1985 turned out to be the last full family holiday – in 1986 The Brother was 20 and presumably didn’t fancy the coach trip all the way down through France to Port Grimaud in Provence, just across the bay from St Tropez. I really don’t recommend doing it by coach from London – a mere 818 miles according to Google Maps – many, many hours for a bored teenager with just a Sony Walkman and a limited supply of tapes and batteries (the only album I can recall is Suzanne Vega’s first one, but given that most of the photos from the holiday show me wearing Marillion t-shirts, I suspect Script for a Jester’s Tear was in there as well).
The parents went on a day trip to Monte Carlo (which I skipped – no idea why!), with vast plumes of smoke from forest fires filling the sky. I remember them describing the central reservation of the autoroute smouldering from where the fire had recently crossed it.
We also took a trip round the Gorges du Verdon, a couple of hours away – an awesome spectacle.
There was also an evening trip over the bay to the glamour of St Tropez – there are more photos from this, which I’ll put in a separate post.
There are surprisingly few photos from this holiday, probably the first one with no black and white. In 1985 we spent the whole two weeks at St Jean de Monts in the Vendee again. The holiday was later than usual – I am sure the fact that I turned 17 while we were away and you could bring back a duty-free allowance of alcohol for 17 year olds played absolutely no part in the scheduling. None at all…
For the 1984 summer holiday, we spent a week in Carnac in Brittany and then ventured a bit further south well, we drove down to the Vendee and St Jean de Monts. A lovely place as I recall, with a vast sandy beach being reached through a pine wood.
As for Carnac, you can probably imagine how interested a 16 year old boy was in standing stones. It took a long time for me to be able to utter the word “Carnac” without the word “sodding” in front of it.
I’d previously posted pics of the family holiday to France in 1983, but I’m re-doing it now as there are more photos.
We went back to Benodet for a week, and had a week at an inland site at Belle Isle en terre (somewhere in Brittany).
We have a couple of good entries for the Fat Frenchman collection, as well as a particularly good Englishman on holiday (chinstrap beard, budgie smugglers, and there may even have been sandals)
The final shot, of “La Guitoune” in Roscoff, is in commemoration of what has gone down in family lore as the worst meal ever. We had hardly any money left and it was cheap – and wasn’t worth the money. I seem to recall it being badly cooked (semi-raw fried eggs, that sort of thing). I believe we may not even have left a tip!
1980 was a radical new departure for us – not just abroad, but camping. Well, purists probably wouldn’t count it as proper camping as we went with Eurocamp, so the tent was already there, 3 “bedrooms”, that sort of thing. But back in 1980 the lighting was just a gas lamp and the fridge was just a coolbox that you kept topped up with blocks of ice you bought from reception. Electric light and a fridge didn’t come along for a couple of years.
This was at Benodet in Brittany – Camping de la Pointe St Gilles, which Eurocamp still use. The takeaway there was fantastic – we quickly realised that how much you got was determined by the size of the container you took along, not what you asked for, so it was quite cheap to pick up “2 frites” in a bloody big bowl that would feed all four of us…