Monday 31st August 2015

Happy Birthday to Tony xxx Glad the card sent "priority" (a month ago!!!!) arrived in time.

We are now at Saint Brisson sur Loire. Another sleepy little village. The aire is in the corner of a carpark, adjacent to the sports hall. The village school and the commune of St Brisson maintenance workers' garages are on the far side and we were fascinated to watch the two men and a young teenager leaving for their duties which included painting yellow lines, laying a new cycle path, grass mowing and their other jobs. Their usual mode of transport was a bright green tractor! Behind us is a field where a horse resides. Sadly another horse that doesn't like having his photo taken!

Whilst people are enjoying the Monday Bank Holiday in England it is just another hard day of relaxing for us. This morning we went down the road to the village shop for our breakfast bread fresh from the oven. Although the boulangerie is closed on Mondays the general store has an amazing stock of everything that you could ever need and sells the bread on Mondays.

As we now have gratuit electricity and gratuit water we have free hot water, so we have an opportunity to catch up on our chores of cleaning and washing. During the day Dorothy caught up on some of the laundry and as there was plenty of hot sunshine it dried very quickly. In the evening Allan climbed the ladder and washed down the roof of the motorhome.

Allan checked with the Marie and to our disappointment there is no wifi so updating the blog will have to wait a little longer.

Later after dinner, a couple of phone calls to Allan's sister Jean and to Zelie to prepare for our return to England for our holiday, rounded off the day.

Tuesday

It rained all last night and this morning. The rain is very much needed in these parts as some of the villages have drought conditions and the growers need it to make the grapes swell with juice for the wine. Also Allan was pleased as it has rinsed off the roof that he had washed yesterday evening. It is still raining in the late morning but not so heavily as last night. We knew that there would be times like this when we would be confined to the motorhome. After all this not a holiday. This is living a normal life but in a smaller space than a house and with a different view from the windows each week and sometimes each day. This is our new life in our motorhome and we are loving every minute of it - rain or shine!

Today the children returned to school, for some it was their first day at school. Suddenly there were cars, people and children everywhere! After about half an hour the cars left and we were back to our quiet life! Dorothy baked some bread for breakfast in the oven (remember the foreigners can't do this) and we watched the raindrops run down the windows. Then a bit of reading and a few words for the blog.

In the afternoon when the rain had given way to more sunshine, Dorothy got the laundry buckets out for her weekly exercise (well twice this week!) and Allan washed down the sides of the motorhome, trying not to splash the washing hanging on a line stretched out between the motorhome ladder and a fence post.

We are now into September (where have the months gone?) and sadly the evenings really are beginning to draw in.

Wednesday

Today we find that the temperature has dropped 20 degrees centigrade since yesterday. How can our bodies cope with this? Even though the temperatures rose to the low 20's we feel so cold and had to find our jumpers! Hopefully we will soon adjust to this extreme temperature change.

Dorothy cleaned the cooker hob, oven and fridge and Allan, ashamed at his laziness, vacuumed the cab area of the motorhome and then afterwards volunteered to vacuum the rest of our home.

Allan went to the boulangerie for some bread and on returning found that the library was open but on asking he found that still there is no wifi to be found in this village. This is a little sleepy looking village of 1,050 people. It has a huge library, two schools, a Marie, a bakers, village shop with post office, bar tabac with newsagent, restaurant, a sports hall and outdoor courts, a village hall, church. Later on a walk around the village we found another village hall, a function room, two gites, a dog club, a boxing club and a Chateau. Unfortunately the butchers had closed down. These facilities in a small commune in France is certainly not uncommon.

There was a display of old weapons from the Middle Ages in the Chateau Moat. Unfortunately the Chateau was not open.

There were probably more facilities and clubs that we didn't find. Although they didn't have free wifi I am sure that broadband internet on a phone line that you pay for would be as fast as anywhere else, after all this village is just under four miles from a major town. Satellite TV would be as good as anywhere else. What a truly amazing sleepy little village.

At the end of the day Dorothy spoke to Sue (Caravan Club) to ask for her help. Thank you Sue, see you after Christmas!

Thursday

It was very cold last night and as the temperature had dropped by 20 degrees we had to find an extra duvet. The evenings are beginning to draw in and it seems that the autumn season is nearly upon us. Have we really been in France since April?, nearly five months ago.

We finished updating the blog and added some new photographs in the hope that when we do move on we may find somewhere to upload it and last weeks one as well. In the afternoon we filled up the water and we decided that as we now have a nice clean motorhome and we have done all that we can do with the free hot water, it is time for us to move on again. Filling up with water took longer than anticipated. Allan thought that it was only a few showers and washing the dishes but Dorothy had used a lot of water for cleaning the stove and laundry yesterday. Eventually the water tank was full and we were on our way again.

