This week we are expecting the first gales of autumn with heavy rain forecast for many areas of Britain. Children have been back at school for a week or two and huge tins of chocolates are appearing in the supermarkets ready for Christmas. I had a sort of writer’s block for most of the summer, but I expect it was just a busy time in my life, fortunately relieved by some travelling down into France – for some reason I’d rather drive down into France more than any other type of holiday.
We live near the ferry port of Newhaven and every morning I see the boat ready to leave port on its four hour journey across the channel to Dieppe. This year saw the 70th anniversary of the ill-fated Dieppe Raid, a sort of preparation for D-Day when boats left Newhaven laden with commandos, few of whom returned home. Nowadays the only Dieppe Raid consists of large groups of vintage cars heading down to Le Mans for one of the classic motor-racing events.
This year we spent a week in the Loire Valley and then drove on down to the Dordogne, an area we’d not visited before. We stayed in a gite in the mediaeval town of Sarlat and spent our time visiting the many beautiful location on the Dordogne river – villages built into the side of great cliffs, fabulous little towns perched on mountains and beautiful gardens (whoever said the English are a nation of gardeners should have said it about the French also).