Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Run to the Sun...

I've been chatting to Renske, the owner of Camping Moto Dordogne, about working on the campsite ever since I mentioned it the last time we were there... back in September of last year.

In the Euro Tunnel
The plan was initially for both myself and Kerry to work out there for the whole season, however, plans were made and when Renske contacted us again in March Kerry was unable to come and I could only manage a couple of months out of the season, but that was not a problem.

I booked my Euro Tunnel ticket through Tesco Clubcard and was all set to leave on Monday. I expected to ride half of the way there, grab some food and a nights kip in my hammock, to then continue the journey and arrive in the Dordogne on Tuesdays. That was until I'd heard some girly friends of mine were at Disneyland and invited me to crash in their hotel.

Notre Dame
The ride in to Paris was very wet. I had to try and get my all in one rain suit on at the side of the road, which isn't exactly easy when it's dry, now I was doing it in a torrential downpour which kindly stopped once I'd ridden another 2 miles. But I made it to Paris fine and had a nice ride about until I reached the road where my friends were staying in their hotel finding a comfy bar to settle in until they got back from Mickey Mousing around.

After a few texts it soon turned out that they wouldn't be back until the evening. I asked the owner of the bar if I could leave my panniers and helmet with him whilst I went for a stroll around Paris... to which he said "It iz not a Bomba non?" in a thick French accent. He put my stuff safely in his bomb proof cupboard and I was free to do as I pleased, walking down along the river to the Notre Dame which I didn't realise had one of these big bridges with millions and bigillions of padlocks all interwoven on it.

Disney Princess's
In front of the massive, yet gradually more boring (as I am finding these religious sites) church of Notre Dame was a more interesting bread exhibition, if you can get your head around the that fact. There were demonstrations on kneading and the different plaits to make different shapes.

Then I thought I'd wile away the time in a few different bars. One particular bar was in the middle of a square and neighboured a Nike running shop that just so happened to be hosting a 10k, women only jog around the French capital. The waiter in the bar came out and sat with me as we were entertained by hundreds of women clad in running gear, stretching and chatting before a guy with a boombox on his back started pumping music. He gave a little speech (in French) and then they were off.

I rescued my bags and the girls finally met me at a small bar near their hotel. We had a few drinks before getting a relatively early night. I got a pretty good kip lying on their floor, enough to snore! (Apparently) In the morning I said my goodbyes and started the long trek down to sunnier climes. This time not getting caught out when the rain came as I wore my suit the whole way. Surprisingly I recognised the way once I'd got to a small town called Gourdon and didn't need to use and satnav.

So what am I doing at Camping Moto Dordogne?? Well, primarily I'm the Handyman but get involved in being Barman/Chief Pool Tester and Underwater Ceramic Detailer (Washer Upper). I've been given a nice little caravan to live in and have my bike to nip out and about on these wonderful roads. The campsite is owned by a Dutch lady, Renske, and mainly attracts Dutch and British motorcyclists looking for a party atmosphere in the middle of spectacular surroundings.

These two are Ollie and Vincent. Ollie is a special type of Water Dog from the Dutch province of Freisland, where Renske comes from. They are trained to be gun dogs and used to retrieve game from wetlands. His coat is very thick and curly with a sort of wax texture so we doesn't get wet in the water. He's a 'Lone wolf' and just pootles about doing his own thing. Vincent on the other hand has been nicknamed 'The Shadow' and he has specifically taken a liking to me, following me around for the entire day until either I or he goes to bed. He loves sticks and I can be busy mowing the lawn or fixing something when I turn around to find he has yet another stick. His mother had a nipple infection and bit his ear off when he was 3 days old because his suckling hurt her. That's why he's called Vincent after the famous van Gogh who severed his own ear off.

A toad I fished out of the pool who then
hopped off happy as larry
My normal daily duties include putting Robbie, a robotic pool cleaner, in for his morning work, fishing out all number of frogs, toads, salamanders, mice and rodents that manage to find their way in to the pool, most dead...some still alive. Then I tend to the grounds, mowing the lawns, strimming the verges and weeding the flower beds. The pool has to be kept at a certain pH level and have a specific chlorine content. Then there is the handyman things with people breaking stuff or new bits to install. Heck, even watering the plants takes me an hour, and can only be done at night once the sun has gone down.

During the afternoons I like to chill by the pool, go for a ride out to any number of local scenic spots or chat with the guests on the terrace. It's been getting really hot recently. Sometimes as hot as 35 degrees C!

The people who turn up are the real attraction. Chatting to one English bloke, Brian, the other day resulted in a lot of lust for the road. He'd been made redundant from his job and his wife had left him when he was 40. He then walked around Europe and Northern Africa for 2 years, working as he went and sustaining himself. He ended up in Israel where conscription was still enforced for every 18 year old, male or female. Anyone in the Israeli army must carry their weapon 24 hours a day, even when off duty. So it wasn't a strange sight to see a young lad shopping in the supermarket with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder. Brian had to ask one young lady to "Please move that Uzi so it isn't pointing at my crotch" when he was on a local bus. He said she smiled but didn't move it.

Then of course the bikes. And everything from old 1974 Moto Guzzi's to brand new BMW's and chopped and customised Harleys and cruisers pass through. Some even have trailers and huge tents! The number of people riding with their partner on the back is also quite surprising. Perhaps It's something Kerry and I could do?

But now I'm packing my bike up again with just the essentials as I head North for 300 miles to watch the Le Mans 24 hour race...

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