Fortuitously our arrival into Pont L'Eveque coincided with the first day of their annual cheese festival. A marquee in the central square blared Europop and we approached with interest (me trying hard to ignore AM's Dad joke about the coupling of cheese and cheesy music) and entered, whereupon we were momentarily knocked unconscious by the pervading ammonia-rich fumes de fromage. The locals, feverish with excitement at the happy arrangement of so many of their favourite food stuffs in the same locality, not to mention the promise of free 'degustations', seemed not to notice our plight and it was only the warm tongue of a leashed spaniel to our cheeks that finally brought us round. Composure regained, we set upon the stalls with glee. Competing for our attention they offered various free tastings. Gorgeous samples of cheese from Pont L'Eveque itself, Livarot, Neufchatel and Camembert were quickly devoured as well as local cider, terrines, bread, patisseries and more. When we found the stall selling aligot we nearly passed out again, but this time from happiness. After careful consideration several purchases were made and dinner that night consisted of said heavenly cheese and potato substance with a sausage and lentil stew and a bottle of local cider. C'est la vie indeed.
Back on the road the next stop was Pegasus Bridge and its memorial museum (cue predictable tears from me when faced with photos, stories and video footage of the young soldiers and the survivors as now-aged Veterans. Old men make me weep) and subsequently Arromanches, home of the truly amazing engineering feat that was the Mulberry Harbours. Thanks to the over consumption of the previous two days, our larger than normal stomachs were heaved onto bikes to head west from our campsite and along the sites of the D-Day landings and the American Cemetery. It's been a truly moving experience.
Having analysed it I think I spent the first couple of weeks away caught up in general anxiety - was it all going well? Were we getting on? Were we enjoying ourselves? Was AM okay? The irony being that of course it was going well, of course he was okay because he always is and of course I wasn't enjoying myself because I was too busy worrying about whether or not I was enjoying myself. I may or may not need therapy. A slightly painful day of not much conversation (in a camper-van there's nowhere to escape to) ensued after which the clouds cleared and we were back on track, bonding over our shared love of cheese. Cheese makes everything better.