Our Thirteenth Week Working In Camping Le Moulin In Chef-Boutonne

It’s a fly invasion! It seems that the wet weather and higher temperatures of the past few weeks has been the perfect breeding ground for house flies. As we leave windows and doors open more often than not, it is an open invitation for those annoying buzzing insects to come in and stay. It has been driving Jamie crazy! To be fair, they just seem to swarm and breed everywhere. After trying to get rid of them using our tea towel, we’ve finally followed in our friends and mobile home owners’ footsteps and invested in a simple fly swatter. Maybe we should have our own stall on the campsite selling sticky fly paper, sprays and swatters!

Apart from swatting flies, we have been busy, I promise! This week saw us trying our hands at “topiary” or the art of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes. Well, we didn’t really shape, but only gave the ducks (in reference to the campsite’s restaurant, “Les Canards” meaning “the ducks” in French) that Nigel created last year a refreshing haircut! We continued cutting back other bushes and trees that needed it across the campsite.

Jamie's getting his hands at "topiaring"!

This one needed a bit of a haircut! BEFORE

AFTER! It still need a bit of work, but we managed to clear most of it.
After participating to the last Friday night quiz, we were back behind the scenes this week. It had been so much fun participating that we were that little bit sad to not be able to experience it again. It was the biggest quiz night of the season with 50 people booked in! As more preparation was needed to accommodate for such a larger number, I was in the kitchen from 10am with Alex cleaning 13kg of mussels (the quiz nigth’s pre-booked menu is simple; mussels or breaded chicken breast with chips) and sorting out the tables. That evening we ate with Sara, Stuart and Kieren as usual. Whilst Jamie was in front of house helping Stuart serving drinks, dishes and taking orders, Alex, Sara and I were in the kitchen. It was a great evening and lovely to hear everybody were having a good laugh.

Behind the scenes; Jamie's cutting bread for the hungry customers.

Washing up duties!

A very busy Restaurant Les Canards!
The next day Sara and Stuart took us to the Fête de la Musique in Chef-Boutonne. The Fête de la Musique is a musical affair happening on Summer’s day, 21 June or on the weekend nearest to the 21st all over France. From the tiny hamlets to the big cities, each one of them will have something going on; be it a local musician jamming on the street or a famous band on stage on a main square. It’s a very nice festival; time for the local community to be together, interact with one another and most importantly have fun and celebrate the start of the Summer.

Chef-Boutonne has its own committee organising the event and local commerce take it in turns each year to run and man the evening celebration. Long tables and benches were laid out under the old lavoir (washing place) on the town’s main square for people to enjoy food and drinks. Stuart and Sara treated us to the meal on offer – beef or salmon was what we’d had to pre-book, but the evening meal came as a four-course meal! Charcuterie or a slice of tart for starters, and the main dish was followed by cheese and a slice of apple tart – quite a feast! By Saturday, it wasn’t just us going as well, but a few campers followed us too, Jo & Karen and Robin & Marlene were of the party too, the more the merrier! The music entertainment was a rock band from Reims, The Nachez. It wasn’t the best music, but people were happy and after a few drinks, even Jamie was dancing!

Enjoying drinks before our meal with lovely campers Jo and Karen who stayed with us at Camping Le Moulin for a few days...

Having a laugh with Sara.

Jamie's having a laugh too with Marlene and...

...her husband, Robin. Friendly caravanners, Robin and Marlene stayed on the site for a couple of weeks.

Very much enjoying the evening!

By the end of the night, Jamie was on the dance floor!
Getting up the next day was quite hard... Especially for Jamie, but I must admit that I wasn’t great either! After looking after him, I went out to give a hand to Gill at Chef-Boutonne’s brocante (car-boot sale). Willy and Gill are soon moving out of their mobile home in preparation to moving back to the UK in September. Chef-Boutonne’s brocante takes place in the grounds of the castle of Javarzay, 900metres from the campsite. Stalls were laid out on all sides of the castle, including around the lake. Every inch of the ground was covered by people wanting to make a few bucks from their Spring clean or downsizing like Gill & Willy. Professionals selling everything from bags to local produce, but also antique dealers and local artisans from the Poitou-Charente region were also represented in this labyrinthine “vide-grenier” (a French expression to describe a car-boot sale literally meaning “empty attic”).

Gill's stall at the brocante (Gill's friends, Claire and Wanda were there too to give Gill's a hand!).
At last, but not least, whilst I was busy assisting some of our campers, Karen & Jo at the nearby garage (their windscreen wipers had stopped working; with the recent rainfalls, they couldn’t leave it to chance especially since they’re heading down to Madrid), Jamie managed to get his postal vote in for the EU referendum on time. Both of us are very much pro-EU for a safer and more peaceful world. Despite its shortcomings, we do believe the European Union is a force for good. We are worried about tomorrow’s results and will be watching it closely, watch this space!

PS: Karen & Jo, we hope you’ve made it down to Spain safely!