864-874: Provence Pligrimmage to Germany

865 – Saturday 14th October 2017:  Onto Castellane

A short drive to Castellane and into a paying aire.  All of EUR 6.50 for 24 hours but free services and right on the edge of the town.  We had a wander through the small old town.  The helpful lady in the TIC confirmed my suspicions that cycling the Gorges du Verdon with the Os-car would be dangerous and stressful.  We did this as a drive some years ago in our Bongo, and it was a magnificent drive, but not to be repeated this trip.  She suggested a quieter route to the lake just north of the town with an area where we could let Oscar run free.  That’s the plan for tomorrow then.

We walked up the path to the chapel on top of the rock … some nice views of the valley, but nothing special.  At the top there were three sets of dogs all on the leads – each one growled at Oscar who was loose.  I’d left the lead with James part way up, and bless, my boy behaved perfectly and came when called and sat by me as I admired the views.  He can pull it out of the bag when necessary.  But I am sure in a couple of instances the owners were transferring their own anxiety to their dogs … one daughter tried to convince her father that the dogs were friends … they may well have been given half a chance!

 A glass of wine (or two) and an ice cream and then back to Jez to sit on our riverside pitch enjoying the sun and the mountain views.  Life is good.

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The Chapel on the Rock over looking Castellane.

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Views form the top.

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866 – Sunday 15th October:  Abortive Ride in Favour of Lunch

OK, so we had a plan – clean the inside of Jez (badly needed doing as possibly 3+ weeks since we’d done anything but the floor!) followed by the bike ride.  But then our mood changed.  We’d worked hard cleaning Jez, the sun is shining and it is Sunday lunchtime!  A walk into town just to see if we can find a reasonably priced lunch.  OK – we found lunch, but not the reasonably priced bit.  My Aged P’s laugh at us, that we state we are on a budget, but then coffee, ice creams and lunches seem to feature quite heavily on the blog.  The set menu was EUR27 for 3 courses; all very good, but the star was J’s caviar of aubergine with an anchovy cream.  A post lunch wander back to sit in the sun on our river bank pitch.  Life is indeed good!

 

867 – Monday 16th October:  With the Family

Anyone who knows us, will be aware that we have a 7 month saga of trying to get J his C1 post 70 years old licence.  He rang the DVLA and …. woohoo it has been posted.  The Aged P’s are due back from France tomorrow and can post it onto Kerstin in Germany.  Time to start planning to head that way.  But hold!  We are only a few hours away from Sarah and family in Biot and we don’t know when we will see them again … time to head for a quick stop to see them?  So we headed, via a supermarket shop to stock on on French specific items, back down to Biot and stayed over night outside their house.  Really lovely to have one final evening with them.

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Jade with ‘da rudder’.

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I haven’t done this for a loooong time!

868 – Tuesday 17 October:  What and Amazing Spot

We considered driving a different route to Reutlingen, Germany … through Italy and then north through Switzerland, along Lake Constance.  I investigated the Swiss road vignette … was it just motorways, which we could avoid?  No it is for class 1 and 2 roads.  OK … how much?  A no go … since we are 3.5+ tons, we cannot buy a standard vignette, but need to register our vehicle and then pay per kilometre.  A lot of hassle and cost for an overnight stay.  Switzerland must loose out on tourists not prepared to pay or deal with the hassle.  Back up through France it is then.

We stopped at an aire on a lake just south of Grenoble in a place called Treffort.  The aire is part of a leisure complex, including boats, and charges EUR10 for an overnight stay.  We nearly didn’t stop as we balked at the price for a quick overnight stop especially when we did not need the services.  We were tired though and asked another motorhome where to find the pay machine …. free out of season.  The other 5 vans were all hooked up to the free electric – we don’t consider it worth it for a one nighter.  Amazingly this area gets hardly a mention in our guide books, but the mountains are stunning, especially with the evening sun on the Autumn russets and golds.  This is a gem of a spot and definitely on our must come back to.  Must be a lucky spot, as I took Oscar out for his late night ‘opportunity’ and saw not one, but two shooting stars.  J has since read that Halley’s Comet is currently shedding debris, but how lucky am I?

Now I must mention supper … I had to attempt to recreate J’s starter of caviar of aubergine with anchovy cream.  It was not the same, but it was bloody good.  I really should start a recipe section on the blog.

