10. Jun, 2022

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FRIDAY 10-06-22

I'd been lying in bed frustrated that I couldn't get an internet connection to upload yesterday's blog. So much so that I got up at 01:00 and had another try, again without success, so back to bed I went. But I continued to think about the problem. If The Chef could get a good connection and I couldn't then it wasn't the Mi-Fi or the strength of the signal. Then I realised that although I now use Firefoix as my browser, I also had Google Chrome installed, so up I got again and gained access to the internet through Chrome. My word, I had the uploads done in no time. Afterwards when I tried to delete Firefox, they advised me to try an update first, which I did, and it seems to have sorted the problem, though I think I may well give Google Chrome priority when it comes to uploading to the blog.

It was a fairly peaceful night, but we didn't hurry to get out of bed as there wasn't much for us to do except have a wander around Honfleur.

Once we were scrubbed up and fed we caught up on the news online. At the same time a lot of motorhomes were leaving, including two across from us, that was it - engine started and across to the other side of the 'road' we went, with me quickly getting our hook-up cable connected before anybody else beat us to it. Phew! These Camperstops are alright, but it can be a bit 'Law of the Jungle' because there are no rules and nobody manages the sites.

Once we were hooked up I got the Dyson hand held vacuum cleaner out of the rear garage. I had tried to use it a couple of days ago, and seconds after it started, it died. That's the problem with these Dyson's, there's no half measure. they either work 100% or they just suddenly stop working altogether without warning. It was very annoying because if I'd realised the battery was getting low I could have charged it at our one-night stay at the campsite in Bayeux.

Once we were settled I started topping up the fresh water tank. It was a time consuming business because for 100 motorhomes there is one dump station containing one grey water drain, one toilet dump, and one fresh water tap. I tell you, it was like something out of the Third World down there, both in activity, smell, and being a bit wet under foot. I think I made six trips, sometimes having to queue behind other campers with watering cans who also wanted water. I think I made six trips in the end.

The reason for the need to get filled up was that The Chef had decided to have a shower today before we left town, because with having electricity, she could also blow dry it. I've decided to have mine tomorrow morning followed by a complete change in to clean clothes for our journey home.

Once the tank was full and the loo emptied we made our way in to town. We'd been there before, but this time were using it as a staging post to get ourselves closer to Calais for tomorrow morning. the last time we were here the sun was shining in a blue sky, but we weren't so lucky today, with i starting off promising, hence we both took our sunglasses, but ended up cloudy, with a chance of light rain.

So a bit about Honfleur:

Honfleur  is located on the southern bank of the estuary of the River Seine across from le Havre and very close to the exit of the Pont de Normandie. Its inhabitants are called Honfleurais.

It is especially known for its old port, characterised by its houses with slate-covered frontages, painted many times by artists, including in particular Gustave Coubet, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet, and Johan Jongkind, forming the école de Honfleur (Honfleur school) which contributed to the appearance of the Impressionist movement. The Sainte-Catherine church, which has a bell tower separate from the principal building, is the largest wooden church in France.

The church is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria as evidenced by a wooden sculpture above the porch of the bell tower which separates the two naves. She is shown holding a wheel and a sword. The first nave is the oldest part of the building, dating to the second half of the 15th century, constructed right after the Hundred Years War. It was built on the model of a market hall, using naval construction techniques, which gives the impression of an upside-down ship's hull. Then the bell tower was built a good distance away, so that parishioners would not be burnt in case of a fire. Indeed, the bell tower did draw lightning strikes due to its height and its position on the side of a hill. In the 16th century, a second nave was added, whose vault was like the wooden vaults of modest Gothic churches. This second part was rather rounder, and did not look like a ship's hull. Later, supplementary bays were added to both naves.

The famous "Axe masters" of the naval yards of the city created this lovely building without using any saws, just like their Norman ancestors (who can be seen in action in the Bayeux Tapestry), and like the Vikings before them.

The beams used to create the pillars of the nave and the side walls are of unequal length, because there were no oak trees long enough to construct them uniformly. Also, some have a footing of stone, some of greater or lesser height, and some have no footing.

The first written record of Honfleur is a reference by Richard III, Duke of Normandy, in 1027. By the middle of the 12th century, the city represented a significant transit point for goods from Rouen to England.

Located on the estuary of one of the principal rivers of France with a safe harbour and relatively rich hinterland, Honfleur profited from its strategic position from the start of the Hundred Years War. The town's defences were strengthened by Charles V in order to protect the estuary of the Seine from attacks from the English. This was supported by the nearby port of Harfleur. However, Honfleur was taken and occupied by the English in 1357 and from 1419 to 1450. When under French control, raiding parties often set out from the port to ransack the English coasts, including partially destroying the town of Sandwich in Kent, England, in the 1450s.

At the end of the Hundred Years' War, Honfleur benefited from the boom in maritime trade until the end of the 18th century. Trade was disturbed during the wars of religion in the 16th century. The port saw the departure of a number of explorers, in particular in 1503 of Binot Paulmierde Gonneville to the coasts of Brazil. In 1506, local man Jean Denis departed for Newfoundland island and the mouth of the Saint Lawrence. An expedition in 1608, organised by Samuel de Champlain, founded the city of Quebec in modern-day Canada.

After 1608, Honfleur thrived on trade with Canada, the West Indies, the African coasts and the Azores. As a result, the town became one of the five principal ports for the slave trade in France. During this time the rapid growth of the town saw the demolition of its fortifications on the orders of Colbert.

The wars of the French revolution and the First Empire, and in particular the continental blockade, caused the ruin of Honfleur. It only partially recovered during the 19th century with the trading of wood from northern Europe. Trade was however limited by the silting up of the entrance to the port and development of the modern port at Le Havre. The port however still functions today.

Honfleur was liberated together by the British army – 19th Platoon of the 12th Devon's, 6th Air Landing Brigade, the Belgian army on 25 August 1944 and the Canadian army without any combat.

It's hard to talk up a wander around a town you've been to before, but it's worth a visit, we won't come again, but if we did we would find a better way of doing it than staying at PikeyWorld.

By the time we got 'home' we hadn't spent a penny, other than a baguette for lunch.

This afternoon The Chef enjoyed her long hot shower and hair wash whilst I acted as her coulee fetching her replacement water for the tank.

While all that was going on I got rid of the grey water. The grass behind the motorhome looked as if it could do with a drink, and here was no way I was going anywhere near that Third World dump station again.

When we left at about 15:30 The Chef asked "Are we going to the dump station?" to which I simply replied, "Sorted".

The journey to Boulogne took about three hours, much of it travelled at 70-80mph, but I just wanted to get it done. So here we are, having parked up for the night at the Auchan supermarket (N50.732708° E1.67144°) (the shopping complex and parking area is so big, that if you want their filling station it's at N50.732708 E1.668152°), where we started off our trip five and a half weeks ago.

Tomorrow morning we head for Citi Europe down the road.