23rd January 2010 Blasimon and St. Emilion

23 01 2010

I woke up with a bit of a hangover after a bit too much wine last night and we both felt that we wanted to explore the immediate area a bit further, especially St. Emilion. We had a word with our host and booked and paid for an evening meal, this left us knowing where we were stopping and what time we had to be back, leaving us a full day to visit other places.

Lorna must have been suffering a bit too as her first request was to find a McDonalds so she could check her blog hits, I knew that she really wanted a quarter pounder though.

Suprisingly I had received an email from the HP customer support people, a pretty standard reply going through some steps I could take to isolate the problem, but with bits of personalisation in it as well. Though it didn’t answer my question about where I could take the laptop to be fixed it did offer to mail replacement parts to me if needed, things were looking up a little.

After a fairly quick late breakfast/early dinner we drove on to St. Emilion, a small but very pretty village with lovely yellow bricked buildings, terracotta roofs and wine shops everywhere. In the centre of the town stands a tall bell tower where we paid just over one euro to go up, 191 steps but the views from the top were great, looking over the town and all the terracotta roofs. I wished I had taken my longer zoom lens with me as there were masses of abstract shots to be had there.

St. Emilion Roofs

St. Emilion Roof Tops

We knew that we both wanted to take a shower before our meal and we needed to take on some water to make sure we didn’t run out. We had asked if there was a tap available at the vineyard we were stopping on, there was but there was a five euro charge to use it (I thought this was a bit much considering we had just spent nearly seventy euros on the meal and wine from last night) so we smiled graciously and planned to fill up elsewhere.

On the way to St. Emilion we had passed a service point in a place called Branne, right on the Dordogne. On our way back we stopped, plugged in the electric to recharge Lornas laptop and our phones and then heated the water for our showers. I decided to have another go at starting my laptop as the HP people had asked for feedback as to what the actual error messages were. It started up pretty much in the same way, clicking and scraping noises and then an error with an option to run a startup repair program. I started this running and left it going…..more clicking and scraping. The program finished after about three quarters of an hour saying that the problem couldn’t be fixed. I restarted it and hey presto, it started normally……I got my photos onto a memory stick very quickly!

We both showered (there is something quite strange about showering parked up on the side of a busy road) and then I went to refil the water, put the token in the machine (as I had done previously for the electric), connected the hose and turned on the tap….nothing. Upon investigation the button to start the electric supply was stuck in and as soon as I put the token in the supply came back on, another hour of electric then. The laptop started up again and I was able to edit a few photographs without a hitch!

It was dark by the time we returned to Domaine de Grand Homme, we relaxed for a while before going to eat our home cooked meal.

Lorna and I sat down for our five course meal with four French adults and one of their children. Only one of the five spoke English so I had a quiet night of nodding and smiling where appropriate. I understood a little but not being very good with spoken French remained quiet for most of the night. We had, soup, salad, stuffed calamari, green salad and cheese and to finish off a creme caramel, all washed down with various types of wine. The one guy there (the one that spoke English) was clearly a bit of a wine buff, completely failing to just drink the wine, rather to wash it around the glass to see how it stuck, sniffing it before doing that slurping thing (most rude at a table thought I) before finally swallowing it and then commenting on it to the bloke that grew the grapes and made the wine, it reminded me if the scene in Pulp Fiction at Quentin Tarantinos’ house with the coffee. It’s probably that I am not into wine that much that I found this a little odd….just enjoy it for Gods sake! When I have a pint of a different real ale in England, I just drink it, if it tastes nice I’ll have another. Between all seven of us there must have been five bottles of wine opened, not one of them were finished and I doubt if I had half a bottle all evening despite having five empty glasses in front if me by the end of the meal, the most sober I have been at 11pm since we left the UK. Still, I had a good night, great food, a few different wines and no washing up.

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