Week 1 Monday 24 July – Sunday 30 July
After our disastrous encounter on the motorway with the Polish French vehicle combination we were really pleased to arrive here for our first night. What then follows are photos of our first week of stopovers in France.
Monday – Pub – The Flying Horse Inn – Ashford – (BS 147) (location)
Tuesday – Farm – Ferme de la Croix Blanche (61120) Vimoutiers – (location)
It was easy drive down to this lovely farm setting. Initially we had the small plot to ourselves overlooking the farm-yard. Later a French van arrived and the couple both set off for a walk.
We left the comfort of the farm at about 10.30am. Our French neighbours, were up and away quite early. This was the pattern of our holidays with us usually being the last to leave a site. I walked The Boys down into the valley and up the other side before breakfast with a dampness in the air that could only mean we were in for a rainy day.
The route down from Vimoutiers took us past and through Argentan, Bagnoles, Mayenne and Laval. The rain came and went but never did it dull our joy of French smooth tree lined long roads. Passing through quiet little villages also made us think – where is everyone, so used are we to such a busy way of life. Having said that we did circumnavigate the major towns en route!
Wednesday & Thursday – Winery – Domaine des deux Moulins (49610) – Juigne sur Loire – (Location)
We were really chuffed with this place as we had free electricity and a shower block! As usual we had a wine tasting with The Boys sniffing around their wine warehouse. Of course we took some bottles to try with our meal.
We met up with a Dutch couple originally from South Africa. This was their third stop here over the years and he invited me to help out with the bottling which was starting the next morning, (Thursday). Although I did sleep in I still managed to get over to the plant before they had finished to help rack the full bottles – all 1200 of them! Before we left we bought a couple of cases of wine and they gave us the previous evening bottles free for helping. In all a pleasurable experience only previously seen on tv. and one which I will no doubt dine out on.
Friday – Vinyard – Clos des Cordeliers (49400) – Souzay Champigny (location)
Today we took a leisurely pace to the day with a short venture into Juigne sur Loire with The Boys. Eventually finding the shopping area we picked up some bread, cakes, and a bottle of our favourite Cognac with Almonds. We also bought some meat for an evening BBQ betting on the wet morning turning into a glorious evening. The Boys have been boys, sleeping mostly with W snoring and B growling at anything that dared move past Zygie.
On our way south we stopped off at Mouliherne to visit Terence O’Hara, my neighbour and ex teaching colleague from Embley Park School, Romsey in Hampshire. It was if time had stood still on meeting him as he had seemed not to have changed at all. We had a delightful tour of his garden which he and his wife Judith tender before setting off for a lunchtime meal at his local Auberge. We gossiped and caught up on his life in France since moving there in the 1990’s.
A short trip later and we were in our first vineyard of 2017 at Souzay Champigny. This we managed even though we travelled a few kilometres in the wrong direction and finding ourselves in a naturalist farm after putting in East rather than West into TomTom!
We enjoy vineyards a lot as we always seem to find ourselves on our own or with like-minded people and also are able to wander around without hindrance. We do always seem to buy a bottle or two.
Saturday & Sunday – Vinyard – Vignoble Jaumouille (49230) – Saint Crespin sur Moine (location)
Saturday morning and we set off to travel to a vineyard that we had used last year. On the way we stopped off at Treves for The Boys to have a break and then further we stopped for a bite to eat in Bouchemaine at restaurant called Le Noe.
After a superb lunch and another quick walk e were off to our vineyard Saint Crespin. This a lovely quiet site and although no electricity there is water and a loo. We stayed up late with a glass in hand and watched the fish jumping in the lake.