30th August 2018
Montalivet Les Bains, Aquitaine, France
In the late winter months hardly even a mouse stirs in Montalivet Les Bains - it’s the archetypal example of a deserted seaside town out of season. Even during one hot Easter when I was here the crowds seemed to be elsewhere and now its summer I am pleased to report that it’s still a very tolerable place to be.
Sure, there are plenty of folk about and many of them look to have arrived here in their Eurocampervan but they all seem to flocculate at one of the many large, just out of town, campsites that cater admirably for their ilk. The actual town is still fairly quiet but, unlike in winter, all the many little shops and cafes are open.
It’s a town I like as it has everything I need - a very decent and reasonably priced Aldi, an excellent boulangerie, free public taps which dispense drinking water, extensive grassy public rest areas with shade and benches - and the folk it attracts are predominantly the outdoors type of families who would rather spend the day peddling quietly through the nearby forests than getting fractious from too much time peering at their devices.
The Bordeaux crowd seem to favour the more southerly resorts of Aquitaine which are very much geared up to titillate their urban tastes with expensive boutiques and casinos aplenty. Montalivet most definitely does not dance to that tune and it reminds me in many important ways of Littlehampton in the 1970s and 80s. Not to look at but in the way it stoically remains unaffected by the trappings of wealth which proliferate all about it.
I elected to stay over, last night, by the side of the potholed forest road which is defo 100% legal with a view to looking for a more secluded location today. However, I am wondering now if its worth the potential risk of a brush with authority as said potholed road could not have been quieter. A couple of lone cyclists cheerfully bimbled by during the afternoon - one dragging a huge net of plastic detritus collected from the beach - and not a single soul after about 4pm.
Accordingly, the night was totally quiet and the surrounding forest provided an appealing view and excellent walking at dawn. I had a much needed douche in the sea ‘helped’ by Amy and seriously strong Atlantic waves. One moment the sea was ankle deep and the next over my head! Amy thought it was a great hoot to try and unbalance me just before the big waves struck, she simply seemingly to float on their surface, like a bloody duck, as they came and went!
So, it seems reasonable to assume that we should be OK to spend a few days here relaxing in some very tolerable weather whilst pondering next moves. There is not usually much to report when we stop moving so I might have a go at trying to compose a short story, for which a partial idea is currently buzzing about my brain. If it ever gets finished I’ll publish it here and in the meantime I believe I still have copies of a couple travel episodes from back in the days when I used to travel with the wolves and may, therefore, dust them down and submit them as daily ‘fillers’.
If only I could think of a way to make this writing lark pay…...
Sign of the Times? Post Pillbox Pontifications