20211016 – Maillane? It’s in Provence.







Saturday

Luxury of a late departure – 12:00 – so lazy start and pack up. Good job really as it’s just over two hours to our next stay in Provence.

Our home for the next week.

Easy drive, autoroute all the way, so much more relaxing than British Motorways. Roadworks, what are they?

Lounge

Stop off for Wendy’s lunch.

Arrive about 15:00 and were met by our landlady who shows us around. Despite her limited English and my poor French, we get by.

Kitchen

Settle in with a cup of tea on the patio, it’s a gorgeous sunny day. The home and garden are lovely, all situated in a quiet small village, a welcome change from Cannes. Pool’s covered over for the winter, not a problem for me. Lovely patio area for coffee and meals, 3 electric bikes. Then it’s off to the supermarket. We’ve a choice of SuperU or Mosquitos (Intermarche). It’s a long while since we enjoyed the smell of Eau de Sewage from a SuperU, lets keep it that way, so Mosquitos it is. We’ve planned meals well up to Tuesday and trying to wean Wendy off too many supermarket visits.

Our patio.

The store’s massive and there seems little logic in layout, really is time for a worldwide standard on supermarket layout, would save so much time. Checkout seems to think we’re thieves, not CUSTOMERS, as they want to check the insides of our shopping bags. If it hadn’t taken us over an hour I’d have been for walking out and leaving the shopping in the trolley. Disgusting customer service, can you imagine that in England? Can only assume that there are a lot of thieves in France.

There are two checkout exits, so we choose the one nearest to us. Can you believe it, but that exit leads into a different car park, and the only way back to our car park is by a security guarded escort (in case we nick anything) back through the store – only in France.

Back home to get wifi, Apple TV and charging stations set up. Now we’re good to go with bread, wine and cheese for tea.

The wine seems to have it’s usual effect as I nod off with a glass in hand. What a waste, half a glass of wine, oh and broken glass – time to get my travel plastic wine glass out.

 

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Grateful for having survived the traffic in Cannes. I think I’ll have a tee shirt printed – “We survived a week of traffic in Cannes”.

Enjoyed Cannes especially the views from our balcony and the coffees on the beach. They were memorable. But, dreaded driving in Cannes. Weather was great despite the gloom and doom weather forecasts.

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Vikings, a mythology of peace

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Well I thought we’d come across the Guiness Book of Records for longest password in Cannes, with 20 characters. But, no this will definitely end up in the Guiness book of records at 39 characters, consisting of lower case, numeric and special characters. The joke is that a lot of sites would reject this as it does not include any upper case letters. Perhaps they thought by keeping it lower case they were making it easy! Ridiculous. No chance of keying that in without a mistake. Only solution is to type it into Notes then copy and paste.

Thank the FSM for Apples share password feature.


Sunday

 
Lazy start to the day. We’ve decided to have a do-nothing day other than a stroll around Maillane. It’s a gorgeous sunny day again.

Come across a cafe on our stroll so stop off for a beer sat out in the sun. A bizarre cafe with a very limited choice of beer.

Back home for afternoon tea around the pool. Then it’s time for a beer and finish off the last of that coteaux d’aix en Provence. Sadly could only find one bottle in the supermarket.

Then it’s time to do battle with the oven. No where, including the manual and the Internet, can we find what those absurb symbols mean.

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What is it with waiters who can avoid eye contact and ignore you. You’d think it would be in their interest to get the customer committed with an order, even if it’s going to take hours to deliver. Look after the customer for more business. Instead, let’s avoid the customer, he might spend more money, an interesting business model. Our waiter, who must have passed out summa cum laude in the subjects of “eye contact avoidance” and “shoddy service” at the World-renowned Paris School of waiting, was just lazy.

An example from one of the many coffee stops. A waiter acknowledges us with a nod, then comes out 4 times and still can’t be bothered to at least take our order. Hello, customer waiting. Goodbye, customer leaving.


Monday

Wow, another gorgeous sunny day.

Roof down in the Thingimajigger and we’re off on an adventure.

Drive down quiet, if somewhat dilapidated, country roads to L’isle sur la sorgue. We’ve been there before but it’s such a pleasant little town. Charming to walk around, but alas no chance of a sandwich, the French are out in force troughing, only 3 course French lunches available, so we have to settle for a coffee and tea. Whatever happened to sandwiches or even Croque Monsuer?

