… Every big turn in my life has led me to the Normandy Beach B&B at Arromanches. Like an irrepressible urge to hole up in a place I always thought as a safe haven. To lick my wounds. To think. To get better.
We can talk then hours sitting in front of the enormous fireplace, in English please, we laugh, we cry, without any judgement and the arms wide-opened. It’s always made me feel so good, then I leave light-hearted, reassured, all fired up!
And I love the place. An old farm they have renovated themselves, lodging in the gigantic barn 4 guestrooms of which the D-Day decoration undoubtedly outshines the next-door museum! Thereby, the bedside lamp’s foot is a shell cartridge, GI’s helmets harbor geraniums and I even suspect that one of the bedspreads was made in a parachute canvas…
And I’m really fond of their porridge they generously top with whiskey. At 8 o’clock in the morning, let me tell you that it surely frees up the sinuses! Also, so fan of having a beer with the British bikers on the huge table in the courtyard, fan of the real army tank sleeping next to us, crazy about Dyson the crumb vacuum-cat, his predecessor Voldie the cat ‘who has no name’ but above all, I love their tremendous hospitality big time!
A little something that has always made me feel home.
One day there were so many motorbikes in the courtyard that we could barely move along. I have never been a fan of big mechanics per se and all that but the atmosphere, the togetherness, the shared passion always managed to win my perfect neophyte heart over. I admit, I have sometimes pretended. Me too, I found myself in complete awe in front the brand-new nuts and the gleaming fairings. Beer was helping a lot, I must confess.
Free beer, it’s always been top-priority to Adrian. I remember that he used to stack up dozens of bottles in a giant garbage barrel with ice and water, then he was inviting the guests to help themselves without asking. Usually emptied out in 2 hours.
Later on the evening, we often were staying up around the fireplace, everyone was talking to each other, a glass of Calvados at hand… At that time, I was not speaking English as fluently as I am now and I was kinda struggling with the so British accent some could have. This might have led to some approximate interpretations on my part but in the end, to true laughter.
18 years since I fell in love with the Normandy Beach. By chance as it was just opening. I always preferred bed and breakfast instead of regular hotels, friendlier. I must say that I have been more than delighted, instantly won over.
At that time, only 3 rooms were available and they were beginning renovating the 4th. The 5th, the one I’m staying in now, has been built up much more later. It’s my favorite. Ground-floor, adjacent to the main building of the farm, with its walls of very ancient stones, its cottage-look-like and my car parked just in front, I feel I’m staying in a motel!
I was there, for that matter, the day they cleared out the rubble stones of this antic grain storage. I was having my porridge seasoned with whiskey of course, when I saw Adrian passing by, a mug of coffee and a very big glass of Calvados in his hand. He noticed my questioning gaze so he said in a burst of laughter: “It’s not for me, it’s for the young worker outside, otherwise he doesn’t work properly!”
A huge great memorable moment. Like all of those that I have lived here since. My sanctuary. My safe haven. My home sweet home. Thank you.