Angouleme onwards to La Rochelle.

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We really enjoyed out stay near Angouleme, and having found the canal cycle path we decided to go all the way into Angouleme the following day.

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We had to sit out some rain that morning but managed to get the bikes out that afternoon.

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There’s some beautiful buildings on the way in, and once we almost killed ourselves cycling up a massive hill into the city centre, we then enjoyed the cafe culture around the little squares that we found – we have learnt to take our own flask of coffee, as even 2 white coffees can set you back about 6€!

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From there we moved on the following morning towards La Rochelle, and although one aire we looked at had been shut down, we found a great place we’d never managed to stop at, at Port Minimes. Overlooking the harbour across the entrance from the town itself, with a waterbus if you needed it taking you right into the centre of the old town.

La Rochelle has a great cycle path system, so we loved pootling around that on Friday and Saturday before the massive storm set in with thunder and lightning,  and hail! Not something we see very often in Spain, so in a weird way we enjoyed watching it from being tucked up inside the van.

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The prime reason we’d moved this far up the country was to escape the worst of the weather, and get some vide greniers in on the Sunday,  however sadly the forecast changed so much on the days prior to the weekend that the vides were cancelled. As it happened the worst forecast day was sunday but it turned out to be dry after 9am but very grey. So they could have happened! ! So, now Bruce has been hunting through and looking for better weather for us, and so we’re moving south on Tuesday,  as it’s raining today (Monday). So we’re making the most of a day in the van, having parked up where we can get free wifi as well!

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Chasing the sunshine.

The weather during this trip has been unpredictable, but with regular checks with the weather forecast website El Tiempo we’ve been able to have an almost hour by hour forecast which is very accurate.  Because of this we do try and avoid travelling in heavy rain, and plan our trip accordingly, moving on if required.
We found a Truffle Museum in Sorges that we fancied having a look at, as we love the taste of truffle, so we moved over from our aire near Bergerac to Sorges,  but the aire for motorhomes was right on a busy main road, and under a massive black cloud!

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We found a nearby village of Sauvignac les Eglises where we could park up overnight and cycled to the Museum from there. The cycle trip was lovely with some amazing views, and sunshine as well.
We’ve seen a vast amount of wildlife – deer, a fox, birds of prey, donkeys, goats, & cats hiding on rooftops!

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We also got out that afternoon as well, covering about 35km. in total that day on our folding bikes.

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With heavy rain and storms forecast we did more research,  but it seems nowhere provides total escape from the weather, so we decided to head up north west to the  La Rochelle area for the weekend.  We are at the moment on an aire in Nersac,  a small village with a lovely medieval centre, parked right in front of the police station, so very secure! We can stay here another night before moving on to the coast.  Yesterday afternoon when we arrived the sun was out and blasting hot, so we got out again on the bikes along the Charente river, almost into Angouleme.

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Off to market!

Today I woke to clear skies, which seems very strange considering we are supposed to be having storms and rain from later on this evening, and all the way through Sunday.
Luckily though it was clear at the moment,as it’s market day today. Bergerac market is a lovely big one, oozing with baskets and boxes fresh vegetables and local products to tempt you.
We went on a mission to buy fresh fat garlic bulbs, tomatoes and some truffle salt.

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We scored on all counts, but were blinded on all sides with fat white asparagus, artichokes the size of footballs, and other wonderful things.

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So this post is more dedicated to the photos of the market and a few other sights around Bergerac.

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Friday night is music night!

Friday night is music night…. isn’t that the saying?
Well, we were walking Mutley early evening in Lembras when we noticed a pizza van near the village bar.
Often in France the weekends in the villages will feature a pizza van on one evening, and a chicken/rotisserie man on a Sunday. Some of the people waiting for a pizza were due to play a gig later on, so we decided to take a look after dinner.
What can I say? Uummm… it was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I’ve seen a lot of music, having quite a varied taste in it myself, and watching Bruce play and all the gigs I’ve been to. I have never been to a gig where punk meets rap, and then you throw in an accordion, some dire harmonica in the style of Bob Dylan, and farmyard animal impressions.

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The highlight was when the keyboard girlie played the footstool with a stick and then proceeded to do some robotic dancing.
I would hasten to add apart from one cover version they did of a Brit band we’d not heard of, all the stuff was their own, and done with such conviction that you had to admire their enthusiasm!
Add into this mix the small beers we had were 3€ each (normal price in Spain I would say maximum 2€, sometimes as cheap as 1€), and the audience were only 21 strong – and we think at least 8 of them were additions to the band, partners etc or family….. all in all a very bizarre Friday evening!!

A walk on the wild side!

