Just over a half hour drive took us from Cormeilles to Broglie. Broglie is pretty much a family affair. Emma and Anton visited first in Millie our first motorhome, and gave it the thumbs up. We overnighted there the following year and although the butcher was on holiday the old traditional grocer shop was open and having bought a well aged goats cheese amongst other things, the shopkeeper, who would not have been out of place in ‘Open all Hours’, threw in a handful of walnuts for us. Fiona and Patrick stayed last year but found the town pretty much closed in October! The aire at Broglie sits on the old railway and the station buildings are now a tourist info and the town library. 5 euros is collected from each van in the evening and gates are closed at 10pm to prevent boy racers I suppose.. Normally, it is a machine which takes 2 euro coins or tokens and supplies either 100litres of water or an hour’s electricity. The machine was a hole in the ground and obviously being renewed, so water was from a standpipe and we made the most of it and filled up before choosing a shady place to park up. The old railway line is now a tarmac cycle/walking path, so needless to say John had the bikes off the rack in no time and my next lesson resumed. This was to be a challenging lesson as the space between the posts looked barely wide enough to let anyone through on a bike never mind me with shaky steering manoeuvres! These posts had me challenged several times as we came to junctions with roads. John had been going to cycle on the 10km to Bernay while I cycled back to the van, but maintenance to the path had it closed so we cycled back together after a seat in the sun enjoying the quiet of the countryside and watching a red squirrel.
We strolled up to the shops after 3. The bakers and butchers were opening at 3.30 but, sadly, the old grocer shop had indeed closed and the window space was filled with old photos of what Broglie once looked like. Other empty shops had similar photos. We had noticed a Lidl on our way into town but I suspect the grocer was retiring age anyway.
We sat with a beer at a quiet café whilst waiting on the shops to open. When the butcher did open, we watched a customer go in and 20 minutes later she was still in there, putting the world to rights, maybe!
It being Wednesday and because I had breaded and frozen extra Haddock from Wullie the fish man before we left, we enjoyed fish all the way from Buckie in our French Aire!
John biked up for the croissants on Thursday morning and we were soon back on the road and wondering if Broglie would survive any more shop closures. I hope it does manage to re-invigorate itself.