France: 25 May 1975

Morning bright and sunny, breakfast outside considerably hampered by horrible little Algerian boy from caravan opposite – ended in a punch-up, Andrew winning! Drove off thankfully into Dieppe and did some food shopping, including some super fresh fish for tea. Then out on the road to the Pont de Tarcanville, through patches of fog and sunshine – we’d heard the fog horns during the night and the Channel seemed shrouded in it.

Small disaster when we lost one of those cursed pins from the tent legs. The Pont de Tarcanville is a very impressive structure, a suspension bridge high over the Seine, it cost us £1 to cross it… Still, we were now well on our way to le Brévedent, through the lush Normandy countryside, when what seemed like total disaster occurred. There was an ominous scraping noise, we stopped in this narrow little country lane and inspected the trailer, and the bar fastening it to the trailing unit had snapped, so that the back was dragging on the ground.

Decided the best thing to do would be to drive to the site and review the situation. Andrew sat on the trailer to weigh it down, and enjoyed the experience greatly; we were petrified!

On arrival at the site we were given a very friendly welcome by Madame la Marquise in person, who spoke English and French equally fluently, and grasped our position with efficiency. Promising to send us the mechanically-minded partner when he returned from lunch, she put us in a convenient pitch and we thankfully ate our picnic. After lunch, said partner appeared, took business-like measurements and arranged with a local garage to do the job. So off went David and Andrew once more on the trailer to the nearby village, returning about half an hour later in triumph, all done, for about £3, praise be.

Madame is Welsh, believe it or not, born in Abergavenny and lived in Neath Castle! Explored the beautiful grounds – orchards and woodland round the lake, in a gently sloping basin. It really is a lovely place. The house is gently decaying but very nice, in greyish stucco with a slate roof. We lazed around in the warm sun once we had the trailer up and relaxed after our exertions!

Cooked our fishy tea, it was lovely too with fresh peas, new potatoes, local cider and fresh cherries to follow. Gossiped and drank for ages with Yorkshire couple in a caravan opposite, they had a harrowing journey with the car having a breakdown on the M1 and having to spend the night at a garage. An Austin 3 litre near us has a shattered windscreen, and one of the caravans being towed by a Land Rover had tow bar trouble, so we were not the only ones in trouble! Actually we came out of this one better than one would have hoped, finding people who could speak the right language and get it all organised. Went to bed battered!

[camp-site still exists]

Château viewed from the lake

Article on the camp-site possibly from The Guardian

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2 responses to “France: 25 May 1975

  1. How fab to have your mum’s drawings too – so funny. And I still love her writing – “breakfast considerably hampered by horrible little Algerian boy” is just a great phrase.

  2. She was a geography teacher and did similar drawings to illustrate features like the water cycle. The teacher who came in after her said that it was a shame to rub off her masterpieces. 🙂

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