Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Days in the Loire

After leaving Chinon we headed to Montrichard on the river Cher. We had a lunch date with blogging friends, Ken, Walt, Susan and Simon. We met both Ken and Walt back in 2010 when we rented a lovely little cottage not far from Montrichard - a place called Thenay just a couple of kilometres from Pontlevoy. It was a great base to visit all of the great Chateaux of the Loire.

Simon and Susan invited us to join them, Ken and Walt and Susan's sister Cathy and her husband John at La Villa in the square at Montrichard. The sun was shining and the company was jovial. Simon and Susan run a business taking visitors to the sites of the Loire in Celestine, their shiny black Citroen Traction Avant. This is partly the connection between Simon and I as Sue and I have owned Citroens and they were my first cars many years ago.

We met Celistine along with Susan and Simon in 2010.
Carol and Mikee's stone maison in rural Loire.

Lunch ran on for some time as it does when in good company and so we didn't get away until mid afternoon. We were staying with friends further down the Cher for two nights. Carol and Mikee are the people we rented the aforementioned cottage from and have become treasured friends despite Carol domineering me (LOL Carol). These two are most generous people. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, met their lovely boulangier Veronique who seems to always have a big happy smile on her face.

Carol cooked a wonderful salmon in pastry meal to welcome us - of course we consumed too much local wine, didn't we?
The following morning we took off to the Amboise market which is set overlooking the Loire River. The Friday market is mainly produce and Sue was cooking and organising dinner with Carol for us four and fellow Bloggers Ken and Walt. Well that is until we met Carol and Mikee's neighbours, Gerard and Annica just a little further down the road. That made eight.

The Loire river runs along side the Amboise market area.

Carol explains to Sue the best stalls at the Amboise market.
Many of the stall holders travel from town to town in mobile shops such as this one.
You can see the names of the towns he services on the truck awning.
White asparagus is in season at the moment and Carol cooked  some as an entree the night of our arrival - very tasty.
Isn't the simple baguette the best bread in the world?

Did I hear you say, "How did we meet?" Keep in mind that Annica and Gerard are locals. Long time locals in fact. Gerard was born in the house where they live. Anyway, on the way back from meeting Veronique  at the Boulangerie, I saw this old rusty bike lying beside a shed. Mikee informed me that it belonged to his friend Gerard.

A rusty old bike - and a new friend met. Gerard beams a smile at us. 
Mikee our host shows that he would have made a serious competitor in his day.
We went back with Carol and Sue a little later as I wanted to see the bike. On meeting both Gerard and Annica, you knew instantly that you would like them. We had a tour of Gerard's potager and then were invited into their home for some local wine. A tour of the outside buildings later showed graffiti on the stone walls by the Germans when they occupied Gerard's family home.
The meeting all ended with Annick and Gerard being invited to join us four and Ken and Walt for the night's dinner.

Carol put on a wonderful seafood spread as starters and Sue did her main of chermoula chicken (shown on Ken's blog) and the dessert of a hot chocolate pot.

The food was great but the company was something else with two Brits, us Skippys, two non english speaking French and two Americans but we all agreed that it was a most successful night with the mix of four different nationalities.

Walt, Mikee, Annica, Carol, Gerard and Ken
A well mixed group by the end of the night.
Too many bottles littered the table by the end of the night which ended way after midnight. Mikee brought out some home made plum eau de vie which really finished off Ken and I.
I think we both woke the next morning feeling a little hollow headed which was confirmed the next morning as we paid a short visit before heading off to Paris the next day.

If you would like to meet our friends - visit them here.
Ken's blog -
Walt's blog -
Simon and Susan's blog -


  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all, wish we could have pushed the numbers even higher LOL. Take care Diane

    1. And adding another Nationality to the table. You and Nigel would have loved the night. If we do get back in 2014 to look after Carol and Mikee's home, you could visit.

  2. Hi, I'm Mike's brother Dennis, a keen (but slow) club cyclist for many years,and still a titular VP of the Worthing Excelsior C.C. (1887 to the present).
    I have photographs of my own Flying Scot both before and after restoration - it now lives in a club-mate\frame-builder's museum, alongside Clauds, Bates, Gillotts, and an 1869 Michaux. I also have shots of a club-mate's modern and elegant bamboo-framed racing machine.

    1. Dennis - great to hear from you. I would very much like to see your restorations. I'm currently restoring a pre-war motor pacing bicycle or stayer bike. We can trade notes.

  3. I have come in from Diane's blog, after having had difficulties in connecting with you both from my blog. Anyway, will follow your adventures now, and hope you have a lovely time here in France. Shame that we are so far south otherwise you could have come and shared time with us as well.

    1. Vera,
      I follow you regularly (I'm not a stalker) and enjoy your rantings very much. Are you still frolicking in the hay.
      We have been in your area on previous travels and liked it very much as we do with much of France.

  4. Wish I could have been there ... but you know that already, don't you? Those photos of Amboise market bring back so many good memories. It's a good thing that I'll be going there next week, otherwise I would have been very cross with you for making me 'home-sick' :)) Have fun!! Martine

    1. Sue and I do know that you would have enjoyed being there but you have many enjoyable experiences ahead of you very soon. Please raise a glass or two for us.

  5. Hi Leon and Sue, I came over from Diane's blog ,My Life in Charante. How lovely that you met her and Nigel. I have never met Nigel, but I have met Diane, as they used to live in my village in the UK. I only found out through asking her for a poster. She said send her my address in the UK, which I did, and she would post it to me when she came back from France to see Nigel. And we laughed so much in amazement.. I live on one side of our big village and she was on the other ... She said " I will drop it round" I said how come ... She said that is where her house is.... and now they have both moved to Charante.. Which is excellent for them both.

    1. That's a nice story Anne - As Dylan would say, "A Simple Twist of Fate".


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