Monday, 31 October 2011

Last gasp?

We had some very strange weather this year, but it seems to be straightened out now, and today we had one of those rapidly disappearing beautiful days which just beg to have the MG out on the open (and very quiet) roads here in central France.

After helping to tidy up after Sunday's Tea Dance, we had a bite of lunch and decided to have a trip out in the MG as we probably won't get too many chances before we return to the UK for the winter.

Where to go? We have explored so many parts of this area, but there are still lots of undiscovered gems. We decided to head for Richelieu which is just a little north west of us, but on the very edge of the Centre region.

On the way we passed through Maille (same spelling as the famous cornichon and mustard people). There was a massacre there during the second world war and the town had to be rebuilt after the war. It's strange - you can tell which houses were rebuilt, they are in the local stone but they still look new even though they were built over 60 years ago. Leaving the village, we were hailed by a Berlingo driver. Thinking there was something wrong up ahead, John quickly stopped so we could find out what it was. How wrong we were - he had an MG but there was something wrong with it - did we have any advice for him? John asked if the water in the header tank was normal. No, we were told, it was like mayonnaise. John said immediately the head gasket needed replacing - but my French doesn't stretch to that, so we suggested he contact our friend Michel who also has an MG which has had the gasket replaced. He was very pleased and was quite gushing in his praise for our little car!

Richelieu the town was named after the famous Cardinal and was built by the architect Jacques Lemercier. He first built a great residence, and following instructions from the Cardinal, he created a very ordered (model) town.

Some of the houses on the Grand Rue have been renovated, and it is possible to see the original layout. The chateau was unfortunately destroyed during the French Revolution, but the grounds give some idea of the scale of the building - Richelieu had a very big ego and wanted a palace to put it in!

When we are out and about, we like to use the roads which are shown as white on the maps (that is to say the very smallest roads marked on regional maps). If it's me doing the navigating, we usually end up where we want to be, but if it's John...(enough said!). Today, we returned down the Creuse and crossed the river at Guerche. Look what we found as we came over the river
It wasn't marked on the map, but we just had to stop to take a picture.

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