28 June to 4 July – back to base

get home, chill, plant…

We extended our stay at Beaulieu by a day as it was so lovely and we needed time to adjust to the idea of packing up and moving on.  We will probably return in August when the school holidays are coming to an end.  Many years ago on a campsite at L’Amelie-sur-plage  a French Daddy with baby Mirabelle on his shoulder told us the rain always started on 15 August so French holiday makers tended to go home.  So – an opportunity for quieter visits. L'AmelieHere we are in 1990, in our first tent on our first trip – just behind the dune on the Atlantic coast.  Our favourite site until we found Beaulieu.  This site really has changed now – it has expanded by acquiring all the plots around it and putting in lots of fun things:-( The coastline has changed too and the dune has been reinforced somehow with boulders and concrete, limiting direct access to the water.  We probably won’t revisit this one on our nostalgic wanderings.

We pack, fill, empty, pay and leave to get back to the fermette with only one night en route. Municipal chambonThis will be in Chambon-sur-Voueize, Limousin.  It is a Municipal campsite and therefore cheap (7.80 inc electricity). It is a delightful site – old fashioned, shady laid-back.  We do the same sky pondering, judging the angle of the sun for the time of day, position of trees and park optimistically up.  Yay – satellite works and shade is abundant.

We take a walk into town.  We are brought up to think England is full of wonderful historic towns and cities, which it is, but why are we so unaware that France is even fuller of them. And they don’t make such a song and dance about it,

just look after them and enjoy them without heaving crowds of tourists.

Me roses Chambon

The temperature has fallen nicely so we sit in long trousers and enjoy a little drink in the peace of the countryside.

Neil at Chambon again.jpg

To get to the campsite we (together with the locals) had had to weave around several ominous route barée signs suggesting complications for the next few days. The Gardienne of the site compounded the confusion by shaking her head sorrowfully saying we will probably have to leave before 8:00 to get out at all in the next three or four days.  We had not seen her before parking up as she had gone off to a school function apparently.  So we are a bit aggrieved at having committed to such bad arrangement – it takes a couple of hours to get up and go – so a 6.00 am wake up:-(  Eventually her pompier husband says what she said is rubbish as they do not arrange roadworks in such a way as to cut entire villages off for three days so we take a chance and sleep a normal night.  In the end we leave on the road we want at 10:30 and all the signs have magically disappeared. Pouf!

An uneventful ride home and we find hanging basket.jpgthe recently planted geraniums on the terrace have not died – hurrah! It has been raining on and off here it seems. The soil is therefore perfect for digging up a section of turf to make a bed for a few tomatoes.  There is a natural spring that runs under our tiny terrain opposite the house.  This spring feeds the lavoir next to our plot and means that the ground there is nearly always well watered.  In fact, stick a spade in and, apart from cracking your elbow and jarring your teeth by hitting a large stone,  you will find the hole you create gathers a puddle in the bottom. The beauty of this arrangement is that I will not have to water the tomatoes every day in the heat of the summer.  Well – that’s the theory and I have three tomato plants overdue for planting out.  The other main danger is slugs and there has been mole activity in the past.  Hopefully the recent wet weather has driven them to our neighbour’s drier plot.  But don’t tell him I said so – he has a bit of a war going on with them:-(

Now we need to go away again and see if they survive!

Before that we have some days out to enjoy.  A brocante at Champallement is lovely and we buy a brass bell. But forget to take pictures.  Eating our sandwichs de jambon we sit next to Annie and are chatted to in a variety of languages she thinks approximate English but owe a lot to German and or Dutch.  We receive an invitation to her husband’s vernissage (which means a preview of an art exhibition in case you were wondering  (I was –  had to look it up later.)).  They keep a bohemian, international open house most of the time apparently, so looking forward to that.

On the way back we go to the spooky Sign for siteGallo-Roman remains of Compierre in the nearby woods.  This is an amazing array of ruins of what was a substantial town spreading several hundred meters into the wood, complete with amphitheatre.  It feels remote and only one other car arrives and leaves while we are there.  A site like this in the UK would be a major tourist attraction. Here we wander the full length of the site with no-one else in sight.








Neil sits on the walls of the temple

neil at Compierre

but they have been wanting you to desist from climbing on them for some time…

compierre - tree sign

Bit of a patchwork of our travels this time – sorry – but with one giant leap I am now only a couple of weeks behind!  It would be better to be more contemporary as so much detail is lost in a few days:-(