The journey to Portsmouth took longer than expected, but was still within the time we’d allowed so all was well. The cabin was comfortable and we both slept very well, the journey just wasn’t long enough! An easy journey through France followed though the first three hours were in fog when it cleared it was very warm. Doris the sat nav excelled herself and brought us straight to the house down some very narrow roads giving us no chance of following Judith and Richard’s instructions.
|Part of Judith and Richards house. Swimming pool and hot tub beyond the trees|
The house is amazing and we are very lucky to be able to spend some time here.
|View from the swimming pool|
The weather has been variable for the couple of days we’ve been here, thunderstorm last night and raining just now, as we were planning to reload the car, but beautiful yesterday when we wore far too many clothes to walk into Belves, and sunny but cooler this morning when we went for a walk round collecting a bag full of chestnuts and walnuts. Walnuts being what the area is famous for, apart from fois gras, which doesn’t appeal though Brian says it’s delicious!
|Lounge and dinning rooms, kitchen beyond|
|Belves on the hill|
Belves is a medieval town, so no surprise I guess that it is on a hill, as are we, so a harder walk than expected but very pleasant never the less. We arrived in lunch break so it was quiet, nosing around little streets, meeting a cat on a windowsill also wanting to go in for lunch, but still quite keen for some fuss, as she was when we met her again later sleeping in a flowerpot!
|The market square in medieval Belves|
Back to the tourist info to buy tickets for the troglodyte tour, cave dwellings discovered under the main market square. While waiting for our guide the hairdresser opened and her two cats came out to enjoy the sunshine, one of whom was also very keen for some fuss making himself comfortable on my lap! So along with the fourth cat and an old dog and the fluffiest puppy I liked Belves! It feels very odd being in the house here with no animals to look after, I sort of feel we are here under false pretences, so at least I had someone to stroke!
|Jackie finds a cat in a side street|
The tour was very interesting, led by, a very pleasant, women who had to do it all twice, once in French and once in English for the benefit of us and another couple. The village seems to have been surrounded by a moat at some point which when drained was used defensively in times of war – soldiers lying in it to repel attackers, and the rest of the time by families who lived in single rooms dug out of the sides of the moat, not very pleasant as they must have been cold, damp, smokey and smelly as the families and their animals all lived together, the unhygienic conditions compounded by the fact that the moat was used as a dumping ground by all and sundry for all sorts of things!
At some point the moat was covered over and the people moved out. The dwellings only being discovered when a truck fell through the road into one of them! All in all an interesting way to spend an hour particularly as it appeared we had missed a downpour while we were underground!
|Belves from inside the town walls|
|The troglodyte cave dwellings under the market square|
Packing again today to head to Spain, overnighting in Zaragoza, it seemed rude not to have a look round so we are actually spending a couple of nights there before heading off to Dad’s.