Bonjour La France – On est arrive

Bye Bye Poole

Tuesday July 7th we left Poole against a backdrop of drizzle and grey – a weather feature that was to stay locked over England for the next 40 days. I hate that kind of weather oneupmanship that I think we Brits, in particular, seem to trade in and possibly excel at. You know the sort of thing. You tell your mum that the weather has been awful where you live, in say Manchester and receive the reply: ‘Ooh – it’s been lovely here.’ But mum, you only live in Bolton! Your mum’s claim that Bolton possesses a magical micro climate does not stand up to close meterological analysis.

Some British holidaymakers (what a lovely 1950s, Enid Blyton term) get very niggly if while they are on holiday ‘abroad’, the sun is shining hard at home. Even worse if ‘home’ is getting better weather than them. I hate all that. Weather is weather. Live in the moment. Carpe diem. That reminds me; Buddhist meditation tonight. Hope I remember how to do it. It’s hard work this enlightenment business you know.

Back to climate issues, isn’t it Scandinavians who tell us that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing?  ‘Layers’ is the answer apparently according to my friend Danny who knows about these things although he’s not Scandinavian. He lives on the Wirral.

Got to admit to some hypocrisy here in that I do actually believe that Liverpool does have more than its fair share of sun – something to do with being on the coast? The rain from Ireland only decides to fall from the sky after Warrington? As I am writing today – 24/08/15 – ‘Mediterranean Merseyside’ is bathed in sunshine thus confirming my theory.

I digress. We’ll never get to Carcassonne at this rate. We’re still in Poole harbour and I have to say I am a bit pleased we are leaving in drizzle because I know we are heading to the sun. Come on Phoebe!

Bye Bye Poole
Bye Bye Poole

The crossing….easy peasy. Very quiet, this being out of school holidays. I spent 40 years working with children. I like children but I’m equally happy when they are in a large minority. Yes – it all was easy peasy, but just perhaps a little bit queasy? Okay; that was only me. Here is Margaret relaxing and perhaps ensuring we’re heading in the right direction. Margaret was to become navigator for next 7 days although I did not allow her to overrule ‘Sally Satnav’

Straight ahead driver, sorry Captain.
Straight ahead driver, sorry ‘Captain’.

Don’t you just love it when you leave the ferry and start to drive ‘abroad’. It’s exciting isn’t it. An adventure.

Very vaguely following our 1969 route which if you remember was head of for Brittany and turn left, we headed down the Cherbourg peninsula aiming for Saumur in the Loire valley. My love of always trying to take the ‘scenic route’ when driving is made a simple task in France where the majority of the roads are the ‘scenic route’. Contact me if you want specific directions, but essentially I took a straight line down ‘ordinary’ roads. For ‘ordinary’ read well maintained, serenely quiet and all rather beautiful.  An easy, stress free journey.

I say, stress free, but having done perhaps 550 miles in two days and only arriving in France in mid afternoon, it was good to reach our first night’s camping spot:
Town:  Montreuil – Bellay.  Campsite:  Camping Le Thouet

I’d not booked but I’d stayed there last year. I like it. Quiet, by a river, approached through vineyards and all for just less than 20 Euros a night. What is there not to like? Well – my dear sister thought it was a bit basic but hey – come on Margaret –  spirit of 1969 and all that. Okay there were a few nettles perhaps and the grass wasn’t manicured but we were the only ones on this on the field and the evening sun gave a hint of the beautiful weather to come.

The 'basic' field.
The ‘basic’ field.


My 'basic' accommodation
My ‘basic’ accommodation
Margaret's less basic accommodation :-)
Margaret’s less basic accommodation 🙂

That’s about it boys and girls for Day 1 in France. I think we had some cheese, some pate, some baguette some wine in the setting sun. In 1969 I’m sure we would have had beans or something similar from my dad’s corner shop. As for 2015, ca marche bien.

STOP PRESS: Mediterranean Merseyside still bathed in sunshine. E mail received from our teacher, Jane. Buddhist meditation classes don’t restart until Sept 7th. Phew – two weeks to get back on the mindful track.

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