Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The washing machine whore.

Day 170 31.12.12 Lille to Cambrai

We’re woken up at around 6am by an ear-piercingly loud duck on the river we’re parked next to.  He’s incredibly vocal for a good little while and before finally falling silent.  Not a minute too soon either, much longer and we would have been enjoying him with some hoi sin sauce and pancakes for dinner.  This causes us to get up a little later than planned and we’re on the road around mid-morning.  We’re headed for Cambrai.  We had planned to go straight to Saint Quentin but it looks like a bit too long a drive so we’re calling in to see Cambrai’s three towers.  After some faffing around with various car parking spots we end up by the river having nipped to the supermarket to top up on a few bits and enjoyed a big lunch. 

We take the laptops into town on the hunt for McDonalds and their free wifi.  We spot the towers only one of which is particularly impressive (the cathedral) and also take in the old gate house which has sadly been draped in some cheap, naff Christmas lights.  We find McD’s, grab some cokes and sit ourselves down beside the only visible plug socket to charge my camera, phone and laptop in one.  The main objective is to find a reasonably priced campsite nearby that is open this time of year.  No mean feat believe me!  Thankfully the very helpful Val on the Talbot owner’s club site pointed us in the direction of a handy search site where we could pinpoint our location and sift through all the sites nearby (thanks Val!).  After much surfing and some swearing I spot a couple that aren’t completely extortionate (it’s December, I don’t want to pay for the privilege of a water slide!) or completely off our route so I note the addresses for us to check out.  Whilst we try and wild camp as much as possible, in bad weather our solar panels don’t provide us with much electricity and away from the coast getting our hands on water for showering is much harder, so we’re doing to stump up for a campsite treat after we’ve visited St Quentin.  This whole process takes much longer than planned so we head straight back to the van afterwards. 

We spotted a cheap launderette in town so we gather up the mountain of dirty washing and take it over.  It turns out to be a little more expensive than we’d expected as the machine swallowed one of our euro coins and one of the driers seems to be as effective as wafting your clothes near a lukewarm radiator.  This appears to be the more positive of experiences however as one of our fellow customers ended up with her washing trapped in the machine.  It just kept turning long after it should have finished, the door refused to open and nobody picked up on the many times she rang the contact number.  After jabbing the buttons a lot, shouting and eventually kicking the machine and calling it a ‘whore’, she ended up just leaving her soggy duvet in the washing machine twirling round and round oblivious to the insult.

It took a good little while to get all our washing done and eventually dry.  We headed back to the van and got some writing done on our newly charged laptops (thanks McD’s!).  Not the most rock and roll New Year’s Eve ever but at least our duvet isn’t trapped in a washing machine.     

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