Week 2: Staying put

Staying put like it or not
It has gotten noticeably cooler with overnight temps reaching 1 or 2 degrees, and daytime temperatures in the low teens. So we decided to head to the Mediterranean for some hopefully warmer climes. But a number of planned and unplanned events have conspired to prevent us from driving south.

Zeus’ EU Pet Passport Application
We took our first key step in this process. We visited a vet and kicked off the ICAD registration process, the precursor step to the vet being able to issue Zeus an EU pet passport. We expect it will take a couple of weeks before the ICAD registration is complete, at which point we plan to return to the vet to get his passport. So we need to stay in the vicinity for that.

We’ll do a separate post that goes into the gritty details of what’s and why’s for those that are interested.

Bed hinge repair
If you read last week’s post you’ll know we made a rookie mistake of leaving stuff on a ledge where it shouldn’t have been, and so when we lowered the bed, it broke one of the hinges. The earliest appointment at the VW service centre we called was for this coming Thursday, where they’ll do an initial assessment. We’re expecting they may need to order the part, and then there’s still time needed for the actual repair.

This week’s unfortunate event
This week we discovered a crack in the windshield, which means we can’t/shouldn’t really travel until the windshield is replaced. We suspect a small rock hit the windshield when we were driving on the autoroute, and the recent cold weather may have aggravated things. We’re currently waiting on insurance to give the go-ahead for a replacement appointment here in France.

The good things we’ve been doing in the meantime
So we’ve been exploring place nearby in the interim:

  1. We visited the marché in Caussade, and picked up supplies for some lovely meals we’ve had this week.
  2. We did a great circular walk from Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, a pretty medieval town on the banks of the River Aveyron. We burned some calories on a super steep hike up the ridge, enjoyed amazing views of the valley and spotted a lattice stinkhorn mushroom.
  3. We spent a morning wandering around Cahors – visited Pont Valentre bridge, wandered the medieval streets of the old city, picked up more yummy food supplies at the Halle de Cahors, and enjoyed our first meal out.
  4. We visited our first vineyard, Ferme de Lafage, a small biodynamic winery located in the AOP of Coteaux du Quercy. We took home a bottle of their La Singlette, a lighter more fruit forward take on Malbec grapes, and a bottle of their La Suite, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.
  5. We tried to do a walk from Penne, a town on the Aveyron River that has an amazing looking fort structure and remnants of a Chateau. But Zeus cut his leg while running from another dog, so we aborted the walk. Maybe one to try again when the weather is nicer.
  6. James has been making a valiant effort of getting some daily exercise despite the recent bad weather. Aileen’s exercise routine needs improvement.

What next?
We’re certainly finding that you can’t really plan too much in vanlife, and are having to learn to get comfortable with going with the flow. If the vanlife gods are kind to us we’d like to be able:

  1. Get the windshield replaced.
  2. Start the process of fixing the bed hinge.
  3. Maybe take a trip south to Narbonne or another coastal location.
  4. Aileen would like to make progress on knitting some bed socks as they are becoming a critical need in this cold weather!
  5. James would like to ride his bikes in the dry again.

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