Despite believing that life would get back to normal following the Apricots, we have hit a hitch and have had to come back to the the UK, but we are slowly coming to terms with the fact that normality in ‘Gail and Keith’ world is actually a bit random which shouldn’t really surprise anyone who knows us!
But back to where we were as it has been a couple of weeks….after a day on the bikes on the Sunday, we set off on Monday to walk through the San Joseph vinyards which are spread across the hills above the West Bank of the Rhone – beautiful.
Tuesday was our last day in Tain L’hermitage and we ended up spending it cleaning and cooking ….. A bit of a chocolate fest with double chocolate chip muffins for the evening and some of the extra special brownies which were a present for Florian and Josette.
The evening was a joint celebration as it was Florian’s 21st birthday the day before in addition to the end of season meal and therefore we got a bit of an insight into how young farmers celebrate their birthday in France …. The first present from his friends was a box with two holes in the top which toppled off of Florian’s lap onto the floor. Once picked up and finally opened inside was a baby lop eared rabbit …very cute. The dogs went mad but things started to calm down after about 15 minutes until the friends went back outside and came back in with a 6 month (fully grown) lamb. The poor things was petrified and not surprisingly didn’t want to stay for the meal and tried to make off in every direction to get away from the dogs howling. All settled down however when Florian and his friends managed to get it down into a field below the house enabling us to tuck into an enormous paella which was washed down with copious amounts of wine.
The evening ended with several people (including the birthday boy) being thrown into the swimming pool … Very glad that we didn’t need to get up at 5am the next day 🙂
Rather lazily we got up at 8am-ish, went for a run and packed up the Motorhome to start the route north. We did just over 250km, arriving at Beaune which we thought we hadn’t been to before, but on arrival (and seeing the amazing rooftops), remembered we stopped here for a quick walk after visiting Dijon a couple of years ago. Not a problem though as there is so much walking and cycling to do from here which we didn’t touch on last time, so, we headed for the campsite (Camping Municipal les Cent Vignes GPS n47,03276 e4,83906, 20 euros a night) which was pretty full and very warm. The whole area was heaving with holiday makers but luckily we got one of the last spaces which was home for the next three nights.
On Thursday we set off on the bikes, weaving our way through the vineyards and the surrounding villages which were beautiful.
However on Friday the weather broke and from about 10am in the morning the skies opened and we had a huge storm …. It did cool the air a little though.
Unfortunately it was on Friday that we received news that made us quick foot it back to the UK. As many of you know, my father has been fighting that nasty disease that appears to be appearing in many of our lives, successfully getting through lung cancer two years ago and last year fighting off what had transferred itself into brain tumours. Unfortunately, it is back and the tumours are growing again so we are now back in the UK.
It was a quick journey as we covered most of the ground last Saturday, stopping at an Aire in Hondschoote (Free GPS n50,97591 e 2,5876) before a ferry back on Sunday morning.
We are now staying on a farm half way between Windsor and Maidenhead in a very tranquil field with cows as our only neighbours …. Keith is a little apprehensive each time he has to go and empty the toilet and grey water as he has to go into their field and they appear to want to be closer friends than he wants …. Perhaps over time this relationship may blossom, I however am fairly happy that he empties the grey water and the toilet 🙂