Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far (although we've just got back in and it's not bad this afternoon either !) - when we were waiting for the bus home at 6.15pm, we happened to be opposite a chemists' with a thermometer display and it was 29° (which is 84F) so goodness knows how hot it was at it's peak. There were activities going on at the beach but I decided it was too hot to stay there long and opted for shady parks instead. We started off with a picnic in an eco-themed park.
This sign, which means "Food to share", caught my eye. It's a little allotment and you're allowed to help yourself to whatever you want. After the educational orchard that we visited earlier in the week that also had a sign saying you could eat what you liked off the bushes, this has got to make it relatively easy being a freegan in Dunkirk ! Unfortunately, there was nothing ready to eat at this point apart from some mint and chives which we already have at home, but there has been quite a lot by the looks of the signs - rhubarb, peas, potatoes, onions, spring onions, strawberries, raspberries... What a fabulous idea !
The kids were more interested in jumping around on the tree trunk stepping stones though ! We packed up our picnic and headed off to part two of our adventure.
I never understand Dunkirk beach. I stood in the same spot for these two photos. This one was looking right - vast expanses of empty sand.
And this one is looking left - it's packed. There are only 100 yards between the two spots so why does everyone congregate in the same zone ? Strange !
Pierre played with the telescope while we waited for the activities to open, but he can't have seen much because I didn't put any money in it !
The girls had a go at these last week and loved it so much, I decided to bring them back when I saw that they were coming out again - especially as they're free and, in the park we went to for Pierre's birthday, they were asking €5 a pop for their hamster balls.
Pierre made me laugh on the paddleboats because I thought he was going to crash into the attendant in the water !
Further up on the prom, we settled in the shade to play with the display of traditional, old-fashioned wooden games.
I sat with Sophie in the "Library of the Sands" - over the summer, the library service take a selection of books and magazines to beaches and parks for you to read while you're there.
Needless to say, Sophie was happy to read all the magazines with One Direction in them !
But the beach was blisteringly hot so we were off to another shady park. We stopped off for an ice cream on the way and I stocked up on water again. The four of us got through an amazing 5 litres of water over the course of the afternoon !
When I came out of the shop with the water, I was pleased to see the kids putting more sun cream on without me even asking - the message has been absorbed !
Our destination was Parc Coquelles, around the Château Coquelles manor house.
The kids had a play on the swings.
I was a bit perplexed by the solar panel in the duck pond - what could that be charging ?!
We picked up a big geocache lurking in a quiet corner of the park.
Then hid it back in the tree under a rock.
We discovered a very impressive "insect hotel" in the nature area.
And I love the bridge made out of branches.
Pierre loved hopping across the stepping stones to cross the little stream between the duck ponds.
The ducks were very inquisitive and came really close.
As did the roosters wandering about crowing.
I love the old-fashioned feel of some of the play equipment here. This pedal-powered roundabout is great fun and also gives the kids a great workout.
Another go on the swings, then a good laugh at the people who got their football stuck up a tree, tried to get it down with another football and managed to get that one stuck too, then we were heading home. Phew, it was a scorcher but we managed to beat the heat !
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