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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is It a Journey You Want or a Slog?

A comment by Cro Magnon of Magnon's Meanderings about the fact that he drove down to his place in Provence set me to thinking about the fact that I refuse to do the drive from Calais to the Lot without stopping the night along the way. The Man will be leaving on Saturday for the house and he, like Cro will drive without night stopping.

The Man was reluctant to let me have my way, until I pointed out to him that I would take the train to Paris, spend the night and follow on by train the next day. He chose the cheaper option! It's one thing to drive for a few hours to the Loire and get to your maison secondaire at a reasonable hour and in the daylight. But it's a long winding drive to where we are and it's always late and sometimes early morning before we'd arrive. The house is dark and dusty. The beds have to be made. The chances are we would not have stopped for a meal. We'd both be grumpy. Arrival about 3 or 4 in the afternoon is much the better idea. To my way of thinking. And besides it's a nice to start our long sojourn with a good French meal, delicious wine and a good night's sleep in a charming French village.

One year The Man went down with his friend Mike. They were going to knock down walls and extend one of the bedrooms. Of course they were not going to overnight somewhere en route. They arrived at the house at 2.a.m. Exhausted! The entered the house through the kitchen door in the blackness one only gets in a house that has been locked up and shuttered down for months -- and where the electricity has been turned off! The Man walked to the end of the kitchen and turned right at the door to step down into the dining room. 

Splash! 

The tiled floor was ankle deep in water. It was March so the water wasn't warm either! The Man, flashlight in hand,  sloshed through to the other side of the room, where the water was not so deep and into the living room to the cupboard where he took a chance and switched on the electricity! Water was dripping voraciously through the light fixture in the dining room ceiling and down the wall. Both men looked at the mess and then at each other and both said simultaneously,

 "I'm so glad The Broad isn't here!"

My point had been made -- exactly!

Mike then turned to The Man and said, "I'm going to bed" and up he went...And now, that is exactly what I am going to do!!!

34 comments:

  1. Oh color me green! How I do envy you your home in France. If it weren't such a hideously long flight, I would buy a little cottage somewhere around Provence because I love the area so much. I'm such a francophile I've even tried to convince my friends here to learn french so we can chat...they are not keen...bummer. Have a wonderful time in that lovely country.

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    1. It feels very strange to not be going down, too! On the other hand the place should really be ship-shape by the time I do get down there!

      I do speak French, but at a very intermediate level -- and every year I have to start all over again. Unfortunately, The Man does not speak the language very well and is not that interested in learning. Too bad we are not living in close proximity -- it would be great to have a friend to practice with on a regular basis...

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  2. Thus I chose the Loire, having at that point attachments in the U.K.....and no Ryanair.

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    1. I was very smitten with the Loire when I went for a tour a few years ago. The area in the Lot where we live is the Segala and very lush and green and hilly -- tres tres jolie, as the French say! Ryanair is what it is and I do avoid it whenever possible. There is a flight to Brive now. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available this year from Manchester :-( My best bet is Ryanair to Limoges from Liverpool.

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    2. Aha we have gone upmarket. You can now fly FlyBE to Southampton and then on to other points UK from Tours [n the summer] and avoid Ryan Air [I refuse to fly them] Otherwise it is still Limoges --even ofr us or TGV if you don't want to drive.

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    3. One non stop Malaga to Zurich in an MG in winter and lorry spotting on frozen hairpins....never again!

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    4. Believ me as soon as I can avoid Ryan Air it will be avoided!!

      Fly, that would have taken at least 10 years off my life!

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  3. Vous êtres en vacances — ne travaillez pas trop.

    You are in France; you do speak French. Right?

    Blessings and Bear hugs on your adventure. (Actually, I don't think there are any Bears in the wild of France; dreadful pity!)

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    1. I am not in France till the end of July as I am stuck here with a damaged passport. The Man, however, will be there from late Sunday -- and not only is is French absolutely minimal -- the accent is even worse!

      No Bears around us, but I believe they have been reintroduced in the Pyranees. We have plenty of boar, however! (Not to be confused with 'bores'!)

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    2. So glad you understand the difference between Bears and Boars.

      The Man's time in France will be Bearable while yours, with no passport, will be Boaring. Oops, boring.

      Condolences to you. And to him (without you0.

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  4. Hello Katherine:
    We are totally at one with you over this. Once, and once only, we drove from London to Dover, caught a ferry at 3.00am, arrived at Calais and then drove directly to Budapest getting there at shortly after midnight. Never, never again.

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    1. You see, you are the kind of people who learn from mistakes! Your scenario sounds painfully exhausting!

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  5. I hope you had a good night's sleep!

