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St Remy to Caux (the stonehouse): June 20

22 °C

Another perfect croissant breakfast.

We ambled away through breakfast, had a chat to John and Christine about their daughter and osteopathy in France and Australia (given our limited knowledge) and somewhat regretfully packed our things. We had decided to do a last-minute visit to St Remy and whilst we were there one of our rear tyres got screwed. Literally by a screw. It wasn't totally flat but as we were about to leave, a local Frenchman drew our attention to our half flat tire. His English was as limited as our French but fortunately the car manual was written in the same French he speaks. The French! Citroens do not carry a spare tire, they carry a compresser and a spray can of material which may help plug the leak if you're lucky but you still need the tire attended to the following day. Our tyre decided to become screwed on a Sunday.

With expectations quite low we found the number for Europcar assistance and fortunately the man inside my phone spoke adequate English. He said somebody was on their way and would be about 50 minutes. About 15 minutes later a Frenchman with heaps less English confirmed he was on the way and after going round the block he found us.

He had a tiny toolkit with some interesting gadgets. Finding the cause of the puncture he extricated it with a plunging poker kind of device. After examining the hole he initially thought it might be secure but poked and prodded in a way I never thought you could with car tyres. He sent this device further and further into the rubber and realised it needed sealing. With another device he threaded some orange gooey looking stuff into a small gap twisted round and forced and screwed its way into the tyre and then began to pull the device out.

Clever French tyre guy:

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Again after checking he declared it safe and now two days later we declare it a success. He impressed me so much I dug deep into my French and the dictionary on my iPhone and said "est-ce-que je dis, bravo?" intending to say "is it that i say bravo?" He paused, for a second looked quizzically at me and then smiled and raised his thumb in affirmation. I think I succeeded. So some two and a half hours later we headed south west-ish to the Stonehouse B&B in the town of Caux.

We met Michael and Mark, our hosts and our co-host their Catalan sheep dog, Alfie. Michael and Mark are an extremely chatty extrovert couple. Michael is the ex-yank who writes and does marketing and looks after the B&B. Mark is the brit who has a long history of involvement in corrections and training in Britain. We had much to chat about and in the process realised we must be quickly returning to work. They made us feel very welcome, gave us heaps of information which we used the following day.

Mark, Alfie and Michael:
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They also gave us a couple of suggestions for restaurants in the nearby town of Penezas. So around 7:30 we drove to 15 minute to town, went the wrong way and let Missy help us. We wandered a bit and found the restaurant, Le Palmiers, which is essentially a restaurant between three walls, no roof other than the shades they have placed there.

Les Palmiers is a courtyard; you might be able to see it here:
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We wandered in and found the waiter had little English. The waitress apparently is the once again girlfriend of an artist who works nearby. His is art showing in the restaurant. She was a delightfully extrovert waitress. When Karen ordered the pork and clarify it was indeed pork, the waitress spoken French rapidly saying 'cochon' and snorted like a pig. We fell for her immediately. I ordered tuna half cooked, Pave de Thon mi cuit; and Karen changed her mind and had veal of which the cut looked more like a thin steak. Some cuts are different in France and we think the meat is generally aged a little longer. Although we were blessed by episodes of perfection the previous night we very much enjoyed this food. I ordered a baba au rhum.

Karen smiling after our cochon entertainment:
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In this case the cake/donutty thing was presented under some slightly aerated cream and a central bottle with a pourer was placed on the table. We looked quizzically and our lovely waitress indicated we poured over the desert as much as we like. We found the rum had been stored with vanilla beans, a cinnamon stick and various spices including star anise to flavour the rum. We reckon it worked really well. Feeling a little tired we went without coffee and wandered home.

Our rhum inspiration (sorry for dark photo):
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A group of three women were eating next to us. One spoke English well, assumed we were British then when we declared we are Australian she was impressed then asked us why were we in Pezenas. Like so far off the beaten track. It was a real surprise for them. Anyway a good 10 minute chat was had and both tables concentrated on eating.

We reflected on the experience of French people here. We don't find them arrogant and the people we ran into like us tended to say the same. Although the cultures are a little different part we're pretty much all the same.

Another pleasant bonne nuit to you all.

Posted by lesnkaren 08:53 Archived in France

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Comments

lol... Remind me to get out my Off Road Tyre repair kit & show it to you..

I must be clever too ;-)

by Gus Davis

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