Montmorillon

Tonight we are in Montmorillon, the town that is closest to our new home in Lathus. it has poured with rain almost constantly since we arrived but we managed to get out and about for a first look. I even grabbed a few photos when the rain slowed to a drizzle…

It’s not often that we see an Indian restaurant in France. This one must be put to the test asap.

Like Hay and Wigtown, Montmorillon is a Book Town

The route into the Cité

La Gartempe

Ornamentation on the bridge… Book Town is everywhere

A peek into a very good looking restaurant ( we might try it out tomorrow)

Book Town

The Glass Key sells English Language books and is the ideal representation of a second hand book shop. It even has a ginger cat

In the Cité

These hand made screens attracted my eye (and reminded me of my school days!)

Amazing roof line.

 

 

Airvault Gallery

Yes, I am doing remarkably badly at the blog catchup thing but do not believe that I have no intention of filling the gaps. I just need time and space.

We have reached Airvault, apparently at the same time as Spring,  and are staying on a caravan site just outside the town. Nell is very happy here as there is ample off-the-lead walking for her and this in turn makes us happy too. Walks are a more pleasant task when the dog can run freely.

We are at Camping de Courte Vallèe, a former municipal site now owned by an English couple. The municipal leisure facilities here are a change from the usual swimming pool and football pitch neighbours. No, here we have a country park! Just out of the gate, a little way down a traffic free lane, and over the river and hey presto, doggy heaven.

After Nell’s morning walk today we ventured into town for lunch. It was raining but I took the camera anyway. Here are a few of the results.

Click any image for a larger view. Once viewed large try the PREVIOUS IMAGE arrow on the right of the screen to navigate to the next image in large size. Crazy, I know, but it works.

We move on to Montmorillon tomorrow and then back to Lathus for a while. There is no hookup at Lathus so the  laptop will stay in the cupboard – no updates expected whilst we are there. Instagram is the best to be expected.

Nous avons retourné

After a lengthy hiatus during which we returned to the UK, we are now back on our travels in France.

We left Yorkshire for Calais on Friday (a day early to avoid forecast snow) and stayed over at Cité Europe. Yesterday we changed plans and instead of going to the Aire at St Valery we drove over towards Abbeville and came to a site (Camping Château des Tilleuls) in order to have use of the laundry.  The site looked promising with the canalside walk along the Somme not far away. Poor Nell has been on leashed exercise for weeks now and really needs a good run so we hoped to do some long walks.

The weather is bitterly cold so I cannot claim to be too disheartened that the road outside is not at all suitable for walking! I can however bemoan my luck, once again in carefully selecting a site and paying for its facilities only to find the facilities are not in use. The laundry room door is screwed tightly shut and I am walking around in very dirty clothes. Not for the first time, as regular readers will know. I have very bad luck with laundry rooms.

I am very aware that the blog is in a real mess with months of catching up to do. I keep promising to sort it out but life takes over. How about I begin with a small ambition to make a few notes on what we got up to in the UK?

Tomorrow we think we will go to Honfleur, where the Aire has a few electric hookups. Should we be lucky enough to get one of those, I will try hard to make those UK notes tomorrow evening.

It is time to draw a line in the blog; maybe restructure. our life is changing and our travelling habits will be changing too, now that France has become our base.

Just for now, all that I am doing is waving hello and saying “We are still here don’t go away!”

Real Time Update 12th February

Blog Paralysis still reigns supreme but there is now a chance of catching up as we are stationary for a while.

The real reason that we flogged North was that we needed to be closer to the UK and closer to an airport with UK flights. We combined that with a perceived desire to revisit Limousin to see if we really wanted to live there as it had been possibly our favourite area on the trip down. We knew that there were flights to the UK from Limoges and so we mapped out a route to the area.

It was only when Mr Snail spotted a property advert that appealed to us both that we changed direction just a little and found ourselves in Vienne rather than Haute-Vienne. To be precise, we fetched up in Bussière-Poitevine, where we stayed for a couple of nights before needing to leave due to the borne being out of action. Thus we landed in nearby Lathus (more properly named Lathus Saint-Rémy) at the recommendation of our estate agent, and a lovely wee place it is too. A very neat and tidy aire with tree-lined bays for 8 vans sits by the side of a quiet road, with a park across the road complete with small (fishable) pond. The Village has two boulangeries, one of which is also a glacièr and chocolatier. There is also a small SPAR shop and other necessities catered for. Result!

Vincent on the aire at Lathus

Importantly, Lathus has a railway link to Poitiers so when the expected need to return to the UK arose Mr Snail was able to make the journey by train, leaving me, Nell and Vincent on the aire in safety and with convenience at hand. No EHU admittedly and no showers but at least I can get food and that is a big plus. So long as the sun keeps shining we have solar power and I can pass my time getting the blog up to date.

