After an inauspicious start, leaving Chepstow in the pouring rain, the weather improved dramatically and several of us enjoyed basking in the sun on the ferry. It was really hot by the time we arrived in France, and our stop in the delightful little town of Cambremer was a welcome chance to cool down with a drink or an ice cream. We reached Cormeilles at the appointed time and went our separate ways with our host families.
The new “bureau” welcomed us warmly at the Vin d’Honneur in the Town Hall on Friday. Saturday was much cooler and we had an early start for the journey to Fécamp, where we had an interesting tour of the Benedictine Abbey and sampled the liqueur. This was followed by a convivial lunch in a local restaurant (preceded by an inadvertent walking tour of the town!) We then went on to the seaside resort of Etretat but it was a bit cold and windy to sit on the beach so we enjoyed a bracing stroll instead.
On Sunday afternoon there was a rather wet walk round the beautiful garden at Le Clos de Chanchore, and in the evening a barbecue at Auberge de la Houssaye in Epaignes, followed by spectacular fireworks.
Monday was a free day with our hosts, after which we all met up again in the evening for a farewell buffet, where Nataley entertained us all with her singing. All too soon it was Tuesday and we were on our way home. The weather improved again and we had a lovely sunny stop in Caen where there was something for everyone, from art to oysters! Another opportunity to sunbathe on the ferry preceded a rather arduous exit, with British immigration at their most thorough… Many thanks go to Phil from Grindles for driving us there and back safely, and to the new French committee for their efforts and enthusiasm in making our visit such a success.