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Inspired by fellow motorhomer Dan’s favourite socks, which a friend knitted him … thought I’d have a go too.  Managed not to drop stitches with knitting on the round and amazingly it came out sock shaped!  Just it’s pair to knit now.

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Our most stunning overnight spot.

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Should have taken the pix when we arrived and the sun was in the Autumnal hills.

869 – Wednesday 18th October:  

Another driving day, but we got just past Besancon:  Note to self … use the motorway to bypass it as it was very slow driving through it.  We stopped, once we found the right place at a free aire in Montebeliard … the original GPS coordinates were plain wrong, the second, close enough but not quite and then, thank you Wild Camping POIs – we got there in the end.  I was starting to have a hissy fit from being tired and hungry when J spotted the 4 dedicated spaces, and we squeezed ourselves in and had a thrown together ‘chef’s salad’ as it was quick!

 

870 – Thursday 19th October:  Onto Reutlingen

I texted Kerstin giving her the option that we could arrive tonight or tomorrow lunchtime … she is a Uni Prof with a stupid work load and strong work ethic!  Come tonight, as no lectures / meetings tomorrow.  We park up in a bit os spare land a couple of hundred metres from her house.  We could stay in her ‘guest apartment’ on the top floor, but we prefer our own bed.  The spot of land is used by some of the residents for parking but is destined to built on to house Syrian refuges.  Now, why is it these residences are generally for young men only?  Where are the women and children.  A village near Kerstin’s other house in Engers had the village population more than double due to the refugees … how is this integration?  Enough politics.

We had a great local walk as it really is quite rural here with some lovely views.  Supper in Kerstin’s downstairs kitchen (she has 3! Don’t ask how many loos!!) in front of the log burner.  🙂

 

871 – Friday 20h October:  Rottweil Towering

When we left here in August we headed to Rottweil, a pretty old town known for its painted buildings and iron shop hangers.  A new feature, not open in August, is the Thyssen Krupps lift tower.  It had just been topped out when we saw it before but now it is open to the public.  

A few facts:

  • 2640 tons of steell
  • 3.6 m progress per day
  • 246m highest visitor platform in Germany
  • 21m diametre
  • 16,000m2 tefloncoated self cleaning glass fibre fabric around the outside
  • 15 mins is the time the fastest employee took to climb the 1617 steps
  • 30 secs for the visitor lift
  • 12 shafts for lift testing
  • 1.5km of shaft
  • 18m/sec the fastest test escalator, about 65 km/hour
  • 240 tons active mass damper to balance wind forces
  • unique simulation to make the tower sway to mimic extreme conditions in which to test the lift.
 
Kerstin and I went up the tower first leaving Katherine with Oscar. Superfast elevator to viewing platform – immense views 360 degrees – I expected some wind movement – but nil – hence the success of the damping mechanisms…..
 
Kerstin stayed and I let K join her at the top – it’s over 800 feet in old money!  Incredible feat of German engineering – a world beater, definitely.  A brief walk around Rottweil, coffee, ice cream, of course – and back to base HQ.

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The cladding is the fibre glass self cleaning fabric just going on.  Quite a few worker abseilers.

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View from the top.

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The almost see through glass fibre mesh.

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A very small old prison in the centre of Rottweil, has a football captive!

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Perhaps this double tower was a forerunner of the Thyssen Krupps lifts?

872 – Saturday 21tst October:  Biking to Tubingen

The e-bikes reappeared – Kerstin borrowed one from her Uni – a quiet Os-car (mostly) and we sailed the short distance to Tubingen sedately. A lovely and lively town – world famous university. Lunch by the river in a busy restaurant – it was peak time – I had a local beer and K’s had wine.  We discovered that there is/was a Mr Alzheimer who studied in the town – medical science owes him a lot.  And Friedrich Miescher who discovered nucleic acids. A leafy park (the Autumn leaves are really falling, now…) and a magnificent building completely covered in street art/graffiti…   Another splendid day in Germany!

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The pretty old town.

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The waterside restaurant where we had lunch later.  Spot the punt – reminiscent of Cambridge?  

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History has not been changed here … this statue was allowed to remain even though it is is of a composer whose works were later adopted by the Nazi Party.

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The lab within the castle and part of the university where Miescher worked. 

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View down to the old town hall.

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So lovely to not be tour guide for once!

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The main town square.

