Showing posts with label Charente maritime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charente maritime. Show all posts

Monday 6 July 2015

La Cotiniére

Monday 6 July 2015

Anyone know who's wearing the maillot jaune in the Tour?  We're staying away from Wifi and news, so I'm not up to date with the tour.

We're on a small aire next to the municipal campsite just outside La Cotiniére, a working fishing port with lots of restaurants - even a fish and chip shop! The aire is basic but at least has some shade from trees and space to hang our washing line.  We packed up camp this morning after 4 nights.  We enjoyed putting down roots for a short time and got to say hello and good evening to our neighbours and watch the children play (and occasionally paddy when they could no longer play!).  I paid up and we drove a couple of hundred meters to a car park in order to walk up to the market to buy some food - tonight is curry night!  

It was a short, 20 minute bimble down to this aire.  We picked out spot and set up the table and chairs and had lunch.  You're not supposed to get anything out on an aire, just park and use inside the van, but everyone does it in France, so who are we to buck the trend.  The beach was about 100m away, through the campsite and over the dunes.  It was a very hot still day and we'd forgotten the tide was out.  There was loads of seaweed and rock pools and we cooled off in the shallow water. It took about 3 hours for the sea to be deep enough for swimming, so after a dip we'd had enough sun and walked back to the van.  On the way we used the free cold showers, perfectly fine for us so all we had to do back at the van was dry off, slap on some body lotion and change, then hang the wet stuff up on our line.  Dinner tonight was Thai green chicken curry and rice, made from a kit but with extra garlic, onion and chilli, cooked and eaten outside.  We also washed and dried outside before packing up and walking to the centre and port area in town, as the sun started to set.  It was a lovely cool walk and the waterfront was very busy with restaurants full, shops open and people queuing for ice creams, as we did.  The fish and chips looked very tempting (at least I was tempted, Cathy was too full!).  Now back at the van, we spotted a boulangerie just a few metres from the campsite, so that's breakfast sorted tomorrow.

This will bring an end to our week on Ile d'Oleron.  We've really enjoyed being in one place and with very limited driving.  This is probably our last beach day as we start to head inland towards Livarot, for the tour, and ultimately back to the tunnel.  But we're ready for a change, perhaps looking around some old towns and villages and we might come across some good freshwater wild swimming spots.  So we still have some adventures ahead of us.

'Free' aire by the municipal campsite at Cotiniere

Cotiniere port

Sunday 5 July 2015

Lazy Sunday Routine

Sunday 5 July 2015

Apparently there was rain and heavy thunder overnight - well, I didn't hear it!  It was pleasantly cool though, so we both slept well.  Breakfast done, we had a long walk along the beach as the tide receded, mooching around in the rock pools.  We walked back across the slipway by the harbour and found a nice spot for our afternoon swim.

Back from the beach, we walked into town.  The daily market was coming to and end; Cathy bought a dress and we bought something tacky for the TS.  All this walking and shopping is thirsty work, so we stopped off at the site's resto/bar, for a cheeky bottle of Grim or two, Grimeniere, a strong blonde abbey beer.  Back at the van (and Cathy a little 'tired' from the strong beer!) we cobbled some lunch together, then snoozed and read until the tide was far enough in to make it time to head for the beach. Although the morning was a little overcast, this afternoon was hot and sunny (again!), albeit with a strong westerly breeze.  After a restorative brew, we walked over to our beach stop, where a couple of the concrete blocks (shaped like the metal jacks we played with as kids) had conveniently fallen into bench seat shapes.  We enjoyed our swim and a dry off in the sun, although it felt a little cool in the wind.  Back at the van and having showered first, I sat with a Ricard and water listening to podcasts while Cathy was off at the shower.  We have neighbours now - nan, grandad and a bullying, overweight, teenage grand-daughter; I bet her parents were glad to wave her off!  She's done nothing but nag and shout at her grand-parents. They've been setting up camp for several hours, including sandbags and plastic wine barrels full of sand around the tent and caravan awning - either they're here for weeks or expecting a hurricane!  Camp also includes a long windbreak to mark their territory.  And just along the way a group of about 30 teenagers have turned up with 'redcoats' for some sort of summer camp.  We've noticed over the last 24 hours that it's become much busier here and guess that the school's have broken up for the summer - time to move on.  Having said that, we've enjoyed our stay on this municipal campsite and being around families and others.  It's certainly something we'll do again. 

