The First Two Days

It’s 7.30 at night on my second day – I’m sat in the gorgeous meadow styled garden of my gite in Canteleu with a glass of wine on the table – given Normandy isn’t known for its vineyards this one is a Pessac-Leognan from… Lidl, just around the corner.

This was last night’s bottle… it was all being drunk serenely until the World Cup started

When I woke yesterday morning I literally felt sick. I couldn’t eat, I was just so incredibly nervous that this day had come. It’s not like I hadn’t prepared for it; if anything I had over prepared and over thought absolutely everything over the last 12 months.

For God’s sake Terri – it’s a HOLIDAY!!

Although of course in my eyes it’s never quite that – it’s the start to uncorking the finer things! And clearly I have no idea where that’s going – which may be why the tone and content of these blogs change from time to time.

But anyway… in short – the first two days:

• The EuroTunnel trip was super easy. We got on a train an hour earlier (no additional cost – British train companies take note) – we drove on; we drove off.

• I have mastered driving on the right hand side of the road – it’s super easy in a right hand drive car – I think my UK driving will suffer as a result.

• My pre-ordered toll pass worked; I literally screamed when it beeped and the barrier lifted for the first time. I groaned at the third – it’s going to cost me a fortune by the end of the summer.

• I sat outside the wrong house in Canteleu for 30 mins waiting for the owner. A neighbour pointed me in the right direction – and it’s lovely, Rex is very happy here.

A very happy Rex

• Lidl has proved indispensable. Apart from the milk – my fault but basically I picked up the liquid yogurt…doesn’t go well in tea. Nor does it actually taste good on its own.

• We exited the World Cup.

Today – after much debate with Rex (yes I know he’s a dog and can’t answer back) I decided we should drive rather than walk to Rouen. Good job – would have been a crap walk. My driving skills were put to the test in the city and I have mastered U turns quite well – I figure they’ll see the British number plate and just keep their distance anyway. I’m dreadful at parallel parking (especially if people are watching) so forfeited a number of spots until I found a car park (by which point I was hopelessly lost but turned out I was basically in the centre – fortune favours the brave apparently).

It’s a lovely town – most famed for where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, now forever immortalised with a huge cross outside a not so lovely church. Despite that the buildings are fantastic and there’s a lovely relaxed air to it.

Just a couple of the gorgeous medieval buildings in Rouen

After a lovely lunch I looked in the Rough Guide and decided to drive 50 mins to Chateau Gaillard – fortress of Richard the LionHeart no less and it most definitely would have been a mighty fortress overlooking the River Seine. It felt like my first glimpse of true France overlooking the riverside village of Les Andelys.

Chateau Gaillard

Given the majority of this trip is likely to be vineyard based and that I’m staying bang in the centre of Tours for the next four weeks from Saturday it has been lovely to have an evening like tonight just to sit back and unwind – there’s just never enough time when you’re working (oh I forgot – I’m NOT!)