When my parents told my sisters and me that they were planning to leave us to live in Normandy I was sceptical. The building they planned to convert was a wreck and, at the tender age of 27, my immediate reaction was but I want my muuuuuuum!
Last week Mr Weenie and I went out there with them and two family friends to view their nearly completed house and the locale. We also decided to sample the cheese.
It was amazing.
The community are friendly and supportive, there's kayaking/canoeing, rambling and other activities on a short drive away and the wildlife is varied and numerous. The local river is clean enough to swim in and was covered in dragonflies, mayflies and damsels with the occasional big fish.
More importantly, the whole area is signposted for cyclists, with picnic tables hidden away in shady nooks in hedgerows for water and rest stops and some spectacular scenery as you pedal around. I was green with envy watching the many people touring the area and the locals weaving back from the boulanger with fragrant baguettes sticking out of ancient panniers.
I can't wait to take my bike over and enjoy the area on two wheels. I also reckon my parents will be very happy there.
I did get to experience some pedal-powered fun, however. The velorail.
I made the combined holiday party of six adults go on this wonderous invention. A four-wheeled pedal-powered rail carriage, it goes along a disused railway track and two people sit on saddles pedalling furiously while up to two adults sit on the seat admiring the view. At the end of the route you use a pivot cage to spin the contraption round and set off back to your start point.
We went on the hottest day of the holiday and spent most of the time giggling our heads off about the entire thing.
There are several velorails across France and I think they're a fab idea for using disused rail tracks. I think, had we had children with us, it may have been more their thing, but it was wonderful to pedal something for a sustained period.
Having made him go on the velorail, Mr Weenie then demanded we go kayaking, but that's another story.....