The weasel-eyed hamster is home

As I was feeling so crappy I wasn’t able to travel quite as fast as I wanted up to Dieppe  but that meant I managed to appreciate some rather nice stops.

First was a very peaceful aire at Rignac, it would be hard to find a quieter one, for an overnight.

 

Second was a site at St-Germain-les-Belles by a lake at the edge of a very sleepy and pleasant village. I swear the site’s friendly, funny and quite mad Dutch owners only bought it to have enough room to display all their hoards of junk very eclectic mix of collectibles. I stayed two nights.

 

 

Third was the aire at Mennetous-sur-Cher, picked for it’s convenient halfway-point placement between the previous night’s stop and my final overnight destination in France. I had no preconceptions it was just a place to put my weary and aching head down. It was a lovely treat to find an intact medieval village centre that has not been over-restored or over-touristified and is still thriving. The boulangerie there sold the most divine croissants I’ve ever eaten and M. Bun the Boulanger was to be seen busy baking his bread in the background (apologies if that’s just too much alliteration for your taste).

 

Fourth and final was the aire at Giverny as I couldn’t resist the urge to visit Monet’s gaffe again to see the gardens in spring.

 

La Manche was a millpond, the drive to the car park was easy and by doing my favourite shortcut via Ascot I missed all the M25/4 early evening congestion. My lovely daughter was sitting in her car awaiting my arrival and guarding my parking space in the corner. I got the tea, hugs and sympathy I needed.

My GP agreed that four or five weeks of sinusitis deserves a good helping of antibiotics. Hopefully I’ll stop looking like a weasel-eyed hamster very soon …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Time travelling

The Girls duly arrived on time and with baggage at Toulouse-Blagnac airport. Not a friendly motorhome pick up/drop off airport. All express parking height barriered, so they had to scramble in with barely a hello as I stopped illegally, and with an equally illegal stop, scramble out and bid a short goodbye – probably just as well as I don’t do goodbyes and we had time for the hellos once we got to our overnight at Autorive.

Entirely unperturbed by the cloudlike UFOs, we had a lovely few days. The weather was very kind, Argeles-sur-Mer bathed in very warm sunshine, and a couple of idiots got wet – one merely paddled the Med, the other swam – brrr, it wasn’t that warm …                        I was tempted to go on the double decker carousel just because I’ve never seen one before, but Daisy would not’ve been allowed.

We were ladies wot lunched, visited a few nice places (if you’re going to Elne, check it’s open, it wasn’t when we went) and then quick as a wink it was back to the airport for that hurried goodbye.

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Elne (closed)

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Argeles-sur-Mer and the UFOs (note the aliens on the beach)

Port-Vendres

Collioure

A couple of drives later and I’m at the border (will they have to put in border control for Brits after Brexit?) and will cross into Spain tomorrow. During yesterday’s drive I was admiring how vibrant the leaf colours were; haven’t seen colours (or leaves) like those for a while, it felt like I’d travelled back in time a month. I also saw loads of black kites – I presume that’s what they were, they looked exactly like the red kites at home, except the red bit was black.

So it’s au revoir la France and hola Espagna.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Hit and miss

Leaving Parthenay I changed the coordinates in the sat nag three times, couldn’t make up my mind where I wanted to go. Two weeks to fill and I was right out of ideas. Eventually we arrived at Périgueux. I perked up immediately as we drove through the town and I spotted the cathedral and another, definitely medieval looking building. The aire is by the river and the walk alongside it into the historic centre very pleasant.

LWD was subjected to yet another march around but she was bursting with pride when a group of Americans decided to photograph her. She posed to perfection preferring being the subject of the lens rather than just hanging round waiting for me to train my lens elsewhere, I think she may even have forgiven me.

I’ve done some research (looked at the travel guide!) and it’s off to Sarlat tomorrow and more old buildings and then to Cahors. My regular reader may have become aware of my penchant for a bit of a gorge and the upcoming little drive around another gorge or two as recommended by my guide, may not come as a surprise. The Célé and the Lot (again) being the starring rivers.

Périgueux is a definite hit, glad I didn’t miss it …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Undeserved reputation

I’m a bit shocked at the fuel prices in France, with the pound at virtual parity, €1.36 is a lot to pay for a litre of diesel (unleaded is over €1.45) though by shopping around so far I’ve done ok finding diesel at €1.22 at some supermarkets. At one of which I decided to check my tyre pressures. Unfortunately I don’t have 8 ft long arms. It was almost a stretch too far putting air in on the side closest to the machine; as for the other side … There was an engineer working on one of the petrol pumps. After politely asking (in French) for his help, he pressed the air button whilst I held the delivery end on the valve. Effusive thanks to the helpful engineer and sorted.

LWD enjoyed an early morning runaround in the lovely park at Cloyes-sur-Loir, the overnight stop for our 3rd night in France.

