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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Bargains, Boules and Byes

We've had the use of a hire car this week, a new Clio (va va voom), so we have been out and about sight-seeing and researching larger supermarches. Obtained two new pillows, been looking for the right ones for ever... result! Discovered an english food section in another supermarket complete with Marmite, Heinz baked beans and sandwich spread..... result! and Mr H bought another fly-swat as a spare... double result!!

Passed through Les Tourettes the other day and I jumped out of my skin as Mr H shouted "ARSE" (Father Ted style), not very original but very funny :))

We were invited to join the Parc Verger gang in a game of boules on a breezy but sunny Sunday afternoon. Alcohol, nibbles and a flexible interpretation of the rules set the scene for a giggle or two. Mr H and his boules partner June managed to win the championship of Parc Verger and the world as we know it. So that's the All-blacks and our champs earning the right to be a little self-chuffed! 

Places recommended and discovered this week were Limoges, St Junien (good for shopping), Rochechouart, Brantome (an attractive town on the river Dronne known as the Venice of Perigord);

St Mathieu

and Lac St Mathieu (a large lake with artificial beach, swimming, fishing and scenic walks);

and Oradour-sur-Glane, known as the martyr village (google it), a humbling experience.

France in the autum is spectacular, a riot of colour and around every corner a suprise and potential adventure I feel.

Colder evenings and an occasional frosty morning has prompted the first muttering of "weather has turned back-endish" from Mr H so we're heading south for the winter, taking our lead from the intelligent birds. We would like to bid a fond farewell to all at Parc Verger; Bob and Di are terrific hosts and we can definitely recommend their homely site. Everyone here is very friendly, helpful and welcoming, particularly David and Rita who are terrific neighbours and we can definitely recommend pitching next to them :) The tap-tapping on stone in an afternoon along with the tinkling of red wine bottles and knitting needles is accompanied by jolly banter and good humour ;)

I can see that Mr H has his strategic planning face on, that twinkle in his eye is all about locker-sorting and preparation for the open road! Bye for now.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Cidre et Cochonnailles

Sun still shining, we're finding our way around and mingling with the locals. On a recent outing into the nearby village, Mr H had a deep and meaningful conversation with one lady after which he was unsure whether he'd agreed to buy her house or meet her for dinner later!

We met up with fellow RV'ers and made it to the local bar just in time to see France beat Wales in the Rugby World Cup although they did have to survive a few scary moments, handshakes and victorious shrugs all round. 

We attended the annual Cidre (industrially squeezed apple juice) et Cochonnailles (assorted pork dishes) fete on Sunday. The cidre was dispensed in plastic cups and I have to say it was rather wonderful, no preservatives and prepared with gay abandon by a hardworking skilled gang.  If you like pork then this is the place to be! Lost count of the number of courses we tried and I'm sure every part of the pig was eventually served up. Wine, food and rather loud off-key singing provided a wonderful atmosphere and a great day was had by all.

Skyped the grand-children afterwards, lovely to see them on screen and catch up but still getting used to the time delays in conversation. The poor beloved labrador (juicy Lucy) became rather confused upon hearing our voices as we were not to be found in the room. Lucy promptly jumped up on the dining table and stared into the screen, ears pricked but none the wiser, how I miss them all but it was the dog that made me cry on this occassion!

Quiet day to recover on Monday so Mr H re-arranged his lockers yet again, the technical term for this activity is f***ing about and he is now proficient in it. Sunbathing followed by a lovely lamb casserole prepared by Annette and shared with excelllent company took us through to a stunning tri-coloured sunset to end another day. Giggles and a glass of wine or two, magic! 

Said farewell to some friends who are setting off for Portugal today. Bon Voyage Dave, Annette & Charlie in their Damon Intruder and Merv & Sandra in their Winnebago Journey DL (other RV's are available). Great hosts, great company and a good laugh :)))) Hope to meet up again in the new year.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Lost in France...

Beautiful place, autumn colours, sweet chestnuts by the lorryload and the sun is shining every afternoon. We go out 'sur les bicyclettes' every morning, alternating between Chalus one way;

and Oradour Sur Vayres the other, along a lovely old railway line that has been covered in tarmac. The route is known as the Voie Vert and is well used by locals and visitors, below is a picture of Mr H travelling through rush hour traffic. Today a machine was clearing the fallen leaves and sweet chestnut husks from the path for us, very civilised.  

On one visit to Chalus Mr H decided to post our mail through the letterbox of a bank!! This meant he had to explain what he'd done to the bank manager, retrieve them and re-post them in a mail box. He claims to have done this on purpose as he needed to practice his conversational French :))

The french air and culture have affected Mr H in many other ways. I just managed to prevent him from buying a beret and he has developed a convincing gallic shrug. He can carry our daily baguette under his arm like a pro, he closes down between 12 and 3pm for a beer and has no fear of his backside visibly bobbing up and down in the bathroom doorway when applying sun screen to his legs in continental fashion (I giggled until I cried at this antic, just love him). 

The pace of life here is much slower than the UK and we're adjusting to it well. People come and go at Parc Verger just like any other site but many have visited before, lived here for a while or have returned while travelling through France to Spain and back. Planning to hire a car soon to broaden our exploration of this lovely region of France. Bonsoir for now!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Bonjour et bienvenue...

Had a brilliant time in Brighton, what a great place, so many lovely buildings and very posh, well worth re-visiting. Caught up with some friends we met in Wolverhampton and they provided us with a fabulous dinner at their house. Much appreciated Doug and Angie :)

Made the Dover to Dunkirk ferry on time, cheap crossing but I suppose we end up paying more to travel through France. Made our way from Dunkirk to Le Mans via toll roads (50 euros !!!!) and two motorhome aires one at Le Crotoy and the second at Montbizot. Weather overcast and because it's weekend there is not a lot open but fresh croissants and pain de chocolat make up for it.

On Sunday decided to set off early, avoid the toll roads and drive 250 miles straight to near Limoges where we are staying for four weeks or so. On setting off, Mr H was told by the sat nav to "bear left", which he promptly did, much to the concern of the oncoming locals!!! Managed to recover the situation and got away with no more than a few 'gallic shrugs' but decided to veto the sat nav from now on. It works really well in the main but occassionally throws in a red herring to test us. Furious map reading (not a skill of mine) is required as a back up as no idea how much google maps usage for the full day will cost me.

Much better way to travel, able to see more of France although it does take longer and driving through some of the towns can be quite a challenge! Seen many locals during our travels today ambling along with freshly baked baguettes tucked under their arms (yes lots of patisseries open on a Sunday here).

Arrived late afternoon and what a brilliant site, nice level pitch, fully serviced, immaculate showers and toilets. Can still get satellite reception here and good wi-fi. Fresh bread delivered each morning, newly laid eggs and champagne for sale from the neighbours!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Sandy Balls - and not a beach in sight!

Have done well for weather over the past week, sunshine all the way.

Made it out of Cornwall and headed through Devon, Dorset and into Hampshire.  Couldn't resist this site completely the other end of the spectrum to last place, very commercial, full of people, kids and things to do. Apparantly Sandy Balls are sandy outcrops not a dated comedian!

Leaving for Brighton tomorrow, highly recommended site then we catch the ferry at Dover on Friday.

Practicing our French phrases for this weekend, here are our top 3 which must be pronounced with a broad Yorkshire twang!

Est-il un probleme officier?
Pouvez-vous enlever votre ane de mon pare-chocs?
Descendez ma terre vous salaud!

Til' next time  peeps:)