France 2013, A post script.

We have been back home a few days now. The ‘truck’ has been mucked out, vacuumed out, washed and tidied ready for the next trip which is already planned and booked. The pile of post has been opened and sorted and finally I have posted photos onto this blog.

This has been a great trip, perhaps the best yet, but then we say that every time we come home. The weather has been pretty good, spoiled a little by strong winds when we were on the Med, but it was autumn and one can’t always expect wall to wall sunshine………even in France.

There is always the temptation to return exclusively to places and sites that you have enjoyed in the past but we always seem to mix a few favorites with new places and that is what we did this time. It means that we didn’t get to visit Stu & Syb at the lovely Le Chant this time but no doubt we will go back there in the future along with the many other places we have found and enjoyed. In four weeks there is just not enough time to do everything one would like but that means we will have an excuse to go back to France soon. One place we will certainly return to is Gascony. We were blown away by the lovely countryside and old towns and villages in this very ancient area.

La legende des chats.

There is a rather touching story that I didn’t include when we were at the lovely old village of La Romieu in Gascony. It is a local legend that the lady in the tourist office told us about when we asked her the relevance of all the carved stone cats around the village.

One of the many cats at La Romieu.

One of the many cats at La Romieu.

In the Middle Ages the village became very poor and when crops started to fail the villagers became more and more hungry. So hungry that they started eating the many cats that roamed around the area. That had the effect of allowing the population of rats to increase, which in turn bought plague and disease to the village as well as them eating any grain and food that was available.

Out in the countryside was a strange young woman called Angeline who lived with a large collection of cats. When the rat population became so bad in the village Angeline came, with her cats, and hunted the rats eventually saving the population. The legend says that Evangeline became so close to her cats that eventually she became half cat half woman.

Cats in La Romieu

Cats in La Romieu

Angeline. The cat woman and saviour of La Romieu.

Angeline. The cat woman and saviour of La Romieu.

The ‘Truck’.

Kate gets terribly wound up when I call the motorhome ‘the truck’, insisting that “it is not a truck it’s a motorhome”. At 26′ long, 8′ wide, over 10′ high and weighing well over 4 tons it is a bit of a truck but I took some pics of a real truck masquerading as a motorhome while we were at Beaugency. I makes my ‘truck’ look a bit of a wimp!

This motorhome is no wimp.

This motorhome is no wimp.

Brutalis. A brute of a motorhome.

Brutalis. A brute of a motorhome.

The fashionable French.

The French have a certain reputation to maintain. They like to think that they are cosmopolitan,  well read, well dressed and that they lead the world in fashion.

I just thought that I should put this reputation to the test by photographing almost the first Frenchman we saw after arriving at our first destination of this trip.

French fashion icon. What the well dressed Frenchman wears.

French fashion icon. What the well dressed Frenchman wears.

Cut down jeans, accessorised with broad braces, slip on shoes with woollen socks and a tatty old cap. Could this be the centre of next years collection for the well dressed man?

And finally—

Been home for a whole week and we are getting itchy feet already. The next trip is planned and, because we are in the UK, sites have been booked in advance (something I would not dream of doing in France).

We are off soon for a weekend at Incleborough Fields near Cromer, then on to Woodhall Spa and RAF Coningsby for a decent dose of jet noise. From there we will spend a few days at Sandringham in Norfolk.


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