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You can just make out the Os-car and our bikes were very safe … it takes 20 mins to fix all the locks.

 

873 -Sunday 22nd October:  A Chocolate Pilgrimage

Yesterday, it was 18C and nicely warm – today dawned at 6C and never got above “very cold” – I know – we’re softies these days, chasing the sun around Euroland…  Yesterday’s cycle ride was about 14k – today was to be approx 60k!!!   Extra layers of clothing – and my Orkney wooly hat was packed – it very soon made it from the saddle bag to my head!   K worm cashmere tights under her trousers.  Forest trails, uphill and down dale – thank goodness for the e-bikes for that extra power – more excellent German engineering… We reached the Ritter Sport chocolate factory (nobody called ‘Charlie’ there, though) and museum, after 3 hours in the saddles. I believe it was getting colder – coffee – and it rained…. The 2 Ks toured first and then I followed suit.  Mega chocpurchases later, we pointed our pelliton towards Reutling.  Our bike batteries had run down quite a bit – we hoped they would see us powered home.   Katherine and I swopped batteries as she needed the extra oomph to tow his nibs.  Not long later, I ran out of power. Now, this meant I was back to cycling a non-powered bike – as we had done for years – no problem?  Yes, problem – these machines are much heavier than standard cycles…..  I got used to walking uphills. The girls offered to seat me in a bar and fetch Jez – but the indomitable Irish spirit declined the kind offer (madness?). It rained again and I swear it got even colder.  K:  My Hero 🙂

The journey home was a bit shorter – thank goodness – and no sooner in the door of KerstinHaus, we wrapped ourselves around some good Muscatel – and Kerstin lit her roaring log fire/Aga stove…

Oscar had barked his way home solidly at the end – why? Even K telling him p**s off didn’t work.  Think it might have been dinner time! But a fantastic day, again – in the Arctic/Germany – well worth the conditions. We are definitely getting softer…..  would we survive a Winter in the British Isles – no!!!

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Two slaves for one turkey … know which I’d rather have.  But where to put them in Jez!

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Clare Ritter invented the square bar so people off to exercise could put a bar in their top pocket without breaking.

Oscar’s Diary

“Guten Tag, mein herren und damen” – that’s German, you know – boyos!  Now then, these ‘owner’s of mine have shown me quite a few countries since last August when I allowed them to adopt me from Solihull… All excellent fun – and some games. J is doing nicely with his ‘playfighting’ lessons – he gets carried away with the biting thing – but dammit, he’s only 70, after all – some concessions to age must be made.  Where was I going with this?  Yes – the chocofrenzy pilgrimage thingy wotsit – of yesterday!  Ok, I pretend I don’t mind the Ocarcarriage to humour them – but – they put me in the pram – in zero temperatures, bounce me along 60k of forest trails, up and over kerbstones, etc. – and they have the cheek to tell me not to bark!!!  The European Caninevention of Human Bites – section 13 para 6 – clearly states that a K9 must not be subjected to ‘bouncing, freezing and kerbing’ in any vehicle – my owners are in clear contraflagration of the law.  My remedy before the courts?   Freedom to bark, extra rations and bedrest – at my leisure…

Yours, respectfully (with bedsores) 

Oscar

 

874 -Monday 23rd October:  A Water Pilgrimage

The Ks left J minding Oscar and Jez and made a return visit to the Spa they visited back in August.  Two exercise classes, two Zen steam rooms, massage jets and various pools of various temperatures, they returned somewhat wrinkly.  J tidied and sorted and blogged.  Our last night here, Kerstin has to return to the day job, until we get the nod that the green cards for the Balkans have arrived.  





861-864: Pootling Around Provence

861 – Tuesday 10th October 2017:  A Change of Plan

We stopped to change pilots en route to Castellane – K walked Oscar towards the town of Entrevaux – and lo and behold – roofs of motorhomes in a not too distant car park!  Well, we moseyed on down to find – an aire beside the Chemin de Fer rail line…  should we stay, we asked ourselves? Amazingly, we answered – ‘why not’?   Jez settled easily into the aire – and your faithful correspondents dragged themselves into town for a meander and forced down a glass of wine…sitting in the sun.  Another poetical piece (featured by K on this glob, sorry blog before):

“What is this life if full of care

we have no time to stop and stare”

We do.  We’ve seen many hill towns with Gated entrances and narrow streets – they never fail to impress…

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Entrevaux.

