Monday14th March 2016

Still 9 holes free in Allan's belt! Poor Allan, he is trying, really he is!

This morning the local Marie workers are bringing in barriers and fences. Parts of the Aire are being sectioned off. We think that this is for an Agricultural Springtime show at the weekend. But knowing the French it could be anything.

We had an afternoon walk around the town and on leaving the Aire from the other side, came across yet another of these artworks.

As we carried on we took a phone call from 3 the mobile phone company. The man assured us that there was no problem with our phones and there was no problem with the phone connection. The problem lies with the coverage provided by the partner companies that 3 uses to provide their service in France. Ok, what can we do about it says Allan. Nothing, says the man, there are always going to be no signal spots. There weren't any last year when 3 was partnered with Orange, says Allan. But now you use Bouygues and Free and they're pretty rubbish says Allan. Are you thinking of going back to the area without connection? No, replies Allan. No, then there is no problem the 3 adviser declares. But what if I lose contact again, says Allan. Then phone us. But with no signal, HOW?!!!! Be positive he says, lets hope that you won't loose phone signal again!!!! This goes on for about half an hour. Dorothy is getting agitated and Allan is fast losing his temper! Allan was expecting a goodwill gesture of the usual £5 but it didn't happen and Dorothy was getting more and more frustrated expecting that "3" will cut us off completely and for us to lose the phone service entirely. They ended the conversation by saying they would now "close the file". Time will tell if we are still able to be in contact with you all!

We took some photos of the old buildings we saw on the rest of our walk and then returned to the motorhome for a well earned coffee.


We have been keeping a watch on our tyres. They were losing their treads whilst we were at home in England and Allan thought that they would last until we returned. However, they are now almost on the limit of being naughty for English roads and we don't know what the tread limit is here in France. So how does one go about getting tyres in France? At home we would ring round a few places, find the cheapest and make arrangements. Here we are on the move, can't speak the language very well and the Internet is, at best, very slow. Pneus is the word here for tyres so does Allan chance saying that with a dodgy English accent? He might end up with something else!?! Apparently, they buy tyres from a supplier, then have them delivered and either fit them themselves or pay a fitter. Tyres here are cheaper than in England but then you must add on the fitting but it still seems cheaper. Next week we will perhaps travel in the direction of Chartres to sort this out and take a look at a motorhome dealer there too.

Tuesday

Happy Birthday to Grant H, Dorothy's Godson.

On our way again but first, a stop at the Intermarche for a little shopping. Allan decides that he is switching to white rum and coke for a while. This is something that he enjoyed in his navy days. At the equivalent of £4.99 a bottle, why not? I think that the CocaCola is more expensive than the white rum but thats life, and it has to be endured sometimes! Antillies Rhum Blanc is not Bacardi but then Gibsons gin is not Gordons. Allan is prepared to put up with being poor and suffer the hardships of life sometimes. Harveys Best Bitter is not even available in France and Long Man Brewery is but a distant memory. How we do suffer!!

At the Intermarche store there was also some LPG, so we topped up the gas tanks before making our way along the straight road to Brezolles, Eure et Loire. We have been here several times before. Even when we were working hard and had our Swift motorhome, we came here as it is a good afternoon's journey from Calais and opens up the west part of France for a two week holiday. Now it is just a small part of our retirement. The first thing we noticed was that, on the edge of the village, there were some new build houses. We wonder how the local Marie allowed those to happen as they are really not in keeping with the once pretty little village. But then, even at home in Peacehaven, Newhaven and Seaford, planning mistakes do happen, big time.

On arriving at the Aire we were surprised to find that it was completely empty. This is usually quite a busy little Aire. We decided to take the corner spot, which we know from previous visits is the most sunny.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we had our very first outside lunch this year. We had cold chicken in herbs, salad and homemade coleslaw. Dorothy took great delight in sending the photo to Facebook and was even more delighted to find that several of our friends liked it.

Later in the afternoon we took a short stroll to the river what a lovely springtime view.

We returned to the motorhome for dinner and settled down for the evening, treating ourselves to a movie tonight as the solar panels had topped us up nicely.

Wednesday

The weather is getting much better. Whilst we were having breakfast the local worker from the Marie was doing his jobs and mowing the lawn. After breakfast Allan took the opportunity to start washing the motorhome and getting everything clean again. This has not been possible in the lay-bys and muddy roads of Sussex but now, with copious amounts of available water and beautiful sunshine, the cleaning starts.

Dorothy caught up on the laundry and although she had to do it by hand as there were no machines here, she was determined that nothing should stand in the way of clean laundry. And then hanging it to dry on an improvised washing line that Allan has hung from the rear ladder to a tree. The laundry is taken care off and Allan is so proud of his wonderful wife.

