91 – Sunday: Quirky Chateau
We rose early – dawn had cracked – and the fearsome two went off to exercise – J to run – and K to run – K did 20 minutes for the first time! Cooling down in the shade of our awning – and Monsieur le Chateau appeared to ask if we were ready for le visite – in 15 minutes! Still gasping for air – we dressed (how to dress for a Chateau visit?) – the ultra casual look – watch Victoria Beckham next week….. Cafe first in the Chateau kitchen with mega small talk in French, which left James doing lots of nodding confidently – in fluent French nods. 3 Hours later, he had learned no more of the language – but some about life in the area in the 15th Century… K’s nodding was more impressive as it was accompanied by the spoken tongue. The lady of the Chateau had worked as the curator for 100 years: researched the residents and their relations, the costumes and food etc of Medieval times. When the castle was due to be sold, her life work was to be dismantled, so she and her husband ended up buying it.
The van was readied for takeoff – and it was pointed towards – a village for facilities and a nap for the elderly gent ! Then SatNav was programmed for a France Passion near le Puy de Dome – volcanoes and amazing countryside (any other kind in France?)….. the Passion – a lovely farm where K stocked up on the local produce – Ferme Guy.
More about the volcanoes on the Monday blog…..
92 – Monday and Monts, volcanoes – and a cool train…
AM after some strange animal shriekings – could be some pigs still celebrating the end of the 30-year war – or asking not to be slaughtered ? To the ritual exercising – between Coheix and Mazaye (impressed by my local knowledge? I read road signs… I still cannot find the towns called “Sortie” and “Rappel” on the map of France – but I also failed with “Ausfart” in Germany – not an Aussie wind? J’s running was less Coheixive – maybe a small muscle twinge ? We motored to le Puy de Domes – parked in the heat and boarded a dinky train up to 1500 metres – sheer drops on one side – J went looking for the emergency braking system….. A collection of dome shaped volcanoes which are hugely impressive; some have a crater and some water. Paraglider trips for 80 Euro – we passed on that one – back on the train down the mountain and lunch in the van – amazing what K can do with sardines…..
To the road again (9000 miles in 3 months thus far) – via more motorhome facilities – we get so excited at emptying toilets and filling with water – and LPG – you all need to experience the backdraft of the LPG nozzle when it’s released – a real Ausfart ! To Engletons to overnight outside a pottery facility – free of course.
93 – Tuesday: Hot @ Hautfort
We were parked up in the shade and had NO excuse not to do cleaning inside Chardonnay. We keep saying that it looks so lovely when we do a clean that we should do it more often, but it is amazing how many other things get in the way!
We drove to Hautfort. Used the aire facilities again, which were free 🙂 K spoke to another motorhomer who was parked up on a large patch of crispy grass … yes this land belongs to the mairie and you can stay here overnight. We lunched and had every intention of walking up to the Chateau … K even read the guide book about how the previous owners had fallen in love with the dilapidated ruin and restored it …. twice, due to a fire. However, it got hotter and hotter and we would have expired on walking up the hill. All we could think of was how lovely our friend’s pool near Besancon had been when we were really hot. Wifi switched on, google used and a quick phone call … campsite at Brantome with pool and no need to book. 45 mins later we handed over the £15 for our pitch and an hour later we were in the pool. Quite an expensive price to pay for a swim, but Oh so worth it.
We BBQ’d sausages purchased from the pig farm Passion on the gas grill whilst watching a muppet add liquid BBQ lighter to an already lit BBQ! The people on the adjacent pitch were obsviousy as startled at the father’s antics as we were. He proceeded to try to cook immediately (coals not yet hot), which took such a long time that the three patient daughters filled up on bread. You get to see all sorts camping – often entertaining.
94 – Wednesday: Brantome and on to family
We had a wander around Branttome. Half a thought to have a menu for lunch, but being touristy, the prices were double what we had seen in other towns. Settled for an ice cream instead.