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The main gate….

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The cathedral.

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No cars and lots of small lanes.

862 – Wednesday 11th October:  Le Champ (Field – NOT), it was a Hill!

The intrepid team embarked on a 12k, 5-hour promenade from Entrevaux to La Champ, a nearby (?) hamlet. The uphills were rather steep (understatement of the day) and I developed a minor blister – pas de probleme…  Lunch in a squady share (you’re doing it again, James – behave s’il vous plait!)  We saw the lady post, heard someone gardening – and ’the sound of silence’.  Memorial to 3 who died in WW1 with two of the same surname.

Right then – pay attention, Class of 2015-17!  Hands up who knows about “Earworm”?  It’s not a wriggly thing wot gets in yer eardrum!  Have you ever experienced a song, saying, poem or wotsit that gets into your head – goes round and round and you cannot shift it?  It is an “Earworm”!!!  It happens to me a bit – and it must be the correct term – because I found it on ’t’internet’.   Remedy – wash behind your ears? No, get busy with summit else – and hey presto, it worms it’s way out.  You cannot say we don’t try to educate our 3 readers – that includes you, Amelia, Diane and Grahame – or is it 4?   No, it’s more – Mags and ShIrls, Edward and Frances, Stephen and Kay – goodness knows – we could get into double figures!  

Back along the upclines and declines to our aire – K called to see an Estate Agent – part of our putative 2018 Provence house purchase…    My be difficult to find someone to manage change overs for potential holiday lettings, but a lovely town.  The search will continue.

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Vauban strengthened the citadel, and it has never been taken.  The old town has the gorge of the river on 3 sides.

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You can just make out the steep walk up to the Citadel.

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Our lunch stop at Le Champ.

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We ran out of water, so J replenished the bottles.  Hope there was not a dead sheep further up stream!

863 – Thursday 12th October:  A Short Hop to Annot

The town small supermarche was closed for hols so we found an Intermarche 5 minutes upstream. A brief rec. to a campsite by the local lake – the staff thought we might be sneaking a quick camper services – reassured them and off we went.  Thinks – we cannot avoid Annot – oh dear, a minipun – another aire!  An airy aire, you say!  This punning Annot continue!  Or, canit? I could can it, perchance?  Agreed, all round, James!  Considerate it canned, not far from Cannes!!!  

Another lovely town walk (ending with wine!) – the TIC gave us a very comprehensive walking leaflet – the walk seemed vaguely familiar – more anon. 

One of our motorhome neighbours at the aire – chatting – an intrepid traveller, advertising his travel company – invited us to supper with another neighbouring couple from the Voges. Lively evening and good chats – nice vino, curry, pasta and cheese dishes – but it “grew wondrous cold” (Ancient Mariner, again) later.  Tres froi….

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More narrow streets – Annot this time.

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Built into the rocks.

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864 – Friday 13th October:  Chambre du Roi Walk – It was not like this last time!!!

Ah, the walk – details from the TIC…  Back in 2012 ish, we took K’s daughter and friend Katharine for a week in Nice – we had a rented apartment on the 100th floor (ask K) in the Vieux Ville.  Train up into the hills for a promenade…. 18c in Nice – in the hills – cold and snow – it was January (Maddy thought we had arrived in Narnia). The walk (said to be suitable for baby strollers!) was slippery, hazardous with narrow paths and sheer drops, muddy – and some of us came down on our bottoms – very unfunny!   Today, it’s the self same walk!!!  How about that for coincidence?

This time, it was sunny, warm, firm underfoot – and bloody gorgeous!   The photos tell the tale better than I can…

News of the day?  After 7 months, I finally received my over-70 3.5 tonnes+ driving license from the good old DVLA – hurrah for the lads and lassies in Swansea!  Just need to lay my hands on it!

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You can just make out the narrow path behind J – imagine this with ice and mud!  The rock here looks like folds of a lava flow.

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In serval places, there are huge rocks and boulders forming arches.

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And we got quite high .. according the walk leaflet, we climbed 350m.  Doesn’t seem a lot, but hard on the knees on coming down.

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Surprisingly there is a chestnut and oak forest at the top.

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Pretty sure this is the same lunch spot where we ate with Maddy and Katharine.

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No chance of a nanny nap with Oscar nudging me to keep stroking him!

