From Langres to Leicester…

It seems that our Summer holiday this year has been a bit prolonged. Thumpah had booked her usual 3 weeks off last month to take in the last 3 weeks of July. Yet now we find that much of the rest of our holiday is stretching off into August.

The first week we headed to Haute Marne, in the Champagne Ardennes region. It is more Bourgogne than Champagne-land and not too far from the Vosges, which we visited on a wet day while over there. We stayed in a wooden cabin next to a lake near Langres. Indeed one of 3 lakes around that city. It is an interesting place having the ramparts and town walls still in place and we even got to see – only just – the fireworks on the 14th July from the ramparts of the city. The display was at one of the 4 lakes, so was very distant. We then had to run the gauntlet of teenagers throwing bangers and fireworks around in the streets…

Our base in the holiday village of wood cabins was next to one of the other lakes, called lac vingeanne. Very pretty and calm with a swimming pool. What more could you ask for?

The second week we spent at home… we had planned to do some work outside, mainly painting and putting up a gazebo. Those plans went straight out of the window, it rained almost non-stop all week! Of course, when we came back from Haute Marne, the garden was rather “haute” as well. Everything had grown. I had the time to thin out the weeds and sort out the tomato plants before the deluge. Even the few figs on Emma’s tree had gone, probably eaten by the birds and wasps.

Our third week was to be spent in Leicester. But as Emma’s French ID card hadn’t arrived by the second week, Thumpah was toying with going back to work for a week in the hope that it would turn up. In the end it arrived at the mairie on the Friday before Thumpah went back to work, but we didn’t know until the Monday. So we could have gone to the UK as planned.

So today, we are preparing to head back to my old suburb of Braunstone in Leicester. The car isn’t packed yet, although most things are ready. I’ll have fun soon trying to fit everything into the boot, front passenger seat and the roof box. Amazing what you can fit into a Ford Focus if you really try.

My Dad’s old friend Nigel has offered to put us up. In fact he has insisted on going to stay with a friend while we are there – so we are very lucky. Added to which he only lives over the street from my Mum. Hopefully I’ll take lots of photos while I’m there. Leicester is probably going through its biggest changes since the 1960’s. A brand new shopping centre, two roads pedestrianised, the bus depot (where I worked some of the time while I was employed at Midland Fox) gone… it was demolished a few weeks ago to make room for a new hotel. The age old landmark of the bowstring bridge, which was considered part of the fabric of the city, also gone. Despite much protest it was dismantled and a nearby pub demolished to make way for a new swimming pool for the De Montfort University.

That is just scratching the surface.

Meanwhile I hope to see a couple of friends… Colin & Lorna (Colin used to work for the bus company in competition with the one I worked for) and John, an ex colleague who is now manager of the travel centre in the bus station.

Well better get packing, our ferry will leave from Dunkirk at 11.58pm tonight… we’re travelling overnight, so we need to sleep before we go!

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