After our apéro we walked a few minutes to La Guinegelle, the site's resto/bar and blagged an outside table, although a little too close to the young chap playing his accordion to taped music, mainly out of sync! We ordered two local beers, although Cathy didn't like hers so I had two.  We both ordered pizza and they were big enough to fill us too much for pudding. Back at the van, it's quite chilly outside (although it's all  relative - probably still warmer than home) so Cathy's in bed reading and I'm sat in the cab seat with a hot chocolate.  Tomorrow we move on, so will need to strike camp, pack everything away and dump waste.  But the plan is for a short hop to the aire at La Cotiniére, about 20 minutes down the coast, for one more night on the island.  Then we'll be starting our transit North (nooooooo!!), heading inland towards Livarot, aiming to find a spot to camp along the Stage 7 Tour de France route on Friday.  Still, we have another 7 nights in France so we plan to keep on enjoying ourselves.  We're certainly relaxed and in a nice routine.  We'd be happy to keep going for several more day.

Deux 'Grim' s'il vous plait!

The campsite bar/resto

Saturday 4 July 2015

For Julie

Saturday 4 July 2015

This blog is dedicated to our lovely friend Julie.  Her mum - Lily - died today at the grand old age of 98.  She was well loved by all her family, but especially by her special daughter Julie.  Love and thoughts to you, Ray and the family. 

It's just turned 2300 and it's still lively outside the van.  It's been another hot, though windy day and turned a tad cool this evening.  So Cathy retired early, while I sat outside the van, nursing my glass of rosé.  I can see and hear families laughing as they pass by and groups of old friends sat outside their caravans and campervans, having a good natter and the odd drink.  The campsite resto/bar was still full and lively as I washed up and ditched the gash.  And there is still a little, purple-tinged light in the sky even at this late hour, with a small breeze and the sound of the surf as the tide ebbs.  This is what makes France special.  They know how to make the most of the day and evening as a family, without resorting to TV, gadgetry, heavy drinking or drugs.  Even the little children wish us "Bonsoir" as they pass by or run around the van.  And I realised today that I've not seen any tattoos - none on the men, never mind the women.  Plenty of suntanned skin, the odd cigarette, but no tattoos.  How refreshing.

It was warm and still last night, although it turned a little chilly towards day break.  I was up at about 0815 and went to fetch our bread and croissants for the day.  While Cathy had a little lie-in, I sat outside with a pot of coffee, reading my Tour de France magazine.  Today is the Tour Prologue, starting in Belgium and skipping into Holland before settling into France.  I hope to witness Stage 7 - from Livarot to Fougères - next Friday, my 52nd birthday.    Breakfast was the usual lazy affair, sat outside as the families around us came to life, prepared their own breakfast, washed up, went to the loo and wished us a pleasant 'Bonjour'.  The French are a very social, community group.  They have few hang-ups about nudity or bodily functions, with shared heads and bathrooms.  Having said that, we're thankful for our own onboard loo!  

We needed some food so walked into the town.  The local market was in full swing, everything from a stall selling nothing but mattresses, to fresh, almost wriggling seafood in the small covered market.  We bought fruit and vegetables for dinner, plus a couple of fresh swordfish steaks.  We enjoy walking around these markets - no pressure from the stall holders and they don't mind if you feel and smell the goods.  Back at the van I realised I forgot fresh milk, so walked back into town, while Cathy prepared a simple lunch of rillette, yellow tomato and red pepper salad (with some very hot chilli pepper we though was benign!), saucisson, chorizo and bread.  After lunch we sat and read in the shade - it was turning into another hot one.

We walked down to the beach at about 1500.  We put up our beach shelter (for the first time) and I left Cathy reading while I went for a walk along the beach as the tide came in.  I walked just above the water's edge, searching for and picking up stones with holes through them.  Apparently if you string them together with an old key they ward off evil witches.  Stones with holes are lucky, but keep the witch from the door with a key! (so my very own white witch tells me!).  We had a swim but the waves were quite lively so we didn't stay in too long.  Not long after some old 'Charlie' was rescued from the rolling surf by a couple of young chaps - he looked most unimpressed by this and his young grandson gave him a right bollocking for getting into trouble!  I returned to the van early (enough sun for me) leaving Cathy on the beach.  I emptied the loo (then washed my hands!) before chopping the veg and marinating it in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cathy returned and went off for a shower as I started to cook the veg on the griddle in four batches, then chopped it up and left it to cool.  I cooked some rice, rinsed it in cold water and mixed it with the griddled veg.  I left Cathy with a G&T while I showered, then laid the table while the BBQ griddle heated up again.  The swordfish steaks, cooked with the help of some olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, were delicious with the veg rice and some rosé.  Dinner done, Cathy sat inside the van for a while before turning in and I finished off my glass of wine. Cathy would like to say, she also does jobs, including all the interior cleaning, although this blog sounds like she sits around all day!

