Sunday, 29 September 2013

Why does the bar always close when we arrive?

What a lovely place Saumur is.

 Fantastic campsite on an island in the middle of the Loire, only trouble was everything shut the day we arrived – bar, pool etc. Crib update – I’m now 3/1 up. We’d been at the campsite about 15 minutes, busily setting up as you do and the dog snuck off around the back of the van. She does have a habit of running round the van, she actually runs around everything she can find – even my laptop charger the other day. Anyway I shouted her and she appeared around the front of the van, bounding up like an excited puppy with that “Look what I’ve brought for tea” look on her face. She had an enormous chunk of bread in her mouth. How to make a good impression on our new neighbours, I thought. I had a quick look around to sheepishly apologise to whoever had lost their baguette but couldn’t find anyone who might have suffered.

Now if I’d have given her a chunk of dry bread she would have turned her nose up at it. However because she’d hunted it herself she then stood there with it between her front paws and ripped it to shreds and ate the lot – what a princess. It was a good job that we had bikes because we couldn’t find a supermarket. Cycled for ages and finally found one.

Later Iain went off to the tank museum on his bike, following the tourist signs, which take you up to the chateau (very steep) up, up, up past the Chateau to the Haute Quartier which Iain then painfully realised was the “High Quarter”, only to come back down the hill to the tank museum when if he’d only followed the map instead of the signs would have been a virtually flat road. I stayed at home and played with Henry – the computer.

Went to a nice bar in the town for a couple of pressions, the dog firmly ensconced in her travel buggy while we sat nearby. The dog can see out a lot better than we can see in and some poor bloke came along with his dog sniffing in the air thinking – “There’s a dog around here somewhere”. Being inquisitive the dog happily strolled up to the buggy and sniffed at the mesh screen. The smelly one went absolutely berserk. The poor dog and not to mention the bloke jumped about 4 feet in the air. Everyone who had been watching thought it hilarious. We get loads of looks and comments about our dog in a buggy. Can recommend a good vet in Saumur if anyone needs one.

Left Saumur four days later to start our journey home. Latest crib update now 5/3 down. He’s been having a run of luck. We did some sums on our fuel consumption, which ranged from 6.9 to 9.4 miles to the gallon. That made our decision, it doesn’t matter how much the paeage is we were going to take it back home. It must be more economical to drive at a constant 60 to 65 miles per hour than the stop start, stop start through the towns and villages. So after 54 euros on the payage we got through to south of Abbeyville. Then of course you can add on the value of distress on the driver and passenger and the time saved and it’s got to be worth it. One tip on the paeage – we always go to the booth with a person in it if possible. Vehicles are automatically measured and motorhomes often come up as Class 3 which is commercial. If you go to a person they will usually only charge you for Class 2 – a saving of about 30%. And that’s not all we tried it with the unmanned booths, put the ticket in and it came up as Class 3 so I pressed the button for assistance and it changed to Class 2 and I didn’t even have to say anything. Thanks for the tip whoever it was who posted that before. Apparently if you tell them you are a camping car they will down-rate the charge.

I’ve done nearly all the driving this holiday – not really sure why but at least the travelling isn’t as boring when you are driving as it is when you are a passenger. So on one of the few occasions that Iain was driving – we got stopped by a Gendarme. Just came out of the paeage and we were flagged down.

Did he want to see our High-viz jackets, no – did he want to see our breathalyser kits – no. We think he just wanted to have a nosey at Jan. Lots of questions, How much does it weigh? Do you have the correct licence to drive such a large vehicle? Do we have a problem driving a left-hand drive in the UK? How much would we sell it to him for? “Wow” he said “that’s a price of an apartment”. His parting words were “Beautiful Toy!” – Thank you we said.

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