Saturday 22nd August 2020

We have already decided to stay at the wonderful campsite for another day but we do need to solve the problem of no gas if we want the holiday to continue. Either we get gas today or we have to find a French company to re-plumb the van for a French gas bottle (which we can’t use anywhere else in Europe) or we have to pack up and go home. Surely not? Surely yes. We need gas otherwise we have to go into a campsite every night and hook up to an electricity supply which can get expensive, not to mention having to go out for dinner every night.

We have found two LPG suppliers in the town of Annecy so we set off early after a coffee. The two service stations are opposite each other, on a busy main road, quite small, and the pump will more than likely be on the wrong side for the van gas intake meaning we will have to reverse the wrong way in to get to the pump. Right here we go garage number 1.

As expected the service station is small, already full of cars but luckily for Del the pump is on the right side of the van so even though it’s tight and a little tricky – one wrong move and the van will be parking next to the cashier at the till. Gloves on, adaptor on, pump resets to zero, apply gun… Apply gun. Apply the gun, the gun will not attach properly to the adaptor as the gun is damaged, it won’t grip, no grip – no seal, no seal – no gas, no gas – no dinner!

Hayley then drives to the next and final garage, our only chance of getting gas before this whole outing becomes too expensive or worse abandoned. The garage is only across the road but it’s a busy road, very busy so we have to find the long way around the town to get on the right side where the garage is. 10 minutes later we are entering the tight forecourt. Too bad for Hayley, the pump is on the wrong side of the van’s gas intake. A multi-point reverse turn, going the wrong way to get the pump on the right side of the van is performed on the tiny forecourt, all this while the station manager and a couple of customers watch Hayley, in disbelief, maneuver Jess perfectly into position for the pump, facing the wrong way round of course, but we are in.

Deep breath. Gloves on, adaptor on, pump resets to zero, apply the pump nozzle to the van, squeeze the trigger… so far so good, hit the green button to disperse the gas, a little bit of hissing and gurgling… YES… AT LAST…. in one smooth trouble-free operation our van gas tanks are taking on copious amounts of LPG, all 18 litres of it, what a relief. 15 Euros well and truly spent.

We will dine tonight…

Hayley is back at the wheel once again as she shuffles Jess the van around the forecourt until we are facing the right way around to get out and back to the tranquility of our campsite. Bet the station manager is relieved too. “Ros bifs“!

Once back we just chill out in the cooler air under the deep blue sky. It’s a lovely day so we take a walk and bike ride in the late afternoon to build up an appetite for dinner tonight.

Oh, and a new bell is applied to Hayley’s bike. And some new front brakes…!

PS. We wish had some pictures of all this forecourt shuffling but sadly the stations were full of cars, vans, and people. Whilst one is driving the other is flailing their arms around giving instructions, so there is no time for snaps!

Dinner tonight was fabulous.

Chez “Jess”

All local stuff. We are in the Savoy region in the French Alps so the food is generally “stodge” – sausages, cream potatoes, and cheese. Tonight Hayley cooked up in our little kitchen local Savoy sausages called “diots” cooked with onions and white wine served with “croziflette”, which is a local small pasta cooked in local Tonne cheese and cream and grilled to within an inch of its life. Amazing how the pans are juggled to produce this kind of stuff. Once on the table, it’s served with a local chilled Savoy rose wine. A truly delicious diner.

Hayley prefers to do most of the dinners from scratch, she gets the local recipes from the internet, finds the stuff and cooks it all up in this, our little kitchen. Now with gas!

Magic happens in this kitchen

A delicious end to the day, in fact to our four days in Thones as tomorrow we are moving on again.