So another relaxing day with good food and wine.  No doubt on our first long trip we'll not be able to afford such extravagant food on a regular basis, but the sun, sea, warmth and ambience should make up for this.  I'm tired now and ready for bed.  It's cooler this evening so sleep should come easier.  It's Sunday tomorrow (I think!), a day of rest, so we'd better take it easy.......  á bientôt.  And - Lily - thanks for the Lily which grows as well in Barnton as it did in Gosport.  Bless you and Rest in Peace xxx

Fish market where we bought our swordfish

Part of the daily market in St Denis

Mini Citroen!

Another 'light' lunch!

A pretty takeaway pizza sign

Friday 3 July 2015

Chilled Heat

Friday 3 July 2015

It was a little chilly last night, but we woke at about 0900 to a warm, still morning.  I wandered over to the campsite shop for a couple of baguettes and a croissant.  Breakfast done, I prepared my bike and changed into my kit, while Cathy cleared up.  She was going to have a long beach walk while I was out cycling.  I road out of St Denis, following the road south along the East Coast.  At the village of La Brée les Bains I came a cropper, hitting a patch of deep sand as I slowed alongside a truck waiting by the junction.  I managed to unclip and grab the truck before dropping the bike, but no harm done!  I cycled through Sauzelle into a strong headwind and, head down, missed the turn to St Pierre.  Before I realised I was in Boyardville, so had to reverse my route to get back on track,  through St Pierre, I again took a wrong turn in Le Cotiniere, but eventually found the road towards La Biroire.  Now heading north along the west coast, it was very hot and sunny.  I passed through a few sleepy hamlets, including Domino, Chaucre and Les Trois Pierres before passing the aire we stayed at last time and back to the campsite.  At the bar just inside the barrier I bought a couple of cold cokes and enjoyed one of these sat with Cathy in the shade of the tamarisk tree. She had enjoyed a long, low-tide walk, paddling though the rock pools and asking a lady what she and others were digging for - some type of clam, (palourds) delicious raw or cooked.  A quick change into swimming shorts and I got on with a few chores, emptied grey water, topped up fresh, emptied the loo, then washed and oiled the bike.  We shared a melon for lunch with a brew and I put my cycling kit to soak.  The rest of the afternoon we read and snoozed in the shade.

Later we walked along the beach, having a swim now and again - lovely! - before sitting in the sun to dry off. Back at the van I went for a shower first, then prepared the salad while Cathy had her shower.  Dinner included some spicy merguez with bread and white wine.  The wind's dropped and it's very warm tonight.  Being Friday, there's been a few more arrivals and the funfair in the town is in full swing. Another hot day, but we're both chilled out and nodding off; hopefully we'll be able to sleep tonight in the warm van. Yesterday we put the silver screens over the windscreen and cab windows, which have helped greatly to reduce the internal temperature, but they can only do so much.  Tomorrow we'll wander into town to have a look around, buy some food and perhaps have lunch.  The pace of life is slow and we're enjoying this lazy day!

Awning out, silverscreens on, bike ready to roll!

Enjoying some shade

Messy but comfy!

Map of Ile d'Oleron - we're currently in top NE corner

Thursday 2 July 2015

St Denis d'Oleron

Thursday 2 July 2015

Time for a bit of information about Ile d'Oleron.  The island lies just off the coast between Royan and La Rochelle and has, since 1966, been linked to the mainland by a long, curving road bridge, the longest in France at almost 2 miles.  Except for Corsica, it's France's biggest island - 18 miles long and 3.6 miles wide.  The white houses of Oleron are surrounded by mimosa, oleander, tamarisk, fig trees and the grey-green spines of agave.  Everywhere hollyhocks spring up through seemingly tiny gaps between the concreted ground and walls.  Oysters are its main crop, along with some early fruit and vegetables and the cultivation of vines.  The vineyards, mainly grouped inland around St Pierre and St Georges, produce white and rosé wines with an agreeable, slightly iodised flavour.  

