hI have no idea what lunacy was in my head when I booked a ferry to Dunkirk, but it turned out well, it is a pretty little town and we splashed out for a hotel that night..more showers and clean sheets, what indulgence..It was just as well given how long it took us to find somewhere decent to stay after that.

We arrived in Dunquerke as (i think) it is supposed to be spelled on Tuesday night, The next morning we started to drive south. The skies were grey, the rain torrential. Yup the rain followed us..and it was cold.

Remember what I said about the holiday being hard work. I was really starting to question myself at this stage. The first night we spent near Troyes. Troyes is a gorgeous city, it is all medieval with half timbered houses, we stayed in a little village close by bar sur seine, a smaller equally beautiful medieval village, we parked in an aires de camping, ie a car park and treated ourselves to some proper french crepes in a beautiful old building. The next day we woke to more rain drumming on the roof of the van.

So we just drove and drove, including motorways (and aren't the tolls madly expensive!!) south and more south, just reaching provence that day. I was shattered. I had driven about 500 miles that day. The plan was to find a nice campsite and spend a few days just not driving and seeing lavender fields and enjoying the sunshine as we finally found it!

However it was then that we started to really get stressed. There was a naturiste campsite advertised in one of the books and I rather fancied the idea of an all over tan and of course purient interest in comparing my wobby bits with everyone elses, but sadly it was full..(I am sure that there is a pun or a joke there somewhere, but I can't find it) So onto the next campsite..full..we spent that night in a deserted picnic area, cooking up mexican food at 10pm by moonlight.

We were near carpentras, which is quite mountainous and regularly features in the tour the france. The roads were mobbed by heart-attack-imminent cyclists. Mad! Steep hills that went on for miles and miles. I wanted to tuck them all into the van and take them to the top, but for their expressions of grim determination (Eimear..I did think of you!)... they were all wearing yellow jerseys. I don't blame them, if I were to even attempt to cycle in that kind of terrain I feel I should have rosettes and ribbons and yellow jerseys galore, before I had gone 10 metres.

Anyway, feeling much like the holy family, we headed off the next day to Apt, because there are lots of lavender fields around there. We went to a gorgeous abby hidden in a tiny valley with high mountains all around, Picture postcard stuff. the monks grow lavender and keep bees. I was surprised that the air wasn't heavy with the smell of lavender, but it was full of the constant drone of the bees..and the clicking of camera shutters.

We tried another 6 campsites after that..and still no room at the inn, seriously I was competely channeling the virgin mary, after all Rosita is named after Don Quiotes Rosinante...all that was missing was Joseph..and of course the wise men...but they are always late to the party I am told.

So I gave up provence as a bad job and we decided to head for the coast.
Helen Ruby
7/17/2011 03:18:37 pm

Just back from a week and 2,000kms south again..to my aunt's funeral and visited long term friends and relations again. Me,my brother and male cousin were not in line for the "old money" - only my sister, two cousins and one of their sons who kept in Alice's life since childhood...pays to keep in touch! They will each get about $175,000 - but two have multiple myeloma - nasty blood cancer and my sister is a money hungry bitch. The only one I love is the younger gay cousin's son! But Edel, I have my health, happiness and wonderful friends and family.

Loved your description of Doris and your adventures and look forward to more soon. Loving thoughts HR x x


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