Today we packed up the van and left the campsite for Arcais, some five hours drive. A short break, with an hour left to drive, where we went to the loo and drank a coffee.
We arrived in Arcais at 16.21. We chose a pitch in the usual location by the lake and watched a man wade around the pond trying to retrieve his fishing tackle. The van was soon readied, so we walked up along the water ways to see the Eatons who gave us a very good pork supper.
Our next day was a lazy stay at home day. We walked up to the Eatons after breakfast, spent time on the Internet and at lunch. Linda and Rosemary disappeared off to a charity sale, come car boot sale. R ended up buying 4 glasses to replace the one she’d broken on our first day. In the evening we walked back to the campsite along the canal with bat detector on. We heard bats, but also some other strange sounds at 20Khz which sounded more like a throbbing engine. (I have heard these since and they are quite localised in a tree. Some insect I expect. Wasps fanning in a nest??)
On Saturday we all went into Niort and searched for somewhere to eat. On the walk into town we passed books being given away, (for a donation if you wanted, R never saw the donation bit). R bought a Simenon, and was amazed to see it was first published in 1931 and Maigret was portly. Mike was keen to eat at a particular Thai restaurant, but it was alas closed on Saturdays, but said the patron with great pride, open on Mondays. Does that actually help?? We discovered a new Thai restaurant which did takeaways, and had some tables on the street. The food was fine, but not chilli hot, instead toned down for the French pallet.
Walked around the city and ventured into the old part where there were some fine buildings.
Back in Arcais for the evening, we all ventured to the “hippy bar”, which is open three months a year and has some live music. Tonight, we were entertained to some French Hip-Hop music. R surprised herself by thinking some of it was not bad.
Another cloudy, sunny and warm day. I processed some of Linda’s beans from the pods and caught up with emails etc. Linda & Rosemary spent time cleaning the rental because some new tenants were arriving for the weekend. After lunch we drove into Niort, on the way we stopped at an Angelica field. This was maintained by the commune and had a notice about Angelica being a speciality of the region. (A very small field, so not very impressive.). We then drove to where there is a lock being renovated, eel ways and weirs. Nearby was a posh restaurant called Auberge de la Roussille. Got caught by a Frenchman who explained about the works for some 30 minutes. It dawned on us that he thought we were French. Linda is so fluent in French, and the man became surprised when he was told we were English, and that Linda was also British.
Back to campsite where we sat and drank a bottle of Cava with L&M. before going out for supper at The Patio. The restaurant was almost full. It is a clean modern looking restaurant. I ordered fish for mains, and Linda a steak. When the meal arrived, we swapped as Linda decided the steak was too rare, and I was drooling at the thickness of it.
I started off with carpaccio of beef with a strong herb (sorrel?) dressing. It was decidedly yummy. The steak was very rare in the middle, but crispy cooked on the outside. Pretty yummy as well. I finished with two giant profiterole ice-creams.
Rosemary ate a veal main, which did not impress her,
Walked up to L&M after breakfast. Weather cloudy and sunny and warm. R&L spent time collecting beans from the allotment. Lunch and supper at L&M. I did go for a short cycle ride on one of their bikes. A tad uncomfortable and tremendously heavy. Spent a while in the garden photographing a bumble bee in a passion flower,
Up, showered and breakfasted, we set out on a cloudy day, which intermittently showered, that annoying rain with the wipers on intermittent wipe. Please rain hard and get it over with, please. We headed off on the D840 joining he N12 at Verneuil-sur-Avre. Turned off on the D401 and then the ever so straight D938. Suddenly the D938 veered to the right on a brand-new road Google knew nothing about. Unusual that a new road does not appear in Google maps, at least in the UK they appear very soon after they have opened. We continued the D838, D301 to Le Mans. This time for our very first time we went past the race track.
We continued through Noyant, Saumur, Thouars and stopped for lunch at an Aires on the D938. The Aires had a closed café and some loos. There was a farm nearby selling melons. On again we then skirted Niort, passed through Coulon and at last reached Arcais.
On the way a couple of events occurred. Man standing in the middle of the road doing a survey, no Day-Glo jacket. Lucky to be alive, has health and safety bypassed the French? A little while later there was another man in the middle of the road stopping us and asking us to move to the side. He was an outrider for a rather large boat that was being transported along the road.
At Arcais we booked into the campsite, the weather was looking up, sun shining. We erected the awning, phoned Mike who was on his own, Linda being out at a choir practice. He came over with a bottle of wine and we chatted. He left to be at home when Linda returned, and we then cooked our meal. Alas the rain (very very light drizzle) had started again
Today we were evicted from the Eaton’s gite. They had some proper clients arriving, a couple who played musical instruments. The proper clients lived in London and Aldburgh, he played the cello for the London Philharmonic, while she played the harp wherever she could.
Car packed we paid a visit to the super market at Mauze-sur-le-Mignon, rather a rush visit because it would be closed at midday for lunch. Oh fooled again, it was Friday, all day opening. So we had a relaxed shop, buying their entire stock of 10 litre Bordeaux boxes of wine.
Back at the Eatons we had lunch and then off in the car to La Garette for a grockle. Visited a couple of shops, and Rosemary even bought something, a lace bordered pillowcase. Beer and ice cream on the river bank. Back at the Eatons, Mike had been left in charge of the dinner, and welcoming the new guests. The dinner was a vegetable and lamb tagine cooked on a BBQ tagine. A much later supper today, the tagine had got off to a slow start. The new guests came round and shared some rose, seem pretty nice people.
Time for bed and we kicked the Eatons out to sleep in another house.