Amiens, France

Ahh Amiens I’ve missed you! I haven’t been here since 2009 and I do love the place. This was where I saw my first Lumiere when my friend was visiting. 

Amiens cathedral.
As part of their Lumiere season the Cathedral of Our Lady in Amiens was treated to a spectacular light show which included lighting the cathedral’s gothic facade with the original colours it was painted in when first built.

Some people say it’s nice to come home but I don’t feel that way about where I was born or brought up, I feel that way about places I have a connection to. I definitely have a connection to Amiens. As I said I saw my first Lumiere here. The cathedral in Amiens when originally built was painted in bright colours. The Lumiere was intended simply to recreate those colours and show how the façade would have looked when originally built.

They made a show of it of course with some music as well and it was an amazing spectacle. It was all the more exciting as we had not expected it. We were simply sitting in the public square enjoying the balmy night and were in fact ready to go back to the van when the Lumiere started.

There’s an excellent Saturday market in Amiens too and I recall standing in front of a stall packed with lettuces of all different varieties. Of course I love salad so this was a treat for me and I was eyeing them all up and I asked what one variety was called and he replied “Salade.” I pointed to another and he said again “Salade.” So I pointed to an odd looking one and said “Salade?” and he nodded lol

A woman was standing by me and she turned out to be British as she explained that you simply point to which ones you want, even the French don’t learn the names of all the varieties. I felt a little foolish but laughed anyway. Later, the one I picked went into a salad and it was the most delicious lettuce. Mmmm.

Parklife

Parc St Pierre, Amiens
The main park in Amiens. It’s got a lake, running track, sports areas, wildlife and of course lots of well tended grass.

Jack of course loves the park next to the city, the Parc St Pierre. I recall trying to teach him to swim here when he was young but he wasn’t having it. He’d rather spend his time chasing ducks and anything else he thinks he can kill. 

It’s a huge sprawling park and even late at night I feel safe walking through it despite the odd lurkers here and there.

I recall once coming back through at about 1 am with all my photo gear and there was a large group of youngsters sitting on the steps chatting and laughing as youngsters do. As I approached they made a way for me through the middle of them and two of them said ‘Bon nuit Monsieur’, which I thought was pretty dam charming. 

I spent a few days here and in that short time I felt utterly relaxed and recharged. Sometimes being in a favourite place for a short time is all you need to recentre yourself. 

There’s a surprising amount to see in Amiens but it’s also a lovely city to relax in and even in the centre of the city prices aren’t inflated as they are some places. I highly recommend a visit and here’s some more photos to whet your appetite. 

Not stopped spending yet

I’ve just ordered some LED festoon bulbs for the interior light, which has always been crap. I got one ages ago for the bathroom and the difference is amazing. This all came about because I wanted some spare headlight bulbs to go to Europe with. I’ve got tons of all bulbs except the dipped beam H7s, so I went to 3 car accessory shops today, 2 in Windermere and 1 in Bowness. In Windermere they wanted £9.99 each in the shop ad £8.99 in the garage. Sod that I went into Bowness and the small car shop there wanted £7.99. Sod that too. You can get a pack in Tesco with half a dozen bulbs and some blade fuses in for about £4!

Anyway I ended u having a look at Amazon and have ordered some festoon bulbs, some LED sidelight bulbs, and a pack of 4 x H7s for only £3.50 for the four!! I’m also going to sign up with myByBox to try out their delivery system. Fed up with miserable and rude Post Office staff giving me grief for using their free Poste Restante service.

Whahooo!!

I was talking to some friends about getting an Italian dongle, and my friend Valeria who is Italian helped me out with the TIM.it site and we identified a dongle I could buy. I needed an address but she spoke to them on the phone and they said if I was on a campsite I could use that address to buy a dongle. €199 gets you a dongle that allows 10 gig a month for 12 months. Not bad for Europe.

I thought I was sorted but later on I was speaking to Three Network about an unrelated matter and it turns out that not only does my phone contract work in Italy the same way as it does in the UK, but so does my contract dongle! Amazing or what!

I’m  going to sort some dates out and will likely leave 1st week in April, returning when the MOT is due on the 6th September. Woop!!

Insurance renewal

Insurance renewal time again. Always stressful time, but I rang Safeguard who I hvae insured with for the last 3 years, and the premium was exactly the same yet again. £445 with 365 days European cover included and full breakdown both UK and Europe.

I have claimed with them once before, and it was quick and easy. I also saved about £88 b paying it all up front instead of monthly. Excellent service for the fourth year running: it’s becoming a wasted exercise in checking elsewhere!