Vilenueve-Loubet, week two
I was up in good time this morning as I had my washing to do. The forecast was for showers this afternoon and so I was hoping that an early start would give it time to dry before it rained. There I was at the laundry sinks wearing just my swimming shorts and flip-flops, everything else that had been worn but not yet washed and ironed was in the sink.
As I worked away my heart gladdened as the first of numerous Italian motorhomes left the campsite. They really are an unsociable lot, just about everybody else on this or any other campsite will always acknowledge each other with a 'Good Morning' in whatever the local lingo happens to be, you don't have to be able to speak a language to be polite and friendly, but the Italians make no effort whatsoever. Never mind, tomorrow morning I'll wake up again an Englishman, and no matter what they may wish for, they're still going to wake up as Italians, so that makes me feel good.
Once all the washing was pegged up it was time for a shower then breakfast. We agreed last night that we must make the effort to get out today as it is our last day here. Since The Chef has translated the advertisement for The Hippodrome racetrack as a car boot sale rather than a horse race meeting we thought we'd go along to that for something to do, at least we'd be able to take a closer look at the complex.
As we approached there was a horse and trap, or whatever they call them, trotting round the track with a rider. I made my way to the perimeter fence in the hope it would come round the oval track again and I could get a picture of it. Sadly it was one trick pony and I didn't get my picture.
The car boot was heaving, these French really do enjoy a car boot. many of the stalls were clearly traders of sorts, nobody has that much tat in their garage or loft, but for somebody who collects something in particular then these are the places to come. Needless to say there was nobody selling underarm deodorant, there just isn't the call for it here. Never mind, take shallow breaths and enjoy not having flies around.
I deliberately left my wallet back at the motorhome and Rosina had only bought out a €10 note. I did something I don't normally do at a car boot sale - I bought something. A small, round metal bowl in which I could sit citronella scented tea tree candles. They're supposed to keep flying bugs at bay, and the glass container we bought with us isn't nearly deep enough resulting in the candles getting blown out easily.
We decided to return via the promenade, but joining it further down towards the Cagnes-sur-Mer end. This was very nice and we got to see bits we'd not visited before including the nice sandy beach area. Oddly enough there were more people on the pebble beach further down than there were on the sand, perhaps they weren't aware of the existence of the sandy area.
There was a breakwater sticking out in to the sea and so we walked along it, rewarded by a different perspective of Villeneuve-Loubet. Standing with our backs to the sea we could pan round the entire bay starting with Antibes to the west, our left, round past the railway station, marina complex and village of Villeneuve-Loubet, the Hippodrome racetrack, Cagnes-sur-Mer, including a view of the Old Town on the hill we'd walked up to last week, then round to the other edge of the bay which is the end of the runway for Nice Airport. Nice itself being round the corner in the next bay. I cursed that I'd bought the little pocket camera out with me but hadn't bought the video.
By then it was time for lunch and so we wandered back to 'base camp'. Despite the sunshine, my line of washing wasn't drying too well which was surprising as much of it is special travel wear, having a fairly high nylon content for quick drying.
After lunch I decided to pop back down to the beach with the video camera and try and get a shot of the bay, it is likely to be a while before we ever come back here again, so if I don't do it today I won't get to do it for a while. The Chef said she fancied going down to the beach for a bit of sunbathing and so we set off at different times. I to do the videoing and she to soak up some sunshine. Needless to say the light had changed in the two hours since I'd been down there last, and the cloud and haze was increasing, never mind, you have to work with what you've got.
That done I took a walk along the promenade and a quick trip in to the marina complex for a few more video shots. That done it was back to base to sort out my laundry.
It was still not drying well and the cloud was starting to look a bit threatening, it was a race against time. I plugged the iron in and rigged up the small travel ironing board. Everything got a good rub over with the iron, then put back up on the line in the hope they'd continue drying and airing. After a while most of it was ok, but just needed a helping hand. That was when I bought in the big guns. The Chef's hairdryer on a long extension lead. So there I was walking along a line of washing trying to blow it dry with hot air. It worked fairly well by the time the first thunderstorm and rain arrived two hours later than forecast.
