Monday 2nd November 2015

In the morning we are still awaiting a quote from the garage that will be fixing our broken clutch. The insurance company phoned to find out how we were and said the garage would start on our motorhome in the afternoon. They booked an extremely helpful taxi driver to take us to a nearby hotel - the Inter Hotel at Saint Etienne du Rouvray.

The hotel has been booked for bed and breakfast. It is very basic travel lodge sort of place, with the check in and restaurant in a main block across the car park from the bedroom block. Our room has a TV and bathroom. But no minibar or refrigerator. The cups are paper and the tea and coffee are in the usual little sachets. It is lucky that we brought our own coffee and milk, and G&T but we had assumed that cups and glasses would be provided so we were not going to have a luxurious stay here! However, the staff are very friendly and helpful.


We can't just sit around in our hotel room all day, which is surprisingly quiet bearing in mind the closeness of the Rouen Ring Road but there is little here in this industrial part of Rouen.

We had a walk along beside the busy dual carriageway over the railway bridge to the next part of town doing a geocache by the cows on the way!

After finding the geocache, we found "Bebou", a large department store selling everything for the home, the sign said. It did too. There were toys, games, clothes, everything for the lounge, kitchen, dining and bathroom. Quite an amazing array of stuff. It's just the home that we haven't got. Well in truth we do have have a home but it has already got everything that we need, except that it's wheels are probably 4 feet or more off the ground at the moment!

After this store we then went to the little supermarket across the road. We decide that we can't really afford to eat out each night whilst our motorhome is being repaired so we need some provisions. Things that we don't need to cook. Hot water is easy in the kettle so soup, bread, cheese, mackerel and salads.


Another "boring" day, so in the evening we treat ourselves to the "Buffalo Grill" across the bridge.

This Steak/Burger restaurant chain is found all over France and although a little expensive they are really tasty and good.


We get the news this morning that the new clutch has arrived, will be fitted today and would cost €1385 (ouch!) - a little over a thousand pounds. (However, with the very good exchange rate that we are getting at the moment, it actually came in at £35 cheaper than it would have done last week) If we were at home in Sussex we could go to a garage who we know would do a good job. Here in France we can't shop around and just have to hope that they are honest mechanics doing a good job at a fair price. We don't even know where the garage is but have been told that the work is being done at the Wibault premises "to save transporting the motorhome again". Allan thinks it's because it wouldn't fit into a little backstreet garage! Have faith Allan!!!

After splashing out last night we decide to be a little more economical and return to the supermarket again today. Just to idle some more time away we had a look next door in the electrical store. Refrigerators, cookers, computers, disco equipment, cameras, and everything electrical. Then Dorothy spotted it; the little padded bag that fastens to bicycle handlebars to take a mobile phone. We have been searching for one of these for 5 months. Unfortunately all of the ones that we have found have been for iPhone and overpriced at up to €50. This one was just right and a bargain at only €11. Well spotted Dorothy! Allan is well pleased and geocaching on our bicycles will be much easier from now on.

5th of November, I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Bonfire night in England and we can only dream of the processions and fireworks in Lewes. Of course the French have a 5th of November but they just don't celebrate bonfire night!! It is the quietest 5th of November that we have ever had!


During the morning we got the phone call that we wanted - the motorhome was fixed. There is a taxi coming to collect us at 1.20 pm. When the taxi arrives he asks us where we want to go??? We had no idea!!! as we had been told that the motorhome was now at the garage. Eventually the three of us worked out where we should head to. Oh dear......the garage is in a seedy part of Oissel next to the railway station and yes, it would NOT have fitted into their workshop! However the people were very friendly and tried their best to explain to us what the problem was. They asked if we wanted to take the broken clutch. We declined! We paid the bill and were jolly happy to be on our way again.

The journey to Rugles did in fact take us past the junction where we broke down on Wednesday last week and we both breathed a sigh of relief that we drove past it without any problems this time.

Along the way to Rugles we stopped at an E Leclerc supermarket on the edge of a village to pick up some shopping. This village will possibly be forever unknown to us as we asked an old lady the "Nom de la ville" (French shrug) and all other such questions asking where we were (more French shrugs). She must have the same problem as a lot of French old ladies, because we got absolutely nowhere with her. They all seem a little potty and daft - in the nicest possible way!

The price of winter vegetables has really reduced since October and this huge cabbage is one of our purchases.
What am I supposed to do with it?

When we arrived at Rugles it was early evening so it was just a matter of getting the electricity plugged in and removing corks before Dorothy cooked a wonderful stew.


Start unpacking the things that we used in the hotel, the washing and putting the food away. Topping up the water and charging phones and computer on the free electricity.
Here is our Rugles garden in Autumn! (for Springtime view click 16th April 2015)

The weather is still glorious, can't believe we are in November.

During the afternoon we had a stroll around the village of Rugles.
It is just one main street and a few shops so it is not a long day out. We have been here before, last April, and nothing much has changed. The garage is still closed down and so is one of the butchers shops and a few others are still shut down. However, the look of despair seems to have lifted, some shops have been repainted and a few new businesses have opened. As with the long financial depression that England is now recovering from, France seems to be making a similar but slower recovery. The feel of the town seems much improved.


The sun is shining and the cares of last week are finally behind us. However, Dorothy has found a small leak to the water pipes underneath the motorhome but Allan feels it is not caused by the mechanics, probably just the wastewater tank is full. The batteries are being charged up nicely.

During the afternoon we took a walk past the music school
and on through the riverside park with the inevitable lavoir!
and wild flower garden.

After our stroll we settled down in our chairs outside to soak up the autumn rays of sunshine.
Well it is 20 degrees centigrade. We wonder what it is like in England and are they sunbathing back home?


Amendments and photos have been added to the week Blog/20151018.

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