Monday 22nd June 2015

Arranged next years motor Insurance with Adrian Flux brokers; much better quote for full time living than from our previous insurers. This took up all of the morning! We left Baugé en Anjou, shopping at their supermarket, Super U, on the outskirts of town. Allan said "pick up the wines that the locals are buying", as one man was buying several bottles but the man replied I'm English! In fact the store seemed to be full of English people - we even met an English couple whom we had first encountered on Saturday when we were looking around the town! They are looking for a house to buy in the area and were just stocking up the wines on their way back to the ferry today. A small world, even over here!

We drove a couple of miles to Le Vieil Baugé, a Village de Charme and quickly found the aire. After suitably set up, well the step was put out! and we'd refreshed ourselves with some "liquid" we walked to the centre of the village.

We left visiting the church until the following morning but decided to walk further along the main street. We came across the local "Boule de Forte" games room L'Union and this time there was not a game in progress so we were able to get a close look and Allan took his first "bowl" and incredibly it travelled down the room in the most professional way, nudging the "jack" and stopping close by - much to the dismay of the locals who thought Allan had never played before, which he hadn't!!

In disbelief, Allan was duly taken to the other end of the room for a photo! I can truly witness that this was a genuine photo.

At their suggestion Allan tried his hand at returning down the room - and was very close to the "jack" again! We felt it was then time to leave!! Allan had the biggest grin on his face and was praising himself all the way back to the motorhome.

On the way back we had our first glimpse of how twisted the church spire is and leaning to one side.

There are several theories as to the cause but probable is that too new wood was used and it dried out badly. The Guide Book says it looks like "Harry Potter's sorting hat"; an Old church with a new similie seems strange.

Near to our motorhome in Le Vieil Baugé was the turning point for the French in the 100 years war. In 1421 France together with Scotland win their first battle against the English here and Thomas the younger brother of Henry 5th is killed. The English started with 2500 soldiers finished with 1054 dead and 500 captured. French loses were light.There is stone memorial to the Battle in Le Vieil Baugé. Then with renewed hope the French go on to take Orleans in 1429 ( Jeanne d'Arc). Paris in 1436 and Normandy in 1450. The rest as they say is history.

Late in the evening it was still extremely warm and we decided to watch a bit of TV, yes us, watching TV! We watched a display of circus acts which looked as though it could have been part of a competition and the Monaco Royal Family were involved. Some of the acts were so original to us and made for some very entertaining TV. We don't get anything like this on UK TV.

Tuesday

We woke up to the most lovely view and our friend Liz really wished she was here too!

After breakfast we walked around the village which did not take too long!
Along our way we found a geocache which turned out to be located in yet another wash house. I think there is a theme developing here!

Allan seems to think Dorothy should use them rather than the new fangled Laverie automatique! I think I will stick with my "twin tub".

We then visited the Church, dedicated to St. Symphorien

The window

Esperanto has played a very important part in our lives and it was very special to find a guide of this Church written in Esperanto...

On the way back to motorhome we met two cyclists looking for Bocé, as if we would know! - are we beginning to look like French locals??? It turned out they were English too.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing, sitting beside the lake.

The lake was built higher than the surrounding river for the firefighters in 1980 and is now used for fishing and leisure.
So the battle took place here but 15 feet below us. It seems such a terrible thing to do to such an important historic location.

Wednesday

We decided to visit Bocé just to see what it was all about. We found it is another of the Villages de Charme. It was pretty but not much to see.

We got caught looking over the fence of a house for sale! We think the people living there thought we were prospective buyers and were quite disappointed when we made our excuses and walked away! We had no intention of buying but many English people do live here in the regions around the Loire. We then travelled all the way to the next Village!

Le Guédeniau is a pretty village with a millpond where we found the Aire.

We were quickly joined by another English couple who told us they live just outside Romsey. They were on their way home for some motor car racing and had some connection to Caterham cars. We took a stroll around the town which didn't take long as it so small. Unfortunately the boulangerie was closed for a three week holiday so we went to the bar for "deux pression"! The lady in the bar very kindly sold us some "pain" and as the bar has internet we shall return again tomorrow. We looked in the Church but sadly it was in quite a poor state of repair, then returned to the Aire. During the evening we spent an enjoyable few hours chatting with the English couple and whilst they were having their meal we strolled over to the water mill, passing yet another laverie!, to search for a geocache. This was quite quickly found. The water mill and surrounding buildings are now Gites.

Thursday

We awoke to another beautiful morning.

Then there was suddenly a lot of activity in our garden and preparations which turned out to be for an old peoples' day out. About 20 "personne âgée" along with their helpers had a BBQ and activities including fishing, and cards.

