Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday ain't so good!

A long drive ahead down to the bordeaux region ahead but to start the day had some fun with Mellman whom we caught having a wallow in the Loire below one of the chateaus.

We stopped at an intermarche store and filled up with fuel and some things eat over the next day or so. Having real problems finding replacement fuel for the stove which would be a real problem. Even though we have the instruction manual with the fuel described in french, we still can't find it so we bought some 'lamp oil' which the salesman said was equivalent as a good salesman ought to. When we were in the store I saw some bottles with turpentine on them so maybe the 'white gas' I bought last time isn't actually turpentine although it sure smells like it. This evening I tried out the lamp oil and the white gas. Both work but the lamp oil only just, the white gas actually works quite well although you have to be extra careful how one lights it as it takes much longer to heat up. At least it is an adequate replacement although benzine is definitely a better fuel.

Driving through the countryside we left the gentle rolling flatlands of the Loire Valley behind with the large green fields and interspersed forest remnants and climbed onto the 'massif central' which is a lot like the natal midlands but colder. We went to an out of the way campsite but decided not to stay there because it was just a little bit rustic for us. So far we have been just about the only tent in the campsites, there have been a fair number of campervans and caravans but not much in the way of tents. The other thing that is noticeable is that we are by far the youngest people touring around, just about everyone else seems to be ready to expire. Maybe I'm just thinking that I look younger than I really do!

Had another fight with the internet today and came away from the battle having lost by about 55 points to 9. I did manage to download my email and send all the replies which I haven't been able to do at any of the free internet access points and I was almost but not quite, able to post another blog. I got as far as clicking on the 'post' button when the connection died and refused to resurrect itself. This time we had gone to another Formula 1 which, amazingly, did have a wifi hotspot and I thought my time had come but alas it had more tribulations in store for me. At one stage the %^&*( thing would take me to a login page which is fair enough but when I logged in, it would tell me that I was already logged in but wouldn't go to the page I originally requested and nor would it give me the option to log out. A real catch 22 situation and my view of 1st world technology is plummeting by the day.

Finally, we ended up at a very pleasant campsite run by some dutch people who speak very good english and it was such a pleasure to be able to communicate reasonably effectively. In desperation to get the internet back, it really has turned out to be an unexpected security blanket, I tried our sims in the gsm modem but it didn't work. I'm not really surprised but, even at the exhorbitant data roaming fees, it would still have been cheaper and more convenient than using wifi (I think!).

What I never want my bicycle to look like!

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