Vacances en France – 2018 – La Calsade 2


Tuesday, the 5th day of our holiday, and we decided to have a slow day with absolutely no driving. Gerry laundered our four days worth of travel clothing and hung it out on the line. The fabulous, sunny weather and a gentle breeze made short work drying our stuff.

While the laundry was drying Gerry was making the most of the sun, soaking up the rays. Laying in the sun, sizzling, is not really my thing. I prefer to get my tan whilst on the move. So, I took myself off to wander the lanes around the gite and check out the views.

Immediately next door, is a building suitable for turning into another gite …

A doer upper, perhaps a candidate for a second gite.

La Calsade, as well as being the home to a dairy herd, they are also producers of the very tasty Cantal and Salers cheeses.


GAEC stands for Groupement Agricole d’Exploitation en Commun (Agricultural Farming Association). The fromagerie, next door to our gite, is on the regional cheese tour and there were several tour coaches during our stay. Given the steep and winding nature of the access roads to this place, I give the coach drivers top marks for negotiating the many hairpin bends.

Another building ripe for development as a gite.

This building would have near 360 degree views and, in my opinion, was another contender for conversion to a gite.

Another view of a building ripe for development as a gite.
A typical Cantal view

La Calsade and the village of Badailhac are about 1000 metres above sea level, hence the spectacular views.

Winter feed for the cattle

I came across stacks of these all around the farm. Being enclosed in black plastic one can only imagine the temperature inside. I can tell you that, based on the aroma emanating from them, they probably contain silage. Many of the fields close by were growing maize which I know is used to make silage.

Nature vs Machine

I don’t know how long this machine had been standing but nature was making a good go at reclaiming the land on which it stood.

Another Cantal View

My wanderings had taken me around behind the main part of the farm …

The back-side of La Calsade

… the buildings look much larger from this angle. From our gite, seen end on, they appear smaller.

The trail back to the gite and an ice cold beer

Eventually, my thirst got the better of me. I could hear the bottles of Leffe beer calling my name from the refrigerator.

So I retraced my steps, rejoined Gerry, and we enjoyed a bottle or two of that ice-cold Nectar while we sat in the late afternoon sunshine and watched the evening parade of cattle heading in for milking.

Retirement Lunch

Just to upset you folks out there that haven’t retired yet …… tee hee !

Hopping Hare
Hopping Hare

It’s beer o’clock …. Since the temperatures are rising here in the UK. 30 degC in my conservatory and that’s with the doors and roof windows open.

Slow Sunday In Serandon

Today, Sunday, was designated a no drive day. Not quite a duvet day as we were both up and dressed. Not even a pottering day since we are not in our own home.

A bit of toast with a cup, or two, of coffee.  Meandering around the gite and grounds, a bit of blogging and a sunday roast.

Blogging and /or checking in via Facebook has proven to be problematical. We haven’t had any WiFi and mobile signals have been very much touch and go. Back home I am on Vodafone but here in France my mobi switches  providers, seemingly by the hour. Randomly connecting to Orange F, F Bouygues and F SFR. All with very little signal strength.

Still, we chose to come to a remote gite, so no complaining from me.

Gerry was happy for us to be home based as she wanted to watch the tennis. Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic in the French Open Final. That left me to cook the dinner and potter around with my camera.

So,first of all, here is the gite ……

Gite, Serandon, France

It is perfect for our needs.Bedroom, bathroom and kitchen on the ground floor. Two steps up from the kitchen to the living / dining space. There is also a second bedroom and lounge area, up on the mezzanine, which we are using to store our suitcases.

On the other side of the gite there is a nice terrace with table and chairs and a stone built BBQ. The terrace has a triangular canvas wing to provide shade along with the grape vines and the Wisteria.

View East from the Gite, Serandon, France

The gite is surrounded by fields and forest. The photo above shows the view to the east, where the sun rises and also where a storm was rolling in  from on Saturday afternoon. Although the thunder rumbled we only received a few spots of rain.

