Trains Boats and Bikes in Brittany

Ok, so the first train was in England heading from Clapham to Portsmouth, rather than France but arrived at the Port on a perfect late summer’s evening to see the sun setting as we sipped our pints of 1664 as the ferry slipped out into the Channel.

12 hours later and we were in the fortified town of St Malo, Brittany which was hardly visible through the early morning fog. By the time we’d had our Cafe au lait and croissant at a Patisserie close to the city wall and caught the smaller ferry across to Dinard, the sun had already burnt the mist away and so started a weeks cycling and exploration of the Canal d'Ille et Rance from Dinard to Rennes via Dinan in Brittany.

Beautiful countryside beyond the tree lined canal. Be aware though that cycling towards the end of September means that many of the acorns, beechnuts and chestnut have fallen so cycling can be a pit precarious if you don’t have the right tyres, as I learnt much to my peril!

The highlights would be walking round the medieval town of Dinan with panoramic views down to the Canal (yes a cycle uphill). Next time I will take a look at Léhon Castle and abbey rather than viewing it from the other side of the canal! Would also recommend the excellent B&B Ille Flottant, an old l’ecluse (lock house) walking distance to the village of Hédé-Bazouges. We just missed a jazz festival but did manage to eat at the La Petite Porte - definitely for meat eaters and diners happy to soak up the atmosphere of the bric-a-brac interior and the exceptional food. Booking is advised as sooo popular.

Rennes is worth a visit to see the Musee des Beaux-Arts and the Piscine Saint-Georges designed by Emmanuel Le Ray and a stunning piece of Art Deco architecture with mosaic patterns designed by Breton artist Isidore Odorico.

And finally back to St Malo - which inspired my print entitled ‘Eyes’!

Colour coordinating with Kent Cancord and Canal D’Ille et Rance

Colour coordinating with Kent Cancord and Canal D’Ille et Rance

Canal d’Ille et Rance

Canal d’Ille et Rance

Detailing of the Piscine Saint Georges in Rennes

Detailing of the Piscine Saint Georges in Rennes

Fort National - St Malo - only accessible at low tide.

Fort National - St Malo - only accessible at low tide.

Eyes - Photopolymer intaglio

Eyes - Photopolymer intaglio

Photo transfer onto Etching Plate

I attended an excellent day course on transferring photocopied images onto an etching plate, tutored by Ralph Overill at The London Print Academy. A very useful technique.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  • Find a black and white image or take it into photoshop and convert to Black & White.

  • Photo copy the image using a laser jet printer

  • Submerge photo copied image in water for about 1minute

  • Remove paper from water

  • Mix etching ink with a little linseed oil

  • Dab a sponge in the ink and then dab the image

  • Place the inked up photocopy image onto a prepared etching plate

  • Using your finger or thumb press the ink onto the etching plate

  • Remove the paper and prepare the plate for the acid

  • After the acid bath, ink up the plate, run it through the press and see your black & white image transferred onto paper!



paper plate and print.jpg

Lucy's first cycle tour on the Continent!

On a beautiful clear blue skied Sunday over the August Bank Holiday, I set off from Kings Cross to Dover by train with my old flatmate John and bikes in tow. We proceeded to and then loop our way around Dover Port by bike and cycle up the ramp onto a DFSD ferry and head to the continent and our mission to cycle to Wissant and arrive in time for a cool glass of beer before dinner! After navigating our way out of Calais and cycling over rolling hills, past Le Cap Blanc Nez (closest point of the continent to UK and similar to the White Cliffs of Dover) we achieved our mission and not only fitted in a beer but also participating in the Wissant Fête du Flobart. This is a maritime folklore festival where decorated fishing boats are pulled by tractors through the village and driven down to the beach for a blessing of the sea.

Delicious dinner at the Hotel Normandy (straight out of the film 'Monsieur Hulot's Holiday'!) followed by a 'gentile' evening promenade around the picturesque seaside village.

On Bank Holiday Monday, after an appetising hotel breakfast, and a delayed start (John found his bike had a puncture!) we set off to Wimereux visiting the picturesque fishing village of Audresselles on the way.  Wimereux is a coastal town which was a hospital centre during the First World War for the Allies and in the Second World War, the German Naval Headquarters were situated on the northern side of the town. After D-Day, the town was re-taken by the Canadian 1st Army on 22 September 1944.

Wimereux has excellent seafood restaurants and Tuesday market which we were fortunate to be staying nearby.  It was at this market that we purchased our picnic supplies which kept energy levels going on our 45km cycle ride into the countryside East of the town.

From Wimereux, one can easily catch the train back to Calais (my route) or in the other direction, to Le Touquet (lucky John had more holiday than me!).

I recommend!