Home at last

Long day travelling up on the back of various breakdown trucks from Portsmouth arriving early evening.

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On the bright side my mpg was pretty good on the return trip…. Now just need to find a replacement throttle cable.

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Another day, another breakdown- quel dommage!

Nice relaxing start, in the car at 9am to set off for the Cherbourg ferry and thunk! the accelerator cable snapped. That’s one spare I don’t carry. At least it happened outside the hotel. And we do have Breakdown cover.

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So missed the ferry but a breakdown truck took us to Caen for a later ferry. Which by coincidence was the ferry that the main group were on.
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The truck pulled up in the queue at Caen, I jumped out and knocked on Val’s car window which did surprise her a bit! After a bit of discussion and a £52 surcharge from Britanny Ferries to change crossing the truck took us to the ferry and (gratefully for the driver) dropped us off.
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The Britanny Ferries manager suggested we start the car to get it on board. After a push start it got going but I was driving it on full choke at 3500 rpm with the only control being the clutch. The Lima has a quirk that as the choke goes in it needs a blip on the accelerator to bring the revs down, which of course I couldn’t do. So when I was put at the back of the lorries and switched off all the unburnt fuel backfired with a huge bang! Not what you want with terrorist alerts…
Getting off the boat, we were left to the end, started the Panther on choke but this time had a clear run and a breakdown truck was waiting for us 100 yards from the boat then took us to a local hotel.

Meanwhile Steve and Irene arrived in Calais early after a seven and a half hour drive non motorway and 57 roundabouts, Irene stayed awake to count them. 
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Geoff stopped to get some wine and Steve thinks missed his ferry.

The long way home

Everyone was leaving this morning, and in all directions. Mogens and Vibeke headed south to Spain. Val and Ray off to north of Paris to collect their Panther J72 which has had it’s braking system replaced. Tne main group is staying in Amboise this evening about 3 to 4 hours away. Meanwhile Mike, Judy and I had a 350 mile drive to Coudeville near St Malo. Fairly uneventful just long and of course it rained a lot. My car was once more Leaky McLeakface with water dripping everywhere. Even Mike’s Kallista was leaking it was that heavy.

Anyway arrived at Coudeville sur Mer in glorious sunshine. Our hotel faces the sea and we have been upgraded to sea view rooms.

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Then went for a walk along the prom

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The hotel even has a concert on tonight but not really our thing plus we are knackered.
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Meanwhile Val & Ray arrived in Paris safely after a slow journey. On arrival at the garage, they were still finishing the replacement braking system as the parts only arrived today. But seems the car is going well and they will meet the others at Caen tomorrow. Here’s their car back up and running.
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And the main group reached Amboise
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…and the bar
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At leisure

Geoff and Roz visited a local market
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Judy & I went to the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux only opened since 1st June.
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It is very impressive and interactive with lots of videos etc
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Even smellovision
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Finished off with a glass of wine in the belvedere at the top of the museum
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Then in the evening our last night dinner.
Speeches from Val
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And Mogens, with his rendition of ‘My Way’
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Bev looking worried that he has not booked the Grand Gathering
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And finally some piano playing from Mogens- is there no end to his talents?
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A fond farewell to those who are going separate ways in the morning as we make our way back home. Particular thanks to Val, Colin and Julie for their organisation helping to make a great holiday.

Bergerac

An early start meeting at 8.30am (on holiday?) to drive to Bergerac.

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We stopped on this bridge which was built by M Eiffel (as in Tower). Unfortunately the Frenchman behind us on his way to work was not impressed at us holding him up.

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Past many more vineyards

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Before arriving at Chateau de Sanxet

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The owner makes wine and has a small motor museum:

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Note spooky doll in carriage window!
The cars are an eclectic mix of some the owner has raced such as this vintage Bugatti

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And cars he has found, many of which are original and unrestored

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It looks like it gets hot in summer

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Then we went to the centre of Bergerac

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And where they celebrate Cyrano de Bergerac

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Quiet evening tonight, or so we thought. Jim & Lin joined the group at Toutvent to help mop up the mountains of food that Val has bought.
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But we have repaired the pool table for a competition later.
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This involved the hi tec solution of jacking up one side with pieces of cardboard to level it.
Some of those staying at Le Chalet went out for dinner and were amused by Roz’s dessert
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St Emilion

We said goodbye to Dave which left us with 9 cars and drove down to St Emilion, just about in convoy with a couple of hiccups. Some with roof up and some down, with the odd shower on the way. It was a scenic route past many vineyards.

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Unfortunately no reserved parking for pretty photos this time we just fitted in where we could. In St Emilion there are more wine shops than you can shake a stick at.
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We went up the main bell tower. Unusual way to get in- buy ticket at Tourist Office who gave us the key to open the door and asked that we lock it behind us!
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Great view from the top
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Set off back with the roof down, but then got caught in another shower.
In the evening we had traditional French(!) fish and chips from a mobile van at the local golf club.
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Caves and horses

The two groups staying in the two places each needed fuel so decided to meet at the petrol station. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding it was not the same one… When we did get together it started to rain so wimped out and roofs up so of course then rhs sun came out. Arrived at Brantome where there is a very picturesque Abbey and caves

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While we were there it started raining constantly.

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Then we went to Brantome Horse Sanctuary, where they take in retired police horses although we got lost a few times on the way.

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Followed by dinner at a local restaurant in the evening.

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