Always wondered how we'd go with a threesome. No. I'm lying. But there are three of us now, winging our way down southish in France. We picked up a passenger. Jane. At Leclerc Supermarche.
She's proved useful & paid her way already. I've handed the reins over to Jane & Al's happily acquiesced to her guidance. He doesn't question her directions; doesn't swear at her. Well, he ignored her wise counsel once but ended up listening to her once I'd insisted that we weren't going on toll roads or motorways.
I didn't quite trust her at first. Had my Michelin spread queasily on my knee, as usual. I followed the map as long as possible. That is until Jane & Al conspired. 'Go across the roundabout and take the third exit on your right' she said in her clipped English voice. I was no longer able to find the place names on my map. Had Jane dropped out for some reason we'd have been farqued. Al says not. Says he'd have driven to the next village & asked directions.
But Jane was wonderful. I dropped my shoulders & watched the luscious French countryside go by. Al swung the van down tiny lanes that we'd never have found without our savvy passenger.
She led us past a magnificent chateau - de Courgeres, I think. Only eight other people there enjoying the perch in the moat & the classical gardens. Jane led us there through the back of a church. Thought she was leading us up a one way street but we have to trust.
Had lunch in a restaurant strictly used by local people. A bell announced our arrival & every - every! - diner turned to unabashedly stare at us. We were seated, opposite each other, in the middle of a table for ten, who all stared & wondered.
Then the young waitress insisted on speaking to us in perfect English. 'Il faut practiquer - you have to practise,' she said. Not sure if I've conjugated that French subjunctive correctly. Turned out she'd lived and worked in Sheffield, UK.
We had four courses for 10 euro each. Wasn't photo-worthy but good enough fare, especially the cheese. And it came with a choice of red wine or cider. I went with the red and a litre bottle of table wine was plonked in front of us. We could have as much as we wanted. Same with the cheese.
The other thing about Jane is she doesn't mind being popped into the glove box while we're doing our tourist thing.
She may be just a voice in a box, but Al & I have talked freely to her all day; chided her when a lane's been too narrow; congratulated her for taking us around busy Le Mans so we didn't even notice its existence.
She got us successfully to this municipal camping in Sable sur Sarthes. It's a bit windy, but that's really not Jane's fault.
And to those of you who are sat nav/GPS savvy, apologies. As I've said before, I'm easily entertained.
And thanks to the Kiwis we met in Beaune for planting the idea. Think we'll be enjoying the roads even less travelled for the next three weeks.