Thursday 4 July 2019

Thunder, lightning and in rain…and some bloody big hailstones too!

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Nido’s parked up at a free aire in the medieval town of Le Malzieu-Ville. It’s a small aire for about four vans, on the side of the road, with easy to use free services. It’s next to a flowing chalk stream and the village pétanque courts in the shade of some trees, although the courts are currently under about a centimetre of rain water after a massive thunderstorm which lasted a couple of hours, complete with hailstones the size of broad beans; the skylights survived but I’ll need to check on the state of the solar panel!

We slept well last night and didn’t wake until about 0845.  It took a while to strike camp, fill up with water and empty the tanks, before stopping at the village boulangerie for a baguette.  I drove us up the route I took on my bike yesterday, until we found a quite place to pull off the road for breakfast.  Cathy cooked the last of our UK bacon with some scrambled eggs, stuffed into a half a baguette and eaten outside in the sunshine with a bit pot of tea - lovely!  There was plenty of butterfly and insect life around to please Cathy and all I could hear was her Nikon D3500 DLSR clicking away!  

Moving on, we had a lovely drive through the countryside and many small hamlets and villages in the Haute-Loire department.  We stopped at a small chapel, with a small well or font outside and handkerchiefs tied to the railings, with the white water river below. The sign says "Fontaine St Méen", which seems to have some connections to a Saint from Normandy who was able to cure the ill and inflicted.  The chapel was small, with bench pews either side and an altar with a guest book and a bible, plus somewhere to light a candle.  A lovely little spot for quiet contemplation.  We also suffered some local commuting traffic - a small herd of cows being moved to new pasture!

We took up the third of four spaces on the aire at Le Malzieu-Ville and sat on a bench by the pétanque courts with a brew, before taking a walk along the river.  We passed the usual excellent communal sports facilities, with tennis courts, well maintained football and rugby pitches and a busy outdoor swimming pool.  The town has lots of medieval features so I’ve read, but with the heavy thunderstorm it’s not been possible to explore yet, so we’ll take a look around tomorrow morning.  I cooked our supper of sauté potatoes, bavette steak and salad, helped along with a bottle of Provence rosé.  We ate outside the van, sat on our chairs on the grass, until we had to retreat inside as the rain and then the large hailstones started.  It was a bit of a worry as the hail become larger and more frequent, but I think the van’s survived.  Cathy enjoyed the loud thunder and bright lightning!  Washed up, showered and another cup of tea down us, the rain has stopped and the van side door is open once more to enjoy the evening air, refreshed by the downpour. 

Breakfast stop

Nothing to do but switch off the engine and let them pass!
Just below the chapel


Le Malzieu-Ville

They're not going to be playing petanque tonight!