A Charmed Life

16th August 2018

Barbezieux St Hilaire, France

Another hot night, last night and still 17 degrees at dawn but thankfully no mozzies!

High temperature aside, I am very happy to report it was yet another really excellent location to spend the night at and this morning’s walk with Amy around the exquisite countryside was a perfect start to the day.

I was very much struck, during the walk, just how blessed the people who are born to the land hereabouts are. Everything about the landscape is exactly correct and there is a saying from my sailing days that comes to mind: (in reference to yachts) ‘if it looks right, it probably is’.

The sense I get - and I’ve picked up this notion before in the extensive grape growing regions of Portugal, particularly in the environs of the famous and seriously impressive Sandeman estate - is that vineyard cultivation is an archetypal example of what we euphemistically refer to as ‘old money’. Everything I see hereabouts didn’t happen yesterday, or even the day before, it’s ancient and yet still functioning perfectly and, indeed, flourishing. I guess whatever future solutions technology provide for mankind there is always going to be a strong demand for decidedly old fashioned wine!

One can only be born to a life such as the locals hereabouts enjoy. To inherit this fecund land and it’s arcadian architecture, to learn the craft of vine cultivation from infancy, drawing from a deep well of knowledge acquired over countless generations is to have won the jackpot in life’s lottery.

It’s very rare that I am envious of anyone but I do envy these obviously contented and friendly folk who smile and wish me Bonjour! and ask if I am on les vacance.

Amy was puffin’ and pantin’ like a good ‘un at the end of her walk - I lost count of the number of deer she gave chase to - so we trundled round the back roads until we came to a river where she could have her morning douche. I was very tempted to join her and if I don’t find a public rest area shower in the next day or so will very definitely be joining her for an invigorating bathe in a river somewhere, soon!

A short drive to Barbezieux St Hilaire for a Lidl store and I couldn’t help but notice that as we approached the town’s outer environs we were, contrastingly, well and truly back in the land of the petty bourgeois and their ‘new money’ ostentatiously squandered on their fussy houses with tidy little lawns surrounded by territorial walls and iron gates to keep the riff raff at arm's length.

After Lidl, I arbitrarily decided to head due south from Barbezieux on minor roads and we very soon found ourselves to be on an excellent deserted chalk road heading south through more exquisite forested and wine growing countryside and could think of no good reason, although only having travelled a short distance, why we shouldn’t just stay hereabouts for today - and so we have, just here:

Google Maps
Latitude : 45.45915 (45° 27′ 32.94″ N)
Longitude : -0.18933 (0° 11′ 21.6″ W)
accuracy of signal : 4 m

Had a panic a moment ago as the chateau I returned my duly endorsed French form to by email on Tuesday came back to say that I had not included a copy of my birth certificate or my Social Security Card. This is all for a temporary grape picking job, don’t forget!

The panic was I knew my birth certificate was in a waterproof document wallet, along with several other important to me docs, and not only was said waterproof wallet not where it should have been I couldn’t recall seeing it since customs at Folkestone. After turning the Jeep and it’s contents inside out I finally remembered that I’d put it in an obscure floor compartment for ‘safekeeping’ after the aforementioned customs until I could put it back in it’s proper place!

I have explained in the my reply to the chateau that not all of us EU folk are issued with Social Security Cards and have sent a copy of my EU issued Health Card instead.

It will be interesting to see just what the French bureaucratic mind makes of it all!

France under fire

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Amy and I travel on a shoestring - and its a thin shoestring at that! - So, if you enjoy reading about our travel trials and tribulations and would like to make a small donation please do! Amy will be particularly pleased as she is very fond of her daily dinner. Woof!