Thursday, 27 April 2017

Spring weather

Tuesday 25th April 2017   Lapalisse, (N46.250225 E3.635375) I'm sure, would be lovely if the sun were shining. It was when we arrived so we set off for the C12th Chateau. The description suggested that there were still many of the original details and a tour was only a few euros including the large gardens. But it was a Tuesday. Closed! In fact everything was closed except a kebab shop with a sad looking streak of lamb on a silent spit. Oh well, back to the van and........the heavens opened. It rained for 12 hours without a break. When we arrived there were a couple of motorhomes parked up and by early evening there were 20 plus but no chance of conversation with our neighbours as we were all sheltering from the rain with the heating on full blast.  We've been lucky with the weather since we left Spain, we had one night of rain in Vic but apart from that it's been sunny, although a little chilly in the mornings, so nothing to complain about really. Unfortunately the lights and heating, coupled with the WiFi booster and charging of IPads/phones etc took its toll on the leisure battery and by mid evening the monitor was suggesting that it was getting a bit distressed (as were we). We have a 100w solar panel on the roof and usually we have some sunshine to top up the battery and, coupled with the charge from the alternator when we are driving, we don't usually see the battery running low. But short journeys and cloudy days don't help.   Wednesday 26th April 2017.   We set off this morning heading to Beaune where we've stopped a couple of times before(N47.01754 E4.83669). It's a lovely town and the motorhome parking area has a supermarket next door and WiFi courtesy of the Mercure hotel opposite. It also has an electric hook up point where we got 4 hours of electricity to top up the battery for €4. It pretty much rained all day so we didn't revisit the town, the old infirmary or the mustard factory although they are all highly recommended. The drive from Lapalisse was mostly scenic, especially when we drove alongside the Canal du Centre after stopping at Ecuisses for water. Ah, water. We have a tank that gives us about three days of water if we each shower every day and wash dishes etc..., despite this I like to top up every day if possible but I don't like paying for water. Many of the motorhome service areas now have a service point which accepts jettons which are purchased from the Marie/boulangerie/cafe or local tabac. This is not unreasonable, I guess if the machine took euros it would pretty soon be robbed and vandalised but it is a nuisance. But, the toilet cassette rinsing points supply water free although it says it is NOT DRINKING WATER! Now, I can't believe they have two water supplies to the same facility and we drink bottled water anyway, so it's out with the antiseptic wipes, clean the tap and eh voila! Fresh water! This we did at Ecuisses.    Thursday 27th April 2017   Nearly twenty years ago our eldest daughter gave birth to her first son whilst living in Tavernay, just outside Autun. Phil came out a couple of weeks after the birth and then a few months later we both came out with our son and one of his school pals. During that visit we came into Autun one day and had lunch at La Tete Noire where our son had Duck breast in black currant sauce which he still talks about today. So, although they say you should never go back, this morning we set off from Beaune for the short drive to Autun. We parked up with a view across the lake to the hills (N46.95099 E4.31152) put on our finest and set off to the restaurant. We both had the Pike soufflé to start (isn't Pike out of season now, in April?), delicious! We're in Bourgogne so Phil had to have Coq au Vin and, just to make our son jealous I had the Duck.  Cheese, a pudding, good wine, coffee and Armagnac, what's not to like? Twenty years ago I remember the service as being a little formal but today it was relaxed but I swear it was the same Maitre'd from two decades ago. Before we went into the restaurant it was windy and chilly, when we came out it was snowing! When we got back to the van - after a short cut through the cemetery - the sun was shining. April weather eh?    A couple of days ago there were twenty plus vans in Lapalisse, there were twenty seven last night in Beaune; there are a half dozen here this afternoon in Autun and by tonight it will probably be twenty plus again. But where are the Brits? We haven't seen a British motorhome since Port Vendre three weeks ago!    6.30pm now and..............hailstones!!!!!!     Pat

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