During a brief stop for lunch and to look around at the outside of the Chateau in Blois, I was delighted when a shop owner on seeing me looking through the window opened up for me even knowing I only wanted a fridge magnet. It was a fun visit, we nattered away for quite a while, she practiced her English and I my French! She accused me of being fluent … maybe one day.

Turquant was the day’s main destination and overnight stop. A pretty village with troglodyte dwellings most still lived in, and quite a few as businesses, restaurant, disco, art gallery and my personal favourite the winery!

I woke this morning to the certain knowledge that I had to find a doctor and/or a pharmacy. In part due to the recent procedures in the nether regions of my body, the wee infection I had 10 days ago has returned. I found a pharmacy and explained my problem (proud of my French language skills these days) the pharmacist was unable to supply me without prescription BUT he then went above and beyond. He phoned the doctor and made me an appointment and told me that afterwards although he would be shut I was to come back and knock on the door and he would fill the script. Doc examined me thoroughly took the history (in French) and agreed with both me and the pharmacist that the prescription I’d been given at home was neither the correct amount nor for long enough and I started the antibiotics 30 mins later.

I honestly don’t know why the French have such a bad reputation – I’ve always found them, as today and yesterday very helpful and kind.

Tonight finds me at Parthenay, parked up safely with a river view and on the edge of a beautiful park with excellent LWD facilities. We’ll probably stay for a couple of nights.

🙂 🙂 🙂

The newest crew member.

As my regular reader may remember I had a falling out with Tom last autumn when he refused to direct me in Germany, I have no idea why they named Tom twice because unlike New York, he was just not that good.

My regular reader may also remember, that in a previous chapter, I briefly alluded  to his replacement being acquired, and the last couple of days have been a bit of a test. I had to admit to being somewhat irritated with frequent binging and bonging at first, I think Teach was too as she did what teachers do, and on the way back from Beaulieu got a hold of her and instructed her to shut up with the binging and bonging unless and until  binging and bonging is requested; I’ve been much happier since! The new crew member hasn’t passed the Germany test but then I haven’t entered her for it  – yet! She’s doing pretty well on her French test, and her politely informing me of a road closure on today’s route and that she has already has us on diversion was quite helpful – (not in the case of roadworks on the A329, eh Teach?) Except for the difference of opinion on the best type of GPS co-ordinates to use, I think we’re going to get on splendidly. This morning, for instance, she informed me that a road on our route was closed and that she had diverted automatically. Because she’s such a star and so obviously female she has been dubbed Garmina!  She does have the worst French accent I’ve ever heard tho …

We’ve trundled away south and are currently in Chateaudun for the night in a free Aire. I’m popping to a Tabac to see if I can get a French data SIM as the unlocking of the dongle was successful.

Chateaudun last autumn

The steps up from the riverside into town are call St Peter’s descent and there are 199 of them – I’ve become unfit over winter.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Hooray for jigsaw puzzles.

Thankfully, given my paid-for ferry booking on Monday, this week K has been given her marching orders by both surgeon and physiotherapist. We’ve seen the x-ray and her scaffolding is a thing of beauty to behold which all metal detectors will hate! No sign yet of the bone grafting but that apparently takes several months. Surgeon said with a self-deprecating grin that he thought he’d done a pretty good job – we nodded our heads and made sounds of agreement enthusiastically. Physioterrorist is exceeding happy with the improvements in her leg and thinks there may be more to come as her stamina improves. The patient, OK the Ex-patient, was getting a bit down before the appointments as she felt she progress had stalled – until I pointed out that she is now walking at normal pace i.e. – I don’t slow down for her any more so although she is walking for the same amount of time she is covering at least twice the amount of distance! Once she’d worked that out she became a happy bunny.

I’m having a minor flurry of activity preparing for The Off in 3 days and Daisy has developed another ear infection, as she always does in an effort to persuade me she’s too poorly to go to the groomer – never works but she does get extra cuddles.

I get inspiration for journeys from various sources, photos by my Ipernity buddies, travel articles, recommendations of fellow bloggers – and jigsaw puzzles. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with jigsaw puzzles but since I’ve started to solve online puzzles it’s more love than hate – well the damn thing isn’t lying around taking huge amounts of space and I rarely lose pieces! The early part of this trip will be to the villages of the Auvergne simply because I loved a jigsaw I solved of a bridge in Estaing. Then off to drive the Gorges du Tarn and eventually over to the lavender fields of Provence, with maybe a bit of beachtime thrown in for good measure. Hopefully returning via northern Italy, Switzerland and Germany, but only if the new sat. nag. is playing ball.

Oddities beside the Cut

 

Hoping to meet up with some of my blogging pals on the way, see you on the other side!

🙂 🙂 🙂