Au Revoir à Nos Amis

It would be all too easy to stay at the Fanjeaux campsite; the pitches are huge (200-300m2) with a low occupancy in September, and the others that are here are mostly personal friends. We know, we’ve done it before. We’d already stayed a bit longer than originally intended but the weather forecast in the surrounding areas may have had a say in that. However, we’ve paid up and finally we’re off after six nights.

The morning dawned looking a bit grim with dark grey surrounding us. We needed to head for the Carrefour at Bram on our way out to stock up with food and, being a Sunday, it closes at midday. Nadine wanted us to stay for a coffee on our way out and we were happy to oblige. She said they’d let us stay at their farm, even out of season, perhaps on the way to and/or from Spain in winter. It was a gracious offer but we’ve already booked the ferry to and from Santander. Maybe next year? I have a feeling that driving through France would be more enjoyable than the 36hrs crossing, over two nights, from Portsmouth to Santander. We’d just have to be cautious about the bloody post-Brexshit 90 days in 180 rule. We’ll see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we were breaking camp, I spotted an interesting little, and I do mean little, new friend on one of our roof vent screens, frantically trying to get out. It looked interesting because I could see, small thought it was, that it had patterned wings. It was very active, scurrying about, so I couldn’t focus stack it. It was holding its wings out to the side but up at about a 30° angle, so depth of field was a bitch with my little macro lens. In our haste to get up to Nadine for coffee, still leaving time for the supermarket, this is about all I could manage. Meet Macrocera phalarata, apparently a “predatory Fungus Gnat”.

OK, I had to look that up ‘cos “predatory” and “fungus” seemed contradictory. It seems that it’s the larvae that are predatory, rather than the adults, which presumably are where the fungus comes in. Live and learn.

We did our shopping and, with a strong wind blowing straight on Frodo’s nose in our planned direction of east, towards Mèze, we chose to avoid the autoroute and take the side roads. It was only about a 2-hour journey even at pedestrian speeds, relatively speaking, and would be more interesting.

We never really left the murk and arrived at Loupian, where there is a camping municipal that we quite like. We found a free parking area that was handy to have lunch and kill time until 14:00 when the accueil [reception] would reopen. We could see the campsite from our parking area and three camper vans were waiting in line to register. It’s very strange that, though the books say “closed between 12:00 and 14:00”, that’s exactly when most people turn up.

We waited for the queue to disperse, then drove down to register ourselves.

Posted in 2023-09 France