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Published: April 27th 2017
We slept well in our little corner of France. Woke up early to the sound of rain pattering on the windows and birdsong outside of Suzy. It is Day 2 of the holiday and we are heading for St Menoud or to be more precise a tiny hamlet called Les Islettes just outside of St Menhoud. We started off by going the wrong way. The new Sally Sat Nag told us where to go but she was very imprecise and we found ourselves driving 15 minutes in the wrong direction. It seemed a little as if yesterday was being repeated today. However the words from my thoughts for the day told me that failure is just a step to success. So that is how we looked at it - just a small failure . Soon we were back on the right road again and heading for Bethune.On the way passing as always many small war and commonwealth cemeteries. Gravestones pristine white and all well looked after . From the smallest to the largest they were all tended with love and care.
Suzy ate up the miles - passing by countless fields of golden rapeseed. Ahead of our crops at home the fields looked very beautiful. The sun had come out too. Yellow cowslips grew on the banks at the side of the road. Once an endangered flower it proliferated here. We could see pretty villages with their stone churches with spires and cockeral weathervanes.
We past by Reims and eventually were in Lorraine and the area where many battles were fought out during the First world war. St Menhout was small but perfectly formed as all french towns and villages appear to be. Les Islettes was just a handful of houses in the middle of nowhere. The small aire had room for 16 motorhomes, electricity, a toilet block with shower and wc. We parked up next to the electricity , plugged in and walked over to the only other van on the aire. A Welsh couple in a panel van . Hello - how much does it cost to stay? 7 euros he replied . We have not paid yet but you need to go over to the toilet block . Inside you will find a load of envelopes. Write your name on them and your registration , place your 7 euros inside and put it in the honesty box. We did just that. We walked back to Suzy. We had parked next to a wood. The tiny white and delicate wood anemone dotted the floor of the wood. It almost twinkled as they moved in the shade of the trees. Around us were laburnam trees in full flower, pale mauve lilac out a month earlier than back home. It was peaceful even when the children arrived from school. A few moments of bike riding and they disappeared leaving us to the best aire we had been in for some while.
There was nothing here apart from the houses which in a way made it perfect. Very few vans turned up. One parked further up from us . A couple with two dogs - English. A panel van Dutch between us. A couple of french vans.
By evening that was it. It was painfully quiet . We heard no sounds from any of the vans nor from the folks who lived opposite. No dogs, no barking .It was an if Carling built aires then they would build one like this . For two thirds of the price of Guines we were in a little piece of heaven.
Our next stop would be in Vosges around Colmar. We really feel as if we are on holiday now and all our worries are left miles behind us. France seems on alert - another terrorist attack has occured in Paris . We have seen more gendarmes than usual . Perhaps they are looking for the terrorists or it could be something to do with election day tomorrow . We have not seen any polling stations nor any demonstrations. The only thing we have seen are endless posters with the pictures of the politicians. Unlike back home it is a long drawn out process and tomorrow is only the first day of a longer battle . Will Marine le Pen get through or the ultra leftist politician to the next round . Europe is a strange place .
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