Saturday 23rd August.
We are parked up tonight in Bourganeuf in the Limousin region, thirty or so kilometres east of Limoges. We stopped here on the way to Saumur because we read that there is a medieval centre to the village. This is true but does not tell the whole story. Far be it from me to quibble over these things but a couple of restored towers, a church and a statue do not, in all honesty, make a medieval centre. There is a "tour" at 11am every Wednesday in July and August. Unfortunately we won't be here then.
We spent yesterday and this morning in Aubusson which for five hundred years from the C14th was a centre for tapestry weaving and during it's heyday employed thousands of folk weaving and painting the originals from which the tapestries were weaved. I'm not sure how we ended up in a private museum, paying five euros each for a tour, wherein the English guide explained in poorly accented French to the French visitors the process and details of tapestry production in great detail and then, occasionally, vaguely, waved her hands around the room and muttered a few words in English to us. Never mind, I did discover that there are only two places left making tapestries in the town today; it takes approximately three months to weave a square metre and that's why it's mostly Sheiks buying them nowadays. Aubusson is a pretty town though and well worth half a day of anyone's time.
Tomorrow we set off for Bellac, a small town north of Limoges. We stopped there last year after our first trip abroad in the Motorhome and it's a lovely little town with a Roman bridge over the river. It was December then and freezing cold, we hope it will be a little warmer tomorrow. It is getting cooler now as we travel further north and our tans are fading fast although I refuse to swop my shorts for jeans until it's absolutely necessary.
Sunday 24th August.
We are parked up this afternoon in the village of Bellac. We are adjacent to the spaces reserved for Motorhomes which are currently occupied by cars which is a little bit irritating but, hey ho, we are parked up and when the picnickers have gone we can move over I guess.
We've now been for lunch in a bistro next to the river with views up to the town and very nice it was. We came back for a quick siesta and then back to watch a couple of guys with guitars playing Beatles songs and other '60s tunes. I have to say they were pretty good and they did a two hour set and the river with the village towering above made a great backdrop. The bistro accommodates maybe a hundred people on the outside terrace and it was packed. Not just packed but full of English people, residents and tourists. The bistro is owned by an English guy and is for sale for €196,000. I think that's a bit steep as you're only going to make any money for, maybe, six months of the year but it's a lovely setting and if I was a few years younger I'd be tempted.
Whilst we meet some lovely folk as we travel around we also meet some, what you might call, odd folk. Today, as we had lunch a strange couple of guys arrived, one in a kilt with a London accent and on crutches and his pal who looked the worse for wear on arrival. While we enjoyed our lunch they fired down about four pints each and when we returned after an hour or so they were still going strong but wobbling a bit. They were then joined by their wives/partners who looked hammered when they arrived and who then proceeded to quaff two bottles of Rose and then the arguments started as to who was driving the car! Eventually the least pissed of the two women staggered up to the car, (13 plate Range Rover) drove to the top of the hill, came back down and then reversed into the C12th bridge to the amusement of the locals and the horror of the rest of us.
We then got into conversation with a Swedish guy who lives in the town and whose partner is from Liverpool. He seemed quite pleasant at first but then as the conversation progressed we realised we had a moaning racist in our midst. Apparently every crime that occurred in the town was committed by immigrants and why should we park for free with somewhere to empty our waste and get free water and not pay? I gently explained that it didn't cost a great deal for the local commune to provide three parking spaces, a tap and a drain but he wasn't having it. I mentioned that we had bought a roast chicken from the butchers, a meal for two and a few beers whilst watching the band and so had probably dropped the best part of a hundred euros into the local economy? Still he went on and on moaning until, eventually, we bade him farewell.
The twelfth century bridge in Bellac.
The three camping car parking spaces in Bellac (zoom in on the sign).
Ex pats and locals enjoying the band.