Wednesday 11 October 2006

Sunday Sunday...................

Sunday 17 September

Part 3 of our trip with Pat and Geoff - part 2 here

Sunday morning, and the church bells called the faithful to breakfast. Things were looking slightly brighter weather wise, so during breakfast we made plans as to what we were going to do. Sunday had been set aside as a day to do some sightseeing, and we wanted to visit a chateau or two.

We hadn't reached a decision by the time we got to the car, but on the way out of Grand Pressigny we decided to go to la Guerche (mainly because we saw a sign pointing there). After a short drive through the countryside (and passing a hunter complete with shotgun and horn) we parked in la Guerche and had a walk through town. While we were standing on the bridge Susan pointed and said “look!” and we saw the unmistakable flash of blue that can only be a kingfisher. It settled on a branch on the other side of the river, far enough away that we couldn't take a proper photo, but near enough so that the spot of blue you can see in the photo is obviously a kingfisher.

When we returned to the car we noticed that the Chateau gates were open, and it dawned upon us it was the Europe wide “Open Weekend”. After a pleasant wander through the grounds of the chateau we reached the stable block to find they were giving guided tours of the chateau in French and broken English – the perfect combination for improving our language skills. More about the chateau in another post.
The rooftops of la Guerche
After leaving la Guerche we took a drive through the countryside alongside the Gartempe,driving through la Roche Posay and Vicq to Angles sur l'Anglin. There we had lunch sitting in the village square, before wandering off to the castle above the river. I think Angles sur l'Anglin may be a place that we visit many times.

Town Square, Angles sur l'Anglin
As we were near we thought we would visit the Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe to see it's much vaunted wall and ceiling paintings. They are truly spectacular, even though at the moment you can only see about 30% of them because of building works, The murals were painted in the 11th and 12th century and almost totally cover the walls and ceilings. Another place we will be visiting again.

The ceiling of St Savin
We arrived at Poitiers airport in plenty of time, checked in, got through passport control, and sat in the single lounge, with everyone vying for position so that when the gates open they could sprint for the plane.

When the gates opened, Geoff and I took of like the rabbit at a greyhound race. We were going to get two pairs of seats over the wings and stretch out. When I reached my chosen seat I realised Geoff was no longer with me. He was standing discussing something with the hostess at the rear of the plane. I was torn – should leave my hard gained seats to go and help, or should I wait? Luckily Susan wasn't far behind, so she was left to guard the two seats while I went to the back of the plane (against the tide of people all fighting for places) to see what was up.

Geoff didn't have his boarding pass, but rather he had the pass from his flight the previous Friday. Even though you need a pass to get through passport control that wasn't good enough for Ryanair, and Geoff (who had now been joined by Pat) was being made to wait. This was causing a blockage, which was making people being delayed irate. Add to this the fact that even though the flight was fully booked people were not being allowed to use the last 10 rows of seats, and the temperature was rising.

Pat and Geoff were really worried by this stage, Geoff being convinced he was going to be left behind. People from Ryanair were rushing up and down the steps, having to force their way past the now stalled line of passengers waiting to board, checking their clipboards and then disappearing. I looked down...and there on the floor were Pat and Geoff's boarding passes...............

After that the simple matter of spending ten minutes looking for the car in the Stansted carpark was nothing!


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