12. May, 2022

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THURSDAY 12-05-22

The weather forecast predicted rain from 05:00 this morning, and I just happened to be awake at 05:25 as the first pitter-patters could be heard on the roof. Up I got to close the wide open bedroom window which had helped to keep us cool following a very hot day yesterday, and then it was both roof vents down to their lowest setting. I returned to bed knowing I'd done my duty ...... but that was it. That was the only pitter-patter there was. So much for weather forecasts.

We had a bit of a lie in before making our way over to the unisex toilet and bathroom block. Many campsites have those push-button 'taps' which give you a short period of shower water in order to save them money. You have to continually press the button to get a decent length of shower. This campsite has taken this meanness to a whole new level in that the shower period can be measured in just a few seconds, which means you have to perfect the 'one hand' shower meaning one hand is continually pushing the button in whilst the other is trying to soap you down. It's made worse for me as I shave under the shower as well.

Never mind, we managed and were soon ready for a wander in to town.

So a bit about Souillac:

Souillac is a small market town, and is the hub for the area. This is an agricultural region which is known for its walnuts, strawberries and quiet, rural way of life.

The town is on the main railway line from Paris to Toulouse and is about 15 km (9 mi) south of the Brive-Souillac Airport which has international flights. The most notable building in the town is the abbey church of Sainte-Marie. The domed roofs are similar to but rather smaller than those of Périgueux Cathedral. Fragments of the original Romanesque sculptures are grouped just inside the west door. Behind the abbey church is the Musée de l'Automate which has a large collection of mechanical figures and dolls.

An international jazz festival is held annually in the town in July. The festival was started in 1976 by a group of volunteers enthused by Sim Copans, a United States Army non-combatant in World War I who came to live in nearby Lanzac. The festival features live concerts and other jazz-related activities.

It was only a short walk up the road before we were in the town. The first thing we came across was Abbaye Sainte-Marie, built in the Middle Ages and inspired by the church of Haghia Sophia in Istanbul, though I think that's stretching it a bit. To me it looked in a pretty poor state of repair, especially the domed ceilings which will need more than a box or two of Pollyfilla to sort them out. In fact if I were to attend a service in there I'd want to wear a steel helmet and sit under an open umbrella.

Next door was the Musée de l'Automateand and to kill a bit of time we fancied a look round it. The only problem was it was all locked up which was a shame. Later we came across an advertising sign for it which stated that is was opening on 25th May. I'm assuming that's the time the tourists season kicks off around here. Even the water park next door to the campsite was having its empty pool cleaned in readiness. I'm so glad we are touring around here in May. Had we made a longer trip of it and arrived here from Switzerland and the South of France it would have been well in to June and no doubt, a nightmare to find overnight parking and campsites.

The highlight of the walk out was a look round the local Lidl store on the 'High Street'. As soon as we walked in we could see the much better quality of their fruit and vegetables compared with those we saw (and bought) in E Leclerc's supermarket yesterday. We got so carried away we bought some fresh strawberries and Greek yoghurt to have for dessert tonight, and to top it all I bought another pair of sandals, this pair were of a slightly different design and cost something like eighteen Euros. We we're getting a few drops of rain in the air as we took the plunge and toured the ancient quarter before walking downhill which must lead us to the river eventually. Thankfully it did and we made our way back to the campsite along the 'promenade'.

On our return most of our neighbours had left and there were now just two of us in our half of the campsite. Lunch was enjoyed sat outside as the sky began to clear and we got some sunshine. It didn't last long of course and mid afternoon we had a thunderstorm.

We seldom worried about how level the motorhome is when we're parked on an a Camperstop or campsite, but when travelling during the pandemic we never used the public shower blocks, preferring to shower onboard where we considered it much safer. This meant that if the vehicle wasn't levelled up the shower tray was very slow to drain clear. While we've been here our inflatable Flat-Jack's have created some interested from fellow campers. I'm very pleased they proved superior in performance to the blow up dolls (see pictures on front page of this trip). It would have been very embarrassing to have blown those up under the wheels at each campsite. And then there would have been the man-hating zealots who would have insisted we refer to them as 'Trans Women' or 'Non-binary'.

This evening we were to have had a barbecue, but it's been a cool and cloudy evening and so we've given it a miss. Hopefully we'll get to have one at our next destination.

Souillac was only ever supposed to be the starting point for our run along this section of the Dordogne river. Tomorrow we move on to Domme. I think we'll have to park at the higher, town level to get the panoramic views and then dive down to the municipal campsite. We'll just have to see how it works out.