The Weasel call was for 9am in the carpark (as ordained by the High Vole himself) so woe betide the Weasel who was tardy. Some weasels managed to get to breakfast (some of us just for the coffee) but we did all manage to get to the car on time. Even Lorna who just had to buy the lemon squirty thing that inflicted serious eye injuries every time anyone used it. You have to ask why, don’t you.
I think Bev and Jon missed breakfast because they didn’t serve anything with gin in it.
Anyway, I was awake at 6:30 because some annoying American woman decided to conduct a very loud phone conversation outside my door. I would have complained but I was trying too hard to hear what she was saying. The woman and whoever she was spending the night with left at 7am which left me with time to snooze before leaving the room for a good few gallons of coffee, some cheese, an egg and something resembling meat, ahead of our trip out to Fontevraud.
At this point I should mention that I have been to Fontevraud and I remember it very well. The fact that John turned left instead of right was because I was updating the Captain’s Log (apparently I’ve been nominated log writer) otherwise I’d have instantly told him to turn right. But we managed to get to the car park, parked up and searched for the abbey…not that it was lost.
Having visited the church and, basically, taken the piss out of just about everything in it (this includes the outrageous Catholic Aardvark) we wandered further down and went into the amazing site that is Fontevraud.
While I have been known to forget things, this place is not easily forgotten. I remembered so well that I immediately recognised the things that were different. For a start the cloister garden is no longer a wooden roller coaster and there’s an amazing story about Richard the Lionheart just beyond his effigy. Sadly the kitchen was closed but I did manage to go down the cellars with Bev and Jon and discover the amazing owl art there.
Julien Salaud makes these amazing images using cotton and nails (not the picture above which is obviously not made of cotton and nails) which resembles either cobwebs or constellations. Pretty amazing stuff given the cellars are completely in darkness except for the rather sexy lighting. Amazing stuff.
Something else that was pretty amazing was the light installation high up above the refectory. The odd thing is that while this image has the lights in white and the walls in red, it was actually the other way around. Weird but true.
Mind you, while we were all amazed by the whole Fontevraud experience, the thing that captured most imaginations was the Lego.
Okay, Eleanor managed to capture a few admiring glances as well. We all love Eleanor because she’s a bit of a Xena character that Darren would be too scared to say hello to.
After hours spent at Fontevraud, we were ready to head for Chinon.
Now I was convinced that I’d never been to Chinon and I was really looking forward to it. The fact that I was continually suffering from bouts of unexpected deja vous notwithstanding, I thought it was just very like another place I’d been to. The entry to the ticket office, the horological tower, the film about Fulk…actually it was during the film about Fulk and the display on Joan of Arc that I suddenly realised that I had been to Chinon. It was in 2014 with Mirinda and Bob. I seriously think I’ll never live it down. The shame I carry is great.
John said I’ve obviously travelled too much if I forget places I’ve been to. Maybe he’s right. Actually John is convinced that I am the reincarnation of Joan of Arc and that’s why I know all these places we’re visiting. Jon then said that if that’s true I’ll probably be really annoyed with the graphic novel of her life that I bought because it will obviously be completely wrong.
Given I remembered where the cafe was, I went and had a lovely grande cafe creme while the others climbed up the horological tower.
We then headed south for our next stopover before the boat. We were headed for the small town of St Junien. I’m pretty certain I’ve never been to St Junien but no-one is exactly convinced by anything I assert anymore. Still, the journey wasn’t about me but rather it was about Brian Blessed and his distinctly odd attempts to navigate the French countryside.
The thing is, the two cars have independent satnavs. Muriel in Weasel 1 and Brian in Weasel 2. Darren (in Weasel 2) was in front so he could use his cruise control and his satnav (Brian) decided to take us on a strange journey through small country lanes and the back gardens of the French elite. A strange villager looked at us as we went by as if she’d never seen a car before. Lorna even saw a signpost with a bra hanging off it. It was all very funny though Darren said he was glad when it was all over.
We did see an amazing aquaduct which none of us took a photo of.
And so we arrived at St Junien and checked in to Le Boeuf Rouge then headed down for a lovely dinner and wine.
Everything was fine until we headed out for a walk to stretch our legs. Bev and Jon had retired for the night but we all decided to hit the late night streets of St Junien possibly to find a cafe for an espresso or something. What we found was not what we were looking for. Madam Edith managed to pick up the strangest woman in St Junien who insisted that she would take us to a place that served coffee and beer. Of course the woman was mad but, possibly because she was mad, we couldn’t get rid of her.
We sort of let Madam Edith off because it was her birthday but tomorrow that will not be the case when she decides to pick up some strange demented local.
Speaking of Madam Edith (who also goes by the name of Anthea) she broke the unwritten but very loudly announced law against mentioning…well, I can’t mention it, obviously. The penalty for mentioning it is 24 hours without alcohol. Madam Edith mentioned it around the time we were looking at the Joan stuff at Chinon. Because it was her birthday we were lenient and allowed her to serve her punishment by wearing the pink birthday tiara of punishment. Which she did.
Here’s a video from Chinon:
Possibly the title of this post requires some explanation…it is courtesy of Jon. When I asked why Darren had parked on the upper level of the Chinon car park, he said because they were Altitudinous Weasels. Then, while we were roaming the countryside behind Brian Blessed we were stuck behind a truck for a bit and I wondered why he was going slower than the normal French drivers. I wondered whether it was because he was carrying some precious cargo. Jon reckoned they were irreplaceable turnips.