Some naval related history:  The Rules of Oleron - in 1199, the 76 year old Eleanor of Aquitaine returned to her island possession.  She set about restoring law and order.  The dangerous Côte Sauvage, for instance, had long been at the mercy of wreckers who looted and pillaged ships driven ashore and robbed any survivors from their crews - a practice euphemistically known as le droit d'aubaine (windfall rights).  Eleanor decreed that henceforth such brigands must be punished: "They must be put in the sea and plunged under water repeatedly until they are half dead, and then taken out and stoned to death as one would dispose of wolves or mad dogs".  Subsequently she set up a set of rules "concerning the seas, the vessels sailing upon them, their masters, crew companions and also merchants".  This maritime code, known as Les Rôles d'Oleron", served as a basis for all subsequent charters regulating conduct on the high seas (such as the International Law of the Sea, which I came to know well).  The island was occupied by the Germans in 1940 and liberated on 30 April and 1 May 1945, though not without difficulty.  Overcoming the stubborn resistance of the 15,000-string garrison and forcing a German surrender required a large-scale combined operation, which was code named Jupiter.

Now on with today's travels.  The wind blew up again in the night and it rained quite heavily on and off; I had to get up again to batten down the hatches (shut the skylights!) but the morning was calm and warm, still with some high cloud.   I was awake quite early so got up, dressed and made a pot of coffee while waiting for the bread van to toot its horn.  Soon enough he arrived and I wondered over to join the queue of old boys sent out by their wives to buy the bread (life as an old chap is hard).  He'd already sold out of croissants, so I bought two bavettes, one for breakfast and one for later.  It was hot sat outside and we enjoyed our breakfast saying 'Bonjour' to our neighbours as they walked by and acknowledging the occasional "Bon Appetit!".   Soon it was time to pack and and secure the van.  With waste dumped and the water container topped up, Cathy punched in the code and we drove down to the Super U to buy some food, water and local wine.  I then drove us back past the aire and north along the coastal road I cycled yesterday.  We stopped off at a roadside shack to buy some local salt, before checking out the aire at Boyardville.  It looked nice - grass pitches with plenty of pine trees for shade, but a little too close to the road and not close enough to the beach.  So we continued on to St Denis.  We stayed on the aire here for a couple of nights when we first came to France in a motorhome two years ago.  But we wanted to check the beach to make sure it's sandy before deciding.  On the way down to the town we saw the municipal campsite, right next to the beach.  Although large (400 pitches) it also looked welcoming, with plenty of room between pitches and shade from pine and tamarisk trees.  We parked up and walked down to the marina.  On the way back I got some cash from the ATM and by then we'd already decided to use the municipal site.  I checked us in for four nights and we found a lovely pitch; quite flat, right next to a sandy path to the beach and by all the facilities.  It's south facing, protected from the prevailing wind and, although in direct sun, has a small tamarisk tree with plenty of shade for two chairs.  As we're here for a while we 'made camp', putting out the groundsheet, fitting the external silver screens over the windscreen and cab windows and fetching tables and chairs out.  We also rolled out and secured the awning.  We had some lunch sat outside, again enjoying the friendliness of the French - they really do know how to relax and make the most of a peaceful spot.  We took the path to the beach and within 30 seconds were on the sand.  The tide was coming back in and we could tell it would be a great swimming beach, a bit rough and windy but lovely clear, cool water. After a walk along and back we walked around the site to get our bearings, after I let reception know we were on pitch 72.  There are plenty of facilities on site, including a good shop, bars and a small restaurant.  And we're only a few minutes' walk from the centre of town.  The next few days are going to be very relaxing.

We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and snoozing in the shade of the tamarisk tree before hitting the beach, now almost at high tide.  So just 30 seconds away the warm sand welcomed us and the tide was in.  It was quite breezy so felt a bit cooler on the beach, but all is relative - still a lot warmer than an afternoon at home!  After a read it was time for a swim.  The waves were high and the water was cooler than we've been used to, but we were soon in, battling the swell and the tide, plus the seaweed wrapping itself around our legs and body!  Swim done, Cathy laid out to dry off while I walked along the beach up to the WW2 gun emplacement and back.  It was quite cool in the wind so we walked back to the van, to shelter and warm sun.  A brew later, Cathy showered in the van, while I walked to the shower block - straight in, warm and powerful.  I also dhobied my swimming shorts, pockets full of small stones and seaweed.  Back at the van, Cathy had made the salad while I grilled the lamb chops on the Cadac, enjoyed under the awning with some bread and rosé for Cathy (called Les Tourettes!), local red for me.  As we ate we watched a nice little chap (maybe 3 or 4) kick his inflatable ball around then ride on his pedal-less bike.  He was not happy if anyone touched his ball and even less happy when called in for his tea, nevertheless he got stuck in to his food.  The last time we saw him he looked fit to drop, but was heading out with his family to the small funfair between the campsite and the town.  Cathy sorted the washing up while I went to ditch the gash; I walked nearly twice around the campsite before realising that what I thought was a shower block was actually the gash compartment!  

