France 2018 – to the Auvergne (made it!!) – days 12 -14

21st September (Day 12)
What a day – wine, water, pumps and STRESS

When in the comfort of our homes we tend to take for granted all that happens automatically – like turning a tap on and water comes out. I’ve been on about the water pressure for a day or two now, suspecting the battery bank after being on AC connected power – thinking perhaps the elektroblok was not doing its job properly and the batteries were being overcharged thus affecting the output.
So, this morning the water refused to come out the tap at anything but a dribble and then not at all as a motor-homer that’s just about one of the worst case scenarios – not the worst I’m sure, it certainly focuses the mind on getting it sorted pronto. Before that though we had to say goodbye to Sophie our Passion France host on the ‘Francois Jourdain’ vineyard (Domaine des Moreaux) and of course sample some of their wares (not too much with driving ahead of us) – we tried three whites and two reds spitting out lots (shame) and ended up buying a 5ltr box of red to drink on our travels and 4 white to take home. So one might say that it was an expensive overnight stop at €43 but we would be buying wine anyway and why not from our hosts who have been kind enough to let us stay for free – if we had stopped at a campsite it would be €20 anyway.

My little Sunflower on the ‘Francois Jourdain’ vineyard (Domaine des Moreaux)


A spot of lunch before moving off and I decided I needed some connectors to test the water pump, stopping at a Supermarché I found a few and decide I would have a go at the pump whilst Janette was shopping for supper. Off came the water tank cover, the pump connectors looked a little moist so I thought it might be shorting out. I did a quick test with the voltmeter and when Janette returned got her to switch the tap on – there was current going through but the pump was intermittent or sometimes dead. I decided to renew the connections and try again – same thing, so having eliminated the connection (13.6v was going to the pump) my suspicion was the pump was on the way out. At Blois we called into a Fiat dealer having been told by a garage owner that they serviced Hymers. A very kind gentleman who did not speak a word of English understood my ‘pompe electrique pour l’eau est mort’ pointed me in the direction of a Camping-Car retailer about 15km away. Last chance saloon as it was now getting on for 4:30pm and without water we would have to book into a site rather than an aire. Again my ‘pompe et mort’ managed miraculously to get someone to point me to the pumps on the wall. Bingo – having had the offending article out earlier in an attempt to shake some life into it, I saw the very pump on sale (not a Hymer original but exactly the same shape and size). With my pocket €65.40 lighter (or rather my credit card account) I skipped back to Hilma with a new present – she would think it was Christmas or her birthday – what a treat she was in for but she would have to wait. Time was pressing so we decided to motor to our original aire destination at Montoire-sur-le-Loire and settle in before attempting a pump refit.
We were the last on site (although the French usually manage to squeeze a few extra in when they want) – I really wanted a beer after the stress of the day but prudence meant (actually Janette’s insistence) that I try the new pump before any alcohol passes my lips (didn’t want to wire it up wrong and blow the fuses).
Hooray for Hilma – she has a new water pump – probably the first in her 17yrs of existence – and it worked. Positively blown away with the pressure we took glee in watching it spurt out, then we realised we needed to be careful with the water – it’s not on tap you know!
BEER TIME 😊

Bad, bad, naughty pump (but then it may be 18 yrs old).

You can’t see it but our brand new pump is in there and what power, boy what power she has

22nd September (Day 13)
Hoping for a better day

I arose early and tottered off to get my morning baguette and found the town square getting ready for the market. With moving on every day or two it’s pot luck whether we come across a market or not, so we wanted to make the most of this one. A quick breakfast and we launch ourselves into the fray of ‘combien monsieur or madame’?, attempt to not look like tourists by going to the local’s café (ha ha) – and stand out like a sore thumb!

Montoire-sur-Loir market produce


We get into buying mode with the veggies and discuss the possibility of an evening meal out, finally deciding on a huge slice of tuna and some prawns to cook on the Cadac (gas barby). We did eat out at lunchtime and with all the bread I am eating (I love French bread – how can you not) I’m noticing a little spare tyre starting to appear around the midriff. Since my marathon in April (in 25°C heat) I have only run 2 or 3 times and feel decidedly unfit. This boulangeries and patisseries are not helping!
After lunch Janette had identified a small town within striking distance of our bicycle fitness level – Troo. The guides showed it was full of ‘Troglodyte’ caves? Troo is a village built precariously into a limestone hillside. The village consists of many (and I mean many, many) staircases taking you up and down into different parts of it. Nowadays the caves that were originally hewn out for homes are used as storage cellars – one or two were even used as bakeries and café’s in the past and have been semi-preserved for historical importance (and to attract the tourists like us). When we (eventually) reached the very top of the village after a couple of wrong turns we were rewarded with a fantastic panoramic view over the Loir valley.

Troo – caves and all

Time to head back and work off in advance some of that choue bun (religeuse) that I would be eating after supper – really I ask you – what am I doing to my body!

La Religeuse – more like the ‘devil’s’ cake to me

23rd September (Day 14)
A travelling day

Nothing to report here really. The weather was so awful we decide to make a run for the North and make up a day of travelling so we can put our feet up and try a camp site on the coast. Well, that’s the plan – but this is a fluid holiday so we’ll see. We do end up for the evening in Rugles which has a lovely write up in the Aire book but we felt didn’t really inspire us so we will be moving on tomorrow.

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