by Clare Jones
I have just come back from a fabulous two nights’ family camping trip to the “wild and wonderful” Cwellyn Arms campsite in Snowdonia. I can’t exactly say “nous avons dormi à la belle étoile” (we slept under the stars) because there was a very small canvas separating us from the sky but it was close enough! The sky turned pink and yellow as the sun set over the lake, and we chatted by the camp fire until it got dark well after 10pm then we wriggled into our sleeping bags which barely fitted in the tiny tent. We were in fits of giggles when we realized we had put our sleeping bags in the tent the wrong way round and we somehow had to reverse our positions before it was possible to lie down – not an easy task!
le soleil se couche – the sun is setting
le soleil couchant – the setting sun
un feu de camp – a campfire
un sac de couchage – a sleeping bag
à l’envers / sens dessus dessous – upside down
piquer un fou rire – to get a fit of the giggles
The following morning, we set off on the half-mile walk up to the pub for one of the best cooked breakfasts I have ever had the pleasure to eat. The uphill walk was excellent for stretching the limbs and easing out the aches and pains I could feel from passing the night on the hard ground, and as the French say, “Ça ouvre l’appétit” – it whets the appetite (literally it opens the appetite). The breakfast wasn’t cheap but it was obviously made with the finest of local ingredients and was cooked to perfection. Myam myam!
According to Internaute.com, the expression dormir à la belle étoile used to be used ironically as if La Belle Étoile were the name of an inn (The Beautiful Star) and the ceiling above you the stars in the night sky.
We were lucky to have splendid weather for the whole of our stay in Snowdonia. It wasn’t until I got home that I heard of the appalling weather the French have had to suffer this week. I do hope my French friends and readers are safe and well. Please leave a comment in French or in English.
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