The air suspension in the camper was not working properly due to an air leak. We had the system fitted in the UK and, not long after, the front components failed. The UK were unable to get replacement parts before we were due to leave on our next trip so we drove the van to the manufacturer in Holland and they were able to fit the new components. A year on and the same thing had happened again so we were heading north to Holland to get the manufacturer to sort it out.
On our journey northward we happened to pass Chez Lamb. We had called in on Caroline and Charles on our way south; they were renovating the house they had recently purchased and we were interested to see the progress made in the three weeks since we last visited. The kitchen was being refurbished and on our previous visit they had no cooker but Caro still managed to produced a delicious meal. By our second visit there was a brand new cooker installed and we were able to sample her home made cake and biscuits. Charles was in the process of laying a wooden floor in the living area but, in spite of all the upheaval, we had a lovely evening together but being very careful not to spill anything on the brand new, untreated wooden floor where one drop of red wine would have stained the pristine surface permanently.
After coffee the following morning, following route advice from Charles who regularly drives to the UK, we left Marmande and headed towards Bordeaux then Sainte, Niort and Poitiers.
It had been raining heavily the previous night and we were expecting the weather to clear so we would get in a good drive on the quieter Sunday roads when no commercial vehicles are allowed to travel. The sun did come out occasionally but most of the journey was in pouring rain. By 3pm we had had enough and decided to stop at an aire on the motorway. We had the most expensive meal ever, steak, salad and chips, dessert coffee and wine, €80. This was in an Ibis Hotel restaurant on the motorway. We felt we had been robbed.