A Life in the Slow Lane

Mabel 1 – Dog Crate 0

I awoke in the early hours thinking I could hear the tinkling of bells. I got out of bed to investigate and remembered we were parked in a marina and the sound was of the boat rigging slapping against the masts in the wind.

Morning came and after a quick walk with the dogs on the beach, we set off on our progress along the Cote D’Azur.

Our initial intention was to call in at Hyeres to look around one of the few medieval towns to survive near the coast. Unfortunately, upon arriving, it was difficult to see where we could park a car let alone Basil. Instead, we needed to do some shopping and Hyeres offered a huge Leclerc.

For the second time on this trip we determined to keep the dogs locked in their collapsible crates, safe from damaging Basil, while we shopped. The dogs were duly put in their crates with a bone each as a distraction. This time we locked the zips together on Mabel’s crate, to ensure she could not escape.

After an hour or so in the supermarket, as we walked across the enormous car park, we could see from a distance Mabel sitting on the dashboard! Upon investigation, the lock on the zips had done its job, unfortunately this had not deterred Mabel, who had simply broken the zip completely to escape. Mabel’s crate is now out of commission and will be deposited in the next bin. Mabel 1 Dog Crate/Tim and Sarah 0.

From Hyeres we headed to St. Tropez to see what all the fuss was about. There was no sign of any Lamborginis, topless women or Russian oligarchs at this time of year. The sea front was quiet and only the size of the yachts gave away the transformation which would occur later in the year.

As we drove east from St. Tropez, it was clear that this was one of the few places motorhomes are not welcome in France. No motorhome signs were everywhere and carparks all had height barriers. It felt like being back in some warm version of England.

Only a few miles on we reached our destination for the day. An Aire with the impression of a scruffy car park. What is worse the owner of this private Aire wanted €12 for the privilege of parking overnight. Beggars can’t be choosers and so we parked Basil up, who looked distinctly unhappy, as he shuffled to avoid the dog mess.

Scruffy Aire

One positive from our overnight location is that we are just 50 metres or so from a lovely sandy little beach. We took the dogs over for a play in the sand. The beach was virtually empty and although overcast the temperature was a pleasant 15ºC.

Melek has a gambol

Melek seemed particularly enlivened by the soft suface and ran around like a 5 year old. Well, in fact, he is 5, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Mabel chased sticks, and sometimes brought them back. Sarah clambered on the rocks in a vain attempt to find a rock pool. The med has very little tide and so rock pools will be out until we reach Norway, if we get that far.

Plage de la Gaillarde

Tomorrow we hope to cross the border into Italy.