Richardménil, Autumn 2019September 28, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C
It's been just five and a half months since we first found this woodland aire at Richardménil. We liked it so much we stayed 3 nights back in April. We'd not planned to revisit, but it happened to be on our route and have the facilities we needed, as well as free electricity! We recognised the familiar approach as soon as we entered the village and were able to claim the end bay we like best, when the only other motorhomer departed a few hours after our arrival. It's a popular spot so we weren't alone for long, with several German registered vans soon joining us.
Will sat mindfully and fished on the bank of the small river nearby. The wood opposite him had just been coming into leaf in the Spring and was now taking on its varied Autumn colours.
Vicky took advantage of the electric hook up, chopping ginger root, cinamon bark, star anise, peppercorns and cardamon in the electric blender we bought back in the UK. Her favourite morning cuppa of loose chai is very difficult to get hold of when travelling. Its often easier and always cheaper to make it from the base ingredients. The blender hasn't quite worked out as planned; although small it requires a higher ampage than either our portable power pack or our inverter can give, so is only useable when we are attached to the mains.
Richardménil was so relaxing we decided to stay a second day. In the morning Vicky walked along the canal then up to the boulangerie to buy croissants for a long Sunday breakfast. Will enjoyed the sunshine on the canalside while Vicky caught up on housework and managed to make some vegan mayonnaise in the processor. Before leaving on Monday we climbed the hill to town. Vicky's doctor was only able to provide her with enough sertraline to last a couple of months so we were keen to see whether we could obtain more whilst on the road. To our great relief the pharmacy was able to sell her a further 28 days of medication when she showed them that her UK doctor had prescribed it! Success!
After a visit to the Carrefour we took the gravel path back towards the aire. It lead between mature trees, some of which had signs tacked to them warning of 'chenilles urticantes'. Remembering the numerous nests of Processional Pine Caterpillars in Italy, Spain and even southern France, we first looked up to the branches and leaves. We were standing within a foot of a tree doing this when we realised there were hundreds of Processional Oak Caterpillars on their thick silken web clinging to the trunk at eye level. We got quite a shock! Looking closely we saw with relief that they were only the exuviae (skins) of these dangerous little minibeasts, which had already pupated and emerged as adults. Internet research back in the van informed us that these moths will have used their 4 days of life to lay eggs high up in the leaf canopy. Extreme caution was still necessary to avoid contact with the long hairs remaining on and around the exuvia, which can deliver a powerful sting, irritating skin, eyes and throats (if inhaled). As hazardous as these creatures are, we found ourselves examining the dozens of nests wrapped around trunks with fascination. Every Oak was affected, with some webbing covering almost the entire circumference and stretching up several metres.Read more