🇫🇷 Day 13 - From Hell

Nature's frightening display of abject violence. That's the only way I can describe the thunder and lightning that shattered down over Vézeay and Asquins for almost the duration of the night. It wasn't like any I've ever witnessed; the flashes were as intense as could be imagined, with pink and ultra-white bolts searing across the sky above, immediately followed with a crack of such magnitude that you could feel it in your bones. Every 5 seconds or so, for what must have been 4 or 5 hours. Absolutely magnificent whilst at the same time being terrifying.

🇫🇷 Day 3 - Walk to Vézelay

The morning after another torrid sleep; Miss is not happy. But we'll hopefully get there as the days go on. We awoke to glorious unblemished skies and promise of heat. Headed to the nearby town of Clamecy within which resides one of my favourite things in the world - the French Hypermarket. We have supermarkets, and good one's at that, but the French do supermarkets like no other; everything you could ever want or need, under one lovely roof...and they call them Hypermarkets! The Clamecy version is an E. Leclerc and it's a joyous thing; huge glulam wooden beams and trusses, large skylight windows, below which lie shop-wide LED strip lighting. It's proper stuff. You enter into the shop via the various bicycle, barbecue and outside dining sets and head into the jewellery and electrical section. Then follows the kitchen sections, gardening, toys, fishing, cycling, motoring, swimming, hardware, household electrical, pet, utility and my favourite, the stationary sections. Oh boy can I spend hours in here.

🇫🇷 Day 2 - Chamery to Vézelay

We lost each other again and went completely different routes to Vézelay, but needless to say we arrived in good time, got ourselves in to the Gîte and, with a little help from some lovely fellows who spoke great English, we got unpacked and ready for some dinner; the town of Asquins, where we are staying, had a local pizza van that visits every Sunday. It took a while to actually get the pizzas, about an hour, but got them down our necks and off to bed for some shut-eye. It had been a long, long day.Missy had been exemplary and Mrs was fed up, as could be expected. But the sun was shining, the holiday spirit had kicked in proper and we are delighted to be back. Vézelay is looking spectacular and I'll be getting myself up there tomorrow if possible to remind myself why I love this place so much.

🇫🇷 Day 2 - Feneuil-Pointillart

I like Champagne as much as the next man, but this little place has something special about it. Maybe because it's been discovered through in-laws, maybe because we've drank a lot of it. I don't know, but it's amazing nonetheless. Mrs' parents have frequented this Champagne House for 8 years and after countless bottles consumed, they still make the journey to it every year they come to France. And so it was, this year again, we headed to Chamery and the Feneuil-Pointillart champagne house to collect some beautiful boozy-juice.Set in the midst of a few houses, the FP house sits proud off the main drag, surrounded by vines on 2 sides. Little grapevines grow in people's front gardens. Vines at the side of roads. Up through the hills. Vines everywhere. Last year we were late and had to come back the following day for a rushed grab-and-go, but this year we settled in for a while with Mrs FP, catching up on the family travails and sorting out our orders.Mrs FP poured 4 large glasses but 2 of us had driving duties, so the ladies scoffed the bloody lot. At least the car was quiet for a while after! We all said our goodbyes, promising to catch up again same time next year, and set off on our final stint to the beautiful town of Vézelay. 

🇫🇷 Day 2 - Folkstone to Chamery

The morning began about 3am as we all wrestled with the cloying heat, trying desperately to grab whatever rest we could before our long journey to Vézelay. It wasn't to be; I awoke with a start about 7am with Missy shouting for Cbeebies and her sweaty wee frame cramming itself between my arms. We had a lovely breakfast and I went for a leg-stretch with Missy for 10 minutes before we headed off into the world once more; this time heading ten minutes down the road to Folkstone. This place has been in the news for the past week due to the ridiculous heat the world has been enjoying. Due to this heat, the air conditioning in the tunnel had been malfunctioning and as such the delays for passengers had been circa 6 hours on Thursday, decreasing each day until we checked on Saturday morning, where it had been around 3 hours. As we tracked the short distance from the B&B to the Eurotunnel site, we were apprehensive about what we might find, especially after the small adjoining road had a "Road Closed" sign at its entrance. Luckily it wasn't for our turn-off and we got straight into the complex and parked no problem. This must mean that we are ok, and a short walk into the terminal for some coffee and toilet showed a modest 15 minute delay to our slot. Happy days.
The Eurotunnel is a magnificent concept - you drive down, drive on, sit for 30 minutes, drive off again straight onto the motorway in France. Compare that to the Ferry last year and all the faff that went with it, the delay, the sea-sickness, the noise, expense of restaurants, loud people, noisy cabins etc. The tunnel is just brilliant - the car is a fabulous place to sit anyway, so why not sit there and be transported underneath the sea? Amazing.Mrs needed the toilet as soon as we got off the train so dodged into the first services before even leaving the chunnel site. We are travelling in convoy and the other car missed the turn-off and thus we were alone right off the bat. It was ok though, we soon caught up at the first services and carried on down together, stopping for lunch and coffee before the final punt to Chamery. We were heading back to Champagne territory and the Feneuil-Pointillart champagne house to pick up some more of their irresistible wares.

🇫🇷 Day 1 - North to South

The holiday season has officially begun, and with it the promise of a fortnight in the sun. Oh I can't wait.Early start for us, heading down the east, trying to avoid the calamity that is Birmingham and all the traffic nonsense that goes with it. Folkstone, the place where we embark upon our continental adventure, is on the East side anyway, so it makes sense. It proved the right decision as the traffic was mostly light all the way down from home to just outside Folkstone, where we would be spending the night in a B&B before the second leg in France tomorrow.


Pop! You are three. I could go on for days about how quick life goes etc. It wouldn't make any difference and is getting quite boring now. Life goes quick; deal with it.In other news, life goes bloody quick! I've been compiling the biggest VFEL book to date, starting from Missy arriving, and I can't believe how quickly things have gone. Every day is a new something, literally. I went away for 3 days on business and she was doing and saying lots of new things by the time I got back. It's incredible.In a few weeks we will embark on our holiday to France and I cannot wait. I have a brilliant life now; working from home, flying down to our office and generally getting stuck into the business proper, now that we are full-time. But I'm still knackered and fancy a break, albeit a kind of working holiday, as we'll get some big important stuff delivered from the manufacturers whilst I'm away. It's okay though; what can be more exciting than new prototypes?
By the time everyone departed and we got things squared away it was midnight; we were both burst but happy that she'd had such a good day. Nothing can make you happier than your own little person squeezing your face and saying how much she loves you. It rules everything else null and void.That little girl is a miracle incarnate. Our miracle.20180715-FSR_1497