Back on the road again…. .

So, as the title of this blog post suggests, we are back on the road again after having left the chateau last Sunday.  With things opening up again in France and people being free to travel outside their localities we thought the time was right to get back out into the world and have a change of scene.

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We couldn’t have asked for a better place to be ‘confined’.

In all we spent nearly eleven weeks in lockdown with our hosts and two other helpers.  Our situation couldn’t have worked out any better really and we are very grateful to Jenny and David for taking a chance on two refugees from Spain in our hour of need!  Ironically it was probably the most sociable time we have had in a long time.  With our fellow helpers, Bernice and Ronnie and owners Jenny and David we shared many evenings with meals, music and laughter together.  

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A Sunday afternoon to remember!

Of course there was a lot of work to do but we were free to get on with what suited us which is exactly how we like to work.  Tim was just starting to see the fruits of his labour in the garden with strawberries (when Bella the puppy hadn’t already got to them first!), courgettes, peas, spring onions and lettuce being sampled.

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Peas, courgettes et al.
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Spring onions are ready.

He’s a bit bereft at having to leave his ‘children’ just when they were doing so well but needs must.  Growing vegetables will definitely be on his agenda if we ever go back to being in one place on a permanent basis.  As will making music.  Being at the chateau Tim was able to get back ‘on it’ with his saxophone playing as he had the space and didn’t need to worry about upsetting the neighbours.  He’s experimented with some new types of music and surprised himself in the process on how much he has enjoyed it.  If you’d have said to me a few years ago he would enjoy playing Ibiza Dance Club Classics I’d have never have believed you.  But there you go.  When there’s no Big Band to hand you have to find alternatives.

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Free to play without annoying the neighbours.

 

So there ends another chapter of our travels and it’s on to pastures new.  Except, it doesn’t quite feel like pastures new.  We’ve spent the last week on an aire (which used to be a former campsite so has plenty of space) on the edge of the Loire a few kilometres outside Saumur.

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A former campsite, now aire 5km outside Saumur.

For our first week out and about we planned to do nothing. Which we have achieved with flying colours.  Other than a trip into Saumur by bike and a nosey around the former troglodyte village a short walk away we’ve barely moved from the campsite.

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Souzay-Champigny.

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The village was first founded in the 10th Century and flourished as a source of Tuffeau stone used for building houses.
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The old troglodyte village is being restored.

We were pretty tired and needed a bit of rest and relaxation before deciding what to do next.  Now feeling recharged and reenergised we’re in a dilemma what to do next.  If everything had gone according to plan we should have been arriving in Yorkshire today to spend the week on a CL site a mile or so from where my parents live catching up with them and frequenting any Wetherspoons within a twenty five mile radius.  With campsites still closed in the UK and anyone arriving from another country having to self isolate for two weeks we decided we were better off staying put in France.  Shops, bars and restaurants have reopened here and things are slowly getting back to normality.  Everything is pretty quiet though and not as busy as you’d expect but with this being quite a touristy area it’s not surprising.

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First stop: Lidl.

Until the UK government make a firm decision on the reopening of campsites we are in a state of limbo. Our job was due to start at Lanyons Holiday Park at the beginning of July but that is on hold until they know if, or when, they can reopen and what strings might be attached to that.  It might be that if they aren’t able to open the shower blocks, bar or pool then they may be able to run the site without two extra pairs of hands as it is just a small family run business.  Who knows.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  Also, as it stands at the moment, we’ll need to self isolate for two weeks on returning to the UK which is a bit tricky without an address.

Anyway, aside from those dilemmas our most immediate pressing issue is that we have a problem with our gas supply.  Since we’ve been back in the van we seem to have lost the pressure so the boiler won’t fire up which means no hot water and no heating (not that we need heating at the moment).  Yesterday the fridge died as the gas isn’t getting to that and today we can only use one burner on the hob as there’s not enough pressure to have two going at once!  It’s likely to need a new regulator but we’ve found a garage in Chinon that deal with that sort of thing so we’ll ask them to take a look tomorrow.

In the meantime I’ve been having cold showers telling myself it’s just a state of mind whilst Tim has gone down the boil the kettle route.

Today I’m doing a one pot cookathon as everything has defrosted in the freezer.  Fortunately it’s only a small freezer so we should be able to eat our way through it all in a few days without having to waste any of it.

Other than that all is well!

Bon Courage et à la prochaine!