    I'm so with you on this one, although to us, living near Brussels, the Loire Valley is only a 'heartbeat' away: 550 km = an early breakfast in Brussels and aperitifs and lunch in Amboise! On the way back, we usually stop overnight in the Champagne region. It's a bit of a detour, but an excellent excuse to stock up on some bubbly. ;) Martine

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    1. I just adore civilised people like you! Champagne on the way, sounds so right!

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  6. G'day Broad. Great post. I too hope you got a good nights sleep.It must be lovely having a home in France. I think I could handle that. Take care. Liz...

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    1. I did have a good night's sleep, thank you! It is lovely having a home in France for the summer -- but for me -- it's only in the summer -- then I'm really happy to be back in England again.

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  7. Dear Broad, how sad/annoying/frustrating for you to have to delay your trip to La Belle France. I know a little about the tangled red tape that a lost US passport can cause, as I encountered it in Paris many years ago when one of the pupils (an American girl) I was in charge of on a History of Art trip had her pasport, all other documents including flight tickets back to NY direct from Paris and about £350 in assorted currency stolen - and the Embassy wouldn't accept my identification of her as I was a mere-smear Brit (even though I was her Housemistress at a high-powered Public School). It had to be another American national. Fortunately there was another American girl in the party, but the performance getting her replacements was unbelievable! Much more to the story, but too much for here. As for the language, I love speaking French, but the Better Half is Yorkshire by birth and upbringing, and reckons he doesn't even speak English, and his French is almost non-existant - when we stayed in the Vendée a few years ago I spoke for both of us for 5 days as we were staying with a couple who had very little English! I used words I didn't even know that I'd ever learned!! Great fun.

    Hope you manage to get your passport soon and can rejoin The Man - the Lot region sounds gorgeous.

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    1. That poor girl. You would think that the Embassy would by now have a procedure in place that copes with these people. There must be hundreds of people a hear this happens to...

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  8. I have vivid memories of every Easter and Summer holiday belting down German autobahns in the 70's from Copehagen to get to the 'maison secondaire' on the Lago Maggiore in N Italy which my parents had. My dad drove it all and we had 1 overnight stop somwhere near Strasbourg. I became very good at reading in the car!
    It was always a marathon, 1370km over 2 days.

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    1. We did a marathon to Italy for a few years -- Southport to Lucca -- stop in London (with relatives), stop in the Jura at a campsite and then a very long slog to somewhere on the outskirts of Lucca! Those were the days that I don't remember with fondness at all!

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  9. Men are all alike! Mine would drive himself to exhaustion as well. Fortunately for us, he now has to take many breaks due to his poor leg circulation. So, there is how mother nature punishes the eager beavers of the world!

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    1. I think it's along the lines of 'real men don't eat quiche'! The only way I could put a stop to it was by refusing to go with him in the car!

      And then there is the issue of stopping for something to eat! Now he has to stop for me because I have diabetes and he can't very well say 'no'!

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  10. It makes me feel crappy just to THINK about a journey like that. I hate long drives of whatever description and that one sounds like the pits, yet you say he still hasn't learned? hmmmmm... :)

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    1. It's something to do with 'manhood' I think ... He will never learn! Doesn't stop him from complaining though!!

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  11. We have spent years driving down to the south of France for holidays, with various numbers of young children then older children, teenagers and finally young adults, going by train, or driving and camping half way, staying in hotels half way etc etc....since owning the house in the Languedoc....all of 6 months now, we have flown every time. I shudder at the prospect of it taking me longer than a few hours to get here. It actually takes me less time than it takes to drive from Yorkshire to London.......so I dont see us ever driving down again. Our children, however, consider the idea of driving as a potential adventure...with their youngsters. So the cycle continues.

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    1. We have this dream of being able to do this -- but it would mean we would not have a car (another saga) and renting one would never be a possibility. Besides Mr. Do-It-Yourself always has all kinds of stuff for the back of the Volvo and the trailer as well!

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  12. That's so typical men! Good they didn't have an electrical accident with all that water around. And, yes, so good you weren't there.

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    1. Especially as the water was coming through the ceiling lamp!!!

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  13. You are so right. Take your time. Enjoy the trip. Men act as if some reward, some big prize awaits them when they get to their destination as long as they never stopped for a rest! Crazy guys. How I love mine

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  14. I love mine too -- except when we are travelling in the car, I wonder why ...;-)

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  15. Dear Broad, sounds to me as if the reward/award for wisdom should be given to you! Peace.

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  16. Broad, these men are all alike, or at least our two are. :-) Mine did a round trip back to the north coast of Scotland last week to take up some spare doors for the new shed (to save money!) He left late on Tuesday afternoon and got back around the same time on Thursday, a round trip of just shy of 1100 miles in our rather slow campervan with things to do in the middle!

    I trust The Man has arrived safely.

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  17. PS I forgot to say that one of the reasons we're in southern Normandy is that we can get there without a long drive on the far side of the Channel.

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!