31 October 2010


After our frustrating journey south on 15th October, we eventually got to the Channel Tunnel one hour after our train had left. Eurotunnel, helpful as ever, simply put us on the next available train with no extra charge. I suspect that a lot of their passengers were still stuck on the M25, unable to get off it.

The view of the château from the playing fields.

We arrived at Descartes about 6.30 pm, half an hour before the supermarkets close. We picked up a few essential groceries in SuperU and considered filling up the car with diesel. Before we left England I had gathered from Ken's blog that there was some problem with fuel supply so we had filled up just before we got on the train, on the English side, just in case. We normally refuel at Rouen but this time we had enough English diesel to get us all the way to Le Grand-Pressigny.

But by now it was 7 pm, we were tired, hungry and just wanted to turn the key in the lock of our little house as soon as possible so we decided not to bother filling up, thinking we would come back tomorrow to do a proper shop, fill up and maybe have lunch at our favourite creperie in Descartes.

The garage in Le Grand-Pressigny.

That could have been a big mistake !!

The next morning, as we drove through Le Grand-Pressigny, there was a queue of about 4 cars at the little garage in the village that has two fuel pumps, one gazole and one essence. I thought that was very strange as usually you never see anybody there. Then, as we drove through Abilly, we saw a similar queue at its little garage. Hmmmm. I commented to Nick "do you think there's a problem here with fuel?"

When we got to SuperU in Descartes, all the pumps had notices on saying they were empty. Maybe the notices were there the previous evening and we hadn't realised. So we went round the corner to Intermarché where there was a queue of about 20 cars at each pump.

The château on a glorious October day.

We were nearly out of fuel with probably about 40 miles left in the tank. What to do? Join the queue of 20 cars with the risk that the pumps would be empty by the time we got to the front? Or go back to Abilly and see if there was any left there? That's what we decided to do.

We abandoned our shopping trip and our lunch and dashed back to the little garage at Abilly, where we got almost the last gazole the lady had to sell. She had already run out of essence since we went by half an hour earlier.

Phew!! We now had a full tank, which meant we had just enough to get back to Calais plus one essential trip to the vet in Preuilly to have Lulu's passport stamped and possibly one other shopping trip.

We were effectively grounded.


  1. So we are not going to get any photos of surrounding countryside :-( I think we got back to the UK just at the right time, fuel wise, though it would not have been a problem for me on my own. I regularly shop on my bicycle for the few things that I need, my garden supplies most of my food. Enjoy your stay grounded or otherwise! Diane

  2. When they strike, the French don't go in for half measures!

  3. The "joys" of living in "interesting times."

  4. Well, I suppose if you have to be grounded somewhere, your lovely house at Le Grand-Pressigny is an excellent place to be, especially in the beautiful autumn sunshine.

    I left a similar comment yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared into the virtual ether!

  5. Yes, we had the same problem on our visit to friends in the Lot et Garonne recently. We stayed an extra day and managed to get a tankful to drive back to Brittany.