That’s Breton for ” Cheers” and it sounds something like the word hermit but spoken with a seriously sore throat. I had planned to spend my birthday in France during the northern summer, relishing in the thought of swimming in the Atlantic ocean and topping off a trifecta of having swum in the three great oceans of the world, Pacific, Indian and the mighty Atlantic. Naturally I wanted to visit Bretagne, that special area to the north, which although a part of France is decidedly different to the rest of the country in so many ways. It’s not just the language which is similar though not the same as Scots Gaelic or Celtic Irish and seen written beneath French on every street and road sign. Its more the proud self awareness and culturally defined difference of the people. In the seventies the government of Jacques Chirac tried to impose taxes on the producers and landholders which caused such an uprising because Anne de Bretagne, many centuries before, had promised her people they would never be taxed in this way. The government did a backflip and left the region alone.
My plan was to enjoy my birthday during the height of French summer, taking a dip when it became too hot but as Rabbie Burns was wont to say “The best laid plans of mice and (wo)men oft gang astray,,” . After heatwave like weather in Bordeaux, I arrived in Bordeaux to wild and wet temperatures. Oh well! I focused on all that I had to be grateful for
2. In good health
3. The bottle of Bordeaux bubbly I bought with me had arrived safely
4. In a beautiful part of the world
5. Free to please myself and spend my birthday how I wanted
I did achieve part of my goal: my big toes had a dip in the Atlantic and they can report that the water was divine
The next day the sun came out and decided to extend my birthday.