Our Last Full Week and It Is Cold Again

25 Mar

Not a glamorous week, the focus is really on getting things finished and preparing to move on to the UK.  Things like getting the car oil changed on Monday which blew out into another visit to the workshop on Tuesday because they noted that the front shock absorbers were shot.  In fact I had noticed this when we bought the car a year ago and wondered how it had just passed its CT, but its not my place to question the powers that be.  So this was not a surprise.  The part that was a surprise was the price.  I asked for a quote and steadied myself against the counter, moved all sharp objects away and drew a deep breath.  €212.  Is that all?  OK, so when and how long?  Tomorrow at 2pm, two hours work.  Just do it!  So it was really quite simple.  We dropped the car off at 2pm sharp and walked into Le Luc to take some photos and get a coffee.  3:15pm they telephoned to say it was ready.  Fantastic!

The weather here has been quite wintery which may be a blessing in help us acclimatise to the UK – looking at the reports from the UK it is still awful over there with snow in Hertfordshire where we will be in two weeks time.  It has been observed that the UK has been in the grips of bad weather since April 2012.  However, we could use a few fine days here now to finish of some outside jobs around La Regalade.

As planned, we returned to L'Eglise du Mont Carmel for a better look.  According to a sign on the door all the statuary was draped in violet cloth due to it being the 5th Sunday of Lent - or something like that.

As planned, we returned to L’Eglise du Mont Carmel for a better look. According to a sign on the door all the statuary was draped in violet cloth due to it being the 5th Sunday of Lent – or something like that.

The carved wooden pulpit.

The carved wooden pulpit.

Some of the back streets in Le Luc are surprisingly nice.  Mostly, the town is fairly plain.

Some of the back streets in Le Luc are surprisingly nice. Mostly, the town is fairly plain.

Wednesday was time for another road trip in order to burn through all the diesel treatment in the tank that will hopefully allow our little car to pass the emissions test on Monday morning.   It was raining and ugly. We left home at 8:40am anyway headed for L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Got on the A8 at Brignoles and 10km down the road the weather was worse. Leanne wanted to turn back but we needed to run the full through the car so we continued. As we got closer to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue the weather improved and by the time we parked the rain had stopped. Went for a wander, had a coffee and found the church we had been impressed with last time – 8 years ago. It was closed – bugger!  Then we headed for Ventoux – the views were awesome. The wind was blowing straight up the mountain so standing back a metre from the edge was calm but leaning out was very strong. The road was closed beyond the ski field of Mt Serein. Plenty of fresh snow and a few skiers. Went down and back via L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fountaine de Vaucluse where the Sorgue river springs out of the ground. On the way there Leanne answered a call to my mobile – it was the Sous-Perfecture in Draguignan to say my Carte de Sejour was ready to collect. Just bring the €106 in stamps tomorrow afternoon. Yay!  We arrived at Fountaine de Vaucluse at 4:30pm and went straight up to the source. There were more people about than I expected for late in the day on a Wednesday. An impressive amount of water. Couldn’t find a coffee afterwards so we headed for the A-road and stopped at the service area near Aix for a coffee instead. Got home about 7:45pm.

Looking up the river in the middle of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Looking up the river in the middle of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Another view of the river passing through L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Another view of the river passing through L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Again in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; the water level seemed to be rather high.  Another footbridge we saw had even less clear space under it.

Again in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; the water level seemed to be rather high. Another footbridge we saw had even less clear space under it.

This is actually a bank building - Caisse d'Epargne.  We saw another in Carpentras that looked totally different to this one but equally unlike a bank.

This is actually a bank building – Caisse d’Epargne. We saw another in Carpentras that looked totally different to this one but equally unlike a bank.

Notre Dame des Anges looks quite plain from the outside but the interior is very rich.  We saw it in 2005 but today the person who opens it did not turn up according to the tourist office so we could not get in.

Notre Dame des Anges looks quite plain from the outside but the interior is very rich. We saw it in 2005 but today the person who opens it did not turn up according to the tourist office so we could not get in.

Interesting use of wheelbarrows - merchandising props.  Spotted in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Interesting use of wheelbarrows – merchandising props. Spotted in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

At the café we chose in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue all the tables were based on old sewing machines.

At the café we chose in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue all the tables were based on old sewing machines.

