Today had a very leisurely start and continued along that vein managing to get increasingly leisurely as they crept along. It marked the beginning of the third part of our French holiday. I have to admit that breaking the two weeks up into three distinct parts does make it feel like it goes on for ages.
So, after a sleep in and breakfast with Madame then Mirinda having a swim, we packed the car and started our journey south. However, before I go too far down those French roads, I feel I have to mention the bathroom issues at the chateau.
Everything was fine up to last night. Before leaving for the restaurant I wanted to have a shower. I set myself up by manipulating the complex screen apparatus and turned the water on to get nowt but a dribble. In fact, the pressure was so non-existent that the little button you lift to transfer the water from tap to shower, refused to stay up.
No shower for me then. I figured the water pressure was down because the grandkids were visiting and were probably having showers before bedtime. I dressed, figuring I’d have a shower when we returned from the restaurant. This was a hope too far. Still no pressure and now no hot water. We went to bed planning to tell Madame in the morning.
Come the morning and the situation had not improved so Madame wandered where ever people wander in ancient buildings, looking for the problem which she didn’t actually find. She did however come up with an alternative shower that did work (don’t ask me how) in the room that attached to the mysterious tower tacked on the end of the building.
What this meant was that Mirinda could have a swim. Which she did. Then a shower. Which she did while I packed. We then set off.
Now people might say I forget places I’ve visited SOMETIMES but sometimes I just stop somewhere and with a shock of familiarity realise I’ve been there before. Not like in a past life or any of that nonsense. Like today, for instance. We’d reached the halfway point of the halfway point of the drive and Mirinda wanted to pull over for a rest in an Aire de Repose. One turned up almost like magic and we turned into it…albeit entering the exit by accident.
As we drove around looking for a spot (it was full of families with dogs and picnics and clamped bicycles) when this self same feeling swept over me. It all seemed ridiculously familiar. The car parked we got out and looked at each other. Almost as one we said “I’ve been here before!” And we had.
We think it was during our 2014 Dordogne holiday with Bob. Maybe he can remember because I can’t find any reference in the blog. The town was called Moulismes but more memorable would have been the red chairs, rank coffee and mini lake. Not that it matters, really but it does highlight how often we come to France if we recognise individual rest stops.
What is perhaps more surprising was our next stop which was the halfway mark of the day’s driving. Last night we’d worked out the best spot to stop for lunch. It was roughly halfway. When I looked up information about the town I discovered it had a population of around 11,000 and was renowned for making very nice gloves. So nice, in fact, that Melania Trump wore a pair during Trump’s ill-attended inauguration.
This of course gave rise to much hilarity and expectation of big signs proclaiming the fact. It was not to be, however. The townspeople had clearly decided not to use the Trump name to further their capitalist ideals. Instead they chose to ignore the fact.
So we drove into the centre of Saint Junien and parked. As I left the car I spotted a hotel across a roundabout and I just knew I’d been there before. In fact I pointed out to Mirinda the window of the room in which I stayed.
In the words of Lorna, I appear to be on a Weasel pilgrimage. After the Poitiers sojourn and visit, she maybe right. I cast my mind back to September 22, 2017 and I discover I have visited Saint Junien before. The proof, if proof be needed, is here for all to read.
From memory (backed up by my blog) it wasn’t the nicest of towns however, that which stinks in September can be glorious come the following July. The place was lovely. AND we found an open restaurant that served an amazing salad and local beer.
It was almost like there’s two versions of Saint Junien – the miserable months and the merry months. And I’ve seen both. We also saw a church that the Weasels didn’t see because we didn’t walk far enough down the grandly named Grand Rue.
And something I spotted as we were leaving town was a delightfully naked statue proclaiming someone called the Muse of Corot. She is reaching out, beseeching someone like a siren reaching for a sailor. I don’t remember it and was wondering whether any Weasels sneaked up for a look at her.
Of course, I could have forgotten.
So, finally we then drove on to our next place of residence, Tremolat in the Dordogne. We are staying in a self catering place for a week and really looking forward to exploring the area (re-exploring in some cases) while sleeping in a lot. Mind you, this was the first thing I did when I arrived.
It was perfect.
The other thing I did was watch Croatia narrowly beat Russia in the World Cup. And, believe it or not, Croatia will now play England in the semi-finals. It’s just extraordinary.