the Chiltern was delicious, and quite the high-calorie cholesterol bomb I remembered from years past. Thankfully, I don't often get a chance to eat them. Thank you.

The half-filled flight took about one hour once we were in the air. Weather on the ground in Brest is in the low 20s C, humid, very light breeze. Dealing with auto hire takes longer than necessary, as they had one person to handle several flights worth of people at once (one might say "poor planning"). Needless to say, our person was frazzled.

However, once on the road, the day lightened enormously, and I was able to enjoy the drive through the French countryside.

There are, apparently, several ways in to the town of Pedernec. Normal: exit from D767 and drive directly into town. Me: I found one (lucky me) my hosts and landlords weren't sure they knew, exiting the N12 at one of the many exits for the D712, then drive north-east after first accidentally passing the sign that said "Pedernec." My way was eminently more rural, almost-but-not-quite two-lane'ish, with tractors and magpies and cows and school kids in uniforms. After asking a local (in my not-very-good French) where Rue de Guingamp was located, my future home was relatively easy to find.

Readers, please meet Ambrose and Les, elsewise known as "The Boys". They have been my friends for about 5 years now, and have agreed to be my landlords for the next few months. They will, unfortunately, head back to their world in Hastings in 36 hours to return to work. I tried to get them to stay longer, but their sense of responsibility got the better of them.

[ 2009: If memory serves, they purchased this flat a few years back as a quiet place of contemplation in preparation for their mutual retirements, somewhere they could get away from it all inexpensively when time allowed.

We do the cheek-kissing and hugging thing, then they bundle me into my voiture, and we head north for an early dinner. Downtown Bégard, about six miles away, has a very centralized business district, completely enclosed by parallel one-way roads. On the outskirts of town is where the local supermarket (le Supermarché) can be found. Appearances can be deceiving; as much as it looks like an American (or British) supermarket, shopping here for certain items took a little getting used to. Details later :)

Dinner was pizza, with four cheeses, very Italian in design, texture, and flavour, light salad, tasty beverage. Mmmm. ]

Petrol prices around London proper currently average 98 pence per litre (about 1.70 US $). Prices in France start at about 1.30 Euros (about the same 1.70 US $) for the same litre. You can do the math. Depending on whether or not you ascribe to 3.75 litres to a gallon, or 5 litres (imperial?), the cost is still well over twice the US price. And roads are just as clogged with autos as in the US, with a big exception: SUVs are almost non-existent, and when you see them, they tend to be Range Rovers (mostly about the size of an older Ford Explorer). Most cars are petrol-efficient tiny things (relative to US autos, anyway) from Fiat, Renault, Peugeot, Toyota, etc. Older vehicles are also rare. And while I haven't seen a three-wheeled car YET, I would see them occasionally a few years back.

[ 2009: When all was said and done, my little car was roomy, had "get up and go", and averaged 42 mpg driving around town. Detroit, it CAN be done. ]

Birds seen:
Ravens, Crows, Rock Doves, European Starlings, a bird that reminded me of a Magpie quickly moving through a flowering cherry tree, and still another bird that reminded me of a Red-winged Blackbird (no call heard). Many other birds I have no idea what they were, but they were singing up a storm...

No photos taken; camera still packed away.

Funny HaHa:
Seems our RyanAir pilot came in a little heavy to Brest Airport. Seems he may have miscalculated his distance to the ground on landing. Seems we bounced. Just a little. Thank you. Seems that, as soon as it was obviously safe to do so (we were taxi'ing to the plane-stopping and people-getting-off place), spontaneous applause started in the back of the plane and moved forward quickly... Seems we have an embarrassed pilot on our hands. No real danger. Folks in the back felt more bounce than I did. Plane butts are shakier than plane shoulders :)

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