This is the start of a week long trip down through France by car, primarily to visit our friends Mike and Sheila who have lived in the Gers region, near Pau, for the last 15 years. We are accompanied by two other mutual friends, John and Sue, and we plan to take a couple of days to reach Pau, and then 3 days on the return leg. We have booked into some b&bs en route. Generally these will be rooms in historic houses and we’ve chosen ones that also provide a table d’hote dinner as part of the rate, so that we don’t have to drive out again in the evening.
So, with that in mind we set off from Hawkinge this morning at around 720 am en route to Dover. I’d made some croissants for breakfast together with homemade preserves. They tasted very nice although they were sadly a bit misshapen. I hadn’t got the roll and twist quite right this morning… No matter, they hit the spot. It was a bit foggy when we set off although warm but it was clearing as we reached the docks.
The sea was like a millpond today which was lucky as Sue is not an enthusiastic sailor. We went up on deck to see the white cliffs fade into the mist. I practised a bit with Facebook Live video which I am still not too hot at!!! I keep forgetting how to turn the camera off with the result that my clips end up with daft shots of my feet or in this case the deck. Still, it can only get better.
Our destination today was the small village of Saint-Georges-sur Cher in the Loire Valley. Staying at a b&b called La Roseraie http://www.laroseraiedevrigny.com/ which I had found in Alistair Sawaday’s Special Places to Stay. We have stayed at many of his recommended properties over the years and they have never disappointed. It was about a 5 hour drive from the ferry and it was a smooth, rather boring trip, down the autoroute. Not cheap. The tolls were around 47 euro. On the plus side there was hardly any traffic. We stopped for a cheap lunch at a motorway services that gave the lie to the notion that you can’t get a bad meal in France. Pretty disgusting as were the loos.
The weather got hotter as we headed south, and it was in the very high 20s when we reached La Roseraie, a very very pretty historic house in the tiny village. It is run by Rosalind and John, an elderly British couple who are excellent hosts with a wealth of stories to tell. After a rest, we all met under the willow tree in the garden for a bottle of fizz and began to get to know our hosts. Our drinks were enlivened by the appearance of a number of balloons flying low over our heads. We then moved inside to the lovely traditional salon for a multi course gourmet meal, courtesy of Rosalind and served by John. There were at least 5 courses washed down with a lovely local white wine and then a bottle of red. The cheese board was very memorable and we ended with coffees at around 11pm!!!!!
Absolutely tired out, retired to bed and a good sleep.