Bump into a Super U. Wow, after 20 years working and holidaying in France we finally get to visit a Super U supermarket that doesn’t stink of raw sewage. No longer need a gas mask. They must have gotten rid of their Eau de Sewage floor cleaner.

Then it’s off to Fontaine de Vaucluse, again we’ve been before, but still another lovely town to walk around. Wendy settles on an ice cream for lunch, coffee for me. Walk up to the source of the river but cannot see anything gushing out, must be underground.
 

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The Fontaine de Vaucluse is a karst spring in the commune of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France. It is the largest karst spring in metropolitan France by flow and fifth largest in the world, with annual output of 630,000,000 to 700,000,000 cubic metres (2.2×1010 to 2.5×1010 cu ft) of water. The spring is the prime example in hydrogeology of a “Vaucluse spring”. It is the source of the Sorgue.

The Fontaine de Vaucluse was formed after the Messinian salinity crisis, during the latter part of the Messinian age of the Miocene epoch, from 5.96 to 5.33 Ma (million years ago), which caused the depth of the exsurgence.[2][3]

Above the spring there is a 230-metre (750 ft)-high limestone cliff with innumerable breaks and faults. This acts as a reservoir, a karst aquifer, in which the water circulates along the discontinuities until it meets a barrier of limestone and clay.

The spring, which feeds the River Sorgue, is the only exit point of a 1,100-square-kilometre (420 sq mi) underground basin, which captures waters from Mont Ventoux, the Vaucluse Mountains, the Albion Plateau(fr) and the Lure Mountain(fr).[4] The water of this exsurgence contains an average of 200 milligrams per litre (0.00012 oz/cu in) of calcium carbonate, and has an annual flow of about 700,000,000 cubic metres (2.5×1010 cu ft), so the reservoir loses 50,000 cubic metres (1,800,000 cu ft) of limestone each year.

This karstification phenomenon acting on the surface of the impluvium, removes an annual volume of 45 cubic metres (1,600 cu ft) per square kilometre, which disappears after being dissolved in the water.[5] That figure becomes more meaningful when calculations show that, in 3.5 million years, the Vaucluse Mountains, the Albion Plateau, and the Lure Mountain, will have had their thickness reduced by 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).[6]
 

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What an awesome day out. Two old favourites that will never loose their charm. Pleasant drive with the roof down in glorious sunshine

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How to visit a Super U when they used to clean their floors with Eau de Sewage floor cleaner.

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Some stunning facts on the benefits of Covid vaccination.

As of October 12, 2021, more than 187 million people have been vaccinated. The number of deaths from COVID in vaccinated people sits around 7,000, meaning there’s about a 0.004 percent chance of death by COVID if you’ve been vaccinated. And even within that tiny percent, 85 percent of them are in the older than 65 age range. According to a recent CDC report, vaccinated people were, on average, five times less likely to get infected with COVID-19 and if they did get infected, vaccinated folks were 10 times less likely to be hospitalized or die from the novel virus compared to people who were not vaccinated.

Yet still the SSS – the snowflakes, the Selfish and the Stupid – resist.


Tuesday

Try out the electric bike as I nip round to the bakers for some Croisants and a Cereal Baguette. I’s a bit like driving a tank, very heavy and the electric assist takes a bit of getting used to.

Off to Arles today. Let’s go and see the arena. Don’t think we’ve been there before, but who knows with our aging memory.

Sadly what a dump Arles is. On a par with Beziers and Blackburn. Hard to judge which is the worst.

Splash out and go into the amphitheater, certainly very impressive, as was the theatre, both World Heritage sites but sadly lacking in imagination and presentation. No displays, videos or interaction. Such a pity as with gladiators and all the rest it could have been awesome, especially for the many school trips visiting. Mind you, when I look back to my school trip to see the Mersey tunnel this place certainly trumps that. They obviously use the arena for some big events, including that barbaric and uncivilised bull torturing, which they call a bull fight.

Wendy has the best Latte so far this trip.

