Archive | August, 2013

Another memorable moment….

19 Aug

At our second campsite, in the shower one morning, we suddenly became aware of extra water coming under the door and a strong smell of disinfectant. Then a bang on the door and a loud voice shouting: ‘Depeches!’ We assumed we being told to hurry up, although maybe it was the offer of fish or peaches….

It seems that it is de rigeur to start doing a mass clean of the showers without checking if there are any occupants. After another loud bang on the wall, I called out: ‘Nous sommes presque finis!’ and as a final resort: ‘Nous etions deja la!’

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Memorable conversation from our France holiday…..

14 Aug

On the way to Seillans, Paul said to me: ‘When we’ve finished with this roof box, it could be used as a coffin.’ I suggested that he try it out for size, although we decided that it would be most suitable for a very short, fat person…..

Folding nightmares!

14 Aug

In our household I do nearly all of the domestic tasks. There is one job which I really dread, either if carried out on my own or if Paul is there to help…. This is folding!

You can guarantee that at regular intervals, Paul will open the airing cupboard and exclaim at the terrible state of the towels and sheets. ‘How am I supposed to find a tea-towel in here?!’ or ‘Why do people just chuck things up here?!’ And of course no-one ever does ‘chuck things up there’ but it is just that the cupboard is so high, and I do have this problem with fitted sheets. I curse the day they were invented! Why can’t we just have flat sheets? Unless I wait for someone to help me, I end up just folding them badly on my own.

But worse than sheets and towels for folding are: tents and swimming pools!!

Now you might wonder how often there is a requirement to fold up a swimming pool, but it does happen once every summer, at the end of the season. This is what you do with a metal-framed, above-ground pool. First of all, after completely emptying and cleaning it, we take out the poles and collapse the whole thing. It is huge! Well, 15′ by 48″ to be precise. I think that folding a swimming pool should be part of army training – anyone who can fold to Paul’s exacting standards deserves a medal!

You have to pick a dry day, and if it rains you have to get out towels and mops and dry the pool again. That is my job of course………. well it is completely fair as I am the chief user of the pool. Sometimes I persuade Jess to come out and help. Her best way of doing pool drying was to put on old clothes and fling herself onto the flattened material. And if the day is really lovely and sunny, I begin to wonder why we are taking it down at all…..

But when we get down to the serious folding, the conversation goes something like this…. Okay pick up that far corner. No, not that corner, that one! 

Just mirror what I am doing; go to your left, no not right, your left!

Now don’t move….. (I proceed to walk towards him).. I said don’t move! (I thought you said to mirror what you do!)

Now can you just sweep all the dirt off this surface?…… (half an hour later) I thought you were going to sweep off all the dirt… (I did, but I think some more must have blown onto it!)

Right, put that bit in the middle…. I said the middle! (I thought that was the middle!)

Okay, now we are going to carry this over to that corner of the garden…. Go back, not forwards!

The process is similar with the tent. These items are never made completely square or rectangular…..

Funny thing is that although I often have very vivid nightmares and dreams, I have not yet had one about folding……

 

 

Hints and tips for camping

14 Aug

Hints and tips for camping.

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Hints and tips for camping

14 Aug

Hints and tips for camping

Make sure you repump your airbed every night, and even then you will probably end up with a crick in the neck

Don’t pitch your tent next to people who snore…. (this one is tricky!)

Keep loo rolls and a torch by your bed

If you need water in the night, keep it in a bottle rather than a glass

And if you wear glasses, don’t leave them on the ground for people to tread on…..

Take a spouse or partner who is good at putting up tents, or if this is not possible, have the patience of a saint….

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Neolithic man found at Sillans-la-Cascade!

14 Aug

Neolithic man found at Sillans-la-Cascade!

Review of Campsites in France

14 Aug

We stayed in 3 campsites on our way to Provence this year, so I am doing a brief write up of them. Good for entertainment value, and might even tempt people to go and visit them……

Flower Camping La Chenaie at Yport in Normandy:

Lovely small, friendly site. We had a reasonable-sized plot to pitch our tents, although the ground was a little stony, hence I named our dwelling: La Terre aux Pierres. Opposite us were some lovely tents on decking, available to rent for the week. I’d call them ‘glamping’ tents, with proper cooking facilites and better than average camp beds. Also a nice covered area for eating under. Definitely consider staying in one of those for a short break.

Lovely swimming pool, which was open-air but partly under a roof.

Not much of a snack facility available; no ice cubes available to buy and no coffee served. You could order in bread and pastries for breakfast, but not much point without coffee in my opinion! We went out for breakfast.

Best thing about this site: washing facilities nearby; loo rolls in all loos! Shower cubicles with wash basins; free wifi, although this was a little erratic to get to work. Really quiet site for families with no loud music late at night.

Local area: near Etretat, which is a beautiful coastal town with dramatic cliffs.

Flower Camping Les Rosiers-sur-Loire

Another small camp site. We made the mistake of not paying when we arrived, which meant that we had to wait until the man on reception arrived on our morning of departure, which delayed our journey. I think they should encourage people to pay on arrival.

Lovely pitches. I called this dwelling ‘Cosy Nook’ as we had a whole area screened off by hedges for putting up the 2 tents. The ground was grassy, so it was much easier to pitch the tents. 

Great pools, one in the open air and one under a roof. We had a lovely take-away pizza, although we had to pull it apart as we had taken no cutlery and it was not served in slices. But definitely better than your average take-away pizza.

Rather noisy entertainment, including bingo and children’s disco. Fortunately this did not go on much later than 10 o’clock at night. You had to walk through the bar and entertainment area to get to the loos and showers.

Best things about this campsite: loo rolls and really excellent wifi, which actually worked! There was even an electric point so that I could plug in the laptop at a table.

Flower Camping Robinson at Marseillan Plage

Noisy campsite which resembled an African village. We arrived at about 8:45 in the evening after a long drive, and the reception was not open. (it was supposed to be open until 9:00) We managed to find staff at the bar to help us, although they seemed keen to find an English speaker to help us. Telling them that we speak French helped enormously. Eventually found our pitch, although a French family had to move their car out of our spot. Later though they helped us pump up our airbed (with an electric pump, which took twice as long as our foot pump!) Really difficult to pitch the tents as the ground was basically sand.

I named this dwelling ‘Windy View’ which I’ll explain in a minute.

No swimming pool here, no loo rolls and the wifi was very expensive, so we did not use it. The site is on the beach though, so swimming available locally.

This area is known for being very windy, which it was most of the time. Also we had torrential rain one night, and also one afternoon when we were out. When we came back, Jess was asleep in her tent and everyone was sweeping water out of their tents and trying to clear the ground of large puddles. Our tents, miraculously, did not get flooded, although the next day our large tent blew down and we had to re-erect it. Jess’ being smaller, was okay.

This was the campsite which never sleeps. One night I felt quite queasy and had to keep visiting the loos. There seemed to be a disco at about 5:00 in the morning, and people standing around talking loudly everywhere. When I went back to bed I could hear the man in the next tent snoring! Then when I felt hot and sweaty, I went to have a shower at about 5:30 and most of the doors were locked. Eventually found a child’s shower which they had not locked.

Another hazard on this site was the possibility of being hit by ‘boules’ which French people play everywhere, including where the cars are trying to pass.

Best thing about this campsite: the local area with a superb, sandy beach and great restaurants. See my review of ‘Le Lotus.’ Also, you could buy ice-cubes in the shop for cooling your drinks. A better shop generally. Also snacks and drinks available although we did not try them, as good coffee available nearby.