Gratitude… for some simple things

IMG_9772(No life threatening stunts were necessary for this photo)

We’ve moved a few miles further from Carcassonne. In the countryside but near a small town with all the necessities – bakery and grocery shop. There’s also a butchers but we haven’t had to resort to meat yet… yet. Lucky, there’s also a cemetery right next door so very quiet at night. We’re staying here for a few days so Denis can catch up with work.

IMG_0012(Wash Day)

Funny thing happened to me when I realised we would be making a base for a while – I started looking forward to housework! Granted there’s not a lot of housework here but still it was a surprise to me. So I did some clothes washing and because it was such a warm day yesterday everything was dry very fast. Although we did seen to be letting the neighbourhood down with all our string lines.


(Wash Day continues)

It seems we have sorted out our initial problems with fridge stocking too because now we eat all the time in the camper. When we travelled on the motorbike (or in the car) we usually stopped on route for a break and then of course we had a coffee and probably something to eat. Now when we stop we have something from our supplies, much like we do at home. It saves a lot of money and in the long run will allow us to go for longer each time we travel. We do love French coffee so we have that out but we think of it as a treat and we appreciate it much more because it’s rare. Denis has been doing most of the cooking. (I would say ALL of the cooking but I did cook two of the nights!) He seems to enjoy cooking. I definitely enjoy his enjoyment. I do all the dishes thought… it’s hard but I feel I should help out 😉 (Bairbre, if you’re still reading skip the next photo!)

IMG_0023(Look… a new friend)

We’ve met some nice people on our travels. I think we were at our third campsite when we met a couple from Yorkshire. (Hello the Brophy-Laws – the relations in Yorkshire) They gave us the best tip so far… wash the dishes in the campsite sinks (saves water and bottled gas and you meet people) and use the campsite bathrooms (it’s time to describe the toilet facilities…) If you’re of a delicate disposition you might want to skip the next paragraph. Don’t worry there will be NO pictures.


(Ok, when I said NO pictures, I meant no terrible pictures. That little rectangular door in the picture is the door you unlock… full details below)

So… there’s a bathroom (toilet and shower room really) in the camper. The produce of a trip to the bathroom (toilet) goes into the cassette (that’s what they call it!) Every three days the cassette must be emptied. To empty the cassette you unlock (like anyone might steal it) a door near the back of the camper on the passenger side and pull out a box. The box has wheels and a pull out handle (much like a suitcase you might have as carry-on) and you take the walk of shame (the wheels are very loud on the gravel paths and everyone at the campsite knows where you’re going…) to the WC chimique (chemical toilet disposal) where you open the lid and empty your cassette. The WC chimique provides direct access to the sewage system and there’s always a hose nearby to tidy-up. Makes me totally grateful for my bathroom at home.

I’ll save the details about the water tanks for another time, Mairead.


IMG 9425

(I risked life and limb to get you this photo…)

We’ve arrived in Carcassonne. The old city is a château surrounded by shops and cafés and restaurants and ice cream places surrounded by a huge wall with turrets and barbicans, a moat and then another wall outside all that with more turrets and barbicans.There’s also a couple of hotels in there surrounded by the walls. It’s a little bit Disney and touristy but in a French way so not too perfect. It was saved from destruction in the 1800’s and renovated and now it’ll probably never fall down.

IMG 9509

(Narrow streets)

My favourite bit (not counting the ice cream) was the channels running down the middle of some of the streets. I like to imagine them channelling unwanted liquids down the hill and out through the walls. Fortunately they don’t use them anymore so the odours are very pleasant – mainly crêpes and coffee I think.

IMG 9675

(The channel)

When I arrived at the walls I spotted a little train tour and having fond memories of previous train tours I hopped on board. It runs around the outside of the outer wall on cobblestone paths that are very bumpy (not great for photography) and very narrow (not great for the nerves.) But I did my best to take some photos and stay the nerves… I seem to have completely missed the audio with the effort though… did she say 38 turrets?

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(Cute cafe within the ruins and garden of an old building)

My pictures don’t do it justice because the best views are from the air but Denis won’t hire a plane. When we were driving along the motorway towards Carcassonne we suddenly got an amazing view of the site. We were very excited. I scampered back and grabbed the camera and Denis opened the window. Now I need to stop here and give you another camper van tip – when the camper is moving do not open the window unless the person about to sit beside the window knows you are opening it… they are in danger of toppling out the said window because of the nearness of their posterior to the base of the open window…. and the photos suffer. Fortunately I did not topple out.

Ryanair flies very low over the old city of Carcassonne, that may well be the safest way to get great photos. Mairead.