Monday 28 March 2016

Ten Holes in Allan's belt

On this parking space in Chartres we are under some trees so, even when the sun does shine, we are only in full sunshine during the middle of the day. In the early morning and later in the afternoon we are not getting sun on the solar panels. With very little in the way of sunshine anyway we needed to move on.

First visit for us was to the Carrefour Supermarket for LP Gas but unfortunately the station canopy was too low for us to get near to the LPG pump. Never mind as there was a Total station just along the road. This is the first time in 8 or 9 years of having re-fillable gas cylinders that we have had any problem. It seems that here in France people have been illegally refilling domestic gas cylinders using an adapter purchased from the internet. These cylinders come already filled with gas and are not suitable, or safe enough for refilling with LPG Autogas even though it is cheaper than their domestic gas.

We were allowed to fill up but the cashier made us aware of this restriction. Allan thinks that he is misinterpreting the regulations and is totally wrong. As we have a legally fitted system, fitted by a qualified Corgi registered gas-fitter and are filling up cylinders that we ourselves own, and not cylinders that are owned by a gas distributor, then we are fully compliant with the law, and more importantly completely safe. ( Except last year when we had a little gas leak but that's another story.)

We travelled on to Nogent le Roi which is a bit further north. When we drove through the village it looked absolutely delightful, so we are looking forward to exploring it. We found the Aire and that is also wonderful. Four little places all with electricity, the water tap is a long way away from the toilet tap and looks quite clean. Although the rest of the area is a small car-park, it is alongside a rugby sports field. We took the end position alongside the grass and have our own little garden again. Just after we arrived a Belgian motorhome arrived and took the last place. So we had arrived just in the nick of time.

Later in the afternoon a family of "Travellers" arrived with their two caravans and two tow vehicles. Caravans are not allowed onto an Aire de CampingCar. However, they parked up over the service area, thereby making it impossible for any of the motorhomes to use this service area and they immediately proceded to wash their caravans. Along with barking dogs, children with bikes and a son on a motorbike, the peace and quiet of the aire was soon invaded!

During the afternoon Allan busied himself with washing the roof off of our motorhome and the showers of rain rinsed it off. Dorothy was busy writing the blog. In the evening with the free electricity charging the batteries we watched an old movie.

Tuesday

After all of the other motorhomes had left today, the "Travellers" moved their two caravans and one towing vehicle onto the 3 now vacant camping car spaces and put their other vehicle in a car space opposite! We wondered how long they would be permitted to stay here.

Today there was some more showery rain. Luckily not as bad as it was in England where we have been reading reports of "Katie" doing a lot of damage. During the afternoon we went into the town and spent a little time there, dodging the rain.



After yet another rain shower we made our way from the church back through the town.

We found a little greengrocers shop. Do you remember those? This one had amongst other things some epinards (spinach) really flavoursome, tasting just like a deep green Savoy cabbage but even more so. Really delicious. There were the sweetest clementines you could imagine and the pineapples were totally yummy. All the produce was available for tasting. We bought some epinards, some fresh herbs and some clementines but left the pineapple for another day.

When we returned to the Aire we were followed in by two cars full of Gendarmes. They came to have a chat with the "Travellers" but surprisingly they were allowed to stay. But we think that they have been told that they must leave soon. Apart from the dogs being a little noisy at times, they did not bother us and gave the usual French "pleasantries" if we passed by them.

During the evening we had a wonderful dinner with some of our Sainsburys sausages and thick onion gravy, just as Allan likes it. Yum yum, big hugs and kisses for Dorothy. We followed this with a Michael Caine, Omar Sharif and Peter Ustinov movie.

Wednesday

Happy Birthday wishes go today to two of our friends back in England - Helen S & Anne D. We hope you both have a lovely day.

Still showers of rain today. Well, to be perfectly exact, it was constant rain with a very few times when it wasn't raining.

During the day we were unable to do much except read, play games on the computer and finish the blog for last week.

Thursday

Today we received the very sad news that Allan's sister Lil passed away last night. She had been very ill and in a nursing home for the last year and a half. We sent our condolences to her two remaining children and all of Lil's remaining family. Unfortunately we will not be attending her funeral as she lived in Canada for the last 68 years. Lil was a war-bride and with her Canadian husband Charlie, when he was alive, visited England many times. Our Mum and many of our family have visited Canada several times. We were pleased to visit Canada ourselves with our son James in 1997 to meet all the family there.

The weather is still rain. It did stop for about an hour this morning but this is now getting beyond a joke. Allan had to go out in the afternoon to empty the waste tank and fill up the fresh water. This Aire has a limit of three days, after which they would like you to leave to allow other motorhomers to come here. We haven't seen much of the village so we will be staying unless the police come to say that they would like us to go. The "Travellers" who came here shortly after we arrived are also still here. Later an English motorhome arrived but they had to park in the car-park.

