So we’ve nearly made it… and here are our lovely helpers!
About 14 campers have organised themselves into teams to help with the washing up in the evenings and clean the loos! It’s taken the pressure off Mick and Cath and the best thing is that we’re showing our children that it’s okay to ask for help and that actually, even in this day and age of selfishness, there are still a lot of generous people about!
Like Vincent Lacour. A local winegrower who saw us on one of Sarah’s weekly walks, and offered to show us how his big grape-picking machine works, and, seeing how interested we all were, invited us back to his wine press for a personal tour, even though he was clearly busy with the harvest. We saw the grapes arrive and be sorted from the stalks and stems, then pressed and we saw the juice pouring off and down into the big vats … we got to taste the Bernache = the highly potent fizzy pop produced from the first fermentation process = and of course, we all went back the next day to purchase several bottles of the real thing! I can’t quite find the words to describe the feeling I get when I see the grapes, newly harvested, being gently toasted by the warmth of the autumn sunshine as they tumble into the tractor and trundle down to the ‘cave’ and you know that in just a few moments, they will be crushed and the wine-making process begins, right there, in front of your eyes…. And it’s somehow quite humbling to be in the presence of a viticulteur, who puts all his faith in a gnarly bit of stick and Mother Nature ….
A Mother Nature who is not being particularly kind to us this September. We’ve had some fine days … and also some not so fine days and with a 100% chance of rain forecast with gales tomorrow, you could be forgiven for thinking that we’d all be glum. Not so … there is still a lovely cheerful atmosphere on site and we’re about to launch our infamous ‘Eat-ups menu’. Our aim is to empty all our fridges and freezers by Sunday night so as the week goes on, the prices fall, the menu becomes quite limited and we get increasingly busy as campers snap up the bargains!
Once the restaurant is closed, we plan to start our autumn gardening. People often ask “So, what do you do over the winter?”. Mick replies that we clear off to our yacht in the Caribbean …. We wish!
We generally give ourselves until the end of October to ‘finish’ the season. Tidy up the site, take out the pitch numbers, cover the electric bornes, winterise the pool, clean the bar and restaurant, drain the water out of the washblocks and site taps and finish all the paperwork due at the end of the season. We then spend the four winter months (Nov-Feb) juggling our time between the campsite and DIY/gardening projects at our new house. We’ll generally go down to the campsite every morning, deal with any emails and admin: reservations, our new publicity leaflet, adverts in guidebooks etc, accounts and job applications … and spend the afternoon working at home. There’s always too much gardening to do – lots of leaves to rake and trees to prune, and we always have at least improvement project on the go. This year, we’ll be changing the doors and windows in the bar and updating our Reservations system. It’s amazing how quickly the winter goes by. Before we know it, it will be the Spring and we start thinking about getting everything ready to open again. Easter in 2016 is very early so we’ll be opening in time for the Bank Holidays on 1st May ….
We obviously get to spend more time with our girls .. although this winter, it will just be Melanie. Rebecca left on Saturday and is now settling into her new routine in Italy. Danielle leaves for Germany in three weeks….We have a couple of trips planned for the Autumn, Melanie has never been to Paris or London, and we’re also hoping to visit Sarah’s sister, Jen, who is recovering well from her car accident.
But for now, we’re concentrating on surviving the next few weeks until we close – next update mid October?