It's a bit chillier tonight, still OK for shorts and flip-flops but with a fleece.  Still we sat outside with a brew and a biscuit.  Cathy's just gone off to take some sunset photos at the beach.  It's been a good day, a short commute from one site to the next, a lovely pitch right next to the beach and with shade if we need it.  We both feel very chilled out.  I look forward to another bike ride tomorrow and no doubt Cathy will enjoy reading, snoozing and sunbathing.  Lovely, chilled out, relaxing, warm, sunny day.  We're also turning a nice shade of brown - sunshine, not muck!

Aptly named wine!

Relaxing lunch

Pitched up ready to relax

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Ou est la mer?

Wednesday 1 July 2015

When we went to bed last night it was hot and stifling, so much so that we swapped around in the bed so our heads were close to the window, better to catch any breeze.  But in the early hours the wind really got up and I'd made that schoolboy error of assuming the weather would stay calm, so left the awning in place.  So at 0115 there we were, half dressed and outside the van, lifting pegs and winding in the awning!  Then it was thundering and lightning, with a few drops of rain, so skylights were dropped and washing brought in - an unexpected awakening!  But the storm came to nothing, except to cool down the air and we slept well after that.

It was fresher and cooler in the morning, relatively speaking.  Probably still in the mid-20s at dawn, it felt much nicer than the stifling heat of yesterday.  I got up at about 0915 and was just thinking of getting the kettle on when I heard a horn tooting - we both guessed right and shouted out "the bread van!".  Of course I was the one who had to quickly dress, grab some money and walk to the entrance, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.  A baguette and two croissants later, we sat outside with a pot of tea and coffee, enjoying our breakfast in the fresh(er) air.  

I prepared my cycling kit while Cathy sat out and read her book.  She was planning to do the van (house) work and always likes me out of the way - who am I to argue.  I turned left out of the campsite and followed the coastal road north.  The whole eastern coastline comprises mud flats and muddy creeks, with lots of little, rundown shacks selling oysters, mussels and other seafood.  Each of these looked a little like Steptoe's Yard but, in the breezy sunshine and wind beaten, they all had their own charm.   The cycling was flat and easy with the wind, no when heading west into the prevailing breeze.  I by-passed Boyardville, with a view of the Boyard Fort (like those in the Solent) and started to cycle inland.  I started to pass the vineyards; Oleron make their own white and rosé wine and there were several wooden shacks selling this, plus pineau and cognac.  I was strong and cycled by, although we may pop in when passing in the van tomorrow.  Oleron is very much a timeless, blue-collar island, unlike it's posh neighbour across the water.  In contrast to Ile de Ré, the people go about their business as they always have, tolerating the tourists (like us!), who flock here in July and August.  It reminded me a little of the swamps and bayou of the southern USA, a little edgy but safe, with a slow pace of life little changed over the years.  Even the small, single engine planes flying over seemed to resent trying too hard to stay aloft, their 'lawnmower' engines idling and coughing.  Now inland I circled and entered St Pierre a couple of times (nothing special) before heading for the west coast.  I reached Cotiniere, a village with a busy fishing port and quite touristy.  I headed out along the campsite-strewn road, looking for an aire or somewhere to stay, but it was a bit busy for us.  The western coast faces the Atlantic and so the wind was stronger and saltier, with a high surf.  I cycled down the coast and turned toward Plage Boisvert, stopping off for a cold coke down at what seemed to be a surfing Mecca.  Back on the road I crossed the island again towards Le Chateau and the colourful oyster shacks, now mainly trendy shops, bars and restaurants - we'll be down there tonight.  

