I arrived at Nantesairport at approximately on Monday 27th July (1987). We travelled
to Champtoceaux by BMW and ate our very large dinner at
approximately . I stayed with the 'Hardy' family for a week
which worked out to be preparation for the scout camp. We
spent several afternoons at "L'Aujardiere" which
was a barn-cum- garage containing four wagons and lots of
Although we went down every day
there was not a lot of work to be done - all I did was fold
up some old clothes!
We were at
"L'Aujardiere" at on Monday 3rd August. The last person
arrived at (many of you probably know that this is
typical of the French!). The horses arrived at and we set off at . We had chosen a white horse called 'Docile'.
('Dopey' would have been more apt as we had to push her up
all the hills!).
We travelled very slowly the first
day, but I was given a chance to drive with reins - these
people did not know what risks they were taking. I narrowly
missed three hedges and the wagon in front!
second day we were told to walk up all the hills as the
horses were tired but, luckily, I was not too tired after a
lunch break of four hours (). We were told that the horses had to
digest their food, but 1 think it was more a case of the
leaders wanting a siesta.
travelled in this way for five days in all - a little like a
hippy convoy with singing sessions as we were going along.
We arrived at the 'Abbaye de la Graineuere' fairly early on
Thursday evening and set up our tents. We were instructed to
space our tents far apart - French youth leaders have the
same problem as English (The picture on the right shows one of the
leaders Dr Bernard Seguin talking with one of the Monks.)
The abbey and surroundings were
very peaceful. There were five monks in all and at least two
were disabled. The monks were very kind to us and in return
for their kindness we dug a trench to clear their lake. I
was cutting pieces of tomato for the monks on Saturday when
I had a surprise visit from the Cliftonfamily.
I was so relieved to see somebody English! (The picture on the left shows
Julie unable to speak.)
We hitchhiked to most places on
Monday - our feet we so tired it seemed worth taking the
risk! During the afternoon we went to see the 'Grotte de
Lourdes' which is a small cave with statues and crucifixes
around it. As we walked down to it we heard singing. A group
of women were holding an afternoon mass. It was very
peaceful and the chants gave the atmosphere a certain
We arrived back at the campsite
after all the other groups and I was soon to find that
Caroline - my 'host' was ill. She missed the evening
discussion on whether the camp was better than last year and
if the friendship of the group had strengthened, it was very
few days were very tiring as we had to push the horses
everywhere! About half of the youngsters in the group camped
out under the stars for the last night. It gives you a great
sense of freedom, but it is rather chilly at in the morning!
back on my trip I am sure that I have gained more
independence and also more friends from Verwood's twin town.
I hope that some of the young people from Champtoceaux will
return to England
to give us a chance to repay them for their generosity.
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