Monday, 1 October 2012

Thursday 27th September 2012 - Sunday 30th September 2012

Stenay continued,

The area around the aire is quite pretty, but, the rest of the town has seen better days.

Normally, we see few if any Brits, but, here today, there are no fewer than five British vans, all taking up the prime spaces, next to the canal.

Note, I said British, not English, in deference to our Scots neighbours.

Thursday, and it is still pouring with rain!

One of our diversions under these conditions, a drink in a cafe, is ruled out, because the cafe is closed, in fact it is for sale.

As you can see, we are reduced to trying to take interesting photographs, using the limited settings on our point and click camera!.

Friday, the rain has diminished to just being heavy.

We set off for Catillon sur Sambre, an aire we have used before.

It is quite an attractive spot, but has space for only about 4 vans, so clearly space is at a premium. When we arrive, one English and two French vans are already in residence. 

The weather improves, with the sun putting in an appearance.

Within 15 minutes of our arrival, who should turn up but, Mack & Josie yet again, but, we have bagged the last available space and there is already (what we believe to be) a French van hovering.

The (supposed) Frenchman and his wife, continue to hover, we consider the possibility, we are taking up more than our "share" of space. After much deliberation, I think I know how to say (in French) that perhaps, if I moved over a bit, and the French van next to me also moved over a bit, they could squeeze in.

It turns out, they are English, living in France, and speaking only marginally more French than me! Plus, they are not intending to stay, just to have their lunch and charge their laptop from the electric hookup.

Having tried to be helpful, I cannot extricate myself from what turns out to be one of the most talkative English men I have ever met, I am almost fainting from hunger since it is well past lunch time.

The English pair in a French van depart, then one of the other French vans decides to leave.

Almost immediately, another English van arrives, Phil and Noula. We set off investigate if there is somewhere serving meals in the evening. Nothing doing, so we settle for a drink in the bar

Saturday, we set off for our final stop of this trip, via couple of supermarkets in order to do final wine shopping.

Gravelines, is well populated as usual, being probably the best "overnight" spot before catching the Ferry or Tunnel.

This year, the French have started charging 6Euro, for what used to be a free stop. A bit rich, since there is nothing provided except a space on the quayside.

On the brightside, there are a selection of bars and cafes, and, according to Google, a church, with Saturday evening Mass, so Kathleen is able to attend.

Although I have never seen it in the UK, in several European Countries, it is not unusual to have beggars at the church door, so, I pass my time waiting have a discussion (in a mixture of French and English), with the resident beggar on his opinion of the state of the French economy. He tells me, he is forced to sleep rough and has not been able to find work for ten years. I must say, although he is shabily dressed, he is remarkably well groomed for a rough sleeper. He is not a fan of the enlarged EEC, presumably because (as it has in the UK), it has created competition for jobs from East Europeans.

Kathleen indulges in the "Sun Set Photographs".

You will note, I have still not worked out how to "turn them around", in the blog!

Sunday, up early, off to the tunnel, again disappointed with the lack of "smoothness", lots of waiting around. Perhaps, Sunday is not the best day to travel, since it is "maintenance day".

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