Chenes May/June 2018

Thursday May 17th    Boat from Plymouth overnight to Roscoff. Car loaded up with luggage and half of my greenhouse plants. As happens in Cricket pitches these days I am inventing the first ‘drop in garden’.

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On board by 7.30 and although the usual pianist was absent we took our place in the main restaurant for a very delicious meal with more than a modicum of wine. Speaking French with the waitress gets us in the mode for the next 7 weeks. Slept well but wish they wouldn’t wake us up so early with that awful music – it’s only to boost their breakfast sales. Huge queues to get off the boat at the passport control – was it Brexit, security concerns or a mixture of both – it never used to be like that. Docked at 8, not on the road ’til almost 9.30 heading for our usual breakfast stop at Bedee, as small Ville d’Etape just off the main road and the taste of our first croissant, although at 11.30 they had gone a little stale. 416 miles later we arrived at St Amande Montrond for the night at the Noirlac Hotel. Traffic was busier than usual mainly due to a strike by the train drivers, and the warning signs on the motorways read ‘Greves SNCF, penser co-voiturage’ (Rail strikes, think about car sharing). Strikes in France are quite frequent and the following chart gives you some idea of the long term planning that goes into them. It is part of a nationwide protest against the French government’s economic and social reforms.

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Not as bad though, as when the farmers strike and block the entire road for miles – word has it that they are saving themselves for the holiday season! Not entirely something to look forward to:

farmers strike

Saturday/Sunday May 19th &20th.    Woke up thinking Royal Wedding, our friend Fiona’s wedding, and Cup Final but spent most of the day in the car. The previous day we had decided to split the rest of the journey and head for Agde, scene of one of our family holidays in 1984, and called in at Pezenas for a spot of lunch on the way. We weren’t very hungry so just a salad should suffice:

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On to Agde and booked into a small hotel by the river. Great fun, but disappointing to find the town depressingly run down, and we were unable to locate the ’84 campsite.

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Hotel was great and we found a nice restaurant on the river (above about the middle), and next day, more importantly, found our way back on to the A9 towards Nice. Sunday traffic fairly light and journey to Chenes was relatively easy. Dialled in the gate code and we were in about 1 pm. Nice warm weather and also welcome by our neighbours. Started to clean up and tidy the house and garden. Dinner with Rose outside on the balcony – blissful start.

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Monday 21st May    Whit Monday here, Whitsun holiday now consigned to the history books in UK.  Sunny start, 24 deg. and out in the garden for more tidying. try to mend the guest toilet (not very successfully), sort out car computer (wasn’t computer’s fault strangely enough), Jean also busy with the house and washing, tea with our old friends and now new neighbours, Leslie and Stewart…. and then….it rained! Oh dear – lunch indoors. Good for the newly planted seedlings anyway. By evening the rain had stopped, so we headed to Port Cogolin for a walk -still quite cloudy but very warm also.

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Called in on our friends the Oxfords with an urgent delivery of 500 PG Tips, and to catch on the news/gossip from the site. Dinner on the balcony again, Rose was there again of course, and then….more rain – heavy this time. Bed to pray for a better day tomorrow, although the forecast is  not good.

Tuesday 22nd May.    Forecasters got it right – rain, not too heavy  but persistent. Good morning for reading and catching up on jobs. At this rate my automatic watering system will be redundant. Fortunately my Cricketer magazine arrived shortly before we left home so plenty of interesting stuff there to occupy me while rain stops play! Jean registered us at the office while I did the cricket bit, and then we headed off to the supermarket for the first big shop – 161 euros worth – the prices of everything here have gone up regardless of the exchange rate (now 1.14). Lunch indoors again, and the rain actually stopped about 3 pm. A quick look at the computer weather – must be mistaken – St Austell sunny 22, St Tropez drizzle 19. All this way…… !! A couple of hours gardening gave a little respectability to our patio and terrace, and then it was off to Cavalaire for a walk- still gloomy but reasonably warm. Came across a fantastic Bird of Paradise plant outside a restaurant.

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We are actually eating outside tonight – sunshine please return tomorrow.

Wednesday 23rd May.   Looks promising.

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Bright sunshine at last and time to sort out the garden and patio. Hopefully tomorrow’s pics will reflect the change.

 

 

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