This morning we thought we’d head to the nearby village of Flesquieres, which had been a key position during the Cambrai tank battle. We understood that there’d been a photographic exhibition in the village church the previous day and hoped it would still be there.
We arrived in time to meet a local enthusiast on the subject, just as he was beginning to put his exhibition away, but he kindly let us see the photos, and we had a good chat in our best Franglais. Whilst there, someone else whose great uncle had died during the battle arrived and so he joined in too.
After this we set off with the practicalities of topping up with LPG, emptying the loo, and getting some fresh water. The gas was easy and came to approx €8, the cost for all our heating, water heating, cooking, and fridge for the last 8 days. Very good value I’d say, as we’ve not skimped on keeping ourselves cosy.
Whilst I wouldn’t ordinarily go into too much detail about emptying a cassette toilet, a brief account of today’s episode is probably worth mentioning for the benefit of motorhomers. The town of Cambrai kindly opened up their unmanned little campsite for free, including all water and electricity, during this week when they expected more visitors. Whilst we’d preferred our Marcoing base, we’d already taken advantage of the free water on arrival to the town, and on departure we planned to top up with some more, as well as sort out the cassette.
I’m not very familiar with campsite facilities, and can only describe the emptying point as looking like a giant shower cubicle, with the floor sloping down to a central hole. A hose was also present for obvious reasons. All was going well until I realised that everything wasn’t disappearing into the hole as it should and that the water level was in fact rising. I reckoned that a few strategically aimed bursts from the high power hose would do the trick, so carefully positioning myself so as to minimise the risk of any unpleasant splash back, I proceeded with the job in hand. Still nothing shifted, and all the time the water level kept rising. Think back to that shower cubicle image – not a nice thought at all. Realising that there was nothing more to be done I could only leave it. On returning to the motorhome I wondered why green fluid was running on the ground under the motorhome. I then noticed that there was a drain overflowing with the liquid that I’d put down the emptying point just before. Seeing as this was running all over the fresh water hose, we thought we’d give that a miss this time and promptly left.
After our swift departure from Cambrai we headed in a South-Westerly direction to pass through the towns of Caudry and Le Cateau, the area where the famous Le Cateau battle took place early in WW1, and where my great uncle was present in 1914.
Uncle Emile also mentioned in a 1976 interview that he’d been to the village of Ors, which was just a little further down the road, so we passed through there too.
Our objective for the night was a little aire next to the canal at Landrecies. It was nice and quiet, and we had the place to ourselves.