This has been a superb campsite for us, but the change in temperature has been shocking.
The campsite is municipal in the heart of a small village, right next to a church whose bell rings with two peals a minute apart every hour. If four chimes at 4am doesn’t wake you, the four chimes at 4:01 will.
First thing on Friday morning I cycled to the bakery for bread only to find it closed with the baker on holiday. I went to the next village and found an ‘artisan’ bakery but all I had was 2.40 Euros and 50/100 Euro notes for 4 Euros of bread which they could not change. They suggested I return with 1.60 Euros when I could.
On Saturday there was a Farmers’ Fayre in the village. Ben fished for trout in the campsite’s pool:
And both boys rode a horse and cart:
We had a good lunch that included lots of meat – country pate and confit of duck – and not much else.
It is just as well lunch was good. It has been too cold to eat in the tent after dark. We’ve been huddled in the van which conveniently can turn into a 5 seat dining room.
We did little on Sunday, but there are good local walks. We did, however, manage to eat in the tent on Sunday night and Jack fell asleep in his chair.
When we went back into the van we found the fridge had turned itself off. It does this when the voltage from the battery falls below a certain level, presumably to protect the starter battery for most cars. We had been parked without moving since Thursday evening, three full days, using the fridge, internal lighting, external lighting, DVD player – we watched Mary Poppins huddled in the upper berth on Saturday night – the heater’s diesel pump and charging iPhones and iPads, and this had sufficiently drained the leisure battery to cause the fridge to stop because of a voltage drop. But the battery should be topped up during the day because we have 200 watts of solar panels on the roof.
Something was wrong – but what?
We had parked facing south. The roof elevated to an angle of 16 degrees. At this time of year, in this location, the sun rises to 28 degrees. We were getting no more than 12 degrees of sunlight, and only for about four hours. All I needed to do to recharge the battery was lower the roof in the morning. Once I did this, see photo above, the panels produced 17 volts and 5.5 amps, charging the battery at 14,4 volts and 6.5 amps. Lesson learnt: park facing north in the winter.
We visited the Grotte de Demoiselle on Monday. A large and spectacular cave – far better for the boys than the salt mines of Krakow.
On Tuesday we went to Sete, a place where Clare spent a summer selling apple doughnuts and cold drinks on the beach over three decades ago. On our return we saw flamingos matching the colour of the sky feasting in the waters of the Rhone Delta.
We have had a good six nights at this campsite – our cheapest campsite yet. The diesel heater has been keeping us toasty warm at night.