Travels with a Daisy in the Cévennes …

with apologies to RLS (see column right)

My regular reader will have noticed I haven’t mentioned driving wriggly, winding, steep lines this trip. Well, I didn’t want to bore myself, let alone you my faithful reader (but I’ve been grinning – lots and lots and lots over the past few days).

Today I travelled a different route from Florac towards Ales. I went along the N106 in both directions, (so) last year. Today I drove via the Cévennes and the views were much better, and had more stopping places for the all important photo ops. So lets hear it for the D9. Poor Daize found my frequent oohs, aahs and wows quite disconcerting.

The D9 through the Cévennes

On arrival at lunchtime the road to the Aire was closed as it was market day, so we had a wander round. I bought some olives and artisan bread for lunch and ate them with cold meats, parked by the side of the D9 waiting for the road to open at 14.00 hrs. 14.05 found R0X1 parked in another great Aire, in St Jean-du-Gard. The Smart One might be interested to know we are in the car park of a steam railway station. I might even indulge myself in a little treat tomorrow …

St Jean-du-Gard

It’s still very hot …

🙂 🙂 🙂

The great idea

There were a couple of disappointments but many more delights on the drive down the lower Rhône valley. Unfortunately the roads didn’t follow the river as closely as I’d hoped – I realised afterward that the map I’m using is not large scale so what looked like a close relationship, wasn’t. Still there were some close encounters but usually nowhere to park … So I amused myself with little side trips up the valleys of some of the tributaries, annoying many a French driver with my slow speed, along very pretty, windy steep routes. I admired many a vineyard, delighting in the gorgeous autumn colours of the vine leaves and totally at ease with the lack of grapes – as this means next years vintage is well on its way!

Arriving in Avignon I decided a quiet weekend was in order and headed for the site recommended by Meriam and Paul, much better than the site I used on my previous visit, but unfortunately full of half-terming school kids!! I comforted myself with a salmon crepe for lunch on Monday, a superbly warm and sunny afternoon in the south of France, and helped it on its way down my alimentary tract with a sip or two of vin blanc. I’m back in T-shirts and sandals but haven’t yet braved shorts or cut offs. Bliss!

Today, via Arles, marked the end of the road at Port du St Louis du Rhône. This is the first port on the Rhône, or the last depending on which way you’re navigating, and was obviously once a thriving dockland area. All that is left of the port now is a large marina, some old abandoned warehouses, rusting crane rails and the first/last lock on the river.

The Rhône

Now, where next?

🙂 🙂 🙂

Snubbed

Daize, Rox and I left the Car Park for 6 nights at Swanage on Friday. On the way we stopped at Salisbury to catch up with Steve, campal from Aix, fellow fulltime mohoroamer and blogger. I rescued him from sorting and stashing for a couple of hours. He’s just replaced dear old Sadie with a newer Rapido; quite a bargain with a very low milage to age ratio and an oven that’s never been used! We spent a couple of hours walking the dogs and catching up over lunch; nice one.

Salisbury

Unfortunately the BFF’s were not as nice, colour me snubbed. I waved like mad as I passed them – absolutely zero reaction. Why didn’t they wave back? I’m hurt, cut to the quick, upset and considering ending it all – the friendship that is. They had to have seen me, I was driving quite slowly and could see the festival tents very clearly from the main road, could only have been 1/2 a mile away …

Have a great time at Larmer Tree my friends, I’m very close to forgiving you!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Clichés

I am lucky enough to have been born and live in a geologically ancient and benign area of this planet which suffers few natural disasters; the occasional 2 or 3 on the Richter scale may rattle the odd window, the odd hurricane force wind fell a few trees, the rare drought or extreme temperature bring short lived discomfort. Neither have I suffered the horrors of eruption, tsunami, famine or plague, nor the total devastation (peculiarly wrought by humans) of revolution, greed or tribalism.

Thankfully I have been merely inconvenienced by the “monsoons” of late but, in a relatively minor way, I am reminded  of the power of nature, and that all life clings precariously to the surface of this world. We would each do well to carefully tend and nurture the little area we inhabit … if looking after the pennies looks after the pounds perhaps looking after the backyards looks after the planet.

The flooded ford just outside the village – 8ft 3ins at it’s height.

Different journeys

The wait for the house sale to be processed is agonisingly long and I’ve started to think about it as part of my journey to retirement as a way to counter the frustration I feel. Driving back from work in the late summer sun and warmth today reminded me that next year I shall be journeying through sun and warmth in very different places at a slower pace, able to take time to just enjoy. And I thought about my journey through summer this year, a journey of colour, blue skies, warmth, sun and fun. A true summer such as we haven’t had in the UK for seven years. So here are a few of my memories of the long summer of 2013.