Brunel Group Trip to La Bossardais
Early on 29 June ten members of Brunel TRs met at Poole for the daytime crossing to Cherbourg. The group were travelling in 2 TR6s, 1 TR4A, and 2 TR4s, (although one of the latter was cleverly disguised as a Ford Fiesta). After an uneventful voyage the group was met at Cherbourg by Eric Batty, who, in his modern Dacia, led us to his cottage in the hamlet of La Bossardais. Of the 190 mile journey south, 170 miles were on a 2 lane motorway in patchy drizzle and maintaining a convoy proved difficult. Happily the last 20 miles were on almost deserted well surfaced back roads and the weather improved. On arrival we were greeted by Eric's wife Jean and, after a brief tour of the property and an inspection of our hosts' TR3A, sleeping quarters were allocated and all twelve seated themselves around the large dining table for a welcome meal and a chat about the day's events.
La Bossardais is a rural hamlet about 3 miles from the nearest village and about 10 miles from the town of Chateaubiant which was visited on the following day. This has a magnificent chateau at its centre forming part of a large semi-ruined castle. Unfortunately the pretty town with its plethora of small shops is suffering from the effects of a huge out of town retail park which has obviously sucked the trade from the town. The area is off the beaten track for tourists which meant that the roads and villages were very quiet and ideal for touring in our TRs. One source of puzzlement was the lack of people, or even dogs and cats, the villages seemed to be deserted!
The next few days were occupied by visiting various places of interest, including the lovely walled town of Guerande, where someone's incontinent TR left an embarrassing oil stain on the cobbled town square, the coastal towns of La Roche Bernard and La Baule, and Guemene-Penfao. This latter town was revisited on the Sunday to take part in a car show. There was no entry fee and the drivers each received a voucher for a free lunch! Much interest was shown in the only British cars on show and the Brunel banner was proudly displayed. Our attendance at this show had been arranged by good friends of Eric and Jean who invited us to tea in their lovely garden and showed us their Daimler SP250 (Dart) in its immaculate garage.
Our stay at La Bossardais was punctuated by splendid meals, great camaraderie, persistent visits by a strange cat, plus a marathon repair of the washing machine! Despite arriving in France only 6 days after 'Brexit', we were warmly welcomed everywhere we went and our TRs were always a source of interest. There were no breakdowns although one didn't travel too closely behind the TR which was running on 10% diesel owing to a refuelling error (in the UK), and the few other 'Shortcomings' discovered on the trip were judged to be safe to leave until back home.
The return journey to Cherbourg was made in good weather, one car returning on the Wednesday overnight boat, the remainder returning on the Thursday late afternoon service.
The group must thank Eric and Jean for their generous hospitality and for making this Brunel expedition to the land of 'Johnny Foreigner' a great success.