We spent another day exploring Devizes, cycled there this time….about three and a half miles along the towpath.
Canal boating is big business here with narrow boats scattered here and there along the canal.
Our friends Bob and Mirv picked up that we were in the vicinity from the blog and popped up in their motorhome to visit. We had planned a meal in the local pub where we had eaten the previous night but were met at the door by the landlord who apologised and said that the cook was sick and food was off. That may not have been the complete truth, chatting to one of the residents a few moments later he told us that there had been a loud argument between the owner and the chef that afternoon. So more likely gone off in a huff than sick. So we went in to Devizes and had a good nosh in the Crown, a pub next door to the Wadworths brewery.
On Wednesday we travelled down to Portsmouth, camped outside Southdown’s motorhomes that night and after our cracked side window was replaced we travelled on to Brighton for a curry with Nick, our friend from way back and Sara, his lovely girlfriend. We ate at the Blue mango restaurant on the marina…tasty southern indian food, best we’ve had for a while.
The next morning we drove the 30 minute stretch along the coast from Brighton to Newhaven, past posh Roedean School looking out over the Channel (any old girls out there?) and boarded the 10am Dieppe Ferry. Departure was delayed by an hour….one of the stern doors was stuck…and we got to France at 3.30 pm French time.
We drove the 100 odd miles down to an aire in Nonancourt, a small town close to Rouen
By good luck our friends Rosie and Tony were crossing the channel en route to Spain the same day as us and we got together with them at Le Grand Cerf, an eatery in Nonancourt, together with their charming friend Liz fom Paris; we celebrated the job Liz had just landed in Brittany.
Liz knows where and what to eat and the meal at Le Grand Cerf (The Big Stag) was amazing. After an appetiser of crispy things (sorry don’t recall proper name) with nice cheesy dippy thing, we moved on to melted camembert and sausage in filo pastry…yummy.
Next beef in a lovely rich sauce with veg, then a huge choice of cheeses from all over France. All epic, especially a soft one with calvados and raisins…sorry name gone again…
I finished with crepes suzette, cooked and ignited by the table.
Unsurprisingly we slept well after all that delicious grub. We set off south the next day, Saturday, at about 9.30 am. We drove along the route nationals all day, sharing the driving, with just one short section of péage (toll motorway) to avoid a slow section above Clermont Ferrand.
We spent the night at an aire in Ruynes en Margeride, a small village about 4 miles off the A75 high in the Auvergne. We are camped in solitary splendour. It is a good stop off, with acres of dog walking and a boulangerie (open on Sundays) a short walk away. There is water and electricity should you need it. It is not uncommon for the water to be turned off in the aires in the winter…there was none at Nonacourt or Les Bordes ( a small aire we stopped at yesterday to walk the dogs and have lunch).
It has been a rather food orientated blog (and journey) but as our friend Mrs Frank Stephens points out, it is important to feed your husband well. I’m guessing Emmeline Pankhurst was not one of Mrs Stephen’s facebook friends.
Today, Sunday, is a good driving day with few lorries on the road and we will head on to Southern France and probably Spain.