Monday 29th June 2015

After a late start we left Le Vieil Baugé and returned to Baugé en Anjou to try to buy a new chair. We visited the "Mr Bricolage" (a large DIY, furnishing, garden and building store) but unfortunately they had nothing suitable so we went across the road to Super U. Although they had a better selection of chairs the only one nearly suitable was too flimsy but will have to do temporarily until we find something better. We also bought new pillows at a fantastic price and bread. Then we travelled back to the village of Le Guédeniau where Dorothy started on the washing. Allan managed to hook up a washing line between the awning rails. Enough in this heat and the rest of the day we relaxed.

Tuesday

Today is going to be even hotter than the last few days. The early afternoon reached 30° outside and 43° inside the motorhome, the forecast is for 35° outside later in the day so we put the silverscreens over the cab windows to try to keep the sun out. Then we sat outside and washed the towels and this time Allan had managed to hook up a washing line from the motorhome ladder to a tree and so the washing dried really fast in the heat doing the weekend photos for the blog. We had thought that we would upload the blog in the Bar along the road but in this heat it can wait until later in the day.

Allan must not dehydrate so keeping up with the lost fluids with "Old Specked Hen" is an important part of the day. Then about 5 pm we were off to the bar Le Brocard. We are beginning to be regular customers here and the lady behind the bar was using the aspirator (hovering) and mopping the floors, she politely asked if she could carry on and we of course agreed. In England we are sure that she wouldn't have asked, she would have just carried on and ignored us!

Whilst we were uploading the Internet a young boy came home from school and very politely went to everyone in the bar to shake hands. Except that he tried to squeeze so hard and stare at you to see any reaction. Fortunately six year olds are not as strong as they think they are!

After uploading the blog for last week we returned to the motorhome for dinner.

Wednesday

Time to be on our way again and onward with our travels, so after breakfast and all the chores and filling up and emptying as required by about midday we are on the road south. We decided to head for Longue-Jumelles where they are having a Fete des Lavoirs (Fete for the Wash Houses) on Sunday. It was easy to find and the Aire de Stationment was very well signposted. 35 degrees in the shade so we set off for the Centre Ville to look for the geocache! Around the area where the geocache was supposed to be, workmen were cleaning out the ditches but mostly pouring water over their heads to cool off. The phone screen was impossible to see in the bright sunshine and with the workmen everywhere we gave up on the geocache for today and went off to the tourist information office. The young girl, Rachel in the office assured Allan, whose forehead was leaking everywhere, that this weather is unseasonable and should only last a week or so.

We now have plenty of leaflets to look at and on the way back to the motorhome we found bar "Le Chaplin" with a life size Charlie Chaplin figure in the corner and they had air conditioning so we took some light comfort there. On leaving the bar the heat of the late afternoon just hit us, in a hot blast. Tomorrow is market day here and the weather forecast is for even more sunshine and an extra 5 degrees of temperature. We read weather reports from England on the English news and apparently there is a heat wave at home. We hope everyone is surviving this. Up until now France has been 10 or more degrees warmer than home. Now the temperature is only about five degrees different. Lucky England. Nice and cool at home.

During the night we had rain and everything cooled down slightly. Looking forward to puddles and wet grass tomorrow.

Thursday

Not a puddle in sight and everything is as dry as a bone.

On leaving the motorhome to search for the geocaches to our horror we found the secondary security lock on the habitation door (made by Fiamma of Italy) had broken. The key was also broken and the lock twisted so that another key could not be used. Although we could lock the door from inside and go out by the cab door this is not so easy, so something had to be done. We went to the street market for some shopping but were quite disappointed in the size of this market. The tourist information is quite close and Allan thought that if we could go there, they would be able to offer a suggestion of a local motorhome repair place. Somehow we went in the other direction towards the church. Allan didn't mind as he knew that a Geocache was there! We quickly found it with the good clue and Dorothy was persuaded to carry on to do another, and then even another. This last one was in the community laverie (wash house) - there definitely is a theme running here!

Legion d'Honour caches

With three geocaches found today we decided not to search for the final one again as it is out in the open and in the scorching heat! So we returned to the motorhome.

