This entry is covering two days because we have had problems as it has been hard to charge our phones in Meriginies – the small campsite could not offer us a powerful enough electricity supply. Tuesday was supposed to be a rest day but it turned out to be anything but. In fact just about everything went wrong – the gas igniter wouldn’t work so, sacre bleu, we couldn’t make a morning coffee (the kettle option already being ruled out due to lack of electricity). And then the chemical toilet needed emptying – a task always guaranteed to brighten up the day. More seriously we discovered that the back wheel of Phil’s bike had a broken spoke. That meant we had to find a cycle repair shop urgently. We had already planned to drive to nearby Lille for Phil to have a sports massage and to pick up Ruth who was arriving on the Eurostar from London- incredibly only 90 minutes away. The trip in was dangerous as we somehow found ourselves on the A1 motorway (the main road from Paris) and twice we narrowly avoided crashing into huge lorries as we struggled to filter onto the road.
As we parked the van, Phil managed to lose a 50 Euro note he had in his shorts ready to pay the physio. Mais oui, it was just one of those days. While he had his massage, I wheeled his bike to a bike shop and fortunately the repair guy took pity on me and repaired it straight away. Phil’s bike is very complicated and changing a spoke is far from easy. In fact, the 20 Euros repair bill was well worth it. One positive note amid all the calamities was that by chance we had found ourselves in old Lille which was very picturesque.
We then drove a little distance to the nearby Europe station from where we picked Ruth.
Although it turned a little wet the day improved after this. Ruth was certainly happy to see the campervan!
Ruth’s boudoir is this pop-up tent. Though it is much easier to put up than take down.
By the next day our woes were mainly behind us – and so we were in a more optimistic mood. Tim cruelly describes Phil and I as the chuckle brothers. Judge for yourself.
Then it was on to St Amand-des-Eaux – a spa town which attracts people with rheumatism to convalesce. Phil arrived around lunch time, having again got lost – a trip of nearly 30 miles, nearly ten more than he should have done. At this rate he will be doing 3,000 miles to Rome, not 2,000.
Ruth drove the motorhome for the first time on the right. Enough to shred anyone’s nerves but she passed with flying colours.
In the afternoon I explored the local area by bike. First I saw the thermal centre.
We are heading ever deeper into France – and loving it. (well, most of the time.)