Friday, 3 July 2009

Monday 29th June 2009 – Tuesday 30th June 2009

Sainte Claire, Neufchatel-en-Bray (ACSI2009-728) N49.73781 E1.42803

We return to one of our old favourites. This is one of the first sites we stayed on when we began the campervan journeys, and we have returned at least once each year since I think.
Just to show anyone who is concerned about driving here, this is a shot through the windscreen as we drive along, this is typical of traffic levels even during the day.

The site is beautifully kept, and the chap who runs it always takes you to your pitch and guides you onto the hard standing so that you don’t damage his grass, which he obviously cares for very carefully. We have been here so often now that one of the French families who have a static van here, recognise us on our arrival.

The site is much busier than we have seen it before, and for once I would say the GB’ers out number the Dutch and Germans, we will have to stop recommending it to people, otherwise we will not be able to get on ourselves!

After we get settled and have our lunch, we are just about to set off along the cycle track (in preparation for eating cream cakes for afters), when the David and Carol the Welsh couple from the previous site arrive.

From here there is a cycle track which goes in one direction to Dieppe (about 20 miles away), and in the other direction to Forges-les-Eaux (about 13 miles away). Dieppe is on the coast, so overall going there must be downhill there and uphill back, while Forges-les-Eaux is inland so it must be uphill on the way there and downhill on the way back. On previous visits here it has always been my intention to cycle both routes. But Kathleen has always wimped out after a few miles. So on the first day, we set off for Forges-les-Eaux, and (someone) wimps out after about 8 miles. To be fair we set off at about 15:00, so we had the heat of the day to deal with and it was hot (30C).

In the evening Kathleen gets out the guitar, but the singing is cut short by our French neighbour, who informs us that she has just been informed today that her nephew has committed suicide by driving his mother car into a wall. So she is understandably upset and having difficulty with being surrounded by revelry from us and our English neighbours. Kathleen stops immediately and we try our best in our inadequate French to be apologetic and sympathetic.

It turns out that two of our English neighbours Jack and Joan are from the north east, Joan from South Shields and Jack from Boldon Colliery, although they now live in South Shields, they are on their way to Costa Brava towing a caravan.

Next day we set off at 09:30 in the morning before the heat builds up, and we make it comfortably to Forges-les-Eaux. Kathleen says she is training for the Coast-to-Coast when we get home.

We decide we will go to the nearby Lidl to buy “a bottle” of Gin for the Boss. We go on our bikes. When we get there she cannot resist buying three bottles of gin, six bottles of wine, and two three litre cartons of wine, oh’ and a bottle of coke and a bottle of cheap “Bacardi”.

Try carrying that lot on a bike, it is not easy.

As if that was not bad enough the “Bacardi” was rough. I swapped a couple of large glasses of it with David & Carol for a lemon, and I think that I got the bargain, but there again, for 4Euro what do you expect!

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