Biding our time in Bergerac…. .

It’s been over a week now since I last updated the blog and I can’t really say very much has happened in that time.  Essentially we had been staying in the Bergerac area after our unfortunate mishap awaiting two quotes to repair the damage to the van.  We’ve learnt how to be patient as business in France doesn’t seem to happen as quickly as one might expect.  We haven’t wasted our time here though, far from it.  We’ve cooked outside every day.

Tim’s creation of Fish fingers (or poisson doigts as we are calling them), fried potatoes, fried eggs and tinned tomatoes cooked on the Cobb.  We know how to live!

We had another look around Bergerac on market day and I took several photos of some interesting, quirky, medieval buildings in the old town…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… shame I’d left the SD Card for the camera in my laptop otherwise I could have shared some here!

Ralph, our last Helpx host, gave us a copy of the Michel Thomas Total French series.  I’ve been working my way through them for 2-4 hours a day.  My brain is fried by the end of each session but I have learnt heaps.  It’s a pity it all goes out of my head as soon as I open my mouth though!   I’ve also been swimming in the lake every day to try to keep up some fitness and as a way to cool down at the end of the day.

P1070031.JPGThe temperatures have been hovering around the low 30’s which is a tad too hot for my liking!  I took a trip to the dentist and had my broken tooth repaired.  €23 was all it cost, less than half the price I’d normally pay.

As a change from Bergerac we drove a short distance south to Montbazillac, an area famous for producing sweet wines.

The yellow wagon theme reminded me of all the yellow bikes around the Yorkshire Dales when the Tour de France came to the UK.

Even Jamie Oliver gives the areas sweet wines a mention (he mentions the ones from the chateau vineyards though).  Montbazillac is a small village dominated by its chateau.

Chateau de Montbazillac surrounded by it’s vineyards.

We stayed at a France Passion site just outside the village.  M. Camus, the owner, has 6 hectares of vines and produces about 2000 bottles a year which, as far as we can gather, he sells to all the visitors who stay on his little campsite.  He was a charismatic man who spoke faster than a machine gun so we had difficulty keeping up!  He is a motor homer himself and has provided a superb little site overlooking his vines.

Our view from the cab window across the vineyards.

We had a lovely view for most of the day until another van parked in front of us later in the evening.

Vines are high maintenance.

All the people staying were invited in at 6pm for a potted history of the farm through four generations and, of course, for a tasting.   The wines were a bit sweet for us but we bought a couple of bottles of the least sweet ones to be polite!

Lunch with the campsite to ourselves.

We eventually received the quotes for the van repair and have been given the go ahead from the insurers to book the van in.  ‘Ollie’ is going in on 25th August 2016 which is the earliest it can be done.  Had we been returning to the UK a bit sooner we would have waited until we returned home but I don’t think the insurers will wait 9 months to finalise the claim!

After our week long ‘rest’ around Bergerac we felt like we needed a bit of a focus and thought another Helpx  assignment would be a good thing to do until Ollie goes in for the repair.  We contacted Marian, who lives in a small village 25km south of Bergerac, who wanted some help with her garden and various projects to improve the village where she lives.  Lucky for us she was happy  to host us and we have been here in her little oasis of paradise for the last five days.  I’ll do another blog post on what we have been doing early next week.