   

855-860: Passing to a New-Union & a Re-Union

855 – Wednesday 4th October 2017:  Passing on Good Wine!

We arrived quite late to the aire at Cornas, so the designated 5 van spaces were taken – we parked separately not blocking anyone.  Grahame and Diane had suggested trying the local vino – but no!  Out of our price range…..  we walked young Oscar between the vines – and rested our bones…

856 – Thursday 5th October:  Passing through the Luberon!

Driving through the beautiful Luberon National Park, we decided to return – explore more fully and investigate property prices. Stopped at Les Mees for the stunning rock formations…

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Stunning cliffs at Les Mees.

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Stayed at Dignes Les Bains – headed for Castellane but getting late and spotted an aire sign – not the one we’d stayed at before but closer to the town centre and along the river.  We walked along the river and it’s outdoor leisure complex of a boating lake, climbing wall etc.  One young lad was exercising his dog by being towed along on a skateboard – he then got the dog to dive into the lake off a pier …  the dog was suspended mid air for a nano second with all limbs out wide.

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The path along the river has a leisure activities; this is the boating lake.  And all with great mountain views. 

857 – Friday 6th October:  The New-Union … Meeting Cian

A.M. – K ran along the river with trusty O (not towed!).  I rested and brekkied, got Jez ready to sail – a quote from “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” seems appropriate here….

“The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast – and southward aye we fled”

(not sure whose blast roared loudest – Oscar!!!)

Southward brought us swiftly to Les Maurettes campsite where we had stayed last March/April – to see Sarah, Gareth and Jade and the new addition to the family – Cian.  Lovely site but office closed until 2:00 pm – a French/German couple were quite upset at their wait for a pitch where they could get a good TV signal – he wanted French and she was German, so they were loyal to their national TV stations.  They’d spent all morning moving the van and testing out pitches!  Much easier to not have a TV on board, like us.

The site was very busy. We got our pitch OK – the choice of one!  We seemed to be the sole GB van. A lot of French and Germans with the off smattering of Scandinavians.  Over our 4 night stay, there was relatively little movement off the pitches … the weather is still warm here – low 20s and obviously people are happy to stay for a longer time on the Cote d’Azur … understandable.

Sarah and Gareth brought 12-day old Cian to meet us – my new grandson – good Irish name (Cian Healy, front row for Ireland) a perfect baby for the perfect Grandpa Pig (?).  

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Proud Grandpa Pig.

858 – Saturday 7th October:  The Re-Union … 30 Years On

K here:  As well as heading back to Antibes to meet J’s new grandson, I also had an overnight flight booked to Gatwick.  A Thames Polytechnic (Greenwich Uni, depending on whom you talk to!) Business and International Marketing reunion.  Gill lives in Twickenham and I’d reserved a bed there and used her address for some very important post.  About 2 years ago, I frugally bought an iPhone 5c with only 8GB and have regretted it ever since.  Not being able to store more than 4 photos and virtually no apps has been a real pain.  When we were home in Bristol, Kay mentioned she was thinking of replacing her iPhone 6 …. she and Stephen both like their tech and frog leap each other with the latest.  So I purchased Kay’s phone and she posted it to Gill’s.  A quick cuppa with Gill and Gordon and I was off into town to buy a protective case for it … and thence soon after I’d swapped over and downloaded apps I wanted, with still loads of space left.  Oh joy!  Other things I notice are how sensitive the keyboard is and the screen is really clear.  Loving it.

The appointed drinks time was 5.00 and we managed a couple of Aperol Spritz before catching the train into St James’ for the reunion.  Gill and Bron (sadly Al was poorly and did not make it) are ‘me old muckers’, but I’ve not seen any of the others for 30 years.  Most were instantly identifiable … but wow, the girls really have aged well.  Not even approaching middle age … any of us.  Some had brought pix and the 80’s clothes and hair styles were very Bananarama!  It was a pretty alcofrolic evening with lots of laughs … Gill and I lost track of the time and had to do a 400m sprint across the concourse at Waterloo to catch the 0046.  

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A couple of Aperol Spritz before we set off.

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And none of us have changed at all!

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Gill and Bronwen.

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Not changed … Much!

 859 – Sunday 8th October: A Return to Nice is Nice

The next morning we giggled and exclaimed our way through Gill’s photo albums.  It was wonderful to catch up with people I’ve not seen for such a long time, but reunions are pretty much about curiosity and mine has been satisfied.

