Monday 10th October 2016

Minus 0.1C° is not the temperature that we were expecting in Adriers, a commune in the Vienne department in the Poitou-Charentes region in Western France.

It is cold and frosty outside but it still looks lovely with the sun coming up and a beautiful blue sky.

Bearing in mind the population of Adriers is only 771 they put on a very good day yesterday. Today the people from the Comite de Fetes are busy all day, packing up marquees and clearing up after yesterday's Autumn Fete. "Click here for photos" of yesterday's Fete.

http://www.map-france.com/Adriers-86430/ Will tell you a lot more about the village of Adriers including the fact that they have 314 houses that are inhabited but 64 are second or occasional homes and 48 vacant homes. Because of the number of vacant houses, this is one of the reasons why property here in the Limousin, Pitou-Charentes and Aquitaine regions is so cheap and the British are coming here for the better climate and cheaper shopping. Farm workers are being replaced by machines. The general lack of employment makes the workers move to the larger towns and cities to find work and the villages are being left deserted. The British have moved in with their pension funds and the sale of their homes in England, which are usually of a higher value.

Despite the cold morning, it soon warmed up and we were able to sit outside and have our lunch.

During the afternoon we took the short walk to the village to post a letter and to see what the village was like. However, we found that this was yet another Post Office which is closed on Mondays. It is only open for a short while every other weekday morning and so we must be sure to catch the post tomorrow.

After walking through the little village we went to the church to do the geocache. This will be our most southerly cache, if we find it.


The hint for the cache did not translate but when we got close to the location we realised that the hint was the name of a place in Jerusalem.
So now the cache has been successfully found and we have now done our most southerly cache.
Outside the church was the war memorial.
Beautifully maintained for such a small village.

Tuesday

Another cold morning again today. Minus 1.5C°. Luckily we have the gas fire. Dorothy stayed in bed even longer than usual this morning to watch a recording of the 30 year celebration of Phantom of the Opera which was broadcast live but we could not pick it up.

During the late morning we went out to the Post Office to post the letter. On leaving the Post Office, Dorothy went to open the door and after she pressed the electronic door release button she pushed the door and nothing happened. Again she pressed the door release button, pushed the door and nothing happened. The girl behind the cashier's desk then was saying "puu puu". Realising that the French have an almost silent L, Allan pulled the door and hey presto it opened, with great laughter from Allan. In fact Allan laughed all the way across the road to the corner store where we went to buy some bread. (Think this is get at Dorothy day today!)

We found that the bread was artisan, hand made. Allan asked if it was made here in this shop and the young counter assistant said no, it is from Bussière Poitevine. We both looked at each other because this is where we were last week and the bread there was not up to a very good standard. Lightweight and very doughy, with lots of holes. Sad to say that whilst we were in Bussière Poitevine we had to take the first loaf back for a replacement. We had already paid for today's loaf of bread so we couldn't really say no. We wonder what today's bread will be like. In fact, the bread wasn't much better than last week.

After lunch we were on our way South again. This time only 30 miles to Chirac, in the Charente region.

When we arrived we found a very functional aire in the corner of the car park to a very modern Marie. Functional is Dorothy's word for it but Allan is overlooking a lot of trees and there is free water, parking and electricity so what is there not to like?

We found Chirac to be a very small village. There are no shops, not even a boulangerie. The Pub/Restaurant has closed down. There are approximately 22 vacant, empty houses here and there is a significant British population already here. But, they have managed to build a new, modern Marie and provide a totally free Aire for visitors who cannot, with the best will in the world pay anything back into their economy. How can this be right?

We noted that one house was called the "Posh House" (or so it says on the sign to the right of the door!!), there was an English Reg. car parked outside the next house and others had English surnames on the post boxes.

Tomorrow we will get the blog up to date do some other things and relax. But tonight, with nowhere to go, it's movie time, "Bonnie and Clyde" here we come!

Wednesday

As we expected, today the whole time was taken up with the blog - our story of our travels in our motorhome. Wonder how many people read it? Allan put a counter on it last week to see how many readers we do actually have. If not many people read it we wouldn't be too disappointed as it is something that we intend to read over in the future but it would be nice to think that some people get a bit of enjoyment from our efforts. Tomorrow we must pull our socks up and do the vacuuming, laundry and housework. It has to be done but what a chore.

Thursday

Vacuuming, laundry and housework. Funny thing is, that was written last night as that was the big plan but sometimes the plan changes! So we got up, Allan switched on our new computer and tried several times to update Windows 10 and Kaspersky, our protection software, was upgraded using the available electricity. Whilst Allan did that, Dorothy did do some laundry. Then, as the weather was a bit misty and damp outside we started doing some Family History, beginning at about midday. We fully intended to get on with the housework, really we did but we lost track of time and about 8.30 pm we decided it was dinner time. We were lost, totally immersed in tracing one of Dorothy's lines, a Windsor family of publicans and coal merchants. Isn't it funny how sometimes we are led astray and the best intentions can somehow be lost.

