6th April 2017. Jumilhac-le-Grand, France.

We had a very peaceful night, the sun is shining again this morning and we’re off to our next stop a few hours away.

We were wandering over to the river with our cups of tea and bar of chocolate when a lady called out “Hello” to us so we stopped to chat.  She and her husband told us they’d just bought a motorhome over from the UK to their home just up the road from where we were and they were wondering how easy it was to find sites to empty the grey water tank and refill the water tank.  We had a nice long chat with them and we asked them why there were so many English speaking people in the square last night.  Apparently a lot of British and Dutch people have holiday homes around the area and they were all out for Easter already, well that answers that question!

Our journey to Jumilhac-le-Grand went smoothly, again the countryside was beautiful, there were very few vineyards, we seemed to be travelling through the area for foie gras and truffles.

We saw lots of ornate roundabouts on our journey

Our journey took us through a pretty town where we saw a very unusual mediaeval building.

Unfortunately when we got near our destination the road we needed was closed and the adjoining roads had a 3.5 tonnes limit.

We had a bit of a panic, drove up another road which turned out to be closed off at the end for road works.  Darren managed to find somewhere to turn and we drove back down the small road under the intense stare of a small girl standing in her front garden.

Darren had put in some other overnight stops as well but when we got to the turn off for the first one THAT road was closed for road works too!  Luckily there was dirt patch that we were able to pull over on to for a re-think.

We used Google maps to see why we couldn’t drive down the 3.5 tonne limit road to the Château, couldn’t see any bridges or anything that would be a problem and made the decision to drive down the road to the aire at Jumilhac-le-Grand.

We encountered no problems as we drove into the town square and pulled up beside another British motorhome which was parked right beside the Château.  What a wonderful place to have an aire.

After that nerve wracking drive we decided to steady our nerves and went across the square to a bar for a beer where we heard English accents.  We turned round and saw an older couple sitting at a table each with an empty glass in front of them.  I assumed (and you know what they say about assuming!) they must be from the other motorhome so I asked them.  It turned out they had been living in the village for 10 years, the man was originally from Macclesfield and his wife was from London.  I mentioned to them how surprised we’ve been to hear so many English accents in this and the previous village we stayed at and the lady told us a lot of British and Dutch people own houses around this area, it seems to be a trend.

We asked what the weather was like here during the winter and they told us it was usually mild in the winter although a few years ago they’d had a terrible one where it reached -14°C.  Apparently even the elderly residents had never known it to get that cold in their lifetime but the couple did say that it gets so hot in the summer that they have to do as the French do and take an afternoon nap.  They told us that although the stone houses are cold in the winter during the summer it’s a blessing.  They also said that their garden, as with a lot of others in France, is actually on the other side of the road.

It was very interesting chatting to them but I think the lady was a bit concerned that her husband would stop and chat to us for ages so she went in and paid for their drinks and suggested we came in to order ours while there was someone behind the bar to serve us.  I understood what she meant when I went back in later and there was no one to be seen even though I stood there for a while looking at the interesting artwork hanging on the walls.  She gave us an unexpected laugh, as she came out of the bar and said, “Goodbye”, her husband asked her whether she’d paid and she looked at me with a cheeky grin on her face and told him, “No, we’d better make a run for it!”.  I asked her who was likely to be the fastest and she pulled a glum face and said, “Sadly, neither of us!”

Darren and I sat outside the bar for a while listening to some other English people chatting behind us and admiring the grand Château.  When we’d finished our beers we decided to go for a walk.  We only walked 150 metres (I know that because there was a sign telling us there was a café 150 metres along the road) to another little café where we drank a café au lait sitting looking out over the valley and the view of the  side of the beautiful Château.

Not long after we’d sat down we noticed an extremely battered car pull up next to the café and the man whom we’d talked to at the previous café jumped out and went inside where he had a very swift pint!  The funny thing was that two little doggie heads appeared in the car window as he closed the car door and they sat looking plaintively out of the side window until he came back.  We laughed because it looked as though he was SUPPOSED to be walking the dogs and they were feeling rather peeved that he was in the pub while they were still in the car!  He noticed us as he drove off and gave us a smile and a jaunty wave.  Darren imagined that every day the man offers to take their dogs out for their evening constitutional and thereby gains lots of ‘brownie points’ but his real destination is the pub where he has a swift pint after which he takes the dogs for a quick walk then goes home to his wife pretending to have exercised them, sheer genius!

The town was very quiet, we had a walk around and went into the pharmacy to ask for something for Darren’s sore finger.  I asked the pharmacist, in French, without any ‘por favors’ this time, whether she had anything for his sore finger.  At least that’s what I assume I asked for!  She was very helpful and let me keep asking questions in my pigeon French but when I had any problems she spoke in English, which I thought was very kind of her.

In the evening I went outside to take photos of the town as the sun was setting but as I was photographing the War Memorial across the road a car drove up the side of the square towards the part of the road I was facing.  I naturally expected to have a car in my photo but when I’d taken it I looked over and the motorist had very kindly stopped so that I could get a good shot.  That was such a kind thing to do.   I smiled and waved my thanks to him and he smiled and waved back.  We’ve come across some very nice people in this town.


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