Set off for C2’s holiday house just north of Chalais. K had received detailed instructions from her mother and maps from her sister …. it was fail safe to prevent getting lost. As it happens, we pulled off the main road at the start of the instructions only to have a mad English car flashing us like mad from behind …. K’s Aged P’s who had come from the other direction were arriving at the same time. They over took us and we followed them in to c2’s house … un convoi exceptionel!
Swim in the pool and BBQ … just lovely to be with the Aged P’s, Clare, Chris, Niecey, Louis and Zozo and the two hounds. Proper family time.
95 – Thursday: Chalais and Aubeterre River
K and J drove into Chalais, the main functional town, as Chris called it. Stocked up un petit cafe, bought the last of the wine shop’s EUR2 / litre merlot, which was due to be filled up into 5 litre water containers bought and emptied specifically for this purpose … will have to go back Monday. And ordered two new tyres for Chardonnay … we are assured that they will be delivered to the tyre place on Monday and we will receive a phone call to take Chardonnay down. Just means that we impose on the C2 hospitality a night longer, as had planned to head off to Bordeaux on Sunday.
Back to Perichat for lunch and then we drove down to the river by Aubeterre. The town council kindly create a dam across the river using a whopping inflatable sausage creating a large and deep swimming area, install diving platforms and a life guard. We sunbathed, relaxed and swam, trying to avoid all the other British. Louis skated to the corner shop for ice creams.
On the way back we climbed up the Moulin … Clare engaged gravel mode on the dirt track.
In the evening we went to a lakeside concert. The local small restaurant and campsite host a series of free concerts …. and sell a LOT of pizza & burgers and beer. This evening’s offering was the Blues night. A Belgian four piece, technically and musically extremely good. Unfortunately for us, they sang in English, so we could understand the lyrics. Memorable lines, such as:
– what is that I see between your shoulder blades …. virginia creeper
– my wonderful wheelchair
– my father had a dog, who sat salivating outside the butcher’s
– i want to be press-ent-able at my fun-er-al
We won’t be buying the CD!
96 – Friday: Riberac Market and J’s Family
We ventured en masse to Riberac for our morning coffee and to visit the stunning market. French markets are usually good value for fresh produce and clothes / gift, but this one was par excellence. Bought all sorts of bits, from 3x magnification readers to a child’s handbag and foie gras!
Back to Pericat for lunch then we set off to meet J’s son and family at Lac de la Cadie. we built an almost impregnable one for the captured crayfish … not enough to take home for the BBQ.
97 – Saturday: Aubeterre, history and jobs!
We had our morning coffee in Aubeterre and then a wander around the town. Built on a cliff with a sub-terranean church (for another time) and lots of narrow streets. As we walked through an old codger, stopped K and J and gave a mini history into his street. This was the oldest building with a massive cellar that stretched across the street to the cliff and had a window looking out onto the chateau. This was the site of the old wooden bridge which was the main entrance to the medieval town. This was the wall that was adjacent to the route to the old bridge and went a further 7 metres below. This was the building that was having some renovation work and when they peeled back the plaster they discovered the remnants of windows and a big arch door … it had been a church … you could see the outlines of windows and door. He told the story that an old neighbour living there was complaining that her dog kept digging up the garden. After a while said hound brought her a petal cadeau … a human bone … the garden had been the cemetery!
Free ice lolly poses …
Back to Perichat via the Super U supermarket for K, J and Aged P’s. The Aged’s off tomorrow and needing travel fodder / K&J cooking for all tonight.
Niecey, Louis and Zozo: you really should not take selfies on my iPad – i will find them!
Jobs afternoon … a full family affair!
– Gran and Zozo on the skunk like strips attacking K’s hair. Gran, you really should not wear hair white trousers around hair dye!
– James, Chris, Niecey and Louis on cleaning Chardonnay. Poor Chard was sooooooo filthy (she’d not been abluted since Copenhagen and done thousands of miles since). Chris jet wash king. Niecey and Louis ATTACKING the blood bath of dead insects on the bonnet and then up the extendable ladder to clean the roof.