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Friday – A Quiet Last Day with Sun

August 18, 2012

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The weather forecast had promised a fine sunny day and it seemed to be right. The morning was already warm when I got up and went off to buy croissants. The boulangerie had sold out of pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins even though it was only 8.30 so I risked a bit of cross-country searching without map now the area had become familiar. Remembering that Jean-Michel had told me you could buy petrol in Potigny, 4km away, I decided this promised some kind of shop. Many of the small hamlets round here are just a cluster of houses with no shops, and petrol stations are very thin on the ground. Heading across wide expanses of land with rows of hay bales stretching into the distance, I found my way to Potigny and the prettiest little boulangerie. And yes, plenty of choice for breakfast. It was a pretty village too with a Logis de France hotel and cafes so worth more investigation any time we come back.

Jonathan and Lyndsey were heading to Caen for the day while Nicola was planning to go no further than the sun bed just outside Le Pressoir, with the odd length or two in the pool. I too was planning a relaxing day but first of all had to head it into Falaise for shopping.

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And shopping always involves a coffee stop for me, so I sat in a cafe for a little while writing a couple of postcards before heading back.

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Back at Manoir de Laize the sun was fully out and it was a glorious hot day. As I unpacked the groceries I turned round to find the two goats had come into the house. They are very sweet but this was taking friendliness a little far so I gently shooed them outside.

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Lunch was a simple but delicious affair. I made an omelette with some of Jean-Michel’s eggs, dressed some frisée salad with olive oil and some of the cider vinegar I’d bought at the market on Monday and cuts slices of Neufchâtel and Livarot cheeses to go with the fresh crunchy baguette.

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And then it was time for a quiet relax on a sun bed, a book and a bit later a swim. It was so lovely to lie in the sun, amongst some apple trees weighed down with ripening apples, the sounds of the farm animals and a sense of peace.

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It was warm enough to sit outside to eat on our last evening. We laid up the large wooden table just outside Le Pressoir. Potatoes went into the oven with a large dish of the green, yellow and white courgettes that we’d first had on Monday. Jonathan got the BBQ going, the steaks and sausages ready. Then it was champagne time. We sat at the table while the charcoal heated for the meat and I’d bought some savoury petit fours in a charcuterie to go with the champagne: little quiche Lorraine and palmiers with goat’s cheese.

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We sat talking and laughing and remarking on what a beautiful place Le Manoir de Laize is as the sun slowly set and a soft kind of darkness set in. We ate local cheeses after the main course.

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And we had a plate of sweet tarts for dessert, a mix of tarte au citron, tarte Normande and a Falaise tart that has caramelised apple. But I was so relaxed it appears I forgot to photograph them!

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It was a perfect way to spend our last evening in Normandy.

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