Showing posts from September, 2016

Last few days of island life

Days five, six and seven of our camping holiday on Île d'Oleron were spent on Saumonards beach on the island's north east. It was the first time we'd ventured in that direction and, as usual, cycleway made the journey pretty easy. I'll have mentioned on one of our first two trips to the island that it's criss crossed by cycleway. I think they're for the benefit of motorists as much as bikers, as the angry toot of the horn a cyclist on the road received as we passed by on the cycleway adjacent. He had a road bike and its tires would have been completely unsuited to the rough track designated for cyclists, so my tip here is that a mountain bike is a must, flat though the island is. The beach at Saumonards was quieter, and the sea calmer than on the west coast. You can see across to La Rochelle and, when the sky is clear, you can see the bridge that crosses from the mainland to Île de Ré. Prior to the last day we'd spend on this beach we cy

French food, or not

We have considerable work to do to cook like a local in France. The supermarkets seem expensive but I think that's because we are looking for the same things we'd buy at home and they're not common ingredients here. Having just invested in a paella pan for two, we bought prawns and chicken thighs on our first supermarket shop and our first meal was Spanish. At that same supermarket we purchased off cuts of beef and made a Greek stifado for the second night. Our third and fourth nights repeated the first two, except, shocked by the price of chicken, we bought pork for the paella. I'm sure no Spaniard would make a pork paella but they are happy to add chorizo sausage which is kind of the same thing. Standing at the meat counter planning meals five and six we ended up with a huge but very fatty chunk of beef. I hacked it into dice and we put half in the fridge and made chilli con carne that night and a Moroccan tagine the next. In both meals the fat render

New camping stuff

Eighteen months of campervan ownership and we're still finding little things that make life on the road easier. New acquisitions getting their first use on our French beach holiday include a fantastic fold-out solar charger that very efficiently charges a phone or Kindle. In fact it will charge three devices at once and will be invaluable when traveling without electric hookup. As it is I've been taking it to the beach to top up my phone's battery during the day. A standard mains charger will provide 1,000 amps, with high speed chargers giving 2,400 amps. Using a charge-measuring app I've clocked the solar panels giving my phone 700-800 amps, which is pretty good considering it's using only the sun's natural resource. Then there's been the Lamzac inflatable lounger that folds up into next-to nothing, but with a couple of gusts of wind, inflates to an incredibly comfortable beach chair. While on the island we've both purchased beac

Would they even recognise you in a lineup

Yesterday evening, while walking past the dish-washing area, I overheard a conversation that wouldn't be out of place on the 'Overheard in Waitrose' Facebook page. A British man said to another camper: 'The holidays are the hardest because there's no au pair.' Of course it was said in a jolly posh British accent too. It made me wonder why they'd chosen to holiday on a campsite that didn't offer a kids club if they were that desperate to palm off their offspring on others. And if their kids had to pick them out of a lineup, I wonder if they'd recognises their parents.