Still in England
This was the last day that we would see England for a while, so, bearing in mind our departure time on the Chunnel, we had a stroll around an early Saturday-morning Canterbury before heading off towards the terminal. However, we needed food & being aware that a new brew pub had set up in the village of Mersham – The Old Forge Micro brewery at the Farriers Arms The pub itself being saved back in 2009 when the villagers clubbed together to buy it.
The food was excellent, as was the beer & so, suitably fortified, we set off to France
The “French Trip” begins
Historically, we’ve either travelled late in the evening & stopped half an hour into France near Boulogne, or have done a really long trip straight down to Normandy, however, this time, we decided to break our trip at Rouen. So, it was on the motorway, pedal to the metal…
I now drive a Landrover Discovery series 3 & it has a feature that proved to be very useful (in addition to the far more effective heater than my defender’s used to have!); not only does it tell you how many miles you’ve done, it also provides an estimate of how far the fuel that’s still in your tank is likely to take you… fortunately, this appears to be very accurate!
As we came to the final “Aire” or service area before we needed to turn off I noticed that I only had a range of 50 miles left in the tank so I thought that I’d take the opportunity (as it was by now early evening) to fill up. However, as the petrol station had a problem & couldn’t accept credit cards, we were heading around the outskirts of Rouen (a mere 10 miles away) where there was bound to be more fuel available and we had limited cash with us, I decided not to fill up… hmmm, note to self: don’t be so stupid next time!!
Within a couple of minutes of passing the service area, the range was down to 40 miles… fortunately, we were now heading downhill, but seeing 30 miles range come up was not reassuring! Fortunately, we then saw a sign for a “Super U” one of France’s supermarkets.. with fuel available…
… unfortunately, the French idea of clear road signs & mine are not necessarily the same… so a small detour & 20 miles range left (bearing in mind that we’d only travelled around 10 miles since leaving the service station) saw us speaking in Franglais to a group of people trying to get them to understand what we wanted & more importantly, to understand their answers!
Lots of pointing & waving of arms indicated that we needed to turn around go back up the hill & turn right… so, with the range guide stating that there were 6 miles left in the tank, we pulled into the “Super U” & stopped by the 24 hour service pump… and breathe!
Fully fueled (& smiling at the thought that although I’d put in 109 Euros of fuel, the exchange rate meant that it was only going to cost me around £80… almost £30 less than if I’d done the same in the UK) we set off to find our overnight accommodation at the Brasserie Du Chant du Loup – for those less good at translation, we were staying at a brewery!
Having poor maps (the ones that I’d printed were only useful when we got really close… unfortunately, few road names didn’t help!) & a non-working SatNav meant that it wasn’t until 8:30 that we arrived. However a friendly welcome by “mine host” Patrick soon saw us unpacked in two very comfortable & spacious rooms. In fact the bathroom in my room was larger than my room had been in Canterbury!
Unfortunately, due to the relative lateness of the time of our arrival, food was not available at our accommodation, however Patrick directed us to the Italian restaurant about 300 metres away where we had some very nice food… our second lot of Italian of the holiday – not bad ofr one based in France! Only two slight errors whilst eating… the first was to presume that the one bottled drink described in the menu was beer… it wasn’t… it was fizzy water! The second was to assume that the liquid in the bottle on the table was “just” Olive Oil or similar… I’m not sure what all of the herbs & stuff floating around in it were, but the result was that it was slightly spicy! The copius amounst of water that we’d accumulated came in very handy!
So, back to our accommodation as Patrick had said to let him know when we were back & he’d get us some beer to try… and very nice it was, too!