Bailey Owners’ Caravan Club

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Bailey Owners’ Caravan Club 2017-02-27T10:06:56+00:00

A rallying cry

Planning a rally is no mean feat – there are campsites, ferries and excursions to arrange, often for up to 50 people. This year Alan Rogers lent a helping hand to the Bailey Owners’ Caravan Club, who organised a four week rally in France to celebrate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.We invite Les Payne to give us the details.

June 1st – 28th

Normandy

This stage of the rally was a time to reminisce and remember the sacrifices made by all the young men on the beaches of Normandy. It was a very emotional time with visits to the beaches, graves, memorials and many excellent museums. Our site, Camping Château Martragny, was as expected, taken over for the occasion by army vehicles and military uniforms. Our group was allocated a rally field which allowed us to have fun with themed soirees, 40s quizzes and socialising.

Bailey Owners Caravan Club Land Girls Polaroid

We were joined by the site owner and his family for our 40s night, where lots of us dressed up in the style of period. We did seem to attract a lot of Land Girls, who draped themselves elegantly over the bonnet of an army jeep (with the owner’s kind permission). Our special guest for this occasion was a 96 year old veteran and his wife who were staying on site in their caravan, which they had towed from the Netherlands.

On the evening of June 5 we, together with the population of Normandy, drove towards the beaches in search of a good vantage point from which to view the firework display. This took place along the 80 km stretch of coastline and featured a co-ordinated display from each of the landing beaches, an experience that was worth the struggle with the traffic jams.

June 6 started very early with many of the vintage military vehicles moving off to their various locations. Predictably, security was very tight due to the number of dignitaries in the area, but even so some of us did manage to obtain vehicle passes that allowed us road access to view the celebrations live. Others organised themselves around a television screen to watch the proceedings; either way it was no small honour to be there.

Loire Valley

The following two weeks were spent at L’Isle Verte campsite in Montsoreau, in the beautiful Loire Valley. The area is famous for its Chateaux, its fine wines and its unique troglodyte cave dwellings.

The campsite owner made us very welcome and did his best to ensure we saw as much of the area as possible, even arranging a private visit to one of cave dwellings. Now a beautiful home, it is for sale and will no doubt keep its buyer fit tending the vegetable garden on the roof. There were also numerous wine tastings, and I suspect many caravans came home a bit closer to the ground!

We were also introduced to the game of Boule de Fort, a very interesting type of petanque that is only found in the local area and is played on what can only be described as the inside of a ship’s hull. Inspired by this game, a petanque contest was arranged between the Bailey Owners’ Club and the Lunar Owners’ Club who were also holding a rally at this site. After some intense competition, the Bailey members proved too strong for the Lunar owners and delivered all four semifinalists.
After the final had been played the whole group enjoyed a barbecue and sampled the local wine in abundance.

Our stay presented us with the opportunity to attend a performance at the Cadre Noir, The National Riding School in Saumur. During the year a limited number of gala performances are given by the horsemen and their horses for the public.
We went to The Dance Show, a new concept with a magical combination of dance and classical riding – a really fascinating dialogue between dancers and horses.

Bailey Owners Caravan Club Kayaking Polaroid

Being alongside the Loire, we also made good use of the river. No fewer than 16 brave souls took the opportunity to paddle down the Vienne and into the Loire in kayaks, supported by their nearest and dearest along the whole route. Others in the rally group assembled at the finish to welcome our intrepid paddlers home and encourage them into the nearest bar for a celebratory drink.

We also participated in a lunchtime barbecue cooked on board a river boat. We tucked into a feast of mushrooms packed with different fillings and washed it all down with copious amounts of wine. Needless to say a great time was had by all and L’Isle Verte is definitely a site we will be revisiting!

Brittany

The final week was spent at Domaine du Logis. This was a much more relaxed week, and once again the managers of the site made sure we were well looked after. On arrival we were enthusiastically introduced to Kir Bretange, the local drink based on Cassis and Brittany Cidre.

Miguel from the site arranged a day out for the group which included a cruise on the reservoir formed by the Barrage, a seafood lunch in Cancale, a train ride out to the oyster and mussel beds and, on the return journey, a visit to and superb tasting at a traditional cidre farm.

The whole group would like to express our special thanks to Alan Rogers for their smooth booking service, and all three sites’ management teams for making sure we had a pleasant stay.

Bailey Owners Caravan Club Wine Tasting Polaroid