Other motorhomers were at the Aire and we asked them where the nearest motorhome repair p[ace was and after research in their book they found one to the north of Angers. Not fancying a trip there, 24 miles and some of it through a large city, we decided to return to La Fleche where we had been a couple of weeks before. On the 16th of June we had visited the LCC Camping Store and purchased a couple of items and we remembered that the repair guy spoke some English which might help us. So 22 miles back up the road to the north we go. Luckily the English speaking repair guy was there, they had a replacement lock in stock and he was able to fit it straight away. How's that for service. Whilst he was fitting the lock we found two new chairs, lightweight and comfortable and exactly what we needed and so we purchased them with some of our retirement gift money. Our new insurance stipulates that we have a Fire Extinguisher but they didn't have one so that is a job for the future.

Although we were intending to return to Longue-Jumelles, just round the corner from LCC Camping is Noz where they usually have cheap English beer. Well, it would be rude not to pop in there says Dorothy! So out we come with a dozen Speckled Hens. Then Dorothy remembers that we can get LPG at E. Leclerc so off we go, across the town towards Lac Monnerie to get Gas. On the way there Dorothy pipes up "perhaps we could get some shopping as well"!! Oh well why not? So, we go to do the grocery shopping first, which included a tray of 18 peaches for €2.97. The day was very hot so Dorothy then says "lets spend the rest of the day at the lakeside Aire" and so this finds us back where we started from, when we finally left on 19th June!!, at Lac Monnerie. La Fleche. On arrival Anne and Andrew couldn't believe it when we turned up again and what a surprise, Pauline and David who have just returned from England after their MOT had arrived just before us. We chatted with them all and did a lot of catching up and decided to stay here for the night.

Dorothy cooked a lovely dinner of pork and fried onions, our new chairs were put into service as the sun set over the trees and "everything is perfick, just perfick".

Friday

Another really hot day so bread and cheese for a light breakfast, followed by some of the really delicious peaches we bought yesterday which we worked out to be at 12 UK pence each!

Whilst having a spell of sitting in our new chairs in the sun, David said that he has read our Blog whilst he was in England and asked us what Geocaching was. We explained as best we could that GPS or satnav had its accuracy improved about twelve years ago and that since then, people have left little containers around the world and published their coordinates so that other people can go and find them. The coordinates are published on the internet and the main internet website is www.geocaching.com. It is free to use but if you pay a small fee each year you have a few more frills . You find the container or cache, sign the logbook inside and then log your find on the internet. There is absolutely no reward and no prize. You can do as many or as few as you like. People with local knowledge may or may not lead you to interesting locations. Some containers are large and some are extremely small, and some are disguised as something else. It is just an excuse for a walk and often a challenge to find the cache container at the end.

We showed David the website that we use for geocaching on our phone. What we didn't expect to see was that someone had set a new series of them around the lake since we were here last!!!
Deciding that it was far too hot (35° in the shade, 40° in the sun) for geocaching over several miles, it meant we would stay for another night here at the Lake. Good books were necessary for the rest of the day!

Dinner tonight was salmon, potatoes, salad and home-made coleslaw. Home-made is so much tastier (cheaper) than the processed tubs and in France they don't have coleslaw like we do in England.

Good News from England at 8.22 p.m. our time, Hayley has given birth to our new Great Great Niece. Welcome Ellie Mae, a lovely sister for Amelia.

During the night it was 35 degrees in our bedroom - bloomin hot!

Saturday

Up early to do the new geocache series before it gets too hot, walking around the lake in 35 degrees heat is no joke.

The River Loir

A long trudge around the lake, with a diversion to the River Loir for one of the caches, but eventually all eight new geocaches are found, the logsheets are signed and we return to the motorhome for some long cool beers! It is the birthday of Dawn, another of our motorhome friends, today and we texted her to wish her Happy Birthday.

Relaxing, soaking up the atmosphere of one of our favourite places then suddenly horns hooted, people shouted

and this is what came upon us......
Another pre-marriage celebration! Everyone having a good time with the bride and groom to be.

