France: 7 June 1975

On and off rain during the night and when we got up, so the tent was damp for packing up. Skies were so overcast that there was no point in hanging on and waiting for it to clear, so we went ahead. Having done so much yesterday there wasn’t much to do today thank goodness, and we were ready to go at 9.45ish, 10.00am when we were finally on our way. Children all said farewell to their friends, wrote addresses and took photos.

Drove up through Souillac, Brive and Limoges through improving weather. The endless green-ness of France never fails to impress, there is so much room there, and so little waste land. Then, with farm buildings clustered in the villages – the workers often driving out to the fields in their cars! – there aren’t the houses all over the place that we have.

On the north side of Limoges we came to a brand new hypermarket complex – Radar – and decided to have a look round with a vew to getting some things for lunch. All very new and clean, and being lunch time, quite empty. The food was very nice, got some oeufs en gelée, pâté en croute and stuffed rolled breast of veal, and had a good look round at all the departments. Ate in the car park as it was so convenient, and of course, used the loos.

After Limoges, very few vines around, steady increase in wheat and barley. Weather became very hot, especially on my side of the car. Drove on through Vierzon, and eventually, about 5.0pm, came to La Ferté and the Hôtel du Perron. Parked in the vast car park and secured room 37, which turned out to be one of a row of converted cottages, each with its own front door. Long rectangular room with original beamed ceiling and two double beds. Loo opening off, and in the entrance hall bit, a bathroom and cupboards. The walls were covered in a very prettily patterned material, shades of olive green. The shower was in the corner of the bathroom, with fascinating curved sliding perspex doors.

Opened up the tent to dry it out, then adjourned to the grotty camp site so that the children could run about a bit – it looked just the same as ever! Then returned to the hotel and all had a shower (Andrew reluctantly) and got ready for dinner. Last year, the dining room soon filled and a cheerful eating atmosphere prevailed. Had the potage and some of the children’s hors d’oeuvres, then boeuf bourguignon, full of body, and champignons à la crème. Gorgeous! Needed vast quantities of water it was all so rich. Then their special tart – very thin puff pastry with apple on top in a lovely caramel goo… All went down beautifully. Put the children to bed, as they were very tired, then went a little walk, had an Orangina at the bar, and retired to bed ourselves, the children looking like sleeping angels when we returned.

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