St Georges-sur-CherJanuary 11 in France ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C
The electric heater is humming away happily and our living area is snug and warm. The medium sized, compacted yellow gravel aire at St Georges-sur-Cher provides free electricity, so the leisure batteries are getting a good charge, together with the rest of our electricals. We look out onto an open area of grey gravel and grass where cars park during the day. To our right, the main road is backed by a plantation of skinny poplars and far enough away not to bother us. Close by is the boulangerie, its red sign for 'pain' lighting up at night. An archway, whose christmas decorations are still illuminated, gives access to shop frontages in a small square with a limestone brick church. A fleuriste, boucherie / charcuterie and little supermarket; nothing remarkable, but it feels open and welcoming. One thing we especially love is the token system for the service point. An information board advises that 'jetons' for fresh water are available for free in the shops. It is a great way to foster a good relationship between business owners and the town's temporary residents.
The day we arrived we had set off promptly in order to try and get Will a fishing licence. The system seems very complicated, with no national permit, but ones obtained from fishing clubs. Regional lines restrict the reach of permits from all clubs, but many have agreements with other regions, allowing licence holders to fish their waters. Will found a club that had agreements with every region but the next hurdle was the online application form. This was so tortuous that following many failed attempts he decided to visit somewhere he could buy it in person, thus the prompt start to the day. The skies were grey and showering Martha with rain. Perfect for travelling, as we didn't feel we were missing out on anything! On the way we saw several gilets jaunes encampments at roundabouts but they caused no trouble.
The sat nav first took us to a residential street in Tours, which after 15 minutes of searching on foot, we concluded was not concealing anywhere that might sell fishing licenses. Following directions from Google Maps, we drove 4 kilometres accross town, parked and walked half a kilometre to find a somewhere that could feasibly, in the past have sold permits, but was now, most definitely, offices for a graphic design company- grrr! Back on the road and after parking up at St Georges, much persistence and €96, Will finally managed to purchase a fishing permit that would allow him to pursue his pastime throughout France for the coming year. All we've got to do now is find somewhere to print it out! It wouldn't have been worth the time, cost and effort if we were here for a matter of weeks, but we'll potentially be spending a lot of time in the country over the coming months, waiting for and travelling back to medical appointments in the UK.
We decided to stay longer than usual St Georges-sur-Cher, mainly because of the electric hookup. Will had found a restaurant with good reviews but sadly Vicky's energy levels were very low, so we didn't make it. She stayed in the van while Will explored the town and made use of his new fishing permit and the fishing trousers, stool and bait catapault he got for xmas. On Sunday morning the car park filled up and people made their way through the arch with round, woven grass baskets and bags - it was a Sunday market!
We joined the flow of people and saw a dozen or so stalls selling oysters and other seafood, veg and plants, roasting chickens, Chinese street food and honey. Vicky didn't make it round but was able to sit on a bench and watch the comings and goings while Will queued at the busy stands and picked up some produce we liked the look of, including a white petalled kalanchoe from the florists to cheer her up. There were a few people going into the little church and as we passed the open door we saw them huddled around a large candle at the end of the aisle, crystal chandeliers shedding their soft golden glow on the chestnut coloured wooden pews, while daylight shone in through the stained glass window, picking out its indigos and blues.
Knowing the boulanger would be closed the following day we went in to pick up a loaf and decided to get one of the delcious looking (if a little expensive) puff pastry tarts that had filled shelves in several towns we'd visited. When cutting it open we found a ceramic tile inside. Puzzled and curious, Will took it back to the baker to ask what it was. The baker explained it was a traditional 'fève' (a bean). The tile had a moral inscribed on it which translated as "doing well is better than saying well"; actions speak louder than words. With a little research we discovered the tart was a Galette de Roi (King's Cake), eaten from epiphany / the 12th night onwards. The person who finds the fève becomes king or queen for the day, with special privilages. Will even got to wear a paper crown supplied with the galette. We love discovering new things and learning while travelling!
Out of a maximum allowed stay of 7 nights, at Saint Georges-sur-Cher we stopped a total of 4. We'd begun getting itchy feet after 2 but it was good to just spend time relaxing and 'Being' in a place, instead of just passing through (especially as it came with free electricity!)Read more