Late afternoon we decided to travel back south before we ended up staying another two weeks at the lake and missing the Laundry Fete! And so we said our goodbyes (again) and travelled first to E. Leclerc to fill up with gas as it's so cheap there and then south, back to Longue-Jumelles. We don't know how Tony's map will cope with this to-ing and fro-ing and Dorothy doesn't know if she is coming or going. "Oh, where are we now" as Allan's Mum would have said! Allan was going to stop along the way to set the SatNav but found that it wasn't needed as we have been on this road so many times lately. We arrived at Longue-Jumelles and after picking up water and services at the Aire de Services, we moved around to the Aire de Stationment which is in a different place. The Aire de Stationment had a sign saying it was closed for tomorrow's Fete of the Wash houses but we were shown to a place to park that was just around the corner and much, much better than the proper Aire.

After dinner with more of our coleslaw, we had a SKYPE call from Sharon, Sheila, Gary and Hayley & Jason with the new baby and everyone else at Sharon's house. It was lovely to be able to see the new baby. It is so good to keep in contact and you can all SKYPE us if you wish.

Sunday

Thunder, lightning and heavy rain started about 5 am so we quickly closed the skylights and went back to sleep. In the morning we thought The Fete would be cancelled but everything was as dry as usual - except for the bathroom mat! Who forgot to close the bathroom Skylight! An early shower (us not the rain!) followed by breakfast and its a beautiful dry sunny day for the Fete of the Wash Houses and a Food Producers Market something like our Farmers Markets.

We went to the fete of the food producers at the Hydronef park - a large water mill surrounded by a display area of small water wheels.

A terrific small orchestra was playing some French country and folk dance music.

Allan was invited to dance by one of the washerwomen and he was really good and seeing that Allan was game for anything, one of the other washerwomen claimed her next dance with Allan although she commented later that it was a good job she was wearing wooden clogs!

"Mobile Laundry"

Next month's washing!

We sat on a wall to get over this excitement and were then introduced to the Mayor of Longue-Jumelles, whom we thanked for providing the facilities for the motorhome. We believe that it is always a good idea to show our appreciation, as these villages don't have to provide us with water, services and parking areas.

Then we visited the Hydronef Moulin de Longue for the milling and waterwheel display. Returning we had a look for the geocache but too many people were about. We are determined to get this last one eventually.

We returned to the main park for the Fete des Lavoirs

and bought tickets for tonight's spit roast which was looking and smelt quite delicious!.

Then we went on to see some of the craft displays, iron forge work, stonemasonry, knitting, wood work and other crafts.

And a Giant Dragon...

There were two sets of hurdygurdy and small organ displays and had an interesting chat with one of the men.

Later in the afternoon we met a deaf guy whom we had previously met in Baugé en Anjou at the Music Festival, again today at the Hydronef Mill and here he was in the party tent. We spoke to him and admired his freehand drawings.

Then we had a short break back at the motorhome, with some texting between James' girlfriend Frankie and Dorothy, before returning to the party tent at 7 p.m. for the meal, which turned out to be four courses and wine! (Meat Salad, Spit Roasted Pork served with Haricot Beans, Strawberry Gateau, Bread and Cheese, washed down with Rose wine - all for £8.70 per person).

During and after the meal we were entertained by two musicians.

Whilst checking the phone for news of Dean & Amy's baby (due today) we saw the messages about the ESCC Rally and we both remarked "that's what was missing - FLAGPOLE!!".

Thanks to The Team who organised the day....

During a short interlude before the firework finale we went back to the motorhome to find our neighbours distressed that our motorhome had been vandalised with flour. Laughing, we explained that we have covered the tyres with ant powder as there were a huge amount of them about this evening!

We returned for the fireworks display and Allan got a bench seat from the party tent for Dorothy to sit on and two other couples were very pleased to join us.

Before the fireworks the giant dragon about 10 feet high made from tractor parts which we had seen earlier in the day, was brought into the arena by a young woman on stilts, dressed as a warrior and waving a whip?

the mobile phone does not do them justice I'm afraid

The Firework Display was entertaining, heightened by the dramatic music and arena from where they were set. Obviously not on the scale of Lewes, where we have been many times and twice to the National Firework Championships in Plymouth, and we even had fireworks at our own wedding nearly 25 years ago thanks to Kevin T and Steve M.

 

A nightcap of G&T and to dream of what we are doing next...................

 

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