On the basis that I haven't put proverbial pen to paper for 2 weeks, this will either be the interminable ramblings of an idiot or a very brief digest as I lose the will to live.
Left home Saturday midday and spent the night at the very nice Firtree Farm, just outside Dover. Not our usual eurotunnel crossing on Sunday since we had a cheap (£54 return) deal with Norfolk Line which was very good for high season. Leaving UK earlier than normal in order to rendevous with the Pates who have taken a gite nr. Toulouse en famille to celebrate his 70th birthday.
Ferry packed with probably the last big holiday exodus but on and off first so on the road from Dunquerqe just after 1pm. It being Sunday, the roads were clear of lorries and first night stop at the aire in BREZOLLES. Arrived not a moment too soon as it was packed, with later vans occupying the lakeside picnic carpark next door. Weather v.good. Discovered that Tracker is not working because they failed to initialise the sim card for international roaming when fitting the new one in June and it cannot be done after you have left the UK without resetting the unit....I seem to remember being here before in the winter in Spain when it would not work and the unit needed resetting......
Monday was a Bank Holiday so another lorry free run avoiding the motorways down to UZERCHE where there must have been 30 vans in the aire, with later arrivals using a smaller area which is used on Thursdays when the old station yard becomes the market place. All the other vans were french. Pleasant walk around town in evening sunshine.
Weather lovely and a good drive avoiding motorways down to CAHORS where we stopped briefly to pick up wine and beer for the coming festivities and then on to LAGUEPIE in the Aveyron Gorge where the Pates had rented the gites from clients/friends of Dave. As no-one had seen the gite beforehand it was not known in advance what the access would be like for us and photographs on their website were not encouraging. The gites was about 3km out of the village, which boasted a rather scrubby aire but would do at a pinch if all else failed. As instructed, we rang Dave on arrival at the aire and he came down in his car to pick me up for a recce, the general opinion being that access would be difficult. The shortest approach road was far to narrow, twisty and overhung but there was a long way round which was fine but the turn into the drive was fraught and a low tree halfway along ruled it out completely. However, next door was a large farmhouse with plenty of space and to cut a long story short we were able to email the owners of the gite who directed us to the farmer (whose son lived in the farmhouse but was away on holiday) and when I asked in my best french if we could park off the road in the shade of the buildings he became my best friend and said of course we could. Problem solved, so we went back to the village and picked up the van and the GF who had stayed with it. Note.....the temp was in the high 30's so nothing was being done quickly.
The gite was terrific, very secluded on the top of the hills with great views, a swimming pool and able to sleep a lot of people. Present were Dave & Briony; Maryon; Paul,Ruth,Toby & Mimi;Simon,Chris Theo & Siobhan; Cate, Matt, Brya and Mia ; making 9 adults,1 teenager and 5 children. We slept in the motorhome and when Geoff & Caroline arrived the next day, they were staying at a nearby B&B ( run by an English couple from Oakham with whom they shared mutual aquaintences and found by pure chance on the net).Thus the total complement from Wed night to Fri night for meals was 19.
On tuesday evening, the younger adults left the older generation babysitting and went for a meal downtown whislt we had a splendid meal on the terrace prepared by Maryon and quaffed much wine.
Weather remained v.hot and thank god for the pool. Geoff & Caroline arrived wed.evening and a splendid night was had in the courtyard with a BBQ prepared by Simon with much help from his siblings. The bottle bank already taking over the extremely large utility room.
Thursday, Dave's birthday. Most people went by train to VILLEFRANCHE ROUERGUE as there was a market and it's a nice place. Ended up Dave,Maryon ans us having lunch in LAGUEPIE , which was so good that we booked a table for Saturday lunchtime for my birthday.. Terrific evening party with all 19 sitting down to a BBQ in the courtyard and I must have had a good time as I was persuaded t0 play a duet on the spoons with Chris.......
Friday at leisure. G&C picked us up and we went to CORDES sur CIEL, a nearby
ancient hilltop village. Weather hotter so we all we really did was have a rather excellent lunch after a desultory look around....terrace restaurant with panoramic views and those misty sprays that kept us cooler than otherwise. A nice scenic drive back in their air condtioned hire-car with a short sight-seeing stop at ST.ANTONIN NOBLE VAL where we spotted a large aire for when we left on sunday. Another very excellent dinner in the courtyard for 14.
Saturday was my birthday. Geoff & Caroline had to leave for the airport in order to be back for her mother's 70th birthday on Sunday but not before we had an excellent lunch in LAGUEPIE for the 7 elders.Afternoon spent in the pool as temperature rose and a very pleasant ( and alcoholic ) evening.
9 months ago