Tired of weeding-and-watering and watering-and-weeding, I head due west for the sea, to remind myself why I am living in this part of France, leaving Tod and the dogs content at home.
The joys of the French lunchtime. I arrive soon after mid-day and have my pick of places to put my towel and sun hat. Only the hardy and the foreigners are still on the beach.
I venture into the cold Atlantic rollers, which one moment drag at my ankles, the next buffet round my thighs; and admire the fearless children pushing out through the waves on their flimsy surfboards. Not a sea for swimming in, but it is enough to get soaked and breathe the salt-laden air.
A make-shift shelter behind a tumbled-over lifeguard turret means I can dry off and have the joy of reading The Time Traveler's Wife for a while in the shade before wandering along the promenade past restaurant after café after bar in search of a crêpe au fromage and an ice cream from a counter where they have at least thirty flavours including bubble gum and licorice (never dared try either!).
I stroll, take photos and admire the lithe bronzed bodies of those who have been here surfing for the whole of August.
By mid afternoon the beach is steadily filling with beautiful people, surfers, surf boards and large stripy umbrellas. I breathe in one final lunge-full of sea air and head home.
PS: gardener's sun tan: dark brown back and shoulders from bending over weeding; pink end of nose and chin that jut out from under sun hat; tide mark just above knees (where shorts end) down to mid calf (where wellington boots start); light brown grubby hands from mostly hiding in gardening gloves.