My 2.00 flight was delayed an hour due to a faulty laptop … seems mad that it took an hour to replace / repair something that is essentially disposable and not part of the plane’s infrastructure.  Polite announcements from the Pilot about our patience with the delay … as if we the choice!  Lovely to arrive back just in time to see the blue skies again.  Great time, but very great to be back with my boys.  

And guess who are so glad to see you back – the Boyzzz!

 

860 – Monday 9th October:  Jobs and Antibes

We both ran down into the local park.  J managed to get lost and had to ‘ring a friend’.  K found him on the Find a Friend app and navigated him back to base.

K started to ‘laundrify’ with the onsite facility – clothes line from tree to tree, jobs done including finalising my tax return/amount owed to HMRC – not too much… then out with the e-bikes for a jaunt to Antibes.  Oscar barked a bit to begin – then the Kay-suggested covering the Os-car solution kicked in – almost silence, again.  And not a bark on the return leg.  He’s learning :).  A visit to the e-cig shop to remedy a minor issue.  Ice creams (as always) although our favourite shop was closed. 

Tomorrow – “to fresh fields and pastures new…”

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Playing with my ‘new’ iPhone 6 – loving the camera definition.

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849-856: Wine Tasting with the Aged P’s

849-850  – Thursday 28th – Friday 29th September 2017:  E-Bikes Outing and Welshies

Wednesday saw us in a France Passion – eggs bought and then all day driving to Meung sur Loire aire for 2 nights  to sleep under autumn leaves falling…. the town beckoned – as did a glass of vin blanc…

A first e-bike ride with Os-car- a test? Mega thanks to Kay (and Stephen) for suggesting covering the Os-car with something to reduce his visibilty – and barking – hey, it worked !!! I didn’t bark at all ! Neither did Oscar…..Lunch and sedatecycling back to Jez. Some issues with the bikes were sorted by phone back to Brizzle. 

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Matching orange towel to block his forward view to match the Os-car (and his lead and harness!) 

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One of our new Kalkhoff bikes.

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Set lunch was a beautifully cooked piece of tuna with lots of veggies including a stack of wafer thin fried courgettes – yum!

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On evening number 1 a French chap approached us saying “Welsh!”.  Now James is Irish and I’m English.  He could only be talking about Oscar.  He was, and he had 2 Welshies – a mother and daughter.  He brought them over the next evening to be introduced.  Taking pix was not easy as they wouldn’t stay still and not even all at once for treats.  He told us that there are only 60 bred a year in France.  I later googled that UK numbers are dropping and a couple of years ago it was only 300.  Oscar – you’re a rare species!

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He wouldn’t let us keep even one of them!

 

851-855 – Saturday 30th Sept – Wednesday 4th October:  With Aged P’s

Cosgne sur Loire campsite – and the “Aged Ps” arrival to their chalet on site… They are not aged – but like fine wine, they are pickled – whoops, young…..  some imbibing took place.  It works well with Diane and Grahame renting luxury “huts” on our selected campsites around Europe…

Sunday, we discombobulated into town and had coffee – and the boys had Sancerre wine with croissants!  A large market was in full swing with a lot of local produce including crottins of goat cheese … we did not buy as we had our own little cheese store at home already..

Bourges on Monday – lovely cathedral (St Etienne) – gorgeous stained glass windows – and ? Lunch…… SkodaJane SatNav went a bit AWOL but we declined her invitation to drive across ploughed fields…

Tuesday witnessed an outbreak of “degustation” – a rare condition normally treated with care and wallet locks – it didn’t work this time. Although we watched the Aged P’s make several purchases fr themselves and on behalf of K’s sister and husband … not sure Clare and Chris had provided a budget, but they seemed happy enough.   

Sancere on Tuesday – Diane and Grahame went at the wine tasting with gusto and why not? We kept our respective bottoms up too…  The annual Rothbury AGM/staff lunch was duly called to order – and order we did – wine and good grub. 

One degustation offered a small cinema with chairs that mimicked the movement of ground in the vineyards and squirted water at us!!!  Oscar was not impressed and I took him out – with more gusto… 

Pm – Diane died K’s hair – played crib (victory spoils to Diane) – Grahame and I read and looked intelligent. The evening brought more cheese and a robust quantity of vino en Francaise… 

 

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Bourges was a really pretty town … nice to just wander and quiet being Monday, so all the shops were shut.

