On to a farm stay French style
The first thing we heard on waking early in Nonancourt was a cuckoo calling his way down the river. Totally entrancing! (Not my picture.)
We had slept completely horizontally on a sloping pitch by finally breaking out the levellers. Easy! As I mentioned yesterday, we had nabbed the electricity for an hour and now refilled the water tank (100ltrs) plus an extra 40 in the aquaroll for good measure – still worried about running out of power and water! It was not raining so we took our time preparing to leave and chatted to the French neighbours on the other side who had arrived late, complete with Yorkshire terrier (good choice of dog!).
Timing is important in social encounters – Dave was still around, having driven away to empty his grey water, and he strolled across to say hello. We were in the process of emptying the fully christened toilet down the black water point. It is hard to keep up polite chat while tipping blue poop down the drain. The whole process was pretty much a non-event though and, although all things toilet are apparently favourite topics for motorhomers, I will not mention it again unless something exceptional needs recording!
For our third and final stop before arriving home-from-home in Burgundy I had found a France Passion site the other side of, and, in the circumstances, perilously close to, the Loire. Just south-east of Orleans it is a farm with horses, fishing, farm shop, evening meals by request etc – it sounded lovely. It was a much more interesting drive today as we had left the motorway trajectories and were onto smaller roads passing through towns and villages. Carefully. It was a bit tense when Stella opted in her usual cavalier fashion for the direct route straight through the centres of both Chartres and Orleans – neither is a large city though and it was not too unnerving.
The proximity of the chosen farm to the Loire was worrying after all the flooding – we knew the road was open but the site may still be very soggy. Approaching the village the fields either side of the road looked very waterlogged with occasional puddles right across the carriageway. The farmyard itself looked even soggier. And more dilapidated than expected.
First impressions – more rusty than rustic, and quite chickeny. With muddy-footed guinea fowl too. Hmm – my vision of a rustically sophisticated idyll was rapidly fading. The farmer was very welcoming and friendly though and offered us electricity for 5 euros. Unexpected bonus – FP sites are supposed to be just a place to park with water if you are lucky. The deal is that you buy some farm produce if you want to, but no obligation. This farm had set up several proper pitches with trees and bushes for privacy and seemed to have some permanent vans on site. Or maybe they are for seasonal workers. At some muddy distance from the van a bizarre and very damp outbuilding insulated with equally damp straw bales housed a cooker, washing machine, settee and toilet. Functional but unappealing. To be fair, with more sun and less mud it would have been a reasonably pleasant spot. Closer examination revealed that some of the rusty things formed the beginnings of a kind of open air farm equipment museum. All around the edge of a couple of fields ancient and interesting pieces of farm machinery were spaced out for viewing – sadly inaccessible in a sea of mud at the moment though. (Which does not excuse the rusting heaps of other stuff.)
The little shop had a good range of regional delicacies but not stuff produced on the farm. We bought bread, wine and cheese pasties none of which were homemade and, given the unkempt air of the farm and commercial products on offer, we decided against booking what I suspected would have been a very average evening meal. We may of course have missed a poultry-based treat:-(
Grey skies turned to rain and we ducked back inside to spend the rest of the afternoon watching TV. Strange combination of muddy french farm and Four in a Bed bitchery. Snatched another tiny walk round the pens of the many and varied breeds of poultry before finally being rained off to dine on the sauté of porc we bought yesterday. This is a good way to eat: €12 for an excellent plate of food for two. And we can feel we paid our dues to the town that was kind enough to host us for the night.
- 40 litres of water in an aquaroll weighs a ton and has to be lifted in where it threatens to overturn and break things with its weight. But doesn’t.
- sun is better than rain for the outdoor life
- not much else today