Le Mans 2015 - Ayse's Story
Page 4 - Tuesday 9th June
Sunshine, La Chartre sur le Loir and We Have the Powers!
Once again, despite the fact that there was no time pressure at all, I found myself waking up early, although I did eventually manage to sleep on until 8 am, there being no point in getting up before then. I then wrestled with the hotel's recalcitrant wifi for a while before I sought out the manager and got him to reboot his router, after which all was well and I was able to catch up with the gossip on Ten Tenths.
James surfaced around his usual stirring hour of 10 am and we made our first visit in 2015 up the road for breakfast at the Bar Havane. The bar had changed hands and Madame was no longer there however the new staff would soon become used to our breakfasting ways!
After enjoying super-strong coffee and pastries we decided to take a run down the road to Auchan where we again looked for folding camping chairs, but this was just a recce and no purchases were made. But we had the bit between our teeth now and a visit to GoSport on the nearby shopping 'estate' saw us pick up a couple of very good chairs in which we could no doubt try to avoid falling asleep during the race in the early hours of Sunday morning!
We had given some thought already to what we might do with the rest of the day, bearing in mind that Tony and Tim were due to arrive later that afternoon. We saw no reason to go to the circuit as there wasn't anything in particular to see today and we would have plenty of time during the rest of the week to look around the stalls and so on. As neither us had been there for a few years (for me, many years ago with the Tourists), we decided to take a trip out to La Chartre sur le Loir, down to the south east of Le Mans. This was the place of course where John Wyer had set up his racing base for many years for his Aston Martin, Ford and finally Porsche teams at the famous Hotel de France.
After a brief 'watering stop' at a lay-by alongside a very picturesque poppy field and a short detour to enable me to show James the Hotel Le Cheval Blanc at Le Grand Lucé, my Le Mans resting place for many years when I travelled with the Tourists, we arrived at La Chartre around 2 pm. We managed to park up in the square by the Hotel de France but as time was getting on we assumed that we had probably missed lunch, so instead we took a walk around the very pretty town. It didn't take us long to realise that the town was effectively 'closed' on a Tuesday afternoon, but we enjoyed the stroll in the afternoon sunshine nevertheless.
By the time we returned to the car it was after 3 pm and as we would be eating later with Tony and Tim, having found the one solitary convenience store that was open in La Chartre we bought some sandwiches and then stopped out in the countryside to eat them. They turned out to be dreadfully stale and dry and somehow it seemed quite wrong to be eating stale ham sandwiches with processed bread in such a lovely part of France.... Still, poor as the fare was, it would keep us ticking over until later.
We meandered our way back to Le Mans, and I really do mean that - we drove for miles off the beaten track, much of the time wondering where on earth we were going with James' satnav constantly demanding that we turn back to return to La Chartre. We persevered with a number of detours, the best of which saw us directed down a road which had clearly been closed and blocked since James' maps had last been updated and in navigating our way out we found ourselves in the middle of what appeared to be a military base or training ground with armoured vehicles dotted around the place! We were both expecting to be pulled over and arrested as spies or terrorists at any moment....We eventually made good our escape and arrived back at the hotel around 4.30, none the worse for wear for our escapade.
By this time I had received a text from Tony to say that the Powers should be at the hotel by about 5.20 and sure enough 'Brera Rabbit' soon pulled up in the car park, just a few minutes earlier than predicted. Tony and Tim were able to get into their rooms straight away and get unpacked and then chill for a while before it was time to head out for food.
Our dinner destination was of course Del Arte again and I indulged in Pizza Marocco, the sequel. As usual, we were finished and back at the hotel by a thoroughly sensible time, which was good for Tony and Tim who had spent a long time in the car over the last two days!