Brooklands Centre - Past Events 2014
Well, the plan was to take the Auto Train from Paris to Avignon for a gentle meander to the Mediterranean coast and then catch the Train back home two weeks later.
Perhaps 'someone' thought this was a bit tame for Brooklands Centre, the original adventurers of the 60ís.
First of all the train drivers decided to strike. So, change of plan. Leave on Monday, a day early, and drive to Avignon via a lovely Logis called Le Chateau des Tourelles Hostellerie de la Wast. Add two Campanille after that and we reached Avignon on the Thursday after a pleasant drive down. Well most of us. Judy, Len, Martin and Cheryl parked up on day 2 to have coffee and while they were there someone stole a bag from the back of Judyís MG. On discovering the theft of toiletries, shoes, make-up etc., it was decided to travel on. A mile down the road we were chased by a young chap who said he had seen the theft and would take us to where the perpetrator had thrown the bag. (Didnít he like my shoes?) He urged us to call the police and had a description and yes, most of you would have sussed him, but after giving him a little something for his trouble I realised he was disappointed with the contents and cleverly conned us into returning it. Oh well, we live and learn and replacements would have cost Len at least €100, yes really!
When we reached Avignon we unfortunately hit the rush hour. It was terribly hot in the car and we were to find later that the extra use of the Kenlowe fan would completely flatten the battery. Never mind, ignorance is bliss and we arrived at the beautiful Mas De Tour in Gargas just before a torrential downpour with hail the size of marbles. Unfortunately again, we had lost the others who knew the area less well and they all got caught in the storm so came in drenched and fed up.
I am reliably informed that Roland was forced to drive to the hotel without his shirt, which he took off to dry as he had stopped to help Roger put up the Healy hood during a hail storm. Roland's gallantry was much appreciated and he did get some admiring looks from other drivers. Why wasnít I there? A re-run please Roland. Poor Ray Bayliss got so wet when she unpacked, the colours in her clothes had run. She got three soakings as I understand, this lady is a 'Saint'. Havenít they got a hood?
Also when we were in Provence most of us visited Roussillon. Some of us visited the abandoned 'Ochre works' where they used to mine raw Ochre rock and crush it, mix it with binder and manufacture Ochre coloured paint.
Mas de Tour was a very attractive and relaxing Hotel with a pool and we were pleased to welcome Robin and Bev who had had to catch us up. We would have been happy to stay there for a week but after a lovely two night stop we drove down to St Aygulf on the coast.
The Hotel St Aygulf was very comfortable and the resort very stylish. Iím afraid Len and I just took it easy owing to his back problems but the others took advantage of the surrounding area and did some quality driving, Bormes Les Mimosas being much enjoyed I hear. Some of us also visited the beautiful, unspoilt resort of St Tropez. Everyone looks like movie stars (and of course so did we!)
We then took a leisurely drive along the coast (following Robin who has a built in Sat Nav in his scull) passing through St Rafael, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Villefranche,to Beaulieu sur Mer where we had another three night stay. We had lovely rooms here overlooking the Marina so could watch the world go by and how the other half live. Most of the group drove to Monaco and did the circuit and on the Thursday the group walked to the Rothschild Villa along Cap Ferrat which was a joy. Again owing to Lenís back we drove there and when we parked up we were accosted by a young man who invited us to park in front of the Villa and to be an 'Exhibition'. The look on our friends faces when they arrived to see our car parked out front was a joy. The gardens at the Villa are wonderful. The fountain plays to music and the whole atmosphere there is of elegance and beauty, with a backdrop of Mediterranean and cruise liners in the bay. That evening we were sitting by the pool when a call came to say would we like to deliver t he cars to Auto Train although they werenít sure if TGV was running the next day? Of course we couldnít commit to that so Robin planned our drive home. Some did a dash in two days and eight of us decided to take four days and enjoy the scenery on the way. This we did and I must say it was spectacular along the Route Napoleon and through the Ardeche.
We had arranged to board the ferry at Caen on Monday 23rd June but on the last morning I got up to pack and realised my and Lenís passport were missing. A thorough search ensued but to no avail so off to the port we went and spent an hour and a half with a Brittany Ferries girl called Sophie who I must say was very patient and helpful and Yes we did get on the boat and yes we did get hauled into customs at this end and have passports cancelled but all in all we were well looked after.
So a holiday to remember but although we missed Jim and Sue due to his back problem and poor Robin had enormous worries about his Mum ill at home we all managed to enjoy ourselves and prove once more what a resilient bunch we are.
Sadly dear Mollie, Robins Mum, died a few days later. Mollie has spent so many holidays with us joining in with everything and getting us by with her wonderful command of numerous languages. We will miss her greatly and we thank Robin for his huge amount of organising despite having other more important things on his mind.
P.S. A lot of funny things happened on this trip as always with Brooklands Centre but the funniest were:
2nd Hotel a Campanille. We were looking for it in a downpour and just couldnít find it. When we eventually arrived we complained to the receptionist and suggested they should have a bigger sign to help people. When we got up the next morning in sunshine, walked outside and clocked the biggest, tallest neon sign I have ever seen. Woops!
In Supermarche with Jane Horsfield. We were in the queue and I was looking for some ginger chewing gum, a passion of mine. She decided to help and was scanning the racks of gum when the queue (mostly men started smirking), what was so funny? She was perusing the rack of condoms. Get out Jane quick.!!!