Friday

Up bright and early this morning, ready for anything. You are kidding, this is retirement, nothing happens bright and early any more. During the late morning we decided to move on, this time about ten miles north west to Saint-Laurent-de-Ceris but when we got there it was an "Oh dear" moment and we decided that this aire was not up to our standard. Although everything, including the electricity was free, even we have standards to uphold. The site was very small, between two roads, not very secluded and very sloping. We did not like it and decided not to stay. So, out with the maps and books and we found a place called Lizant to move on to, not too far away and in the direction that we need to be going (North).

Along the way we stopped for shopping at Champagne Mouton and stocked up for a few days. Whilst Dorothy was on her usual "almost every isle run" we came across some really lovely baby clothes and thought how cute our Grandaughter Scarlett would look in these. Further round the store we met a very friendly English couple who have been living near here for 15 years. They said that Lizant was a very nice village and even had a highly recommended Fish and Chip shop, run by a lovely English lady. As you can imagine, Allan was drooling all the rest of the way there.

Later in the afternoon and having driven along some of the roughest roads in France, so rough that we thought that we were back in East Sussex, we arrived at the little village of Lizant which has a very nice aire. It is €2 per night to park here but that includes all the services, even electricity. It looks wonderful, overlooking a huge grassy area and across to the crystal clear stream.

During our first walk around the village we thought that we would like to take a look inside the Church.


Unfortunately the Church was locked but then an elderly lady called from her garden overlooking the stream beside the church. She asked if we wanted to see inside the Church and came to our assistance with the key to let us in. She was very helpful and said she sang in the Church. Later the fish and chip proprietor said she was also the flower arranger.

Inside, the Church was most unusual. It appeared to be two Churches side by side, dedicated to two Saints, with two Naves, two Altars and the tower in the middle.

And so, later in the evening, the time had finally arrived to visit the Fish and Chip shop for a fish supper take away! It appears that this is a very popular place (no pun intended!), highly recommended and is well patronised. In the summer they open up their garden and customers can sit out and have Fish and Chips, or Pie and Chips etc. and we were told the lady is a superb cook and her desserts are "to die for"!

We had two large cod and chips with Sarson's vinegar of course! Accompanied by some good French wine. It was really delicious.

It is sad to say that after many years, the people running the place are now wishing to retire and that the shop is for sale. It may even close (unless any one reading this blog wants to buy a Fish and Chip shop in the Vienne Department of central France). Please do and you can be certain of us as customers!

Saturday

It was a lovely morning and we took advantage of this and had a proper look around the village.

We had to stop and take a photograph of the famous Chippy in daylight!!

Then we headed on down towards the stream and the old water mill.


We had to say goodbye to this lovely little village because we were on our way to Chaunay.

We arrived in Chaunay in the late afternoon and were able to hook into the last available electric point. We are here for the huge market that's happening here on Monday morning. After setting up the motorhome we went for a stroll around the town but as it is such a small place we decided to leave most of it for tomorrow. However we did take these photos of some splendid murals.

Along the walk back Allan asked Dorothy, we seem to be heading North already but we don't really need to do we, we have at least six weeks more here in France?

During the evening there were dozens of cars full of people arriving in the adjacent town square. We went out to see what was happening and found that tonight is Bingo or Lotto in the village hall. The hall was jam packed with people, all buying lotto cards and raffle tickets. The Lotto was linked up to the TV. Not our sort of thing though, so we had an evening in with a cup of Cocoa. ( See I said no one reads it!)

Sunday

A Full English breakfast started off the day. Bit of a blow out but it needs to be done sometimes! Our niece Sharon said it was P***ing it down with rain at home.

Dorothy just had to go out and take this photo of our early morning sunshine to send to her!! (Sorry Sharon but we hope it did make you smile a bit!)

After breakfast we had a walk around town but also looking for a suitable place to stay during the big Monday morning market. Along the way we met Tony, a motorhomer from Derby who, as all the sockets on the aire had been taken, was looking on the market square for electricity but was finding that all the sockets had been switched off. Never mind we say, why don't you split with ours and this he was pleased to do. We gave him access to our battery locker and he set himself up whilst we were on our walk.

This appeared to be the town of wells. A few of them are photographed here. Odd, because the river was completely dry!! A town of wells with no water???

oops, another Church!!

Then we found our way back past the murals. They were so well done that we tried to get a few more photos. We are never amazed at what we may find in these little towns and villages!



During the afternoon we sat chatting with Tony about our respective travels. He asked if we have ever been to Spain and we said that we haven't. Lately we have stayed close to central and north France. He said that we should be brave and give Spain a try. And he dispelled all of the horror stories that we have heard about Spain. He gave us an old edition of a book of all the motorhomes Aires in Spain and then even gave us a map of Spain with all of the latest motorhome Aires written on it for us. He also gave us plenty of advice of parking places where we could stay, should we run out of Aires.

Later in the day, sitting in the sunshine we thought it through and perhaps, sometime we should do it, why not?

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