The weather forecast this weekend isn’t looking very good, and today was supposed to be dry. This was a duff forecast by El Tiempo, as when I walked the dog at 7am to get some bread it was drizzling, only for the heavens to open the moment I stepped back into the van (complete with a fabulous white ‘boule’ loaf and a bagful of yesterday’s croissants and pain au chocolate….although I was 20c short so had to pop that in later as she was going to let me off it but I insisted I would return! ).
The weather did sort itself out by the time Bruce woke up, but it put us into a dilemma – should we move on somewhere dry for the weekend or not…. looking at the forecast there wasn’t really anywhere worth moving to so we decided to stay put.
It has since cleared up but the rain will happen for sure… the temperature is hot and very humid so it’s only a matter of time.

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We did manage to scoot into Bergerac for a walk around the old town and another expensive cup of coffee, and an explore of the Le Clerc hypermarket. There’s always several items we buy when in France,coffee being one, as the pods for my coffee machine are usually much cheaper here. Flavoured couscous is another as in Spain although I can buy it plain, the Tipiak brand that I get here in France has so much flavour in it and with add bunch of coriander as well and it makes it really lovely. And the bonus today was that the couscous was half price! I also manages to find a ripe avocado and a melon so made some melon and avocado salsa which uses up the coriander and lime I had in the fridge as well.

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After a spot of lunch we took Mutley out for a walk along a nature trail behind the motorhome aire that we are on,which is at Lembras, about 10 km away from Bergerac.

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The trail is very pretty, with loads of lovely old overgrown trees and follows a small stream along to something they call the roman bridge, but in fact it was built around the 1930s.

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We saw a great insect hotel, something we’d not known about before a year ago when we first saw one, but this was huge…. see the photo…. and also I found a lovely big dandelion clock, and had wanted to get a good photo of one for ages, so was really pleased with the way this one turned out.

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Bbbb…ling!

Bling buying trip….One excuse we can use or state for our travels is that I need to go to good quality car boot sales in order to stock up on ‘bling’ for my baglets.
France is by far the best place for this, I have found that out over various trips away in Spain, Portugal France and Germany. By far the prettiest pieces have been french, and a good price as well, as it all counts!
So….. you know where this is going don’t you…. due to recent sales I needed to get more bling, so we’re away again, en France!
We left right after the Fair at Jalon, and made it up to Zaragoza that night, a good 5 hours drive by Bruce, but it got us a fair way to our first mission. Monday 16th May is a holiday in France, Pentacost, and as such I managed to find a couple of car boot sales or vide greniers as they are called here en France. So Bazet was our mission for Monday, start the holiday, sorry, buying trip with a vide. With an early start on Monday morning we got there about midday, and managed that plus another one about 40km away. Then time for a relax and slow down of pace, you can do too much too soon on these trips.

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We moved on to Lauzun, which is a pretty little village with a beautiful lake, although nothing much in the actual village.

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We spent a couple of nights there, walking around the lake and watching the ducklings.

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Mr Muppet enjoyed his run on damp grass although he wasn’t too enamoured with the horse in the field behind our van, so we turned the van rounds he wouldn’t just bark the whole time. (And believe me, he would, – he has been known to bark at a podcast of the Archers that I was listening to once at home, because he heard horses clip-clopping in it, so he came rushing through from the lounge grrr-ing and barking but couldn’t quite work out where the noise was coming from!).
Lauzun is fairly close to Eymet (about 8 km ) where they have an interesting market on a Thursday, so we wandered about there this morning, taking our own coffee as we almost got stung 3€ each for coffee once!

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France is such a beautiful country, but the cost of living is horrendous compared to Spain, so we travel around trying to live as cheaply as possible , so taking our own coffee is part of that! – as is making the most of tasting the goodies at the markets when offered….. as if we bought everything on offer we’d be broke in a very short time, not to mention run out of space in the van! As it was this time I hadn’t run my fridge down at home very much, or my freezer, so both were rammed full (as well as Deb taking a bag of frozen goodies to baby sit for me!)…. so much so every time I open the freezer door at the moment I have to hold a hand in front of it, in case my foot gets broken by a falling frozen food item!
Here’s a couple more photos of a few places we stopped at on the way through to Lauzun.

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Branding the Funky Baglets.

I know I’ve done this far too late for my liking, but I finally got around to getting some labels for my Funky Baglets.
I have been looking and toying with the idea for a while, but price had always been an issue, as it has to come out of the profit I make, so the cost must be as cheap as possible but still achieve the level of quality that I require.

I came across a Facebook page of Ribbon Designs, where they provide customised printed ribbon and labels that you can sew in, where the price was very good, so finally went for it. The results I can say are very good indeed,and I am very pleased with the result. Once I ordered them I was so impatient to get them that every baglet I was preparing had to wait for a label, so I had so many piles of part made baglets waiting for the label stage of the process before I could then finish them off, trim them, and then put them on sale.

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They officially went on sale at the Jalon Valley Help May Fair, an annual event which is such a lovely fair to do under the trees in the dappled sunlight.

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I launched the Baglets here 4 years ago, so it was lovely to see a lot of my regular customers and also some new ones who helped find new and loving homes for my little brood!

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