Monday 14th November 2016
So, today we woke up back in Chaunay and wondered if we would see the flower trader in the market whom we saw here a few weeks ago when we were about to set off for our first venture into Spain. He had told us that the distance was more than we anticipated, when in fact it was longer than even he estimated! There were no market stalls today, the market had vanished completely.
The weather is still not good, mostly rain and cold. Why on earth did we come back to this when not a couple of weeks ago we were sitting outside at a pavement cafe in the Spanish sunshine?
We need to have a form printed from the internet for the insurance of our house back in Newhaven and according to Google, there is no Media Centre or Internet Cafe here in Chaunay. In the afternoon we decide to walk round to the Marie to see if they could help us. After switching on the computer in their small library and not being able to make it work the town hall secretary used her own computer to print out the form for us. Thank you to her and all public employees here in France, they are always so polite and helpful. This is one of the things that makes France and the French people so special.
After our very long drive yesterday we decided to relax for the rest of the day, taking the opportunity of being on electric power to catch up on our blog.
Still in Chaunay and another quiet day. Dorothy popped over to the boulangerie for the breakfast bread. A little later in the morning we both went over to the Post Office to post the envelope containing the form prepared yesterday. Allan is not good at recognising faces but thought that perhaps he had met the counter clerk somewhere else. After leaving Dorothy asked "You do know who that was don't you?" Allan said did we meet her in Spain or somewhere, I feel I should know her but can't remember where from. Dorothy says that she was the Town Hall clerk who printed the form for us yesterday. Well at least now she knows that we made good use of the printing she did for us.
More work on our Blog and phone calls to Frankie and Dorothy's brother rounded off our quiet day.
As it was time to carry on our journey North, homeward bound, we searched and searched for another electric Aire de camping car and eventually found one at Chalais, a few miles south of Loudun in the Vienne. Not exactly on the direct way home but that can't be helped. When we arrived there it was not at the village of Chalais at all but at a picnic area or Aire de Repose about two miles outside the village. There are thousands of these Aire de Repose throughout France. They are often picnic areas, lay-bys or lorry stops. This one had a Restaurant and a huge Tourist Information Office together with picnic area, car parks and lorry overnight parking.
Allan's first reaction was that this place is out in the countryside and is totally not suitable, where can we move on to, so out came the guide books. Dorothy said, well the weather is not too good and the free electricity, water and internet at the TI across the car park are worth having so let's stay at least for tonight and of course Dorothy wins (as usual).
Julian M who Allan worked with in the distant past, well just over a year and a half ago, has kindly invited us to the evening reception for his wedding in February. Tonight we had to phone him and his future wife to say that unfortunately we will not be able to be there as we expect to return to France in mid January. It would have been nice to have been there on the day but we hope to meet up with them in England in few weeks, before we return to France.
We woke up in Chalais to another rainy day. We will not have many photos for this week. In fact we haven't got any yet. It's either raining or about to rain and neither of us are excited about country walks, especially in the wet, especially as there aren't any Geocaches.
So we phoned Frankie and spent the rest of the day Blog writing, checking some websites and Dorothy has now taken up Cross Stitch needle work.
Well there is nothing here and the Internet connection is not very good unless you visit the TI on the other side of the car park. Then all of a sudden Dorothy's phone livens up and it starts going crazy.
We had a wonderful video link with James, Frankie and Scarlett. Modern technology can be great at bringing people together. Our son and his partner are special to us and our Grandaughter is such a delight. It was so lovely to see them all.
Later it was time to move on. We chose Valanjou - a bit of a cross country drive and not in our direction at all but according to the guide book and internet write up it has free Electricity. There are two aires there, one is closed for the winter but the other one that is open sounds just perfect for this time of year.
When we arrive, there is no electricity no water and it not as described at all. We think that the reviewer has mixed up the two Aires and written about the closed one. Nothing for it but let's stay here tonight and move on tomorrow. But before we do that let's just check out the other aire to see what it would have been like. Even though it is closed for the winter we may come back this way again sometime, it is only about a quarter of a mile away and on the edge of the village.
We found that the Aire that is closed for winter, they close it because of frost, but it was still open and there were already two motorhomes there so we parked up and connected up the electricity and spent a very quiet night beside the park and lake, for once perhaps there is someone is looking out for us.
Our first totally blue sky for a week.
A breakfast of scrambled egg on toast and then Dorothy puts the kettle on for coffee. Everything switches off and suddenly everyone has lost electric power. Allan sets off to the fuse box along the road to reset the fuse. After checking why it happened we found that our kettle which we thought was about 1 Kw and it would have been fine if we turned the heating off, turned out to use between 2.5 and 3Kw. So it's a wonder that we haven't had any problems before! 3.8Kw is the most you ever get at an aire and sometimes only a mere 1.4 Kw is available. Just enough to charge up the batteries and run the TV. Perhaps when we return to England we need to invest in a low wattage caravan kettle.
Our blue sky was soon spoilt by those dreaded planes!
A short walk around the park in the late afternoon and a phone call to chat to Dorothy's Mum in the evening were the highlights of our day!
We phoned Mum again this morning and then took a walk around the village. It's surprising that a lot of these French villages are now beginning to look much the same as each other.
We phoned Frankie in the evening as she has invited us to Lincolnshire to meet her Grandparents and to attend a black tie dinner there with them. It is only £20 a head, so we paid our £40 and are really looking forward to it. (Mustn't think about the £65 diesel bill, toll crossing etc!)