Day 87 – Avoiding the rain and arriving at Tisha’s
We thought the weather was bad the day before but apparently we were wrong. Today the wind was so strong it was literally stripping the trees of leaves so there was little mini tornados of leaves making their way across the car park. We treated ourselves to a pizza from the restaurant onsite and were blown to and from the van. I also attempted to make popcorn in the van, which was pretty hilarious. At about 4pm it was time to drive on to Tisha’s farm, so we packed up and left.
Tisha was my au pair when I was growing up, she lived with us for nearly three years, arriving when I was 5 and my sister was 3. As a family we have visited Tisha on her farm and I have hilarious memories of milking cows. As it’s been about 12 years since I’ve been to the farm it took us a couple of journeys past to find her beautiful farm house. She lives on the farm with her husband, Samuel, along with her three children. François who is 12, Marine, 9 and Victoire, 6.
On the farm are 80 cows and 9,000 turkeys. The family also have 4 sheep, 3 chickens, a guinea pig, along with a cat and a dog. Jack found the sheep and the noises they make hilarious.
For dinner we had pancakes, a Tisha specialty. Savory ones with ham, cheese and egg, followed by sweet ones with sugar, lemon and nutella. Every Wednesday was pancake day at our house when Tisha lived with us; this got her in a lot of trouble with her own children, who decided it was very unfair that Wednesday wasn’t pancake day at their house.
It turns out that not even Tisha and the family had braved the wet weather of the previous few days and had come back home earlier from their holiday.
After dinner Tisha cracked out the photo album with some brilliant photos of my sister and I as kids during her time in England. She also had the photos from her wedding. Look! Weren’t we cute.
Day 88 – Tisha’s Farm
We were very excited to get down to the farm the next day. Tisha had told us that they had invested a lot of money in the farm and now had milking robots. It means that they are able to monitor the cows much better. While they’re being milked the cows get to eat a sweeter hay as a treat. This had led to some cows trying their luck up to 70 times a day; however, they can only get milked every 5 hours and only if they have produced enough milk. Some cows can give up to 35 litres in a day and choose to get milked between 1 and 5 times a day. Alongside the milking robots, there are also robots that feed the cows and sweep out the poop; something that my sister and I spent hours doing previously. The milking cows are in a brand new shed, the previous one now holds all of the babies and pregnant cows. They also still have the old space where the milking used to happen before they got the robots, which now looks completely different.
Did I mention that there’s also 9,000 turkeys.
After some lunch we headed into town to Ploërmel, to look at the astronomical clock and the school which Tisha works in. On the way Marine made Jack and I loom band bracelets, which have now gone into my scrap book. Victoire went through all of the different colours on the band and named them all in English, Tisha then asked me to do the same in French which was rather interesting. The girls found it hilarious.
The clock is housed in what looks like a greenhouse and has 10 different clock faces mapping the time and the movements of the moon, sun and all of the planets. There’s a little video that can be played in a number of languages so after the kids and Tisha listened to it in French, we then moved onto English.
There was also a small museum that housed all sorts of bugs, natural rocks, taxidermy animals and a whole range of butterflies. While we were looking about Victoire and one of Tisha’s nephews collected up just about every leaflet of things to do in the area, which they then proceeded to count and sort. It’s safe to say that next time the kids are bored Tisha will have lots of ideas about where to take them!
As we were leaving the town, Tisha and Jack got onto the subject of seafood. After discovering that Jack had never tried oysters and muscles before, Tisha took us round to the fresh food counter and stocked up on prawns, oyster, muscles and two different types of snails for dinner. She was slightly concerned that I wasn’t going to eat anything for dinner having said I wasn’t a big fan of seafood, but I promised I would try everything on offer. Which I did. The oyster I just didn’t happen to swallow. Again the kids thought this was hilarious, so I’m glad we came to Tisha’s even if it was just to entertain her children. Jack enjoyed everything, but no one enjoyed the snails as much as Victoire who was like a little snail machine. I was surprised that I did like both the prawns and the muscles. The snails weren’t too bad, but I don’t think they’ll make it onto our usual dinner list. For pudding we had a lemon tarte that had been picked by Marine as one of the favourites from the local baker.
All too soon it was time for us to get on the road and drive the 6 hour journey to Calais in order to get our 9am ferry back home. It was a lovely way to spend the final part of our trip. When Tisha left our house for the last time in order to come back to France and marry Samuel, my mum told him to make sure he looked after her; Tisha thought it all too suitable to say the same thing to Jack. Marine and Victoire also like the idea of moving in with Jack and I when they’re older to be an au pair to any children we have. I’m gutted I didn’t take that many photos, but I’m sure I will see you all soon, whether that be in France or in England.
About two hours after we left Tisha’s, I started to feel quite sick. We pulled over a couple of times so I could get some fresh air. Jack then set up the single bed so that I could see if sleep would help but so that I could still be plugged in. Half and hour later, travelling at 130kph on the motorway I managed to unplug and hurl myself across the van to the washing up bowl to vomit. I managed to get the whole lot in the bowl with no spillages, something my mum later described as ‘good training’. The journey took us a little longer that we expected with the various stops and we arrived at our planned stop, 15 minutes from Calais ferry crossing, at 3am.
I don’t think seafood and I are friends anymore.
Day 89 – The ferry home
At 9am, feeling rather tired, sick and groggy we boarded the ferry for the final part of our trip.
It has been an incredible one and something that we have both loved. We’ve been away for just under 3 months, visited 15 countries, driven 7,000 miles, wanted to kill each other on numerous occasions, but we made it! And what did we get greeted by when we made it back to England; 10 degrees and 4 lanes of traffic on the M25 in pissing down rain. Happy to be back England, we’ve missed you!
Make sure you out more of my posts on our Europe Road Trip across 3 months, 7,000 miles and 15 countries.
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