Back at the campsite, I checked the computer - nearly 34 miles, not bad and I still felt good.  I locked up the bike and walked down to the beach to get the van keys from Cathy.  The tide was still out but she was enjoying the warmth and peace in the shade of the sand-side pine trees.  Back at the van I made a flask of tea, packed some food and walked back to the beach.  We enjoyed a late lunch by which time the tide had raced in.  We moved down to the sand and walked to the water.  It was very warm and loads of fish were swimming and jumping around us.  We soaked up the mineral-rich water for a good half an hour, enjoying the warmth of the sea, before drying off on our beach chairs.  A couple of hours later we were back at the van, sorting out, showering and enjoying a Pineau apéro before walking down to the port.  We found a nice, trendy restaurant and sat outside in the sun.  The menu was small and in French (of course!) so Cathy guessed for her meal and I took the safe route of steak.  We also had a pichet of the local white wine, very fresh, light and with a bit of fizz, not unlike Portugese Vino Verde.  Our food arrived and Cathy's was razor clams - something she's not keen on!  Luckily I love them and was happy to swap my steak - the staff looked a little confused!  Cathy had a taster of six different puddings, all delicious, while I had a Charentais (cognac) coffee.  Well fed, we walked back in the fading light, taking a few more photos of the colourful shacks.  Back at the van it had cooled down and was comfortable inside as we flopped  into bed.

It's been a relaxing day, I really enjoyed my bike ride, while Cathy enjoyed her beach time, albeit wearing her beach shoes to avoid the muddy seabed!  Tomorrow we move on to a different part of the island.  We have an idea of where we want to stay but want to check the beach first; if it isn't deep blue water with sand, we'll find somewhere else, perhaps even off the island.  All part of the adventure and freedom of having the campervan.  Á demain! 

Colourful Oyster shacks - now trendy shops

From our dining table

Laid-back bar

Walking back at sunset

Port at Boyardville

Hollyhocks everywhere

Ready to catch fish and prawns

One of many Oyster and Moule shacks

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Hot on Ile d'Oleron

Tuesday 30 June 2015

We're at a large aire at Le Chateau on Ile d'Oleron.  It's gone 2200 and we're still sat outside in the very warm, still air.  The temperature hit a max of 38'C today and did we feel it!  When stepping out of the van it was like someone had opened an oven door, fanned by a hot breeze.  This aire is an ex-campsite, about 100 pitches, all with electric hook up, plus toilets, showers and fresh water, and all included in the price of €10.50.  It would cost about 3 times that much in the UK for a similar site, with the beach just across the road.  The aire's less than half full, mainly elderly French, all as brown as berries, eating well and having a good time - and good for them!

We woke at about 0900 this morning and after breakfast packed up the van and pulled up at the service point to empty waste and take on fresh water.  I'd paid €2 for water but the station wasn't working - what a rip off!  So I used the grey waste to flush the toilet cassette and we headed off - today's drive was a long 5 hours, but it would get us to where we plan to spend the next week. We stopped off at a Super U for food, wine and diesel then hit the road.  The journey wasn't too bad, just long and hot.  We stopped of on the way for lunch, enjoyed sat at a concrete picnic table in the shade, just off the busy road - it was better than it sounds!

On arrival at Oleron we realised with the heat that we'd need more water so I stopped off on the way to pick some up.  We arrived at the aire and this time my credit card was accepted for 2 nights; the last time we visited here none of my cards were accepted and we ended up at a different aire, but it was still a good find.  First stop was for a fresh water top up.  I had a banging headache, dehydration I think, so kept the fluid intake going.  We took a pitch quite close to the showers.  I hooked up the electric and when I checked found the polarity (live & electric) were reversed. Luckily I have a special plug in adaptor to correct this so Cathy put the kettle on while I set up the awning, we were going to need it.  Despite the heat, a good cup of tea always hits the spot!  We wasted no time in crossing the road to the beach.  It's a thin stretch of sand and, as we found out, a shallow and very muddy sea!  This whole stretch is where the majority of the oyster beds are located.  So the swim wasn't great but it was very cooling.  Cathy had a read while I went for a walk to the end of the beach and back, up to an old Napoeonic fort.  

Back at the van we had a cold drink then enjoyed the solar-heated showers, although it was still very hot out, so we were still leaking after the shower!  I prepared a Greek salad, which we had with pork kebabs, sausage and some carrot salad, plus a couple of glasses of rosé.  It's cooled down quite a lot now but I think it'll be very warm in the van tonight, so sleeping might be a challenge.  But at least we're chilling out and enjoying making camp for a couple of nights.  We'll probably move on in a couple of days, do some sightseeing on the island and then find another site for a few nights, to take us through the weekend.  But the plans can wait for another day......