Drive to a Super U supermarket to see if the Sewage smell is truly a thing of the past, and yes it is. It’s a massive, clean, spacious store with no bad smell. Do the rest of the weekly shop. Find 4 different bottles of red Coteaux de Aix en Provence so have to try each one. And they even sell Baked Beans, certainly gone up in my estimation. Buy a big piece of Monkfish, which fortunately she skins for us, but looks like we’ll have to fillet it.

Drive back across the Alpilles nature park. Very impressive.

Luxury tea tonight, Pilchard sandwiches – thanks to Peter and Brenda on our campsite – a very rare delicacy here in France, almost as rare as Baked Beans. All washed down with a strong, unfiltered Jenlain blond beer, all 750 Ml of it. By 19:30 I’m comatose.
 

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Wow, that Amphitheatre would be great for some modern day, Saturday afternoon entertainment for the vaccinated masses. They could feed some of our Donky Politicians and bad web designers to some starving lions.


Wednesday

Out for 10:30. For some bizarre reason I’ve suggested we go to the market at St Remy de Provence, knowing full well that we’ll never buy anything. Wendy’s ultimate shopping trip, looking at it all yet not buying.

Some amazing dried sausage but we pass on the Donkey sausage. But those cheeses are making me drool. Then we discover a cheese shop, peering in through the window, like a child outside a toy shop. Resist going in as I know it would turn out expensive.

Give the Donkey sausage a pass. Wot no horse meat?

Wow, it’s quite a big market in a lovely little town. Can you believe for the first time ever we buy something? Some sugared almonds and while we’re on a roll some fennel. Loads of free samples, but as a pair of wimps we pass.

Then after a relaxing coffee, watching the motorists try to go over a zebra crossing. Pedestrians just have no consideration as a constant dribble across. Cars will be running out of petrol at this rate.

Then we’re off to Les Baux de Provence, a small hilltop fortress town in the middle of the Alpilles nature park. The rock formations are amazing and the small town is lovely, even if a tourist trap. I can’t imagine the hilltop castle was ever captured, what a fortress. As for anyone who says the French don’t wash they’ve obviously never been here, with more soap shops than stones at an islamic stoning.

We spend most of our time arguing as to whether we’ve ever been here before. There are glimpses that make us think we have, but neither of us can believe we would ever forget such awesome rock formations and quaint town. Then over coffee, we discover the pictures from September 2009 that prove we have. Thankfully we discover them on the way out. I think it would have really spoilt the experience if we’d realised when we arrived.

Then it’s back home for afternoon tea.

Wendy has to skin some more of the skin off and fillet the Monkfish we bought, guided by Youtube and sadly using a knife blunter than a child’s wooden toy sword. Then it’s Monkfish (never realised how ugly and messy the Monkfish is, – enough to put you off it for life) and an awesome red Coteaux de Aix en Provence for tea – I think a few of these may find their way into my car boot.

The Monkfish was great, so much bigger than the pieces you typically get in England.

End to another awesome day, cloudy with no sun but it was not cold. Despite the cloud we both feel sunburnt on our faces.

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Another awesome day, despite being cloudy all day it did not spoil both places one jot. Added to which it is just so pleasant driving around these quiet country roads – but always keeping a wary eye out for the dreaded Priorite A Droite.

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At last the sandwich has been resurrected here in Les Baux de Provence


Mighty weapons of war at Les Baux de Provence.

It’s troughing time for the French but not a sandwich to be had anywhere.

What have the French got against the sandwich? When I worked there the CEO always told me “We are not having the sandwich in here. Come on we’re going to lunch.” This roughly translated into a 2 hour, three-course meal, fortunately with wine and for most of them a cigarette between every mouthful, despite it being a no-smoking restaurant.

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Vikings, the arrival

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Yes, we have been here before.

What is it with BBC? Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Disney can all stream TV without any interruptions. BBC streams TV with more interruptions and long pauses than a Christian preachers sermon at Speakers Corner. On top of which they have a web site designed by a 10 year old with social interraction skills of a hermit.


Thursday

The mythical monster.

I know let’s go and explore Tarascon and see if we can spot the Tarasque. Free parking well that’s a good start. Stroll down to the river and look at the pock-marked castle. Across to the church and head into what we think is the old quarter. Turns out to be a muslim ghetto, a bit like Audley Range, Blackburn, AKA The Kyber Pass. We get lost thanks to me relying on my innate sense of direction, which this time let me down. I’m sure it was constantly looking down to avoid the dog turds that got us lost. This place has to be the dog shit capital of France and that’s saying something.