Flowers – Gite, Serandon, France

There are some lovely flowers around the grounds. These lilies greet us by the door to the lounge. There are some beautiful roses under the kitchen window with a lovely scent.

Of course, lovely scents attract flies and bees and other beasties. This fellow decided to take up residence. Unfortunately, for him, I was prepared.

Wasp ?

He was like a British Wasp on steroids and I have since discovered that there are many more like him around here.

After our roast dinner I left Gerry watching the tennis and went for a walk down the lanes in front of the gite.

Weather Vane

The following were all encountered on my gentle stroll down from the gite into the forest.

Of course I forgot that what walks down has to eventually walk back up. The route into the forest got steadily steeper. When I eventually turned about, I had a twenty-minute steady climb back up to level ground. It was very nice, what with the birds singing away, their calls echoing though the trees.

Even better was the glass of Pelforth Blonde waiting for me in the fridge. A fitting end to a good day.

Unfortunately not so good for Gerry. Andy Murray lost !!

Calais To Orleans

View from Hotel de la Plage

We got up to find the winds had decreased but it was raining hard. The view out to sea was somewhat diminished due to fog.

Gerry had mentioned hearing a fog horn during the night.

We didn’t hang around for breakfast even though we had booked it. The overpowering smell of stale multi-cooked grease, noted during check in the evening before, had displaced any potential hunger pangs we might have had.

Feeling we had escaped a fate worse than death, we set off into deepest, darkest, France.

Brunch was had at La Croissanterie, near Charles Degaul Airport. We had hoped for a hot meal but it was either filled baguettes or hot dogs from the mobile eatery outside. Continuing our journey, all went well until we got to Paris. The weather had improved, well the rain had stopped, but it was generally dark and overcast.
We were making our way around the peripherique, which, for those who don’t know it, is always a bit of a challenge. Anyway we were making good progress when we saw signs indicating that we were going to be booted off our route.
No problemo thought I, having recently updated the satnag. It will know how to get us out via an alternative route.
Not so. It seems it was as confused as I was. After passing through the same tunnel for the third time and having to make some fairly dodgy turns, in very heavy traffic, I decided we had to force the satnag to recalculate without considering the peripherique.
Heading out towards Versailles, the satnag eventually got its act together and we were on our way again. This brief moment of madness had cost us approximately an hour due to the typically heavy parisien traffic.  At one time we were driving alongside the Seine. The water level was nearly at the same level as the road showing just how dire the situation is in the city at this time.
Eventually we found ourselves back on an autoroute, hoping to regain some of the lost time. Unfortunately, the satnag informed us that there was a twenty eight minute delay ahead on our route. We elected to find an alternative route and the satnag took us off the autoroute for Artenay. Once again we fell foul of road closures due to flooding. And once again the satnag had a hissy fit, even sending us into a forest, down a road quite clearly marked as a dead end. We passed houses being pumped out and even encountered a car up to its windscreen in flood waters. Resorting to good old fashioned paper maps, I managed to get us back on track. The time wasted meant we should have stayed on the autoroute and made do with the twenty eight minute delay.  Ce la vie.
At last we made it to Orleans. This was not according to plan, which had us being nearer to Bourges. But it wasn’t to be.
We set the satnag a new challenge. Find us a hotel. Unfortunately, Orleans has changed since we were last there, it is much, much busier and, although the satnag offered many possible hotels in the centre of town, there is nowhere to park. Not even room to double park for a short while and I don’t remember the trolley busses which have priority. We did see the “maid”, Joan of Arc, sat up on her horse and caught a glimpse of the cathedral.
We decided to head to the outskirts and try again. As we found ourselves alongside the Loire river, we struck lucky and spotted a hotel with parking outside. On investigation it transpired that they had a room and off road parking. The Escale Oceania

View from our room at Hotel Escale Oceania
Vin Rouge (Coteaux Languedoc) consumed at Le Barentin, Orleans

proved to be a very comfortable place to stay and, at €87 room and breakfast, good value. No restaurant on site for dinner, however, the concierge recommended a place just five minutes walk away.
Le Barentin has a nice atmosphere, friendly staff and, most important, good food. Gerry and I shared a bottle of red (Coteaux Languedoc)

but I also had a beer (Pelforth Brune). This ensured that we both slept well. Not even a Calais style gale was going to wake us.

