Monday 17th August 2015

Today we finished writing the blog for last week and uploaded it. There were not as many photos as usual as I guess we had been sitting on our bottoms all week and doing nothing, sunbathing, reading, eating and sleeping. This is a hard life and I just believe that we have to cope the best we can. After the blog was finished we had a few emails to write to people that we have met along our journey in France just keeping in touch with people.

After this was done we spoke to our French neighbours. We found that they live in the south of France near Nimes and are on a tour around France during the school holidays. They are on their way to the Atlantic coast and will be heading south but today they are going to a museum of magic in Blois. As we are leaving today we said our good-byes.

We left just after one o'clock and then just as we were leaving the aire, Allan remembered that he had promised Dorothy some more of the red wine we had purchased last week from the local vineyard in Angé. So, we did an about turn to go to the vineyard of Vincent Roussely to visit his shop. As we had arrived during their lunchtime we waited patiently in the carpark until the shop opened at 2pm and just before 2 we were joined in the car park, waiting, by three young Canadian women.

As the Canadians wanted to taste a few wines and we had not sampled the white wines, we also joined in. Again as last time, it would be rude to refuse. When the tasting moved on to the reds Dorothy confessed that we had already made our choice a few days before and we just wanted some more of the same red wine again. However as she liked one of the white wines, she also bought one of these as well. 25 litres of wine in boxes should keep us going for a day or two!

We then made our way to Carrefour near Montrichard for shopping, followed by a long drive to our next aire. The roads were quiet but 52 miles is still a long way and we don't usually travel such a long distance. We drove around Blois, crossing the Loire and along the road to Beaugency where we have stayed a few years ago. We already knew that the Beaugency aire is closed due to a problem with their diseased trees, so we had to go a bit further to the aire at Lailly en Val.

Meung sur Loire is where we were heading to really, as that is on the river Loire and is where there is a motorhome dealer and showroom with some motorhomes to view. But we decided to break the journey at Lailly en Val. So we do not expect to stay here too long.

Tuesday

This morning we awoke to another beautiful day. The weather forecast is for a bit warmer, 30 degrees later in the week. As motorhomes start to move off this morning we select a better spot and move alongside the grass and boules pitch.

During the day we even take a walk around the lake. Not much in size but beautiful in scenery.

Around the lake many fishermen are pole fishing, (that is not fishing for poles!) we don't know if its just because its lunchtime or if they have nothing better to do but they all seem happy.

You can just make out the motorhome aire across the lake

There were many art works of basketweaving and it is something to do with a festival and exhibition for the summer.

We then went to the village for a walk around and also visited the Church which is lit by chandeliers in every arch.

The village is much the same as most of the others that we have visited. One boulangerie closed Sunday and Monday. One bar tabac with old men sitting around and one coiffeur (hairdressers) closed for a three week holiday. In the middle of the village are two Gites that are closed and of course there is a massive Marie or Town Hall. It makes us wonder how small villages like this can support 30 motorhomes with toilets, water and sewage and rubbish disposal, but we are very grateful that they do.

Wednesday

Today we are up early at half eight, breakfast and everything sorted out as we are moving on, seven miles, to Meung sur Loire.

In the morning we visited "CLC Orleans" motorhome store. There were new Chausson and Pilote motorhomes on display. This was not a visit to look at buying a new motorhome as we have already got the best possible motorhome layout for us at the moment but just to compare workmanship and design with English vehicles like ours. We were not impressed. The quality of the new Pilote models is not good, the cupboard doors did not fit squarely and the standard of finish left a lot to be desired. The Chaussons were all much the same design and we think unsuitable for full time motorhoming but the build quality was perhaps a little better than the Pilotes. Neither manufacturer had included awnings, ovens, grills, or electric sockets. However we did find some clever storage ideas but in all those we looked in the kitchens let them down badly. However, this is only our opinion. The shop at the store was very good and we managed to purchase and replace some window blind clips that we have been unable to find in England. I wish we had more time to look around but as many other French stores do, they closed for the two hour lunch break.

Later in the afternoon we went geocaching walking west along the Loire. This time it was a four mile round trip.

On the way to the furthest cache. The Donkey was brave but the horse and foal ran away!

One of the caches was close to a memorial from the Second World War to L'Abbé Émile Pasty and 6 other volunteer men of the Resistance and who were deported by the Nazis and died for France.

The Aire de Campingcar at Meung sur Loire is along the edge of a road beside the play park, on the way to the swimming pool and we wouldn't recommend it except for a short stay if you particularly want to be in the area as we did.

After a rest we walked into the town to find a bakers but the bread looked burnt and horrible. Further on, what did we find?..........

So on our return to the Motorhome, Dorothy baked some bread to have with our dinner. This is something that the foreign motorhomers can't do without an oven.

Thursday

This morning we decided to walk in the other direction along the Loire which as we have seen all along is extremely low this year. In the vineyard at Angé the man there said that usually they have about 300 cm of rain but this year they have only had 42 cm. We have recently passed through villages that have water rationing during the daytime.

