Wednesday 22nd October
By the time we woke up this morning the wind had died down a bit, all night long the van was being buffeted and only later in the day did we find out that Canvey Island had been devastated by high winds causing almost £5 worth of damage.
After a quick breakfast we made our way out of the aire and made towards Abbeville, one of our guidebooks gave it a passing mention, the other ignored it completely. The RAF had got there before us!!
On the way we stopped in at Lidls and put many of our anxieties to rest. 3 litres of red wine = €5.69, they sell pork chops, toothpaste, deodorants, herbs and spices, chinese wok kits and even frozen peas. We did look out for disinfectant but it wasn’t to be seen as Eric and Ann warned us, we don’t need any but we are on a quest to find some. Today is the start of Lidls Italian week.
We arrived in Abbeville and found a lovely big space to park in but old worry boots got agitated and I had to go and find out about parking restrictions. All I needed was to buy a parking disk and put it in the window with the time we arrived which gives us 1 hour to explore. I pulled off my magic trick by arriving in Abbeville just before noon. It’s a really good lad’s money saving tip – all the shops are shut for lunch.
We parked outside this church, St Vulfran with it’s magnificent facade, sadly it was closed for lunch as well and we couldn’t get in. Good news was that we had full access to wifi and managed to upload the blog and check out the emails. We’ve signed up to BTFON at home and this allows us to log in to any FON hotspot in Europe and so far we’ve been lucky and picked them up twice.
We did get a baguette for our French lunch which we took later in the day but overall I think Abbeville is worthy of a miss, a couple of nice fountains, a pretty church and if they had been open some lovely shops. One off the shops was exciting, it was full of shotguns, rifles, pistols and knives but it might as well have been closed the speed that i was rushed past it.
Our next stop was the Rambures Castle, a 15th Century building built during the 100 years war. Apparently Henri IV stayed there, (theirs, not ours hence the i in his name) but it was closed as well.
It didn’t look like it would put up much of a fight stopping us getting in, you can just see the gate in the photo (which was padlocked) but there was no fence either side of the gate. We had a lovely walk around the town in a vain attempt to find a pub but the only shop we did see was shut down and up for sale.
This whole area is a bit lacking on the aires front so we aimed for a French Passion further down south int he hope that we could get away from the wind and it might warm up a bit. I think we have worn Frankie out today, he managed to do 100 miles which considering he only managed 90 miles in the last three days is pretty good going for him. I think he likes the roads, there is no traffic (except the queues behind him as he ambles along at 50mph) and he is managing to sip his diesel giving us 24.5 mpg at the moment. We did fill up on leaving home and now find that the cost of diesel over here is €1.19 in some places, 95p per litre. C’est la vie as we say in Essex.
After a little bit of faffing we did manage to find the French Passion site that we had been looking for and here we are parked up in someones front garden. There is no one at home, all the windows have shutters on them so it looks like another free nights camping; four nights camping for €5.25 in total, I could get used to this. Some of the French Passions are located on farms or vineyards and it is polite to buy something from the landowners to compensate for your nights camping. This site has been labelled as a “Camping Cariste” and our knowledge of French is sadly lacking. I believe that a camping cariste is someone who uses a camping car in the same way that someone who uses a motorhome could be called a motorhomist. We have come up with the idea that the couple who own this house have a motor home and have gone off to explore exotic lands beyond the horizon and have generously allowed like minded souls to use their land while they’re not using it.