Friday

Rain, rain and more rain, and then it stopped soon after breakfast. The "Travellers" were packed up and moved off before we got up this morning. The Gendarmes came round to make sure that they had left. Water refilled and toilet emptied, Allan then set to with finishing the cleaning of the motorhome roof, causing so much dirt to wash down the sides that it was necessary to wash down the entire outside of the motorhome again.

It turned into a lovely day and so in the afternoon we had another walk around the village but this time walked past the Church and ventured up to the Chateau.

On our way up the hill we turned to see a lovely view of the Church.

Entering the Chateau grounds we came across this metal sculpture
and these most elaborate public toilets, which also had a book swap stall outside!

The guide books usually call the Chateau a Castle but they do not really have the right word. Usually a Chateau is just a big, really big, well enormously big, house. This one is no exception. It is built on the site of a previous blooming big house that fell into disrepair and then two centuries ago a Mayor of the town built another big house. This now belongs to the town and it is obviously too much to keep the place in good order and although the gardens are being looked after and in fact the pathways are being maintained today, the house looks tired, unloved and empty, uninhabited and vacated.

On leaving the Chateau we stopped to take a photo of the town from the Chateau walls, using the newly found panorama button on the phone.

It is an interesting feature but it gives a rather distorted view as the pathway to the right of the photo actually carried on to our right and the Chateau was behind us!

After our visit to the Chateau we returned to the town and walked down past the Marie

where we asked an old lady where the Carrefour market was. Allan's pronunciation was slightly out and she was dumbfounded.
With a few tries Allan got it right and she started to wave her arms showing some sort of direction. So we walked on through the town.

We did find the Carrefour (or Kerfooer as the the lady had pronounced it) and it was an enormous place for such a small town, tucked away in the main street! We had not seen the Carrefour before as it started to rain the last time that we were in the town and we had headed back before reaching it. Allan was so impressed that he took a photo along the rear wall of the shop.

On the way back to the motorhome we stopped of at the greengrocers again to buy some vegetables and more clementines. Dorothy said they must be the most expensive Clementines in France but Allan says that they are so sweet and juicy that they are really worth it. Then he saw the russet apples!

Outside the shop we found what we think is a thresher?

A coffee in the sunshine rounded off the afternoon nicely.

Saturday

Well, our time here was now up and we left Nogent Le Roi, did a quick shop and intended to head off to north-east France as there is somewhere that Allan wants to visit near the end of the month. We decided on the route that we needed to take and as it would be about 140 miles, it is going to be so easy - three weeks to get there and no more than 50 miles a week!

Houdan was the first place where we intended to stop but as it proved such an obstacle course to reach the town centre, we just gave up and carried on. The next choice was Mantes la Jolie. We had found on the computer a good parking spot. It was quite close to the centre of the city and it was going to be marvellous. When we arrived it was another matter. The person that had put this place on the computer must have been having a laugh. It was in a narrow cul-de-sac and very difficult to manoeuvre. In fact we had no alternative but to reverse out into a busy road junction and so gave up on this place also. Dorothy found another place a few miles away called Rolleboise. However, when we arrived there it turned out to be a dismal area with houses set against the steep hillside.

The River Seine Barrier gave some quite interesting views.

And we also did a geocache here.
You may be able to see it in the photo just to the right of the the right hand post. Under the letter "T".

We decided not to stay here either and so out came the books and phone app yet again!! It was beginning to look like "one of those days"!!!

Next Dorothy found Giverny, a car-park near to the Artist, Claude Monet's garden where it says you can stay overnight. Well it can't be as bad as the others! When we arrived we found a large parking and grassed area. No facilities but just right for a few days chilling out. Hooray! Success at last.

Tomorrow we may even visit the garden.

Sunday

Today turned out to be a glorious day and so we decided to use the rest of Tony's Christmas money and be tourists for a couple of days! Today we visited Monet's house and gardens. The Claude Monet garden was much smaller than Allan had anticipated. Spring flowers of every kind but it was no bigger than the size of a football pitch, or two. There was a separate Japanese style garden across the road, more exactly under the road as you had to use the tunnel to get there. This was more interesting and had more informal planting as it is both sides of the stream with a lake in the middle. It is here, where we found the famous bridge that Monet used in his paintings.

It is always good to hear the comments of the other visitors. One couple we saying to each other at 10.30 in the morning "Come on, quick, we have to be back at the coach in 15 minutes". Another who was American said loudly to his wife "Well Marie, that's another one you can cross of yer list". We can't cross it of our list, we don't have a list. We didn't even know we were coming here! Dorothy now wants to return in different seasons to experience the full spectacle of the garden.

Click here if you wish to see photos of our visit to Claude Monet's house and gardens

We returned to the motorhome worn out but happy and relaxed in the spring sunshine. Thank you Tony for a lovely day out xx
We wonder how Marie spent the rest of her day and what else she crossed off her list!

 

Allan has decided that too much Church architecture and stained glass is getting onto our Blog. The reason for it's inclusion is because it is so easy to find a good photo in these places. From now on Allan will be steering clear of these places and Dorothy will have a hard job to get Allan near to a Church.

 

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