Thursday, 14 June 2018


Here we are in France again. Although we had no hold ups or hiccups of any kind I found the journey tedious this year. Newcastle to Folkstone, with a break at Hatfield Forest (NT) near Stansted airport, is around 300 miles. We had booked into the Ibis at Abbeville where we had dinner and Tim behaved like an angel. Next morning we gave him a good 7.30am walk in the parc, then set off for another 450 miles with several short stops for him and us to stretch out legs.

Getting near our destination, We stopped at the local Intermarché and bought a few essentials so that DH would not have to get the car out on the road again the very next day. Once we left the main road for the almost single track leafy lane that led down into our valley, the sun came out and the world changed. I forgot the journey and started enjoying the greenery around me. It was 5.30 in the evening so we did little more than unload the car, eat pizza and drink a couple of glasses of wine while we enjoyed the view over green fields sitting on the balcony in the sunshine.

The fun came later. We had purchased a netting mosquito tent to save us from being bitten as we sleep, and we struggled to put it up. It sort of “pops up,” supported by four bendy canes placed one at each corner. They are an integral part of the structure, so no sliding in canes or anything that might bring back memories of putting up a tent when camping in the great outdoors. For a few seconds we had our structure up, and then one “leg” bent and sagged. It took us a good half hour of snapping the poles rigid and trying to hold them all in situ before we finally got it right. We unzipped and climbed inside and then realised we couldn’t put out the light! Worse still, we thought of trying to leave the tent for any reason in the dark and even worse than that, trying to get back in.

We managed, though we had the lights on again at one in the morning. Since we’d retired at something like half nine, that wasn’t at all bad, and we weren’t bitten. We woke at first light, around half five, and decided to get up. All in all we’d slept well, even if the tent was sagging in one corner.
Since the day is grey with only fleeting bursts of sun and much more frequent threats of rain, we have confined ourselves to snipping the greenery around the house, saving a lizard trapped in a pot it couldn't get out of and a frog that  appeared on the bolly - we had to stop Tim attacking it. Everything is hugely overgrown due to all the recent rain, the stream is full and the corner near the water is waterlogged. We can hear the weir from the drive, but it would take a machete to reach it and see what it looks like. Tim is having a grand time rushing through the grass, running in circles for the sheer joy of it, and we’ve spotted some big fish in the lake. So the coypu hasn’t got them all.

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