This was a day of departures and preparations for departure. Marie-Françoise and Roland were going home to Veyras in Switzerland and we needed to prepare for our travel from France to England tomorrow.
An early start was scheduled for the long drive to Veyras so we were up at 7:00 am and down for breakfast soon after. We have been running down supplies in preparation for our departure and were out of instant coffee so I had to make multiple batches of plunger coffee using the very small plunger that is provided. Breakfast was done, fond farewells were said, and the Salamins were on the road by 8:15 am, not much after their target of 8:00 am.
One of our priorities was to do some laundry before packing to fly. There is no laundry facility here at La Ferme du Manoir but the notes from our hosts indicated that there was a laverie automatique (laundromat) at La Feuillie, about 10 km away. We gathered up our laundry and headed out. Not finding the laundry on our first run through La Feuillie we had to resort to Majella asking directions at the pharmacy. We had passed it on our way in and, with directions, soon found just around the corner.
There were 4 washing machines with different capacities. We chose one that seemed about right for us and selected the 45ºC/45ºC cycle because Majella was concerned not to overheat some items. The machine ran through its cycle but without what we considered a satisfactory spin cyle at the end. Our clothes came out wringing wet. Perhaps we had selected the wrong cycle or there was some problem. The solution was multiple cycles in the dryer, possibly a revenue increasing feature for the owners. Regardless, we eventually got our things dry or near enough and headed back.
Our bathrooms at La Ferme du Manoir have large wall mounted heated towel racks. Majella pressed those into service for finishing our drying.
Next on our agenda was removing the sand that had accumulated in the floor of the car. We have to return it tomorrow and did not want to take half the beaches from Bretagne to Paris with us. We thought we had seen a lavage auto (car wash) at Perriers sur Andelle where we had shopped on our first night here. We drove there and found it by the supermarket. It had a coin operated vacuum system which we used to get the accumulated sand and gravel out of the carpets as best we could. We didn’t bother to wash it there but Majella gave it a wipe over after we came back.
On the way out of Perriers I stopped at the boulangerie-patisserie where Majella bought some ham baguettes for lunch and surprises for dinner. Back at La Ferme du Manoir, Majella added cheese and lettuce to the baguettes which we enjoyed with coffee for lunch.
Much of France shuts down between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm so we had to wait until 2:00 pm to set out on our afternoon excursion. We filled in the time by making a start on packing with our now thoroughly dried clothing.
Our afternoon excursion was to Château de Vascoeuil, about 3 km away on the road to Rouen. We arrived there soon after 2:00 pm and spent about 90 minutes exploring. We were surprised by how much it had to offer. It is on a tour of residences of famous French writers including Flaubert and Hugo and is also listed on a tour of significant sites in Normandy, including Giverny and Château Gaillard, which we visited on Wednesday. It was the home of Jules Michelet, a French historian known to neither of us but the first to develop a chronological account of French history. He had lived and worked there over a period of some years and established a family connection. The Musée Michelet displayed a lot of documents in French that meant little to me but also included a scene from daily life of Michelet.
The estate around the château is extensive. The Crevon River, a tributary of the nearby Andelle, has been diverted through the estate which has a substantial restored château and colombier. The latter is a circular building for breeding pigeons similar to, but smaller than, the one in which we have been staying. In its time it housed almost 3000 breeding pairs of pigeons that could produce up to 20000 pigeons for eating in a year. The birds went out to feed each day and were a problem for the local people who were not allowed to kill them despite the devastation they could cause to crops. There was great relief when the right of aristocrats to operate such facilities was removed soon after the French Revolution in 1789.
The château building and grounds also present a range of artworks including several sculptures by Salvador Dali and other known artists. We wandered through the rooms in the château that had some permanent displays and a special exhibition by Gerard Fromanger. Michelet had worked in a room at the top of the tower and there was a lifelike representation of him at work there. Majella spent some time in the basement theatre watching a video about Fromanger and his techniques. My lack of French made that mostly meaningless to me so I spent some time wandering the gardens and looking at the sculpture.
Before leaving we stopped at the café for café gourmand (me) and jus de pomme (Majella). My gourmand was just a piece of Normandy apple pie but very nice. We drove back well satisfied with our last excursion in France.
There was time before dinner so we enjoyed some of the cider we had bought at the farm near Trédaniel a week ago as a pre-dinner drink. Dinner was a Majella fridge contents triumph. We had the remains of the spaghetti from Monday night with a salad dressed with a mix of balsamic vinegar and cream. That was accompanied by some rosé we had picked up on Monday. For dessert we shared the treats Majella had bought at the patisserie earlier today – raspberry tartlet and a mille-feuille. That was a very good effort for a last night clear out.
Majella had been reading one of the novels from the pile here at La Ferme du Manoir and was determined to finish it, so was not inclined to go for a walk after dinner. I was interested in what the late evening sunlight might show up at the wetlands so I set off alone at about 7:30 pm. There was not a lot happening around the circuit, other than somebody doing laps for fitness, but I waited in the hide for a while and was rewarded by a small band of waterbirds that came out of the reeds and paddled about for a while. Meanwhile Majella had been visited by our host, Rosalinde, and was assured that we would be able to drop the keys so that we could leave at 8:00 am tomorrow.