Stopping (or not)

Leaving Swanage I took the rural roads north. I didn’t stop in Blandford, never have before and didn’t find sufficient reason to change that habit. I didn’t stop in Shaftesbury either, but then I’ve been there many times before; at school! I paused in a lay-by on the A303 (the one non-rural road I drove a few miles along) and took a couple of landscapes.

The view from the layby – A303

I stopped at Stonehenge thinking a wander round would be nice, stretch the LWD’s legs and have a bit of lunch. Well I had lunch in the car park and that was it … It would appear that English Heritage do not appreciate canines and they are not allowed anywhere near the monument. That put me off; then I discovered the charge of £18 to walk for half a mile to get to the monument and observe it at a distance, well I can do that from the road; decision made and the money stayed in my possession! Last stop before the campsite at Seend was in Melksham for a food shop.

Literally as I parked up and plugged in on site the rain started. It only lasted a few hours and today we’re back to the yellow blob in the sky that has become, unusually, a familiar sight of late. One of the things that drew me to this campsite is its proximity to the Kennet and Avon canal (about 100 yards). As a teenager I spent a weekend with my youth club friends helping clear part of the canal before it was reopened, don’t remember much about the clearing but we drank a fair bit of cider! Imagine my delight when walking with the LWD along the towpath at Caen Hill I found a lock dedicated to those who helped renovate the canal. I take my bow  – with or without cider!

Caen Hill Flight is a series of 29 locks, a rise of 237 feet in 2 miles taking around 5-6 hours to complete.

🙂 🙂 🙂

C’est mieux …

I left Trier on the lesser routes, following the R. Mosel/Moselle, nipped in and out of Luxembourg a couple of times and finally arrived at Verdun. It took longer than I’d thought … it was only six inches on the map! The Passion France stopover was in the car park of a traditional sweet factory – shame I don’t eat them – but I made up for it by having a fruit tart and a cuppa at a patisserie in the town centre. I’ve seen some strange sights but a traditional Brit phone box in the middle of a french town … according to the plaque some English geezer (Comte de Londres???) with money to throw away donated loadsaloot to help with restoration after WW1 so an area around the river is named Quai de Londres and restaurants with English names, such as Le Windsor, abound.

Driving down to Void-Vacon, a place I found in the Passion France guide and chose because the stop is next to a canal, I was back in seventh heaven on the D roads away from the madding crowds and found that the grin had returned. Apparently I’m not a follow the guide person, and certainly not a dash along the motorway person, don’t know why I thought I was … anyway this very typical, slightly scruffy (it sounds just too, too precious to say shabby chic) canalside town has given me an idea for future wanderings.

I shall just look for places I can get to following alongside a canal or river, starting tomorrow, when I shall follow the Le Canal de la Marne au Rhin and the R. Marne towards Châlons-en-Champagne. Now there I might just have to sample what’s on offer!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Out of the mouths …

The Smart One sitting today/overnight while K has a well deserved night out. He’s got a nasty cold and was dawdling a bit on our canalside walk. I nagged him to hurry up. He got his own back not long after. “Grandma, when you stop to take photos you’re taking lots longer than I do by walking slowly “.  I made it up to him with a train trip for the return journey back to the car and a spag. bol. at our favourite restaurant in Twyford.