At the end of the afternoon, all we were left with was a couple of Nuns!

The English couple left for Le Fleche and we asked them to give Andrew and Ann our regards if they should meet them there. Later we went to the bar Le Brocard again to upload last week's blog and of course we had to have "deux pression". The day was hot and in the evening the most we wanted to do was take a walk around the mill pond!

Dorothy did take a photo of our other "neighbours" for her friend Sam!

Friday

Melon for breakfast, washing up, topped up water and services, then on our way again!

We have decided to return to Baugé en Anjou because there will be a music festival in the town tomorrow at 15 locations with music such as choral, reggae, jazz, blues, rock, folk, country, 80's music etc. and..... "Happy Tribe Bumping" whatever that is!!!! We will no doubt find out tomorrow evening, ha ha!

Oh goodness, during the day the temperature rose and rose. By 4 p.m. it was 29° in the shade and 36° in the motorhome. We sat, relaxed, read and later in the evening were joined on the Aire by two young women who also had an Auto-Trail. It was a similar registration to that of our friends Pete and June and at first we thought it was them arriving! Allan became the hero of the day and provided the English couple with the means to obtain water as the tap here is not of a standard size.

Phone calls today with James & Frankie.

By about 11.30 p.m. it was beginning to cool off and we ventured back into the van.

Saturday

It was 30° in the motorhome when we woke this morning despite having had all the windows and roof lights open all night, however the temperature outside was much cooler and a breeze had got up so it is cooling down a bit now. However... forecast is for higher temperatures so we are preparing for another hot day. We checked the price of the house we saw in Bocé which had a swimming pool, 3 bedrooms, huge kitchen and a massive garden. 130 thousand GBP!! However, there are no shops in the village not even a boulangerie but the aire de lossiers is realy good with football, table tennis, real tennis, boules and a park with a village hall. Still, very tempting if you are looking to live in the area (as many English people seem to do).

It was a very hot day and so we took it easy with just a walk up into the town during the early afternoon to see what was being set up for the evening. At about 7pm we returned for the music festival.
There were about 15 bands playing around the town and we walked around town 3 times watching each band. There were tomtom drummers, Folk music/dancing, Country music/dancing, heavy rock, English 80's music with a strange french accent! reggae, jazz, Brass band and other music. A few photos can be found here (link) but we were too busy raving it up and singing and dancing in the streets (Dorothy with French guys no less!) to take many photos!

A man gave Allan a flyer for another music event and Allan replied "bonsoir, mercie". Obviously my French accent is not up to it because he immediately responded in English. He told me he has been in France for 23 years but only here in Baugé for the last eight. He is a horse farmer and told us of the water shortages here and when it does rain its torrrential and not good for the ground.

Allan was surprised to see no Police in full riot gear, no First aid, no event marshals and no burger vans. We returned to the motorhome around 1 am after having a realy good evening.

Sunday

Struggled out of bed early at 8 am to head back over to Le Vieil Baugé for a kind of "Soap Box Derby" so we needed to come in from the back roads to avoid the setting up of the cart race track. The back roads are so very narrow and we hoped that we wouldn't meet anything coming the other way. Allan took a wrong turning; although the signpost says it's to where we are going our Sat Nav didn't want us to take it. Shortly down the lane we found out why - the road got even narrower. A mile and a half of this and we were in Bocé and then..... There in front of us is the house that we saw on Wednesday! Are we being told something here! When we went past the Aire de lossiers they were settin up for some major event.

We carried on to Le Vieil Baugé and quickly found a place to park. Free, friendly parking is always so easy in France.

We had a quick breakfast of bacon and eggs and then went to look at the "cars" that were arriving. No pedals, no engine but they did all appear to have some sort of steering and brakes! It is a downhill track with many turns along the way. Plenty of bales of hay to prevent accidents but the road is hard gravel and looks lethal. Once again there are no Police, no apparent First Aid and no marshalls. One wonders if they have any product and public liability insurance. Our favourite was a young teenager laying flat on a wooden skateboard with wheels underneath. He was dresssed as a pink and white rabbit. He takes all the bumps on his chest and is hurtling down the hill only a few inches from the road. There are many downhill races against time and after each, the ones that don't break up are pulled to the top again, only to do it again and again. At the end of the day our favourite won a cup and we congratulate him only to be overheard by some English people living here for over 20 years. This area is full of them. A few photos of the day can be found here. And here is the track

Relaxing in the evening after two very busy days, Allan's outside chair broke under him. Perhaps the pastic is begining to go brittle in the sunshine as we have had these chairs for many years and the others have all failed in the same place or perhaps Allan's strict diet is not working!

 

We think a relaxing Monday tomorrow is in order after this week................

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