Trip Start May 07, 2012
28Trip End Jun 16, 2012
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She had a very direct manner, which included Nick in her gaze but not me. We reckoned that she entertained the men from the village, but strictly on her own terms.
But the rhubarb jam was dead good.
The breakfast room looked out onto a small courtyard where there were a few trees hanging with bird feeders. There were some beautiful greenfinches, tits and other sundries flashing about which was good to see.
This morning, a troop of self important Lions turned up for some national do
Nick was not impressed at all, even though one of them declared himself to be the district governor, according to the sticker on his back windscreen.
We had a leisurely start, and it was wonderful to see some sunshine.
Driving past the brasserie where we ate last night, no doubt Nick was tempted to nip in and see his new buddy, but he hid it pretty well.
Having decided we were not going to hurry today, but enjoy the scenery and the sunshine, we did just that, and stopped to take in the view several times, as well as making a detour to drive through those villages and towns which are by-passed.
I had "the list".
So today, we made sure we visited every place mentioned on it.
Many of the towns we drove through rather than by-pass, which was for the most part interesting and worthwhile
Thiers has ancient history. It dates from medieval times and it is the centre of cutlery manufacture in France. It is also the home of the sabatier knife, and the Charbonnet Family who being among the nobility were all but wiped out during the french revolution. A town with a lot of history, Thiers, and maybe not all of it pleasant.
When we got to Vichy, we stopped for a coffee and a wander around.
It has a gentle, genteel air. We happened to have parked in the middle of the old town, close to the park, and meandered off to find a suitable coffee stop.
The park was shaded by plane trees, and surrounded by a lovely Victorian walkway, decorated with ornate metalwork and painted white. Well, you cannot let the ladies and gents get wet, having taken the waters, innit?
The old thermal baths are covered by a building topped with a huge coloured dome, more like a mosque
The inhabitants are known as
'Scuse me, but I thought that was a soup!
Moulins was one of the next towns, where in the centre which had many very old houses, one house boasted having had Joan of Arc to stay one November night back in the day.
Well, poor darling had to stay somewhere.
We had been bowling along through some gorgeous countryside for much of the afternoon, in sunshine, under blue skies. We were about 15-20 miles away from where we thought we might stop for the night, when some big mouth said,
"Gosh! Are we actually going to have a rain free day?!?!?"
What a ridiculous thing to say.
That should teach me to keep my mouth shut.
Within about 5 minutes, we were driving through some of the heaviest rain we have ever seen.
Where it came from, goodness knows.
Over the top of the hill we saw the cloud.... then we felt the breeze, and quickly bagged up the maps... then before we could even laugh at ourselves, down it came
My hoodie now smells revolting, having been damp for days and not having really dried out.
Driving into the village of Sancoins, the Hotel we were looking for was right on the square, with covered parking in an old barn covered with the most beautiful old smelly roses.
As we got our bags out of the car, the heavens opened again.
I ran for it; Nick waited, thinking it might abate.
It actually got worse.
Of course it only stopped once he had got to the room.