Sunday, 6 August 2017

Hauts-de-France, 6 August

A lazy Sunday morning, so we set off at about 10:15 towards Guines, stopping in Montreuil for bread.  We got here and found the France Passion site where we have camped. The site is parking attached to St Joseph Village, a reconstruction of French village life in the first half of the 20th century.
It was a very odd place indeed - the brainchild of a single man, and much of the work seems to have been done by him alone. The first port of call was an agricultural museum, which, as so often in these places, made us feel old by having implements we remember from our childhoods. Less so than many, as of course the brands weren't the same, but the designs were!
 Then a fairground with a half-sized Gypsy caravan, rather lovely, swung boats, a roundabout, etc, and a short display of washing machines then and now.
Then a row of reconstructed shops - quite interesting, but nothing one hadn't seen a zillion times before. The next bit was arguably the most interesting; the "faith quarter", with a lovingly reconstructed Stations of the Cross, taken from a church that was being demolished, and several different chapels, including one that the man had built single-handed, together with copies of his testimony. 
There was a path that led down to a hide overlooking a lake, and we spent some time watching swallows and swifts swooping down to catch insects.  Then back to the village with its schoolroom, the "Salle des fêtes" now used as a museum of all the bits he couldn't find room for elsewhere, a windmill, and a seemingly endless stream of workshops, garages, cycle repair shops, sawmill, etc. Very dull unless you happen to like knowing which spanner was used for what!

And, finally, back to the main drag with a tea rooms and a restaurant that does lunches but not dinners.  We decided that tea made with boiling water is, as always, nicer than that made with tepid, so came back to the motor home.

It was interesting, but a little too much about the maker, how clever he was and how pious, and how clever to be best friends with Bernard Hinault, etc.  And no history at all - nothing about either war that had such a devastating impact on France during those years.  Still, I'm glad I went.

But there were donkeys, and, on our way back to the motor home, even baby donkeys!

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