Just about everything is packed away now ready to hit the road again. The plan is to get a fair amount of shopping from the supermarket when it opens again in the morning, then final preparations before leaving for St Tropez. There's a commercial Aire along the bay from the town and we'll look to get there and get settled before visiting the town on Tuesday. From St Tropez we start heading north, making our way to a campsite at a place called Lalley, south of Grenoble. If we're lucky we might get a bit of hiking in there for a few days before heading towards Switzerland.
We're both pleased to be moving on, the time feels right though it's been nice to have had a few days of hot sunny weather and time off the road.
This evenings meal has been Spaghetti Bolognese, made with a jar of Italian sauce purchased in a French supermarket. It doesn't get more European than that.
Possibly after a couple of nights in St Tropez we'll be back with Wi-Fi at our Lalley campsite.
A bit of a nothing day really due mainly to the weather. BBC Weather was forecasting a dry morning and a wet afternoon, showers after 14:00. With this in mind, and the fact that we would be on the move Monday morning The Chef cleaned and rolled up the large groundsheet mat we peg down outside the vehicle to avoid picking up rubbish from the pitch and traipsing it in.
That done she did some hand washing in the hope it would dry before the rains came. A considerable number of chores done, we ventured out to do a bit of shopping down at the supermarket. I did say that I would rather like to treat myself to an English paper from the local newsagents-cum-coffee shop down the road, so we made for there first and bought a Daily Telegraph for a staggering €5 (about £4). In to the supermarket we went armed with our shopping list. Tonight The Chef had decided we would have a stir fry, the first of the trip, and tomorrow, a Spaghetti Bolognese. To embrace local cuisine we chose a jar of French Bolognese sauce and for tonight a jar of mixed vegetables for the stir fry plus some noodles. This would be enhanced by some cut up chicken breast. This eating foreign cuisine ain't so bad after all.
Upon our return to base camp we carried on with a few chores, our theory being that we had to be ready to leave the campsite Monday morning, so any chores we get done today will leave us more time to enjoy our last day here in, what is forecast to be, better weather tomorrow, although of course they have been known to be wrong.
The good old BBC, forecast rain showers at 14:00, and they were twenty minutes out. Later we had thunderstorms, but not too much rain.
Stuck indoors my mind drifted to a road name we had seen regularly over here including down the road in Cagnes-sur-Mer. Avenue Charles De Gaulle. At the outbreak of WW11 General De Gaulle fell out with the President of France who wanted to capitulate to the Nazi's, which he did creating the Vichy line, where north of it they'd fight the Nazi's and south of it they'd agree to be occupied, make the most of it and sit out the war.
De Gaulle wanted to resist the Nazis but without an army (they'd all put their hands in the air pretending to be Italians) he 'relocated' to England, where he lead the 'Free France' resistance movement. Not from a bunker I might add, but from a country mansion in southern England. His family would have been expected to live there with him but elected to live in London instead. Now given a choice of surviving the London Blitz or seeing the war out in a country mansion in southern England, most would have considered the latter, but no, The Blitz it was. That must have been some happy marriage.
Charles De Gaulle's codename during his period of résistance was I understand 'Le Beak'. Anglo French relations were not helped by the local Officers Mess who continually treated him to bags of pistachio nuts and asking 'Who's a pretty boy?' To his family though, he was just known affectionately as 'Polly'.
The downside of all of this was when things started going well for Britain and her Allies, and as France was being liberated the Yanks refused to let 'Le Beak' head the Victory Parade through Paris. He never forgave the Yanks, or us for this, kicking American NATO troops out of France years later. For us he made life difficult, nay impossible, to join the EU in its formative years. That's revenge for you from a Frog who enjoyed safety in Blighty during the war in the comfort of a Sussex country mansion.
The only good thing to come out of all of this was that he did in fact inspire the design of the front end of Concorde, for which we should all be grateful since we beat the Yanks hands down on supersonic passenger flights.
...............Well I had to write something.
Tomorrow is forcast to be cloudy in the morning and wet all afternoon and so we are going to try and get the rest of ours chores and washing done first thing in the morning and then go down to the beach one last time as we are on the move tomorrow.