• Day9

    25.09 - Day 09 . . . Sunday Sights

    Yesterday in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    As it was Sunday we needed to get up and crack on as normally on our previous trips we have found France closes at midday on a Sunday. Not a bad thing as it seems to be like old time UK where family time is important and the need for shopping 7 days a week isn’t that necessary.
    So off we toddled to Sauzé-Vaussais which is about 10 minutes west from us. After collecting a few top up provisions, Tre suggested we go to the small bar across the street for coffee. As we entered Tre going first, I noted a pause in her step and a slight reluctance to push further forward. It was at that point I noticed an all male filled bar, who had all stopped talking to watch us enter.
    After a slight shove from me we entered, ordered coffee and sat. We really didn’t think 1015am was unreasonable to ask for coffee, but we quickly noticed the guys were already on the beer and small chasers and so we obviously seemed a bit boring! Wasn’t long before a few acknowledged smiles and nods were given to us together with words of welcome. So not so bad after all.
    We left Sauzé and decided to take a scenic drive home to take in a few villages we’d not visited before.
    It wasn’t long until we entered Montjean where we stopped at a local boulangerie and bought a couple of cakes. One particular cake has been noted a couple of times by both of us in literally every boulangerie we have been in - still not got to the bottom of the reason for the design! Anyhow every time we spot one we immediately think of Mr Hollywood - not the real intelligent one, but our nutcase of a friend lookalikey! So Mr H the photo is for you to titter at 😂. The lady in the boulangerie needed up giving us an impromptu French lesson which was welcome, so we have booked once a week visits with her.
    We then drove on through the never ending fields and countryside through to Chef-Boutonne where we have visited before. We stopped in the market square and had a walk around the (closed) shops. The Boutonne is a 98.8 km (61.4 mi) long river in the Deux-Sèvres and Charente-Maritime departments in western France. Its source is in the village of Chef-Boutonne which translated means Head of the Boutonne.
    We departed Chef-Boutonne and drove finally to Gournay where we saw signs for a Brocante (Tre calls it a Vide-Grenier), I call a jumble sale. The brocante was actually quite large compared to a lot we have seen but as usual had a large marquee to sit with friends and family to eat, with associated food and drink stalls. Tre and I always feel that these events bring out the whole community it seems and are a real social gathering, just to catch up and enjoy time together. This one was no exception, really well attended and not a single person sitting twiddling on a mobile phone to be seen.
    We wandered the stalls and for once actually didn’t buy anything - not sure how that happened. Tre even prevented me buying a candy floss 🙁
    We drove back to our gite and exuded to unpack a few more bags from Roxvanne - so another job ticked off the list at least.
    Food was a new one for us which we have named
    ‘Poirier Smashed Pots’ with lardons - with a home made tomorrow, cornichons, olive and garlic salad. Was bloody scrummy.
    Bit of TV before bedtime and another day was wrapped up nicely . . . Oh forgot about the rose wine 😋
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  • Day8

    24.09 - Day 08 . . Nothing To See Here

    September 24 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    So after the late night last night we had a very lengthy lay in this morning . . . and it rained, our first rain since our arrival.
    We also caught up on some unusual and painful events that’s had taken place with our co-nightouters from last night, best kept private!
    So nothing to see here today, no gossip, no scandal, no photos . . . tomorrow we will be back in it.
    Adios . . . Oooops I mean Bon Soir!
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    Traveler

    ohhh! omg, has wind been broken in the neighbourhood.

    Andy and Teresa Mays

    Only you 🙄

     
  • Day7

    23.09 - Day 07 . . . . Melle & Out Out

    September 23 in France ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    We had decided to get up relatively early and drive to Melle for another market day.
    Melle was larger than we had anticipated and we took an immediate like to it. Busy but not too busy. We parked up and found a small tabac for a coffee.
    The market didn’t seem quite as large as the one a Lezay although we did spot a couple of the market sellers here that had been at Lezay. We spent a good hour touring the market and the nearby streets - finding a restaurant we had been recommended by Hannah.
    We decided on the spur of the moment to then drive to Niort about 40 minutes away.
    On route we came across the Église St Helaire, a lovely church perched right on the main road. After a short stop we continued towards Niort.
    After checking the time we decided we were rushing to get to Niort taking into account we needed to be back mid to late afternoon to head out for the evening.
    We stopped to buy some bits in a supermarket and then to fill up Roxvanne.
    Now when I got near the pumps and saw everything mentioned other than diesel, I decided to try elsewhere.
    Next Petrol station same thing no diesel advertised on the pumps, which was strange as it had been on all the pumps along the motorways on our first day.
    Doubting myself I plumbed the English word diesel into google translate and it replied with the word diesel - so I wasn’t going mad. Tre then prompted me to try the French word Gazole into google translate - yep you’ve guessed it . . . Diesel . . . How does that work, what chance have I got learning French if they play silly word games like that.
    So filled up we returned home, had a late light lunch and generally got ready to go out.
    Out Out later we met with Lou Vince Lisa and Lucy at Lou and Vince place and then off for food nearby.
    We had a fab evening eating, drinking and laughing until late. Brilliant evening.
    Back home just after midnight, Tre slightly giggly from a hefty amount of fizz, me not so as I’d driven.
    Now bed - betting someone may have a thick head tomorrow. . . Not me!!
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  • Day6

