We’re in the last few days of our time in France and we’re full of mixed feelings. It’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter so we’re spending much more time indoors. As motorhomes go, ours is quite a big one but it’s still a confined space for two women and two little dogs, all four being a little bigger than we were when we left. Everything you do in a motorhome takes a little more effort than in a house. Having a shower requires us to remove the laundry bin from the shower cubicle and put it somewhere else, we have to remember to get clean underwear out of the nifty little drawers in the wardrobe before we close the concertina doors that make the back of the van into a wee en-suite and then do a little shimmy past the loo to get into the shower. At the start this was all part of the fun, now we’re thinking with longing of our big bathroom and stacks of storage space at home.
We still haven’t fixed the problem of the table that’s a bit too big and a little too low so we’re still doing the half limbo when we sit down or get up. In the sunshine we were sitting outside a lot and it didn’t matter but it’s starting to get us down a bit now.
We’ve both had horrific colds in the last ten days so we’re running a bit short on sleep with coughs and snorts and, in my case, world class snoring. And, saddest of all, the sunshine has mostly left us and it’s dull and a bit rainy. I shouldn’t complain as compared to Scotland it’s positively pleasant. In the afternoons it’s about 16°c and the sun did come out for about an hour earlier, when we managed a 10-mile bike ride into Tours and back.
Here’s the problem – it’s called Wanting it All. We are ready to go home and enjoy our house, spend time with our friends and family, play our musical instruments, catch up on Strictly (I hope the Sky Plus thingy worked or the howls will be heard for miles around) and just spread out a bit. But we’ve got the travel bug. We love motoring around Europe just landing in places and seeing what’s there. We love the lifestyle, the people, the food, the wine and the weather. Sitting here near Tours we know that we would only have to drive south for a day and it would probably be still warm enough to sit outside with a cold beer. The temptation to turn round is powerful. Yet we’re looking forward to going to the pictures, playing badminton and chatting to people in shops without having to think really hard first. Most of all, we’re missing the people we love.
So we’re in a bit of a pickle. One minute we’re saying No! We don’t want it to end! And the next we’re wondering how quickly we can get back up to Scotland so that we can see all the people and enjoy all the things we’ve missed. Ambivalence is alive and well in Holly the motorhome today.
So… back to the journey. We left the banks of the Cher after tussling with a recalcitrant motorhome service point. These things come in about three or four different types. Most of them are manufactured and put in professionally. These are the ones you pay for, usually by buying a token at the local Tabac or Tourist Office. The other, and by far our preferred types, are what is known as Custom. These have probably been made by a local plumber or builder and they can be very quirky but they usually work well and give us a bit of entertainment working out how. The one that caused the great tussle that morning was a Euro Relais – one of the smart, professionally manufactured types. I won’t bore you with the details but my feet got wet, the air got blue and we only managed to get half a tank of water.
Off we went in the direction of Tours to stay in Les Acacias a little campsite at a place called La Ville aux Dames – yes it’s the women’s town! Just to be clear – men are allowed and are alive and well here but the town’s streets are named after famous women in history and there is a massive mural honouring them. Good eh? That doesn’t happen often in this world.
Speaking of the great women in history, we stopped for a break the other day and parked beside a statue of Joan of Arc. She was standing there, proud as punch, holding up her sword but unfortunately, through the motorhome window, she looked to Boo like a threat to his people and he barked at her right through our coffee stop.
That was the same day that we left the dogs in the van for half an hour while we went into the supermarket. Poppy managed to find a baguette we had bought in the boulangerie that morning and eat it. The crime was made worse by the fact that she ate it ON OUR BED! You think toast crumbs are bad in a bed. The crumbs from a baguette are pure evil. At least thirteen attempts to clear the area later and we’re still finding the odd one… usually just under a soft bit of skin as we drift off to sleep. That was one of the few days we wondered about the wisdom of bringing the dogs with us. Every other day we’ve been really pleased we did.
Our last stop before arriving at the campsite was at a massive Carrefour to start the serious business of buying wine to bring home. We decided this year not to bring our usual 80 litre haul back. The main reason being that, believe it or not, we didn’t manage to drink all that we took home last year. So the plan this year is to take back about 20 bottles of the wine we really like for Christmas and New Year. We’re big fans of Vouvray Brut and here we are in the very region they make it, so, nestled under the passenger seats we now have a lovely selection of bubbly, replacing the winter coats that were in that space on the way here and are now out and ready for service.
At the camp site we met two couples on their way south for the winter. We felt a little jealous, just like Rachel and Colin felt about us when we met them in Zarautz all those weeks ago. Life’s a circle as they say and we’ll be round again.