This week was my birthday, 36 candles it is. It didn’t matter that we were both working on the day (Tuesday 24 May); the day was full of little surprises. First, it was the handmade little card from Jamie with small wrapped up presies as we got up. Then throughout the day came messages, emails, voicemails, birthday posts and cards and even treats from some of our friends on-site! Early evening, we walked to Chef-Boutonne for our first meal out in town since we arrived. Out of the three options on offer – French cuisine at the Hôtel des Voyageurs; kebabs or burgers at Cass’ dale (French expression/slang meaning “snack”) or Italian at the Pizzeria, we opted for the latter. We shared a pizza forestière with tagliatella carbonara. Although it might not have tasted as good as we’d had them before, it was still nice and very affordable (18,70Euros exactly)!
|My first unexpected little surprise from Jamie, on the table in the morning.|
|And lovely roses at breakfast.|
|Birthday evening meal at the pizzeria in Chef-Boutonne.|
|Slowly walking back to the campsite. Jamie takes pictures of the rosy night sky whilst I speak to my mum on the phone.|
|The view of the campsite from the main road.|
|By the end of the day, a few more cards have appeared!|
The next day Jamie had arranged a surprise meal with our friends and mobile home owners, Willy and Gill. Homemade bangers and mash with Yorkshire puddings, peas and strawberries with vanilla ice cream for desert; it was divine! I couldn’t have asked for anything else, it was perfect. Thank you Willy and Gill for such a lovely and unexpected birthday treat!
|Willy getting the sausages ready for my second birthday dinner!|
|Willy and Gill with Jamie who couldn't wait sipping his tea before eating the greatest bangers and mash!|
|Jamie with Jack, Willy and Gill's lovely dog. I'm not sure though who's really enjoying the hug the most...|
As the site’s now getting busier, we’ve turned the main toilet and shower block on whilst the Winter toilet/shower has been decommissioned. It will stay that way now until the middle of October. It means we now have three hot showers and three toilets, which we are taking turns to clean every morning and evening with Nigel. Things are picking up nicely, a sign that the camping season has well and truly started!
On Thursday, Jamie had a bit of a freak accident... He was strimming alongside mobile home number 30 with his ear protectors on when, all of a sudden, he was tapped on the shoulder only to turn around to see a worried, white-as-a-sheet Malcolm. It turns out that as he was strimming, a tiny stone had been whipped up and flung 80 meters across the track and had broken Rachel’s (Malcolm’s wife) car window. Rachel had been sat outside and said she thought someone had shot the car, poor Jamie, he also looked worried. He helped clean up all the glass and vacuumed the car, then we set about trying to find out about insurance and repairs. We all accompanied them to the nearby garage so I could help translate. A few phone calls later and we have a replacement arriving Tuesday and only a small excess to be paid. All is ok now. At least no one was hurt!
|Instead of a picture of the broken window, I thought these were much cuter although a bit spiky!|
|The view of the river Boutonne running alongside the campsite.|
One of our new jobs in the coming days and week is to give a thorough clean on the outside and inside of some of the mobile homes for the changeovers.
|Our lovely pitch after Jamie's cut the grass and strimmed. It won't look like this for long... The weather's meant to turn.|
For now though, we’re looking forward to see our first visitors! We assumed that it would be a couple of friends and Jamie’s parents, but were happily shocked to see a Greek-plated white Fiat Panda pull over on Saturday afternoon. Our friend John had driven and ferried all the way from Rhodes to come and visit us – well us, and other friends too. After a nice meal at the restaurant on Saturday evening, we adventured into Chef-Boutonne for a few drinks. With both bars shut (Hôtel des Voyageurs and Café des Sports), we first thought we’d have to walk back, but luckily the pizzeria was opened and happy to serve us drinks at their small bar with the Champions League final playing in the background.
|John and Jamie having a beer.|
|And very much enjoying it!|
|The first time a Greek-plated car's ever parked at Camping Le Moulin.|
|John and I in a deep conversation at the Restaurant des Canards (Camping Le Moulin).|
|And after a few more drinks at the pizzeria in Chef-Boutonne!|