Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Mr Vincent and his very pretty dog

Mission on our second day was to do a supermarket shop, have some breakfast and investigate where we could buy some wood.
Sam was sure that he’d seen a sign for wood from the funicular railway as it headed up to Les Arc, so we started with a plan to have breakfast at the cafe by the supermarket and drop by the bottom of the funicular on the way to see if we could find the wood yard.
There was no sign of wood, just a garage, a tyre depot (where you could sort out your pnue) and a garden centre. Sam popped into the garden centre to see if they knew any wood merchants and we sat outside keeping the engine running. It was about -5 deg C down in Bourg, so the car was hardly warm on the short drive down from Vilaret.
He returned five minutes later to say it was a very good garden centre, they spoke excellent English and he had a name, a number and also some directions – the wood merchant was down by the canoe centre. We decided to head down there to see if we could find him. The road follows the Isere River and we found the canoe centre, but no sign of any wood. There was a sign which said “Commercial Centre” so we followed the road down for a good way and were just about to give up when we found the wood yard.
The proprietor Rui Vincent, had very little English, but he did have a pretty dog called Fidji and he certainly knew his wood. We managed to buy three ‘stairs’ of wood and arrange for them to be delivered a demain (or at least we think we did). Mr Vincent agreed that he’d be there at 11am the next day, I reluctantly put down Fidji (a small brown terrier) and we left in good spirits. That was one job done and, at €260, it was a bit less than Sam had expected.
As is the way with fate and fortune, one minute you’re feeling all’s well with the world and the next there’s a dark grey cloud. The cloud arrived with the journey back into Bourg. I retraced my route and was going to cut through the Funicular car park to get round the back of the station, through a small residential area and be on the right side of town for the supermarket. However, there was a ‘no entry’ sign on the car park entrance and barriers had been installed. The free car park we had enjoyed for the past two ski trips was not free any more.
We had to drive back and along the top of the car park. Nothing was open yet, but there were exit barriers too, so it was clear a charge was going to be applied.
By this time, it was nudging 11am and I was ready for breakfast. We all had the set menu at €5 each, which included a croissant, bread and jam, a hot drink and a glass of juice. It’s not quite a Wetherspoon’s full English for £4.99 value, but it’s pretty close.
The supermarket we use is called Super U and it’s a really good one. French supermarkets (in general) are so much nicer than English ones and we did a big shop to stock up for the week. Sam bought rabbits to make a rabbit casserole, veal hock and the ingredients for a tartiflette. There were also some items noted for possible purchase late in the week. They had some bargain Belgian beers. You could get three bottles of Chimay Blue and a glass for less than I paid on eBay for a glass. There was also a lovely big bottle of Leffe and two glasses at under €8.
Later in the day, we were cooking up dinner and getting the fire going when Maurice (the name we’d given to the farm collie) arrived to check us out. She was quite nervous and showed her teeth when we went out onto the patio to see her, but it was obvious she wanted to be friends, she was just a little nervous. Margaret and I gave her time to come up and sniff us, have a pat and a stroke and she was fine.

Margaret was missing Holly, so Maurice got all the attention she needed. She has a couple of chunks of matted fur that could do with being cut off, but she’s a lovely dog. She got a bowl of rabbit stew leftovers for her trouble.
View of the Isere Valley from our chalet, with early
morning mist filling the valley floor. Click to see it snowing!