Its Warm

Yes, it’s warm. Temps have been in the high twenties thru mid thirties with more of the same forecast. I know this isn’t what friends and family back home want to hear as they prepare for more high winds, snow and a possible white Christmas.

Just to rub a little salt in the wounds I thought I would let you all know that we have been spending quite a bit of time in the pool, alternating with visits to local hostelries where they are serving well chilled beers. Actually chilled beer is available at poolside too ….

Chillin in the pool

And when relaxing in the pool gets just a tad too much there is always the hot tub ….

Just add vegetables … !!!

As I said we have been visiting various hostelries to sample both the chilled beer and tasty seafood. Here you can see some of the locals indicating their approval of the local cuisine …

Fine Dining Critics – Discussing the finer points of the Beer Battered Squid

We visited The Boat restaurant, up at Mindarie. where we had possibly the tenderest squid served in a lemon pepper coating. Once again I succumbed to the call of Little creatures and had a pint of their draught Pale Ale while the others partook of a local cider.

The restaurant is right alongside the quay within the marina with a fine view of some nice properties …

Mindarie Marina Properties

…. complete with moorings.

While promenading, and drooling over some rather nice gin palaces, I spotted this craft sitting idle …

Fishful Thinking – Mindarie Marina

When you consider the current exchange rates $55k is a steal. So, if I blow my pension on this, all I have to do is acquire a nice waterside property where I can park it. Then it’s look out fishies, here I come.

I have just been advised that, should I blow my pension on this boat, it would probably become my home. So I guess that’s another dream shot down in flames.

Oh well, back to the 32 degC temperature and another beer by the pool then.

Early Days

So,  here we are down under. Must be an age thing but I think the journey has taken more out of me than usual.
We flew Cathay Pacific and the service and comfort was very good. But thirty plus hours of travel and wakefulness has taken its toll.

We have spent time relaxing by, and in, the pool. Soaking up a few rays. Temperatures have been up in the thirties, centigrade that is.

On Friday we trundled down to Fremantle, for a mooch around the fishing harbour, which is always lively and interesting.
After a gentle stroll in the sunshine what could be better than a long cool pint of beer.  And where better than the Little Creatures Brewery . We have been visiting them since they opened. The beer is excellent and the food very good too, although we weren’t eating there this time.

Dinner was reserved for Kailis’ Fish Market Café Fremantle. Here, we had superb Snapper Fillets with Chips.

Saturday was very hot and, apart from a run to the bottle shop, the day was spent in and around the pool.

On Sunday we took a run up to Lake Leschenaultia


where we had a pleasant walk with an ice cream and watched the kids enjoying themselves swimming and kayaking..


Today has been spent, once again, in and around the pool although on this occasion my granddaughter gave me a thorough workout playing a cross between water polo, basketball and football.  Most importantly she beat me eight to five.

Shock Horror – I’ve Had A Full Brazilian

Yep, it’s true. This weekend I travelled up to Woodstock, visited Blenheim Palace for the 4th time. Stayed in Woodstock overnight and travelled to Bampton and then on to Burford.

It was while walking around this fabulous town that it happened. Must have been a touch of sunstoke. I certainly couldn’t have been thinking straight. Anyway, it made perfect sense at the time and by golly I’m glad I did.

It certainly cooled things down a bit, smooth and refreshing are two words that seem to properly describe a Full Brazilian. I just had to share this with you. So now you know.

Full_Brazilian I had a lovely pint of Wychwoods sporting brew “Full Brazilian” and I can truly recommend it. So if you are in the Wychwood locale give it a go.


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