Everytime someone comes to 'Les Tertres' for the first time, we always hear: 'Wow! I've never seen anything like it before. What an incredible place!' (Meaning a house with such a view.)
We do agree. The scenery is amazing. And we never get bored watching the sea.
The house stands on a cliff, 30 meters above a vast and mostly deserted beach. Right below, the sea is studded with tiny islands or should I say, clusters of rocks which mostly appear at low tide. Every one of them has a name of course. Further away, you may see a remote coastline since this is a bay.
On wintery days when the air is crisp and limpid, the coastline gets so distinct you can see trees outlined against the sky, 20 miles away from you. It is magical.
At night, from the other side of the bay, villages send funny flickering signals, showing people are indeed living there. You also see quite a few twinkling buoys because beauty sometimes hides terrible dangers for boating, mostly fishermen.
Twenty years ago, we wanted badly a 'family home' where we could put family roots down once and for all. We wanted a 'happy' house where we'd welcome our friends, our friends' children and our son's friends. It took us a long time to find the right place.
One day we saw the 'perfect house' in a real estate agent's window. It had been for sale for three years. We went and took a tour of the estate (at the time, the house stood over 15 acres of gardens, woods, moor and small fields and boasted one private access to the beach, on a completely protected natural site).
Sounds perfect like a dream come true, doesn't it?
Well, actually, as soon as I got there, even tho the scenery was appalling, I got scared!
What? Are we going to live in the middle of nowhere, at the end of the earth? (The closest village is three miles away even tho we see the church steeple from the house.) I pictured poor me with several children lost in the wilderness during school holidays. And I just couldn't say yes! I loved the place but it took me one long year to surrender!
I remember our first summer there, the house filled as anticipated with 'tons' of friends and children... running back and forth, I should say up and down from and to the beach with our shepherd dog, Branwen.
During the day, it was allright. Anyway, nobody seemed to fear anything around there. Half a mile from us, our closest neighbours left their doors and windows open day and night...
It started getting hard at night, especially when a full moon started shining all over the rocky moor.
I can't remember who was the first one to ever talk about 'the hatchet man' who'd be coming up the cliff from the sea and... someone, usually a child, would start screaming: 'He's coming! He's coming!'
The moon and the rocks would create weird and scary shapes... and since we have huge picture windows on the first floor, guess who'd get scared and tried to remain as calm as she could be (and sometimes didn't quite succeed at it)?
I don't like to feel like a coward so I decided to make the best out of our 'home'. (It no longer was 'our house in Brittany'.) I did manage to stay there on my own with the children and I ended up loving it after all.
We proudly discovered we belonged there during the first winter when we weathered a few very strong tempests and survived!
Later on, it became a truly safe place for all of us, safe from problems or illness or worries, despite several burglary attempts (times were changing), all of them while we were away and despite the 1999 hurricane (we were there).
Now I go live there by myself without fear. We no longer have a dog but I still keep forgetting to lock the doors.
We no longer are considered as 'summer vacationers' (the worst insult ever). We have many friends in the area who come to visit us in Brussels and Paris. Imagine!
We do belong to 'Les Tertres'. We do.
(to be continued)