Monday 9th November 2015

It was another lovely morning so we took a walk around the village for a bit of exercise, stopping to admire the reflection in the river,
before buying a loaf of fresh baked bread and returning for a late breakfast.

In the afternoon we walked up to the Intermarche supermarket on the edge of town, about half a mile away but in a generally upward direction, to buy groceries. Next door we find that there is a Brico shop where we hope to buy a tube of something to fix the leaking waste water pipe. As we find that the Brico shop is closed on Mondays we just went to do the food shopping in the Intermarche Supermarket. Most of these large French supermarkets have a myriad of other products including motor oil, pet baskets, electrical and computers and books and stationery. But in the housewares and building section Allan can only find a tube of bath sealant. As this seals leaks between bath and tiles and prevents water going down the back of a bath, then it may fix our leaking waterpipes for about £7.00.

On our return the waste water system is drained and the bath sealant stuff is squirted in and lets hope for the best!

Tuesday

In the morning the waste water is still leaking out and so, in the afternoon, we take another trip up the mountain (hill) to the Brico shop that was closed yesterday. However, we find that half of the shop space has been given over to an arts and crafts store and at the back of the store there is even a ladies knitting circle in progress, compete with tea, coffee and biscuits!! Not much of a builders merchants at all.

The saleswoman there tries to sell us a roll of sticky tape. After our protests that it would not be of any use because it would not go down between the two pipes that fit one inside the other and at best would repair a flat surface or wrap around the outside of a pipe, to make matters worse she even suggests a tube of bath sealant! But we know that this is not going to do the job either. So we left and just went shopping again next door in the Intermarche Supermarket for a few bottles of liquid comfort, made from the juice of delicious French grapes. Then we returned home to the Aire de campingcar.

Allan tries to really dry out the pipework and when the joint is completely dry, does the job again with more bath sealant, with a hope that that may work this time. Just one dribble of water will wash the gunk out and we would be back to square one again so Dorothy is banned from the taps for 24 hours (yet again)!

Wednesday

Remembrance Day today, it is a special day in Europe. The end of the war, until they did it again, and again, and again. In England it is celebrated on the nearest Sunday to the 11th November with parades and with two minutes silence, and on the 11th November some people also respect 2 minutes silence at 11 a.m. Here in France they celebrate it actually on the 11th November with a day's holiday, parades and 2 minutes silence at noon.

We went across to the Town Hall Square to join in and pay our respects.

A tall man started to go around the gathered crowd of people shaking hands with everyone, including to our surprise, us as well. Then the penny dropped - this is Monsieur le Mayor. So we check it out with him and yes it's the man himself, the Mayor of Rugles. Allan thanks him for providing the Aire de camping car for us and asks him for a photo. Unfortunately the brilliant, bright sunshine was directly into the camera and the only way we can show it is by removing all of the colour and tweaking the contrast.

But Allan felt so honoured and impressed to be photographed with the Mayor of Rugles so we had to share it.

After this excitement more followed, with the arrival of this...

The day's ceremonies continued with a parade to the War Memorial located in the square outside the Church....




where the War Memorial had been dressed with the French Flags


There followed a civil ceremony led by The Mayor. There was a service in the Church earlier in the morning but It seemed strange to us that there was no Church involvement at the Memorial.

Flowers were laid on the Memorial, two minutes silence was observed followed by the reading out of the names of all the townspeople who "Morts pour la France" and the band played ceremonial military music and, of course, the French National Anthem.

The parade then regrouped and we all proceeded to follow it through the town and out to the Cemetery where flowers were laid on the war graves there.

The graves included three British and one Australian airmen from the Second World War and we were pleased to see that they were also remembered with floral tributes.
A local historian showed us where their plane had crashed - just on the edge of the town outside the cemetery.

Thursday

This was a day for housekeeping. The Hoover is out and the carpets are being shaken; laundry is drying and dust is being cleared, everything is looking so much better now.

There is even time for a movie in the evening but after all the exertions of the day Dorothy falls asleep during the part when it is explained what it was all about. Allan was none the wiser anyway, as modern movies do not seem to have much story to them and the sound quality is usually bad, with a lot background noise and music. OMG Allan will now have to sit through it again!

Friday

Friday the 13th this morning and Dorothy remarked I wonder what will go wrong today.

Well first of all the seal around the waterpipe was leaking again. (groan)

Secondly, Allan notices that we have a gas leak! Fortunately we are on electricity so we can manage short term but this is just yet another inconvenience. This trip is certainly not turning out as expected!

During the late evening whilst checking on the computer for the Sussex weather we were startled to find that something, and something big and very bad, had happened in Paris about three minute's ago. Unbelievably as the next few minutes passed we found out that a major atrocity was taking place in the capital city of France.

Thank you to Richard P from Brighton and Jean CB from Plymouth for contacting us and considering our feelings as we are over here alone in France at the moment. Having been delayed on our travels, we are actually about an hour and 55 minutes or 85 miles away from Paris but it's nice to know that someone at home is thinking of us.

Although stunned, we followed the events as they occurred throughout the night and our thoughts are with all the victims, their families and their friends. We also have great respect for everyone in the Emergency services, hospitals etc. who have to deal with the ongoing situation.

Saturday

We had worked out where we need to go to get the gas leak repaired but they are not open again until Tuesday. So, we decide to stay a little longer in Rugles.

We walk into town to the Boulangerie for the bread and as it is market day, we went to the town centre. We found a fish stall, a cheese, chicken and eggs trader and a stall with a vegetables and fruit, together with a man repairing cane chairs and selling woven cane baskets.

The Newspapers and news programmes are full of last night's terrible events in Paris and the mood in the town is very sombre.

We return to the motorhome and in the afternoon we drove up to the supermarket to restock as we are now staying here longer than originally planned. The supermarket has funeral music on the sound system and everyone looks quite stunned. The Gendarmes were checking cars at the nearby roundabout. France and in fact the rest of the European countries, have suffered a major blow.

Sunday

I need to lighten up today after the dreadful news from Paris. Today we are not planning to do a lot.

We did take a walk in the afternoon. Quite a long walk around the other side of Rugles where we found the outside swimming pool

and also noticed that a huge extension had been completed to the local hospital. Then we found some social housing and a new housing estate with even more houses being built and another childrens' play park. There was, we think, a firestation just on the edge of town. We had certainly seen the firemen at the parade on Wednesday and as there were Gendarmes and a municipal policeman then there is a police station somewhere nearby.

But, this little town of around 2500 people has three bakers, a butchers, two hairdressers, a convenience store, several bars, two pharmacies, two diving schools, a tobacconist stationers and newspaper shop. Not forgetting the two insurance agencies, two florists shops and several other shops and businesses. This little village even has a Post Office. There is an out of town Supermarket, a sort of B&Q hardware and craft store. Now, that is a lot more than some English towns. There is a hospital, a swimming pool, schools, a library and public toilets, There is a floodlit boules court, two children's play grounds, fishing along the river, a music school, not to mention the numerous local clubs and societies and a Tourist Information Office. This village even keeps it's ornate street lighting on during the night and provides a free parking space, free electricity and water for up to ten motorhomes. Not bad for a pokey little town.

 

Quite a week and one we will not forget.

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