Rick and Helen are on their now annual jaunt around Europe, and joined us in Preuilly to have a look at the house, view the surroundings, and help with builderly stuff. After catching the first ferry of the day to Boulogne-sur-Mer and driving to Preuilly, I returned to Chatellerault just in time to meet them off the train. They were booked in to l'Image and I was camping in the front room of the house. We shopped for salad and flambouyantly healthy desert (well - there WAS fruit on it!), and after dinner had a wander up to the chateau.
After lunch we drove to Poitiers to pick up Susan, travelling via Bonneil-Matours, which was looking it's usual picturesque self. We called in at Castorama and bought a 2400w generator (groupe électrogène) so that the growing range of power tools can be used. I was slightly worried that a trailer would have to be bought to transport the generator, but luckily it fitted nicely into the boot.
So now we have some power. Rock and and Roll!!
One of the problems of travelling all that way (about 600 miles each way) is that it takes a couple of days to get oneself properly organised to do work. This means that on a visit of only 6 days not a lot of work gets done. We did, however, manage to get the granary swept and cleaned. This is not really about cleaning, because it will get dirtier when M. Galland arrives, but more to do with stirring things up just in case we have wildlife in the timber. Apparently they like a quiet life and will depart of we disturb them too much. Mind you, after Rick swept the walls we discovered they were properly almost white, so that was good...........
Our main excursion this trip was to the Brenne to meet up with Tony Williams (warden) and have a wander around some of the areas of the park not usually open to visitors. Susan understood more of what was happening there than I did (me being a bit plebby when it comes to insects) but it was interesting seeing some habitats we hadn't seen before. We all appreciated the quiet and it must be said it does have a certain beauty to it. There are some Camargue horses on the reserve as well, which add a slightly exotic (to my eyes, anyway) feeling to the place.
After walking the reserve, we adjourned for lunch at the Auberge La Gabrière. We had been there before but now it is summer, all the tables are out the front under umbrellas with a view of the lake. We had one of the best lunches possible - a 12 euro menu and a bottle of Creamant du Loir - all served by charming (if very young) waitresses and with a view. If it is a meal that can be improved upon, I am not quite sure how.
Our other excursion was taking Susan back to the airport. We went via Angles sur l'Anglin, where we picnicked, and then to St Pierre de Maille which is another very pretty village by a river.After that we went to the church Notre-Dame-la-Grande at Poitiers I had visited with my parents in June. After Susan had left we went to Dissay to find the Chateau, which is most attractive. Unfortunately we were too late to visit, but next time I will allow time.
St Pierre de Maille
The only other notable event was visiting the showroom/workshops of M. Chaboisson, who we hope will be building our staircases, Having had a look at his work, I think we will see if we can afford to have him do our windows in the granary as well.
Rick, Helen and I travelled back by car, having an uneventful trip (apart from me rejoining the autoroute heading in the wrong direction at Alençon). The ferry crossing was probably the smoothest I have experienced - which this year is really saying something!