Today’s featured photo is from the walk that Nell and I took today. Happily the village is surrounded by a network of waymarked routes so walking is plentiful and safe. Better still, no sign of pine trees, pine moth or pesky processionary caterpillars. It is good to be free of that worry.

We can wholeheartedly recommend this aire, which will only score more highly when the village bar reopens shortly. (If it matters, it is going to be under English ownership.)

I have posts written on the road to inject here and the Two Snails Time Machine will be hopping all over for a while. I’ll post them under posting date for a while for the benefit of regular readers but later will move them into proper sequence  to avoid confusion for newer readers.

This blog is about our travels so I will document the house search elsewhere, for now I’ll just say that Bussière and Lathus will be our nearest small towns when we settle and that the house purchasing process has begun. Our time as full-timers has been much shorter than expected but we feel okay with that and perceive several benefits in having a little pied-à-terre.

It is cold oop North

I am so far behind on updating this blog that I scarcely know where to begin. I seem to have Blog Paralysis.

Here is a real time update: Today, Monday the 5th February, 2018, we are in Northern Spain, back at Gran Camping Zarautz, where we were last December.

It is good to be back by the sea again, I have missed it.

We are mid-journey to Haute-Vienne and have made the journey from Hinojos in two long days’ driving and a short hop. We have one very long day to go, and that will be tomorrow.

The route so far – the timings are Google’s.

 

It is currently cold and wet and we are back in our winter woolies. Why did we ever leave Andalusia!

I will catch up. I am sure that I will… just as soon as I cease to be scared of the size of my task. 

See you in France? Not soon, probably – we will be on an Aire without EHU for at least a couple of nights but I will check in as soon as possible.

From Arcachon and onward

Last week we had arrived at Arcachon, where we stayed for three nights. It was a very pleasant campsite, with fair to middling sanitaires. There were four washing machines and two dryers so by the time that we left, everything in the van was squeaky clean.

Direct access into the forest meant that Nell was more than happy with her particular lot.

As for ourselves, we walked into town a couple of times and found plenty to occupy us, though the proposed celebratory dinner morphed into crèpes for lunch.

Arcachon is a pleasant and quite upmarket seaside town with plenty of sandy beach. The weather was such that there were people out on the sands and we even sat on the front eating ice cream one day, watching the carousel turning in the sun.

The carousel filled me with instant joy the moment that I saw it. Even from a distance I could tell that it was a genuine old one and as we came closer and heard the organ music I do believe that I began to squeee. I even attempted to capture a video in order to share the full effect. Sadly, it failed to pick up the music.

The Parc Mauresque completely captured me and I was happy to stroll through more than once. It was fantastic to see the French out and about and using the park in an enthusiastic way that we tend not to see in the UK. There were many games of boules in progress on both afternoons that we passed trough, and quite a  few players eschewed the formal squares in order to play in the sunshine on the park pathways. This made negotiating a route quite challenging at times. The young people were in evidence on half day Wednesday too, some of them practising with their skate boards. All very charming.

I had discovered that the town sported a bridge construction and an observation tower, both of which had engaged the hand of Gustave Eiffel in his  early career. It is said that his work on the observation tower informed the later work on his better known engineering work in Paris.

Anyway, it was a glorious day when we came to it, far more clear than the previous day had been and I was minded to be brave. I actually climbed to the top despite the wobble and even managed to release my hands from the railings at the top in order to take photographs! I felt very pleased with myself and the view was certainly worth the effort.

One other thing that we will remember Arcachon for is the sighting of a column of Processionary Caterpillars. Nasty wee beasties.

By the time that we left Arcachon, the weather had warmed up somewhat and the overnight frosts had passed. 

Our next stop was at a beautiful lakeside aire at Gastes, where we stayed for two nights after stopping in Biscarosse first to collect our package.  We also had a Chinese lunch…

The aire lies next to a marina and a cycle path runs by, we were not short of walking for Nell. The village is small and what facilities it could boast were closed for the season, sadly. A Friday evening market consisted of one fruit and veg van and a mobile pizzeria.

By the campsite at Castets

After Gastes came Castets, where we are now on our third night.  The walking here is not so good but there is a space by the river that borders the site. A cycle route is about half an hour’s walk away. The small town boasts a cinema and a bar and also a rather pleasant restaurant, Les Forges, where we had dinner on Saturday evening.

That’s all from France for now. Tomorrow we hit the motorway and go take a look at Spain to see if we like it.