The actual peak of Mt Ventoux is shrouded in cloud and snow covered on the right.

The actual peak of Mt Ventoux is shrouded in cloud and snow covered on the right.

End of the road for us today.  We had to turn around at the ski area called Mt Serein.  The snow was fresh and people were skiing and tobogganing.  The sign indicates that the road to the summit is closed until 15th May.

End of the road for us today. We had to turn around at the ski area called Mt Serein. The snow was fresh and people were skiing and tobogganing. The sign indicates that the road to the summit is closed until 15th May.

Looking up one of the ski runs to the summit of Mt Ventoux.  The wind was whipping the show up near the top.

Looking up one of the ski runs to the summit of Mt Ventoux. The wind was whipping the show up near the top.

This small pool, about 25m in diameter, is where the River Sorgue springs from the ground at Fountaine-de-Vaucluse.

This small pool, about 25m in diameter, is where the River Sorgue springs from the ground at Fountaine-de-Vaucluse.

And this is the flow down from the source, a serious volume of water.

And this is the flow down from the source, a serious volume of water.

Looking back up towards the source.  I imagine that in the summer when the leaves are on the trees the view would be much less than it was here in mid March.

Looking back up towards the source. I imagine that in the summer when the leaves are on the trees the view would be much less than it was here in mid March.

The weather was great again on Thursday morning so we enjoyed it around the house before going out to buy the stamps and go to Draguignan to collect my Carte de Sejour.  That didn’t take too long and we still had half a tank of diesel to burn so we went to Sainte Maxime via the road from near Le Muy. It is direct and a very good and new road but only one lane each way and a couple of passing bays. Some still under construction. Found a car park in the middle of Sainte Maxime but couldn’t find the pay machine even though the spots were all marked ‘Payant’. At the tourist office they said there is no charge at the moment. Confusing. Walked around the port a little. There is construction work everywhere – I guess they are getting ready for the summer season. The the street along the port is having a major face-lift.

Mostly Sainte Maxime was busy with construction but I did manage to sneak this shot in with not too much evidence of it.  It was very busy and noisy all around the main port area.  Getting ready for the huge influx of tourists in the summer.

Mostly Sainte Maxime was busy with construction but I did manage to sneak this shot in with not too much evidence of it. It was very busy and noisy all around the main port area. Getting ready for the huge influx of tourists in the summer.

The specialty of this establishment in Sainte-Maxime was to form the ice-cream like the petals of a rose.

The specialty of this establishment in Sainte-Maxime was to form the ice-cream like the petals of a rose.

Our favourite flavour ice-cream - pistachio.  Cute presentation.

Our favourite flavour ice-cream – pistachio. Cute presentation.

On Saturday we actually started packing – well, we pulled things out of the wardrobes and cupboards so we could see what we had to deal with.  Not as bad as I thought it might be.  Jeremy and Jo have said we can leave some stuff here in the storeroom since the plan is to be back at La Regalade by November, so that will be very handy.

Sunday saw it raining reasonably heavy.  We joined Lew & Jean together with Jean’s brother and his partner, Mark & Amber at Sue’s place for lunch.  Sue had earlier declared an ulterior motive – she had a big heavy wooden outdoor table to be moved from the front of the house, down some steps and around to the back.  Last time it was moved it took 6 big French men so Sue was a little concerned about how the move might go.  So after lunch, instead of waiting for Sue to don her raincoat, wellies and hardhat, Lew and I wandered out and carried it around the back.  No sweat!  Sue got there just in time to supervise our walk back inside out of the rain.  Not much a couple of Kiwis can’t do!  And we all got a delicious lunch for the effort.  Great deal for us.

Now I will apologise in advance – I am not sure when the next posting will be.  Next weekend, Easter, we will be on the road.  I will continue to try and press the shutter button as much as possible but getting a post together might be a challenge.  So have a good Easter and check back again regularly.

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2 Responses to “Our Last Full Week and It Is Cold Again”

  1. Gary March 26, 2013 at 22:48 #

    We’ll be thinking of you over Easter.
    Just in case you get cold, here’s something to warm you up,
    http://www.sitecam.co.nz/auckland_webcam/

  2. Marie Karl March 24, 2013 at 22:44 #

    I wouldnt mind one of those icecreams.They look delicious

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