When all the parking slots are full there’s always the 1,001 zebra crossings. Only in France.

Where’s the car. What’s more, will it still be there, complete with 4 wheels? Thank the FSM for Apple Maps and car locate. But watch where you’re stepping.

Drive over the river into Beaucaire, only marginally better, at least it has a pretty river with some boats on.

Oh well, we all make mistakes.

Inside the quarry art show.

Decide to get out of there and head over to the Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux de Provence. That’s if we can ever find our way out of this dump. With sat nav it was a nightmare, without sat nav you’d be condemned to driving around for all eternity.

“The old stone quarries of the Val d’Enfer are today the theatre for a magical show that changes its theme every year and which gave the site its name: “Carrières de Lumières” or “Quarries of Lights”. The masterpieces by great artists are projected onto the floor and 14-metre high walls of this stone cathedral.” Todays show was Cezanne and Kadinsky.

“Spectators standing in the decor itself will be blown away by the musical and artistic staging of this whirl of giant images.” It was expensive for us poor pensioners but worth it. Amazing and the music just complimented it all. What was even more amazing was how my iPhone brought it so much more to light than my eyes.

Then it’s back home, roof down driving through the Alpilles in glorious sunshine. A well-deserved cup of tea on our patio. Oh we Brits sure know how to live – civilised.

Tonight’s tea consists of Baked Beans with pork chops and tartiflette. First baked Beans for over a month. Sadly they were a tad undercooked, probably only 10 minutes, rather than the preferred 20 minutes – to kill all parasites, bacteria and viri – with the all-important knob of butter. If I’m ill tomorrow you’ll know it’s down to eating raw vegetables – yet another attempt on my life failed.
 

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A visit to an art gallery with a difference , Carrie’res de Lumie’res( Quarries of Light ) it was spectacular , an exhibition of art combined with music projected onto the walls of the quarry. Awesome!


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Recently some bright spark came up with an idea on how to limit rising sea levels. Simply get rid of all the boats?

Crazy I know, but I like outside-the-box ideas, so let’s indulge it. Randall Munroe recently tried to figure out how much of a difference it would make on global sea levels if every boat were plucked out of the water.

The answer? A whopping six microns, according to Munroe’s calculations, which is just about the thickness of a single strand of spider silk.

We’re saved!

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You really can’t make this cluster f..k up. Yet again the UK has high Covid rates, the highest in Western Europe. Why? Because the donkeys in power won’t use common sense. Mask, vaccine, passport and limiting major gatherings are such simple effective measures to limit the spread. They are working in the rest of Europe, minimum inconvenience, such a small price to pay and save lives. They’re working here in France.

Instead, we seem hell-bent on cherishing the feelings of the snowflakes, the stupid and the selfish. What about all the unnecessary deaths, hospitalisations and suffering.

Interesting a recent survey show that 76% thought wearing a mask was a good idea. So why are so few wearing mask. Simples, what they really though was that other people wearing a mask was a good idea.


Friday

Our last full day so we’re heading off to Avignon. It seems they have a famous half bridge to nowhere. Only the French could keep such a navigation hazard.

Driving around Avignon is the usual chaos but we eventually find a handy car park at the Pope’s Palace. Another one of those cavernous underground car parks with red and green lights over each parking slot so you can easily see available spaces – neat. What’s not so neat is how tight the spaces are.

Now here’s a town that’s serious about Covid they even warn the cars about social distancing with “Mesure Covid” printed every 100 yards on the roads.

Wendy has lunch and I have coffee while we sit in the sunshine people watching. Then it’s off on a shopping spree. Wendy wants some gifty shops to look at. Not that she’ll but anything.

We give the Pope’s Palace a miss, already done the tour on a previous visit. Yes, another place we’ve been to before, but at least this time we remember it. Well worth the second visit.

Finally some words of Wisdom from Winston.