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The cathedral’s front entrance has been partially cleaned, but it really shows off the intricate carvings …

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… imagination running riot.

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Unearthed late C18, the original clacker on the left was used during Maundy to call people to worship as the bells had to be silence.  A similar principal and sound to the football supporters make with a rattle.

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The glass was varied in styles and truly stunning.

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On the side of the gothic Palais Jacques Coeur … looks like the figures had had a row.

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Just outside the only restaurant we found that was open.  It had only just opened when we went in and soon filled up with tourists and locals.  Surely it would be worth other restaurants opening on a Monday too?

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Sancerre:  It is on a rise and is visible from quite a way.  At the Museum of wine we learnt that the Sancerre wine comes from quite a large area, and Sancerre town is right at the southern part of it.

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Staff lunch.  J would keep calling it the Director’s lunch, but I had to put him right.  If the Aged P’s think they’ve been promoted to Directors they might start expecting voting rights!  The food was nothing special but the views and the service were….

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… and the cheese board was rather special, especially as he loaded our plates  🙂  We got to taste a mature Crottin of Chavigny, a local DOC … nice but prefer others.

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A wine tasting in the only natural underground cave in Sancerre and some more Aged P’s purchases.  Hardly room for Oscar in their car boot!

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Looking up to Sancerrre.




820-835: Waiting For Godot / Baby

819 – Tuesday 29th August 2017:  Arrive In Biot

A leisurely start and a run and pilates for K.  We had another interesting journey, where we nearly ran out of fuel – again!  The fuel gauge does some significant dipping when negotiating sharp bends and hills.     

Biot near Nice was our landfall and Chez Sarah, Gareth and Jade…..   Now, for those fans of Peter Sellers and “The Pink Panther” film series – Sarah has “Le Beumpe” – 8.5 months work of “Le Beumpe” in fact. New house – with pool – and Cote D’Azur wall to wall sunshine!  As the gated driveway is too narrow, we parked our Jezabeumpe by the neighbours in the “Impasse”/cul de sac.  Sarah’s neighbours are quite happy about Jez and they’re also awaiting the arrival of Le Beumpe…  one way to meet the new neighbours to apologise for the large grey motorhome lump in the parking area!

820-835  – Wednesday 30th August – Thursday 14th September:  Waiting for Baby

Lovely walking/running along La Brassiere – whoops – La Brague river.    To explain, Jade calls me “Grandpa Pig” – followers of “Pepa Pig” cartoon will understand. (I ain’t no ornery Oinker, though).  Happy family, ice creams, swimming and sun – could it be better? Non! 

Some DiY and playing with Jade – Sunday lunch in Valbonne…..it gets better. K and J an evening meal out back in Valbonne and nearly unable to get home … Uber and a friendly local helped out.  A couple of trips into Antibes and lunch in Nice.

As Sarah would be alone for some time (G gone back to his seafaring work), we decided I will stay on for an extra week and K will pilot Jez and Oscar back to Calais for 15th September crossing.  I could be in charge of a lively 2-year-old on my tod!  Takes me back 40 years!!!  But, sample nappy change brought the old skills back sharpish…

On the 11th, K set off for the tunnel having visited the vet in Biot for Oscar’s pet passport.  3 days of solid driving and she made it to the aire at Bergues with a day in hand.  A rest day and lunch in the local town.  Crossing to the UK tomorrow on 15th.

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Pool with a house 🙂

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La Brague – local river with  beautiful walking.  We walked into Biot along it in one direction for an … ice cream!

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Oscar was tricked into swimming in pursuit of a stick … once he realised, he headed for the nearest rocks and then had to swim back.

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Lunch in Valbonne … can’t beat French cuisine and presentation.

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Don’t fall over Grandpa Pig!

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of course the nappy will stay on!

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Organising the crayons.  Apparently Sarah was accused at work of OCD … in the genes?

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Sarah’s uncle and partner over from Oz came to lunch.

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Where Oscar waited when we went out for supper.  He set up howling when Sarah went to bed, so she had to get up again.  Pathetic inconsiderate dog!

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Sinead, daughter No.2 flew in for a few days, so whilst K drove all day, they all had lunch on the beach!  Followed by lounging around the pool!!!

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Sarah spotted this on a friend’s Facebook – very much our anthem. 

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