BRITTANY 2014

HOLIDAY 2014 Early in 2014 Peter Rowlands found a Brittany Ferries holiday offer that looked just right for an Austin expedition.

We left Eastington at 11.00am on Wednesday the 24th of September, the run down to Portsmouth was uneventful but pleasant, petrol topped up on the M72 £1.44 a litre! Arriving at the port we met up with some fellow austineers who had arrived earlier.  On to the ferry and off to the restaurant for our first proper foreign meal.  A smooth crossing saw us disembark in St Malo.

We all had a route to follow so we went wrong in about 2 miles!  However we recovered only to be stopped at the barrage for several boats to pass through.  Weather sunny and warm.  We later picked up Tony and Brenda, Bruce and Peter, then at a roundabout we lost Tony!  Stopped for coffee in Medrignag.  We continued on our way to Mulin su Mer with a bit of motorway driving.  Stopped for lunch in Noyal Pontivy.

Found the first municipal toilet, of the two footprint variety.  Lovely lunch eaten in the village square we pooled what we had and bought a few bits from the patisserie.  On to our destination, then we had trouble finding the hotel!  We stopped to consult and listen to the noise from Bruce’s offside rear wheel.  I found water poring out from under the car, down a handily placed drain.  Opening the bonnet I was pleased to find it was only a core plug that had blown.  In retrospect I found the radiator pressure relief valve, yes Ruby radiators do have them, had stuck shut.  If the core plug had not blown we could have seriously damaged the radiator.

In a trice Bruce was on hand with a new core plug and a hammer.  Fixed in ten minutes, thank you Bruce.  Having deduced the cause of the blow out I left the radiator cap loose but restrained from falling off with string, see photograph.  A local van man offered to show us the way, we were stopped at lights and he sped off, never to be seen again.  We arrived at 5.30pm.  Heard that Ron had broken the pin through his distributor drive gear, that was soon fixed.  Quick shower then all off to the hotel restaurant for dinner.

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The hotel was superb, not just a hotel but huge landscaped grounds surrounding a lake, stream and ancient watermill complex.  Friday morning we had a look at the problem with the rear wheel on Bruce’s car.  It turned out to be a broken brake spring, every thing looked OK otherwise, Paddy had a new spring.

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After that we had a look round Mulin su mer had a picnic lunch and some went swimming in the hotel pool afterwards.  Very nice. Dinner in the hotel was duck, very tasty.

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Saturday dawned fine and sunny again, in fact we had no rain on us for the whole time in France.  Others did have a short shower further in land.  We set of for the beach at Kerfany Les Pins.

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It was a lovely spot and as with all the beaches we went to we were the only people on it most of the time.  Quote of the day “ the sewage is keeping the algae green”.  Picnic lunch, sunbathing and exploring and a spot of Tai Chi for Dianne and Brenda!  We had a drink in the local bar before heading back to the hotel.  We picked Bruce up and Peter went with Tony back to the hotel.  They had been on a walk while the car battery was charged.  We sat by the lake having a cup of tea and watching Maurice the Lama on his island.  Dinner that night was at a restaurant in Mulin, Peter was on top form telling one of his shaggy dog stories, Karen found it so funny Pete had to cut the story short to avoid a meltdown.  The locals were impressed, I think so anyway.  It was really good to meet new Austineers on this trip, Bruce and Peter, Ian and Chris, Dave and Karen.  Dave wasn’t in the Royal Navy as he at first claimed!  Pity we could have exchanged war stories.

I had planned to go to Lorient on Sunday to look at the U Boat pens.  We had one friend who had been captured from a U Boat and another who had been captured from one of our submarines.  Both very lucky to survive the war.  Their stories naturally left me with an  added interest in the subject.  I had recently read a book about Lorient and St Nazair during the war.  I was surprised to learn that the U-Boat bases were left operating until the end of the war.  It was considered that they were too heavily defended to easily defeat without heavy losses on our side.  By then the U-Boat threat had largely been countered by the superior Allied strategy, tactics, intelligence, technology and material resources.

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Bomber Command had done their best to destroy the facilities in both towns but despite this the U Boats were still being serviced well into 1945.  Both towns were flattened though.  In the cemetery in Mulin Su Mer we found a tribute to one pilot shot down in the sea and killed.  His body was recovered by a fishing boat and eventually buried locally.

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Bruce and Peter accompanied us, we had lunch at a London bus turned into a cafe.

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The pens are indeed massive they were built by the Organisation Todt, who were responsible for all defense building from Norway to the Atlantic coast. At their height they numbered a million workers. Mostly from countries the Axis had occupied.  They were also responsible for repairing bomb damage throughout Germany and the occupied territories.  They were an extremely efficient organisation.

There was a French submarine on shore on the slip the German’s used to move U Boats out of the water and into dry secure pens.  Very ingenious.

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Dianne stayed on shore painting while we three toured the submarine and Museum. Monday we found the replacement core plug weeping so more Radweld added, Tony had the other half as he had a core plug weeping as well.  We set off for Pont Even it is a very pretty town with plenty of café’s and coffee shops.

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BBM69 THE CENTER OF ATTENTION IN PONT EVEN

I particularly like the municipal toilets situated over the river!  For some reason these are called Tony’s toilet?

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Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

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While parking near the beach a local brought out this little car to sit alongside BBM.

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Tucked up for the night in the hotel car park.

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The end of holiday group photograph, with second hand fox!

I was pleased that the brakes and steering performed better than they had been doing for some years.  Well worth the effort put in on the 30,000 mile service.  The 6 volt to 12 volt converter proved invaluable driving the satellite navigator.  At times it was the best method for sorting out deviations when time was of the essence.  Incidentally Bruce had bought one for about £3 that provided a larger output than mine.  43.8 miles per gallon of petrol. Plus ethomix. 484 miles per pint of oil. 1 bottle of Radweld. 1 core plug.

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