Sunday, 6 May 2018

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Well, lazy morning 'til night actually. After a busy couple of weeks and a drive of 600 miles over the last three days it was great to do absolutely nothing. With temperatures touching 30° by mid afternoon it has been the perfect weather for idling.

30 degree slump
This morning we took a short stroll around the campsite then walked along the track by the Loire, The site is beautifully situated but slightly quirky. 

View from the site
Any place where statics predominate has a tendency towards the idiosyncratic. Some of the idiosyncrasies are predictable, like the odd figurines decorating pitches. 

As a keen observer of pitch decoration I was delighted to come across a new type of effigy - the strange orange figurine on the left had photo-electric cells for eyes. They glowed menacingly after dark....
Another unusual feature is the pitch with a tiny chalet in one corner and the remaining area cultivated as an allotment. Developing this eco theme further, as well as the now ubiquitous glamping pods, among the trees is a cluster of what is termed on the site plan as the 'campétoiles village' - think rabbit hutches on stilts for humans.

Glamping with vegetables

These days you can expect 'glamping' pods on most sites...

but these? So people can connect with their inner Bugs Bunny?
After a lunch where we made a spirited, if unsuccessful attempt to polish off the Neufchatel cheese and the jambon de Paris that we inadvertently over-bought yesterday, then burnt-off a few calories by cycling to Sully to admire the chateau.

Fromage magnifique!
The castle is very admirable, conforming exactly to preconceptions of the perfect Loire chateau, not overblown and grandiose like Chambord, nor minuscule and chocolate boxy like Chenanceau. 

It has a noble history, sheltering Mazarin during 'Les Frondes' and providing a refuge for Voltaire during his exile from Paris a century later. He upset the Dauphin apparently.

By late afternoon the thermometer notched up to 33°, too hot to cook in the van. Out came the Cadac. The result was an experiment in fusion cooking. We had not planned a BBQ so had to simply invent something from the ingredients to hand.

The skewered chicken bits marinaded in yoghurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice and spices hinted towards the orient, the cherry tomato salad was a tad Italianate and the sauteed potatoes recalled something you might find on a tapas menu. Just to complete the international flavour we finished the bottle of Pinot Gris purchased in the Neudorf Vineyard in the Moutere Valley near Nelson. At $30 plus dollars a bottle it was way beyond our usual budget, but the two bottles we bought, one white, one rosé, was a present to ourselves to celebrate our trip to New Zealand.

The question is, having demolished the white as a toast to the new moho, what occasion has sufficient gravitas to crack open the rosé? It is my birthday tomorrow, but I am leaning towards keeping the Moutere Valley rosé for a beachy BBQ in Corsica as an accompaniment to a fishy dish. It's a plan.

By the time we had finished our meal and washed-up the sun was setting. We walked a few yards down to the river bank, clambered down the levee and across a broad sandbank. In the west, downstream, a golden light shimmered on the smooth water like a bronzed mirror, a few birds sang among the darkening trees, the air was warm and voluptuous; it had been a perfect day.

There are times when France can be profoundly beautiful, like nowhere else on the planet, on days like this it exudes a simple grandeur, alluring, immersive, a magnificent peacefulness


  1. Hi, it’s great to you are back on your travels, after following your blog for so long I’m excited to say that at long last we are setting off on our first European adventure this week. I finished work at Easter and have been sorting the house, kids and van out since then but at last we are finally on our way. It’s France & Spain this trip, heading south towards Valencia then down to Malaga before heading back in July. Needless to say the route is a bit vague, but I’m sure it will all work out. Thanks again for your blog, it’s been one of my main sources of inspiration.
    Steve & Jill

  2. Great to hear that finally you have escaped your desk! Good luck with your travel plans - the route sounds great. If you are in Valencia try to track down the Bar Mercat in the Central Market - it provides Michelin star level food at affordable prices. I keep the blog mainly to record our experiences for ourselves, but its wonderful to hear about it inspiring others. All the best to you and Jill, one day our paths may cross.