    22.09 - Day 06 . . . . And Repeat

    September 22 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Shortest write up of a day today - we did nothing but laze about, snooze and eat & drink.
    We did however manage another BBQ in the evening - we couldn’t not, when we had a couple of pieces of duck sitting waiting for us.
    Tomorrow we explore a little more and out out tomorrow evening.
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  • Day5

    21.09 - Day 05. . . . And Rest

    September 21 in France ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Both woke up early - Tre managed to nod off again, however I spent the next couple hours reading and watching rubbish on my phone until a sensible time to get up was reached.
    After a light breakfast we planted ourselves at the poolside, which is where we stayed for most of the day, apart from a brief visit back to the gite for nibbles at lunchtime.
    Not a lot achieved today apart from books being read, phone rubbish being checked and I even cracked on with more +Babbel French lessons, which went sort of ok.
    Hannah checked in with us at 5pm to show the workings of the pellet burner, which had been serviced yesterday, after which we had our first BBQ since being here - we remembered how much stronger the garlic is here than in the UK . . . a little too late, but I can never have too much garlic! We also agreed we needed more food in the fridge as when we open the door we probably look like alcoholics!
    That was it - our first foot of the gas day, done!!
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  • Day4

    20.09 - Day 04. First Little Explore

    September 20 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We needed to get up this morning as the chimney sweep was visiting to clean and service the burner.
    We also decided we needed to do a ‘Big Shop’ as we couldn’t survive on crisps and snacks any longer.
    So having given Hannah a bottle of fizz for being so helpful when we needed it, we headed out in Roxvanne. We decided to head to Lezay, about 15 minutes away to visit the market.
    Lezay was busy and the market full of stalls, which took over a fair part of the village - there seemed to be more stalls around every corner. We bought a few bits and pieces, Tre making a very quick impulse buy of a jumper, probably made that quick to avoid me giving her any reason to doubt the purchase. We haggled with a basket seller and now have our ‘Market Day’ basket, fit for all purchase eventualities, including jumpers!
    After a couple of coffees in the sunshine we made tracks, me suggesting Tre could have another practice drive which she took up without hesitation. Thinking back, getting Roxvanne out of a heavily populated, road closured village was possibly not the best idea for a second stint, to be then followed by the Gendarmerie for a few roads also didn’t help matters. I think Tre was more than happy to pull up and hand brake on in the SuperU supermarket ten minutes further down the road. I only surmised this as we parked about 10 metres into the car park and about 200 metres from the front doors of the supermarket.
    We wandered around supposedly working to a list we (Tre) had devised, but actually just grabbed what we fancied, headed to the tills and then trundled home again in Roxvanne.
    Bread and cheese for lunch obviously and then the afternoon by the pool finished the day off nicely.
    A relaxed evening in the gite and a relatively early night finished off our first full day here - not so bad really 😎
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    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Another clothes impulse buy. It’s becoming a habit!

    Traveler

    In fact my new purchase matches my previous one!!

