We are abroad in Fecamp, France
Well this may come as a big surprise but before I go any further we are actually in Fecamp in French France. We know this as even the seagulls have moustaches, wear blue and white hooped tops, berries, and hunch their shoulders when you speak English to them. I also have to say that I have seen some of the best knockers I have ever seen anywhere to date and for those interested there is a picture later.
Before leaving “Old Blighty” we went to Johnny’s funeral along with half of Brighton and hopefully we gave him the best send-off anyone can have. He deserved it and afterwards, in his honour we did what he would have wanted. We drank the club dry, literally. There wasn’t even any water left in the urinals by the time we had finished. He really will be missed but leaves his legacy in young John and George behind. They have some big shoes to fill but from what I have seen of them they will make their dad proud.
I know I am getting old as it takes days rather than hours to recover from a good drink. (Let me serve notice here to anyone who gives up a bus seat for me. They are going to get a good slap round the head with my catheter and my hearing aid rammed into their left eyeball)
Sailing across the English Channel.
Anyway after a couple of day’s recovery time we set off to see if there was anything beyond the concrete wall in Brighton that penned us in for so long. We found sea. Lots of it stretching way out to the horizon. So with the immortal words of Horatio Nelson ringing in our ears “Come on, which one of you shot the cripple”, we sallied forth into the great unknown. (And before you say anything they never had paraplegic or disabled people in Nelson’s time, well they did but they were called cripples, ask Charles Dickens if you don’t believe me).
It wasn’t long before Aiden found he was missing his friends as he sat on the back of Cygnus calling for Ralph and Hughie. He soon recovered as England’s white cliffs became a haze and then disappeared altogether. There was now nothing within our vision apart from sea and a long trail of diced carrots.
Crossing the shipping lanes
In crossing the channel you also cross two imaginary lanes of shipping going in either direction. It is similar to a twenty-mile wide M25 apart from there are no road markings, crash barriers, the traffic is bigger and the brakes don’t work. It is, so they say, the busiest stretch of water in the world. You cross the shipping lanes at right angles and try not to get hit by anything along the way. I think we were lucky and managed to weave our way between some very large boats.
Entrance to Fecamp
Once we were out of the lanes it was plain sailing (apart from a rope we think we had round the prop) until we saw France. It was then that the wind and seas began to get up a bit but Cygnus looked after us well. We approached what we believed to be Fecamp as dark fell and the shore lights of the town totally obscured any navigation lights. We took down the sails and crept in crablike to counteract the strong current. We were looking for a long narrow canal like edifice that leads into the inner harbour.
Once in we were sheltered from the wind and currents life became more tolerable. We looked for a mooring space as no one would answer the radio. It also appeared that the boating world had decided that Fecamp marina was the place to be that night as the visitor’s pontoon was totally full. Some kind French man then decided to pull back a bridge into another basin and in we popped, quick as you like. We found a space, went in stern too and bounced onto French soil (well a pontoon but it was close enough). The Sea Gypsies had arrived, not so much in style but we had arrived.
I had been to Fecamp 20 years earlier and the only thing that had changed was the people who were now 20 years older. It is still a fishing town surrounded by restaurants selling very fresh Mal de Mer, (fruits of the sea).
Fecamp Hill fortifications
During the Second World War the Germans made Fecamp a fortress and used prisoners to build huge bunkers on the hillside. Many of these prisoners died due to the conditions in which they were kept. I would like to climb the hill to see them but looking at how steep it is I might just get the binoculars out.
Over the last couple of months I have insulted various people, countries and places and it is now time for me to take penance. For my sins I have agreed that as its Sunday I will go to church and pay homage. It is time to mend my ways and it is the only right and proper thing to do. In fact I have committed so many sins I have agreed to go to the top. A monastery called the “Palais Benedictine”.
Repent my son
I have also discovered that although there are no longer monks there it is the place they used to make Benedictine liquor and they give free samples! I may have to repeat (sorry Fraudulent slip) repent my sins several times over. I will then feel at ease and we can sail on.
Oh, I almost forgot. I was tempted to keep this picture for myself but I couldn’t let the lads down could I. For your pleasure a collection of some of the best “knockers” in France.
The biggest and best French knockers
If you are under the age of 18 years please don’t scroll down any further!!
Over 18’s only
Do not go any further
It’s nearly here
Ready lads.. It’s worth waiting for
The best collection of “knockers” in France
A collection of big knockers
Don’t you just love “Door Knockers?”