The objective for the day is to walk on that famous bridge. It seems like it’s one of the best-kept secrets in Avignon, not a sign to be had telling you how to get to it. Walk up to the garden Rocher Des Doms thinking we’ll be able to get to it from there. Some great views of it but alas can’t walk to it. Finally, find our way to it. An impressive structure and yet another World Heritage site. Objective achieved we finally also find some gifty shops for Wendy to browse. Does she buy anything? Does she heck.

Leisurely drive back home for afternoon tea on the patio followed by The Holy Trinity of the table, wine, cheeses and bread. When we get home we really need to have this once a week.
 

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Another gorgeous sunny day, some relaxing people watching over lunch and a World Heritage site to visit.


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The Saint Bénezet bridge, a major witness of the history of Avignon, is known throughout the world thanks to the famous song. Built from the 12th century, it was washed away several times by the floods of the Rhone, and finally abandoned in the seventeenth century. Classified World Heritage by UNESCO.

According to the legend, the bridge was built in the 12th century by a young shepherd from Ardèche – Bénezet – who heard voices telling him to build a bridge in Avignon. Yet, another schizophrenic in the World of religion. An uneducated shepherd, Bénézet (born c.1165 – died c 1184, feast day April 14, patron saint of bridge builders) claimed that he was divinely commanded in a vision to build the bridge at a point where the force of the Rhône was so great that it had discouraged even Roman engineers in antiquity.

At first, people took him for a madman, but he had heard a voice from heaven telling him : “Bénézet, take your crook and go to Avignon, the capital by the water : you will speak to the inhabitants and you will tell them that a bridge must be built”.

One Sunday holiday, while the bishop of Avignon gave his blessing on the square in front of Notre-Dame, Bénézet called to him : “Lord Bishop, I have been commissioned by the Almighty to build a bridge across the Rhône”…

Mocked by the Avignonnais, the shepherd was challenged by the prelate to take an enormous stone on his shoulders and throw it into the Rhône. Bénézet doesn’t hesitate an instant, and watched by the amazed crowd, picked up the stone block and threw it into the water, helped, they say, by divine intervention, and even by angels bathed in golden light.

The bishop of Avignon, at first skeptical, finally approved the project, and work began in 1177. Bénézet reputedly overcame many obstacles miraculously, and the construction of the bridge was said to have caused 18 miraculous healings. Convinced that the work was ordained by God, wealthy patrons formed the first “Bridge-Building Brotherhood” to fund Bénézet’s endeavour. The bridge was completed in 1185, creating the only place to cross the Rhône between Lyon and the Mediterranean sea. The bridge originally spanned approximately 900 meters and had 22 arches. It was dismantled in 1226, then rebuilt. It was later washed away several times by flood waters and rebuilt until it was abandoned in the 17th century. Today, all that remains are four arches and a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicolas. The bridge is famous the world over due to the lovely children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”.

The Pont d’Avignon was a true feat of engineering, and was continually being worked on and repaired. A source of legends, an emblematic monument of the area, the bridge has been the subject of unprecedented interdisciplinary research since 2010.

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Western Media Aren’t Telling You the Truth About Iran – https://apple.news/ANPxgRmEcR5KauobpA0Jp2Q

And here’s the clock counting down the days to Israels destruction.

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News Flash from the English Coastguard.

The Royal Navy intercepted three boatloads of people off the Kent coast this morning.

This placed the Navy in a rather awkward position, as the boats were not heading to, but rather away from Kent and towards France.

Another surprise was that the boats weren’t loaded with migrants as expected, but with British Pensioners.

Their claim was they were trying to get to Calais so as to be able to return to the UK as migrants and therefore be entitled to substantially more benefits than they currently receive as legitimate British Pensioners.

The Navy it is believed, gave them food, water and extra fuel and assisted them on their journey.

We are in the process of arranging further trips and if you’re interested please fill out the document below.

Thank You.

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What an awesome week in a lovely, comfortable Provencal Bungalow set in it’s own grounds, complete with 3 electric bikes, lawns, patio, swimming pool and an imposing set of iron gates to keep the World at bay.

The area was lovely and after the traffic and noise of city life, it was a pleasure to drive around, so less stressful. Many great little places to visit, even though we’d been to most of them before. I’d always wanted to VRBO around the South of France and this was the South of France at its best.

If ever we can’t make it to America this has to be the second-best choice. We’d come again.