Nord et Picardy 2011

[25/05/11] We set off from Slaithwaite (having bought milk and ‘sorted’ the post office) about 9.45am. An uneventful journey via M1 > A57 > A1 > A14 > M11 > M25 > M20 (+ 2 pee stops and a late lunch at Maidstone Services) saw us arrive at the Folkstone Euro Tunnel terminal in time to catch the 15.51pm departure – a whole half hour earlier than booked!

For the first ever time we were ‘inspected’ by customs and excise (slack day?) Which was interesting. We’d already passed over the video cameras in the road but now they wanted to check all the door handles for something or other – presumably, if we’d been handling explosives, we wouldn’t have washed out hands first and the swabs would therefore have picked it up. Anyway, we were cleared to go and off we went!

We both enjoy France, so simply arriving in Calais after a very swift journey under the English Channel was a delight. 25 minutes later we were booking into our hotel in Boulogne (Ibis Vielle Ville). We unpacked – which took ages because were had just bundled things into the car before setting off (both of us were out of the house form over 12 hours the previous day!) and went out for a walk. We’d already packed enough food for the day, so as the sun was shining – we made the most of it.

Full day 1 was Thursday and we’d decided to amble across country to Fresnoy le Grand, the home of Le Creuset. I’d been twice before, but Sharon had never been – so we’d made it a feature of one day out. We drove along A and B roads (N and D!), which made the journey slower – but much more enjoyable. The fields of wheat and barley had grown just enough to cover the poppies which must have been magnificent over the last few weeks. They are just starting to show in England, but the only ones we’ve seen over here so far, are those which live on the borers of fields and along the road side. However, even these are being out back – it must be trim the roadsides week over here as we saw many farmers out cutting the edges.

We had a late breakfast overlooking gorgeous valley just outside Boulogne at what I think was Quesques.

Fresnoy le Grand has changed much since I last visited, the factory has gone (it’s still in the town, but it’s  moved) and the pub/restaurant by the gates is closed. All buildings formerly between the pub and the factory shop are now a factory shop car park. Progress! We did find the town to be quite delightful but very closed. No idea why, but everywhere except the chemist was closed. Bars, Bakers, Butchers – all closed. Strange.

Anyway, it’s late now so I’ll finish. But as a reminder for tomorrow. Wind!

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