• Mike Gould

An unexpected delight


At Havre de la Vanlee, near St Martin de Brehal, we come out of the restaurant to see that it is a night when the highest tide has driven the sea over the marshes & road we’d approached on. Coming to this region for over thirty years, it shouldn’t have been a surprise but somehow we’d forgotten about it, failed to note the calendar significance or why the restaurant by the submerged road was so busy.


On a beautiful summer’s night it was wonderful to experience as if for the first time the water settling over the valley.


My reading on this holiday has also taken an unexpected turn. I started on a novel given to me for a birthday but I didn’t get on with it, so scoured the shelves of our cottage for something else - and my eyes lit upon ‘Jane Eyre’, a novel first experienced about the same time as we’d first watched the tide rise over the Vanlee.


And what a pleasure it has turned out to be. Apart from the evocation of place, the sharp delineation of other characters such as Helen Burns, and the plot development, it is the crystal clear voice of Jane, speaking to me again over the centuries that enraptures and delights. An unexpected, yet welcome return to a landscape I’d long forgotten.

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