We stayed in St Venant for about a week. It’s a free aire just on the edge of a small town in France, right by a canal. The walks along the canal were lovely and we went for miles one day. I hadn’t taken any lunch or water or anything so Jack was OK slurping out of the canal, but I was a bit thirsty and hungry when we got back after about 5 hours. I was tempted to lie down by the canal and slurp from it like Jack did, he made it sound so tasty. But the bits off moss and twigs and unidentifiable plastic rubbish put me off. I had this mental image of me slurping up a used condom or something…
Never mind we loved our walk and the weather was great most of the time. The parking area was right next to what looked like a tiny park. There were 3 chestnut trees there and hundreds of some of the biggest conkers I’ve ever seen all over the ground. I picked a dozen up for the grandson so I could teach him how to play when I get back to the UK. They were dropping continuously too.
Anyway, the first morning I awoke to several voices all happy and obviously bantering but I could make out little of what was said. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of the steel balls of petanque. I looked out and sure enough, there they were, all merrily playing their game amongst the conkers. I love the whole idea of what they do because the community comes together to play a social game, they chatter and banter together, men and women – young and old.
I’d seen this at the Boulodrome in Estaires and took a photo there too as it happens.
As it turns out these people met every morning briefly and every afternoon to play their game. There were also many who like me, simply sat and watched them play because it was relaxing and fun to watch others enjoying themselves. It was especially funny to see them tripping over the conkers and shouting loudly while their mates laughed loudly. Honestly, 12 men laughing in French is such a funny thing. I did have a little chortle but I wondered inf my laugh would have an accent and maybe they’d think I was taking the pee lol
Anyway so in St Venant there’s a lovely Boulangerie and Patisserie that I frequented. I bought a loaf called Allouette and she cut it into slices for me and it was delicious, like real proper bread should taste, not the doughy, sticky crap we get at home. Sure Warburtons make some nice loaves as do Hovis, but they cost a stupid price. This large loaf was handmade, exceptionally tasty, bigger than a standard Warburtons loaf and only €1.20. And don’t get me started on the cakes….
So on the way to the bakers is a council office with some fountains outside and as it was a hot day I let Jack at the water to see what he would do. Here’s some videos of him playing…
He only really learned how to do this in Salzburg. Prior to that he was always a bit shy of going into moving water, although seas and rivers didn’t bother him. But he got the taste for it in Salzburg and now he can’t get enough!
This is what life is about. Nice places, nice people, nice memories.
Where I stayed: Saint Venant, Pas-de-Calais , Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, 62350, N50.62573, W002.54857