Everyone needs a hobby

Thursday is market day here in Chinon and it has been causing us some angst. The car has been in a garage right in the middle of the market area. In a panic, yesterday, it was was retrieved and parked alongside the river, just to make sure it wasn’t held captive today. We needn’t have worried the stall holders had left an escape route, although we were relieved we didn’t have to inch the car past market stalls and through crowds of shoppers.

Chinon is home to a large and busy market, selling everything from truffles to mattresses. We succumbed to the charms of an artisan cheese producer, neither of us thought to check the price of an eye-wateringly expensive lump of fermented milk. To be fair, we did taste it and it is very nice.

We said goodbye to the apartment, and Benoit, the owner before starting on our final adventure of the break – a visit to the Musee du Maurice Dufresne at Moulin de Marnay on the outskirts of Azay le Rideau.

Maurice was a character, from a young age he kept things that were made redundant by more modern offerings. He created a very successful scrap metal and demolition business and, today, the company has one of the largest reclamation sites in France.

His dream was to open a museum to house all his ‘treasures’ – junk to most people. He achieved this by buying and renovating an abandoned paper mill. Today it houses over 3000 exhibits ranging from vintage tools and weapons to various vehicles and even an original prototype bi-plane similar to the one Bleriot used to cross the Atlantic. It is an amazing and unassuming collection. It is also truly startling what you can achieve from nothing if you never throw anything away. He restored the original water driven turbine that drove the paper mill machinery and it’s a working centre piece to the museum.

Early (USA 1927) cement mixer used in construction of the Maginot Line
Copper Sulphate and lime (known as Bordeaux mixture) sprayer mounted on a mule, used to spray vines to control downey mildew

Maurice also, very cleverly, designed the interior of the mill to ensure you have to walk every metre of its 1km halls of exhibits! We think he taught IKEA their art of selling. It’s probably just as well he never met Joan of Arc, goodness knows what they’d have achieved together.

Our last night is in St Malo, before our ferry home tomorrow morning. We enjoyed a seaside walk along the Plage after dinner rather than the planned cycle ride, because John’s bike has a puncture and he can’t be bothered to fix it. And, no, the puncture has nothing to do with Kim! And, also no, we don’t want to live here.

One thought on “Everyone needs a hobby”

  1. Loved the idea of being captive to a market. Centuries ago when we towed the caravan to Provence each year (it was left in hivernage in the north from one year to the next), we were awakened one day by great noise…….we’d parked overnight in a square as we were en route and the market was being set up around us! How we laughed in retrospect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Safest journey home.


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