Along the Loire we did some geocaching and found the ancient bridge named after Jeanne d'Arc and a memorial to the French poet and composer named Gaston Couté 1888 - 1911

We went shopping at Baule village HyperU just outside Meung and were amazed by the size of the fish counter.

and then the fresh fruit and vegetables was just mind-blowing. There were six islands with a huge selection.

You just pick what you want, weigh it and a price tag is printed from the scales. You then pay at the checkout. There are very few packs where you have to buy more than you want or need.

Then the Bakery and Patisserie section, which wouldn't fit into the photograph.....

WOWEEE..

We then went the short distance back to the Motorhome shop to have another good look around, particularly at their inverters. As we have more than enough solar power, using some of it to power the fridge and microwave could be a good move.

Then we travelled seventeen miles to Cercottes to the north of Orleans to another motorhome store. We drove through the village twice but couldn't see it so Dorothy checked it on the phone and then we drove straight to the location. However there was still nothing there, just a garage! We asked a man there about the store and apparently they have moved and amalgamated with the store at Meung where we had just travelled from....bother!!! Pity their website was not updated as it did not state this!

The last Motorhome Sales on our list was south east of Orleans at at Checy. When we arrived they were closed and looking over the fence it didn't look like there were many new motorhomes. The decision was made that if we found a place to park then we will stay overnight but there wasn't and so that brought us earlier than expected, south east along the Loire to Sully sur Loire.

Our first view of Sully sur Loire in the evening sun

The Aire is facing the river at the end of a long road to the left of the Chateau and the Aires book says "Space for 15 vans" but when we arrived they were everywhere - there could be more than 60 here! We found a space in the parking catering for larger Motorhomes. Unfortunately they have made the entrance to the section with water etc. so small that it has spoilt what was a nice Aire. So for us, not the most wonderful Aire in France but after such a disappointing day it was good to get the corkscrew out and relax. After dinner we had a lengthy phone call to Mum and Tony.

Friday

A lot of motorhomes moved out early this morning leaving just us and one other motorhome on this section of the Aire, so before breakfast we moved to a better position. Too many miles yesterday means we need to stay put for the weekend. The insurance limits our annual mileage and just recently we have been overdoing it but never mind as the sun is hot and the sky is clear blue, staying is going to be easy.

However................

You just couldn't make it up! This photo does not really show the vast expanse of space but the motorhome on the right and then ours (facing us) were the only two motorhomes here. Then the two motorhomes towing turned up. OK, but then the one next to us in the photo decided he wanted to be "cosy" too and almost crushed our chairs whilst squeezing in. Later we were joined on the other side of us by two more vans squeezing into the corner! And the rest of the Aire remained empty??? What is it with these people?

A lazy day today for us after the rushing around yesterday. In the morning we received an invitation to attend Seb's christening but sadly we will be still in France on that day so will be unable to attend. We were delighted to have been invited though and will make sure we visit a church on that day and raise a glass (or two!) in celebration later.

Saturday

Today is a cycle day so Allan got the folding bikes ready whilst Dorothy did the breakfast, then washing up and we're off. We don't get the bikes out as often as we should as its usually easy to walk to town and in fact here, the town of Sully sur Loire is only across the Chateau gardens but today we wanted to do a few geocaches around the town and they were quite a distance apart. We did find five quite easily but gave up on another one as it was not easy to find. It's a problem with the Geocache description written in French and often there are jokey references that do not translate too well. The satellite maps are much older than the English ones and they do not zoom in as close either. In England you can see a park bench and even see which end you need to go to. In France it can sometimes be difficult to make out a building!

Our cycling took us past the Chateau

and past the Grotto where we found the first geocache

Sunday

Today as the bikes were out already we were going to cycle along the Loire but in the morning the weather looked bad. It is still warm but it looks like it may rain. Much better to stay at home and write the blog. Although we have to catch up on email and personal things on the computer we will be unable to do so for a few days as there is no internet here. We know from the phone that Marco who took the photos for our Silver Anniversary has left us an email but we can't reply yet and Tony has scanned our mail in an email for us. These things will have to wait.

During the afternoon we were inundated with cars parking all around the aire. Hundreds of people were attending a function in a local hall and having filled up their own carparking space were using ours. Several of the other motorhomers complained about this but as the cars would only be here for a short while we just got on with chilling out..

Later in the afternoon we did go for a cycle ride along the top of the levee beside the river. The view was quite uninspiring with a long view to the north bank with the river very shallow and distant and flat farmland on the other and so, after two miles (and no geocaches to be had!) we just went home.

Often in the towns that we visit alongside this river, there are markers on walls of older buildings to mark where the river reached in certain years of the 1800's. We do not know if the river will still flood with all these levees.

So, there it is for another week. A few words, a few photos and when we look back at these pages in a few years time, many wonderful memories.

 

We have just been reading about the terrible aeroplane crash which happened this afternoon near Shoreham Airport in Sussex. We would like to send our condolences to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives. We also wish a good recovery for the people injured in this disaster and our thoughts are also with the emergency services and others who have had to deal with this dreadful event.

 

 

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