Our first stop is at the Auchan supermarket about 4 miles away in Gien where, to Allan's relief and joy, he did find free internet access and the blog for the last two weeks, together with a few corrections is finally uploaded. The email is the next thing to check through and we find that most of it has to be checked and deleted as we are getting a lot of adverts and spam at the moment. Next time we do something like this we need to open up a new email address solely for use when we are using "Free internet" and we have to give out our email address. Then all of the advertising that we get afterwards can de deleted quicker than now and so will not be such a burden or waste of time.

As this is a mainly Muslim part of town she says that a lot of the shelves in the supermarket are dominated by their tastes but after she has found some products for us and the shopping is finished we are on the road again. Now we are going to Briare le Canal. On the banks of the river Loire with two canals and many canal boat docks and marinas.

We have both been looking forward to this village for quite a long time and when we arrive we are not disappointed. There were many shops in the main street and there seem to be many more in the side streets. There are hundreds of boats, and water is everywhere. After parking up we took a quick short walk over the bridge to take a look at the first marina complete with photographs.

Then when we returned to the motorhome where we were met by a Belgian man from Ypres who offered us his parking spot when he leaves tomorrow morning. Even this late in the evening the sun is still shining on his motorhome so we quickly accept his kind offer.

Also here we met Lawrence (BigLol) and Stevie, a couple from Cornwall who have been touring the continent for many years in their motorhome called Myrtle but have not ventured to fulltime motorhoming yet. They are on many of the same websites as we are and can be found at www.ljbarber.co.uk - this is a very good website for people travelling in their motorhomes.

Friday

In the morning we moved over into the empty space left by the Belgians and now we are overlooking the old canal and a small, very small part of the Loire and have a very spacious garden.

The word garden is probably over used here but if you can put two chairs and a drinks table on it, and Allan doesn't have to mow it or weed it, then garden is a very apt word .

The weather is turning miserable, very cloudy and cold. Possibly not cold by English standards but when you have been used to the temperature above 30 degrees then below 20 is COLD.

During the afternoon we went on a walk around the town. The post Office was number one on our places to visit as we needed to send a post card to our very good friend Sue H.

The church was very ornate with everything decorated and tessellated (inside and out!).

We went into the church, thinking of our friends in England who were attending a funeral today, and the inside was breathtaking............

Everywhere you looked you found mosaics. Even the whole of the floor was tessellated.

Next to visit was the Tourist Information Office, where we found maps to the next part of our route along the Loire and other points of interest. We were also told that the Town Illumination that we had planned to go to at Bourges has finished for the season.

Never mind just to try and keep warm we went to find a few geocaches instead. One was by the Rialto Bridge and the cache was easy to find and the flowers were quite splendid.

Views on our way to other geocaches....................

We returned to the aire via the long route as Dorothy decided against the open stairs leading up to the aqueduct which would've been a much shorter way home! On eventually arriving back at the aire we found that an English couple, Simmi and Kinglsey from Hampshire were parked just two spaces along from us. We thought that we may invite them round to enjoy our Garden and a chat if the weather improves. Of course it just got cloudier and colder and even more horrible. We got to thinking what will it be like in the winter here? Should we just head to the south - possibly Spain or Italy when we return to the continent after our October holiday in England???

Saturday

Our plans for today are for a cycle ride along beside the old canal but the first thing that Dorothy said in the morning was "it's 8.8 degrees outside". This is certainly not what we are used to. The temperature usually improves during the day, today it has a long way to go.

During the morning we did take the bikes out and went for a 5 mile ride along the old canal, first looking back towards the aqueduct then finding a disused lockgate.

10 geocaches later we returned to the motorhome for lunch and then walked across the aqueduct and back.

Briare from the aqueduct

Whilst in the middle of the Loire, well 60 feet above it next to the canal, (doesn't make sense does it) we met fellow motorhomers from the aire who live in Dorset.
They suggested that on the other side of the river we should go and see the Alpacas that were nearby.

At last an animal that wanted to be photographed!!

In the evening Simmi and Kingsley joined us in our garden and then Margaret and David (also English motorhomers) also joined us all for drinks and we swopped memories of places to visit and other socializing banter, whilst looking out towards the aqueduct and watching the boats go by on the canal.

Sunday

Today, as our toilet is full and at this aire it is payant (unusually for the toilet emptying to be charged as well), after a bit of discussion we decide that Simmi and Kinglsey would make use of our allotted time as well since we didn't need much fresh water. So there we were, we two motorhomes having a "Borne Party" amidst lots of laughs and giggles! Job done and we are all happy!

This morning it was our friends baby's Christening Day and we had said that we would visit a Church wherever we were in France as we were invited but unable to attend the actual Christening. We decided to go back to the Church here in Briare as it is so beautiful and after having a few quiet moments sitting in the Church, we took a photo of part of the baptism chapel floor and wrote in the visitors' book.

Later in the day we had another walk around the Marina

and over the aqueduct.

 

And so another week has passed. Although the days are mostly still fairly warm the nights have drawn in and are quite cold. Is this preparing us for 2 weeks in England!!

 

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