Thursday 23rd June.
We are parked up this evening in a vineyard at Beines, (47.82127 3.71748) between the towns of Chablis and Auxerre. Another France Passion site but this is one of the best so far. The parking area has all the facilities for water and waste and includes free electricity but best of all the Domaine Alain Geoffrey as well as producing some fabulous Chablis has a corkscrew and vineyard museum. Over seven rooms the museum holds tools and artefacts dating back to the eighteenth century, including over 3,000 corkscrews. Everything associated with the tending of vines and wine production is displayed and I mean everything.Its an amazing collection and quite unique. It's been scorching hot again today (now at 7pm it's still 100degF in the van) and it was a pleasure to go into the cool cave and taste the wines. We all know Chablis as a dry white wine but we tasted three different styles from this vineyard, all with their own characteristics. There are now four AOCs for Chablis, produced exclusively from the Chardonnay grape - Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru and Chablis Grand Cru. The seven Grand Cru are grown on just one square kilometre of land on the outskirts of town. We tasted all but the Grand Cru, which was a bit beyond our budget and, once again, increased the van's payload.
Some photos from the museum:
Tomorrow we move on to Champagne country but I think we'll have to give the France Passion sites a miss, the van can't carry much more!
Friday 24th June.
The last two days have been hot and sunny but this morning we looked out of the van windows and it was overcast. But not as overcast as our mood after reading the result of the Brexit referendum. Whilst leaving the EU may be uncomfortable for us, as folk travelling around in a Motorhome, in a few years time, it's not just selfish reasons that have depressed us. I've thought for some time now that England was becoming more insular, less charitable, more racist, less welcoming. A petty, spiteful country always looking backwards and never trying to improve the future but always looking to revive past glories (whatever they were). Years and years of a sour political atmosphere with propaganda and lies stamping all over truth and reality have been the build up to where we are now. It's not just about the Remain's campaign being more to do with the nightmare scenario if we leave rather than the positive aspects of staying within the EU. It's much, much more than that. It's about constantly tampering with an education system which puts league tables and targets before everything else and dictating curriculums. The cream still rise to the top but the rest end up disillusioned on zero hour contracts if they're lucky. It's about the state abrogating it's responsibilities to the nation in favour of increasing the wealth of the wealthiest. It's about cutting services in the name of austerity and comparing managing the finances of a nation to those of a household. It's about MPs fiddling their expenses while other folk queue at food banks. It's about creating unrealistic aspirations whilst meritocracy has never been such a laughable concept. And whilst the nation has never been more divided that creates the breeding ground for the evil rhetoric of the racists. The affluent, well to do racists. And instead of those folk who have been disadvantaged by these neo liberal economic policies seeing through the bullshit of the elites they buy into the anti-foreigner propaganda as being the cause of all their woes. We've gained far more economically, socially, culturally and politically by being part of the EU. Why didn't anybody forcibly put this argument forward? Most folk accept the European Commission needs an overhaul, why didn't our MEPs state they would push for this? Why weren't the fears of a European Army and a Turkish invasion more vigorously refuted? Why didn't the Labour Party identify and explain the real cause of low wages, poor public services, shortage of homes and the other concerns of the disadvantaged living in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet?
Talk about cultural hegemony.
We travel to Greece and see people with nothing helping other people with nothing because of the sympathy and empathy they feel and then we compare that to the response to Syrian refugees by the majority of English people. People escaping a life we can't even imagine being used as scapegoats to further political careers. People who have nothing, who have fled their homes, who have lost family members and friends through war and atrocities. These are the people who take our jobs? Our houses? Who put a strain on our underfunded NHS and education system?
I've not been too elequent in this post, I'm so angry but this article conveys my feelings entirely and I hope you find the time to read it: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/24/eu-vote-uk-diminished-politics-poisoned-racism
Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas.
If anyone's interested we're parked up at Mareuil-sur-Ay (49.04550 4.03344).