     
  • Day3

    19.09 - Day 03. The Longest Day - ER II

    September 19 in France ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    So today was always going to be brutal - we knew we had just short of 6 hours in Roxvanne, making our way south to our new short term home.
    Before this we had some business to attend to.
    As normal first on the agenda was coffee and a croissant, which we found in a nearby boulangerie just up the road from the hotel. Tre opted for her usual pain au chocolate while I went for the lovely glazed and very plump filled chausson aux pommes. After taking the obligatory food eating photo for Simon we got on the road heading off to buy champagne.
    On the recommendation of Lou we headed to an address at Aÿ Champagne. As we drove towards the village we saw that again most houses and business properties along the road were Champagne linked or in fact small independant champagne houses. At the rear of the properties on our left were hillsides covered with vines. We stopped in a lay-by and hopped out. Immediately we could both smell alcohol or probably better and best described as the fermentation smell I remembered when my dad made home made wine at home many many years ago. That odour that seemed to escape from the glass demijohns of whatever concoction he was making.
    As described by Lou we approached a small house set back off the road with a small industrial unit to one side. I guessed we were in the right place as Lou had mentioned cats . . . and there were definitely cats!!
    A woman appeared from near to the industrial units and thankfully Teresa was able to keep up with the conversation that then took place. My French is poor and it’s times like these I realise how poor! That being said I quickly realised we were in the right place, champagne was being discussed and we were led to what seemed a lower ground garage to the side of the small house. Once inside I knew all was good as we were surrounded by boxes of champagne and bottling and labelling equipment. More conversation and laughing then took place which I managed to keep up with - weirdly my spidy senses kick in when alcohol is on offer. We spent about 15 minutes discussing various bottles and prices before we made our selections, paid up and were walking back to Roxvanne loaded up. Lou - if the rose is rubbish I will find you, I know where you are!!
    Everything loaded into Roxvanne we set off - destination south.
    We had decided to take the toll roads just to keep the travel time to its shortest, the only downside is we would miss some of the rural countryside. That being said the countryside envelopes you even when on the motorways, with hardly any other cars to be seen, and mile after mile of unspoilt scenery . . . apart from the odd couple hundred wind turbines every so often.
    We skirted south a little then west to the south side of Paris and further west to Orléans then onto Tours and then south to Poitiers. We only stopped twice, Tre deciding to have a drive on one leg, with me encouraging her on the basis that the motorways were empty and she would be fine. Tre was not too impressed however that on her leg we had road works, narrow lanes and lots of heavy goods wagons. She did admit at one point to aching hands due to gripping the wheel so hard! - in any case she drove a blinder and soon was totally relaxed and actually speaking again 😎
    Our total journey was only interrupted on one occasion, when whilst compiling our Spotify playlist again, I had an emergency IT help desk enquiry from the UK about no sound on a laptop . . . Thanks Simon!!
    Of note . . . we did manage to get the world service on the radio and listened to a good element of the Queens Funeral for some of the journey as we were unable to get to see it.
    RIP ER II.
    We continued south now recognising place names from our previous trips, score finally exiting the motorway onto the N roads and finally the rural lanes that always appear empty of anyone else.
    We finally arrived at our new place and met with Hannah who showed us around. I’m not sure either still quite believe we are here and what lays ahead.
    We broke out one of the Champagnes from our earlier purchases and sat and managed to watch highlights of the Queens funeral procession.
    So a fab day, an exciting but knackering day, tinged with a little sadness. We start again tomorrow.
    Lou - the rose was fab!!
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    Traveler

    love this video....John Deere. beautiful.

    Traveler

    We thought you would like that little bit of tractor porn Mr H!!

    Traveler

    Brilliant sky!

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Thanks for the assistance with the minor IT issue. Keep the eating food photos coming!!

     
  • Day2

    18.09 - Day 02. Épernay & Champagne

    September 18 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    So we had our first lay in for I don’t know how long - was a joy not to have to be anywhere at any time!
    I finally caught up with Tre sitting in the sunshine outside the hotel at about 11am (I got up last) and we took a relaxed stroll back into Épernay central looking for a coffee and some breakfast. As usual in France we were a little late and having taken in a small street market we grabbed a table in the sunshine at Le Khédive in Rue de la Porte Lucas, a stones throw from last nights restaurant.
    After a well sought after coffee we decided it would be a good idea to lunch now and then not have to worry to much later for food.
    Tre decided it was late enough in the day to sample her first champagne of the day and I jumped in with a rouge beer that everyone around us seemed to be sampling.
    We spent a good couple of hours enjoying the sunshine and warmth of the day, lovely food including mirabelle crumble and a couple more drinks. I am now officially a fan of Affligem Rouge - mixed berry beer.
    After lunch we wandered some of the surrounding streets finding a part ruin of the original Épernay Notre Dame Church.
    A few minutes later we spotted Moët & Chandon main building and the Ballon D’Epernay. Looking to get a little closer we found ourselves in Avenue de Champagne, a street with all the main Champagne producers having a presence - in the main, stunningly majestic and grand pieces of French architecture.
    We started our stroll along the Avenue taking in Moët & Chandon, Hôtel de Ville, Perrier Jouet, and Collard Picard amongst others. At Hôtel de Ville we detoured down through the stunning gardens that host it, and out the northern gate to visit Église Notre-Dame, the church that holds centre stage within the town.
    The church was typically beautiful inside, with an abundance of stained glass windows held under its considerable and high roof. I can only say that there must be a lot of naughty people in Épernay, maybe due to the champagne - as I have never seen so many confession boxes within one church!
    We returned to the Avenue de Champagne after the excursion to the church to continue our champagne education. By this I mean we stopped at Collard Picard for a further glass of fizz making the most of the late afternoon sun and watching the slightly brisk wind that had started, play havoc with Tre’s hair whilst she tried to look cool sipping fizz with the other trendies!
    We then commenced our walk back to the hotel stopping to buy ourselves a champagne stopper, for use with our undoubted champagne purchases tomorrow!
    Back at our little bolt hole we simply chilled and reflected on a relaxed and enjoyable day.
    Tomorrow’s to do list:
    Get up
    Buy champagne
    Drive for 6 hours
    Arrive at our destination.
    Chill
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    Traveler

    Salad? Who are you and what have you done with Andy Mays 😂

    Andy and Teresa Mays

    It was bloody lovely. So much so I would make it for myself. In fact made prawns with onion tomato and garlic today on toasted French bread - who knew 😂

     

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