We had lunch outside again today in the sunshine and were joined on the Aire by a couple of French motorhomes which took up some space on the other side of the Aire. The people were travelling together and it looked as though they were here for the fishing. After all the activity of the day (!) we had a rest in the sunshine, a good dinner and relaxed in the evening. Such an exhausting day.

Thursday

Market day in Brezolles today. It was only a very small market but among the other delicacies we spotted some peppered smoked Mackerel. Two of these and a quick visit to the boulangerie for some fresh bread and the basis of lunch was sorted. Embellished by Dorothy's homemade coleslaw, lettuce and cucumber (and of course the vin blanc) Allan knew where the good times are.

The temperature was now climbing towards 85 degrees Fahrenheit a few minutes later, so we try to start on our suntans, relaxing in the afternoon sunshine. We will spare you the photos!! Afterwards as the temperature started to drop a little, Allan continued the cleaning, with the rear ladder having special attention and Dorothy showing a little attention to the bits that Allan had missed from yesterday.

During the late afternoon other English motor caravaners come onto the aire. We get the usual questions like "Are you heading home or south to Spain?" Allan replies "no, our motorhome is home". Or at other times they ask how long have we been here. Since April last year! Another favourite is "we have travelled 400 miles today, how far have you come to get here?" About 7 miles, three days ago, from the previous Aire. But aren't you coming or going to back to England? Yes of course but for the MOT, new Grandaughter, Christmas, New Year, Daughter-in-law's birthday and Son's birthday. Important things we will return to England for. It's just that we don't go back for the gardening, work, or other side issues.

And then Allan washed the windscreen and Dorothy made dinner. Gin and tonic, Rum and Coke rounded off the evening. Ahhh.

Friday

Although the weather was marvellous when we got to Brezolles each day it got more cloudy and the mornings were quite cold. We decided upon a lazy day today, catching up on the blog and not a lot else!

Saturday

Today we decided upon a little walk around the village, with a few geocaches thrown in for good measure.
We left the Aire and walked down the lane towards the river. What a lovely sight.
At the end of the lane we came to the river and then made our way to the business in hand!

When Geocaches are advertised on the website they are given ratings from one to five with half points. One set of ratings is for terrain and one set is for it's difficulty to achieve. There is also a guide for the size of the cache container you are looking for. A rating of 1.0 would be wheelchair accessible and 5 would need special equipment. Let's not forget here that some of these things are at the top of mountains or need a boat or even diving equipment. (There was even one on a space shuttle!) So, before we set out we should (!!!) know what sort of things that we will be facing and what is needed. One of today's caches was on the edge of the Park Saint Andrew. It is one that we couldn't get to last year and the terrain mark was 2.5. We thought before that it was going to be in a stream tunnel under the road. Luckily today, the stream was dried up and Allan could get down under the road to look for the cache and there it was. There was no way he would have gone down there to find it last year.

Another cache was listed with a difficulty of only 1.5 but the terrain was 4.5 (eeek!) This was going to be a hard one. When we got there we saw a huge bank with a massive tree on top of it at the end of the graveyard. No way, do not even think of it says Dorothy, it's too risky to climb that tree. What if you have an accident and I need to get help? What do I say when they ask what is a nearly 66 year old man doing climbing up that tree in the first place!!! She said the same thing for a cache in the Loire Valley last year. Soon the cache was in hand!!!

Once safely back on terra firmer, we carried on our way, finding our next cache in the ruins of the ramparts.

We followed the "promenade" and found ourselves back up into the village where we then made our back to the Aire, via the river which looks more like a lake at this point.
Imagine our dismay when, yet again, we were extremely glad of our new curtains!!! All that space and he needs to get "cosy". No more sitting outside for us until he leaves!!

This evening we received a message from family at home. Very exciting news and we are so pleased.

Sunday

The weather is not getting any better. At night there are no clouds and the temperature drops to minus 2 or 3 and in the day we have clouds so the temperature takes a long time to get up to anything like comfortable. We are, each evening, using battery power and it is not being replaced by the solar panels. This situation cannot go on as we will soon be without electricity and will damage the batteries.

Today is another excuse for the locals to give their bells another good old ring! We don't mind this as it is their custom, they are pleased to ring their bells and it seems to make them happy.
However, Ding ding the quarter hour. Ding ding, ding ding the half hour. Ding ding, ding ding, ding ding the three quarter. Then four ding dings followed by 12 massive ear shattering chimes for twelve o'clock and then another 150 bangs just because they are happy. I forgot the 150 at seven in the morning and the 150 at seven in the evening for matins. And then today, there were the ones for the several Sunday Church services. Welcome to France and their bells.

A short walk again up the lane and the rest of the day we took it easy.

 

Another good week. What lies in store for us next week......................

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