I have been looking out for a second-hand garden roller for a little while. My lawn needs some repair work, and a roller will be one of the tools needed. So when I saw an ad in the paper I made a quick phone call and decided to buy it.
It was just under an hour away, and I wouldn't normally drive so far for a small purchase, but it was just up the road from a watchtower that gives spectacular views over the local countryside. I have also been wanting to visit that for a while, so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.
I arrived at the couple's house, did the transaction, and they invited me in for a drink. I don't like to drink before a long drive so we settled on coffee. I sat down in their kitchen and we started to natter. It turns out that their son is an English teacher in Mayenne, who lived a year in Egham, a stone's throw from where I used to live.
It struck me that I had heard and read about Mayennaise people being reserved, even suspicious of strangers. A local French book on the area reports brightly that "you can be accepted as a local in only two generations". But my experience is almost universally of friendly people who are happy to invite you into their homes, have a meal with you, and generally be accepting and pleasant to deal with.
The only thing that seems to upset them about English people (and my coffee hosts were no exception) is those of us who don't try to learn French.
After the chat and coffee, I went on my way to the watchtower. Not a success on the face of it, the day was too misty with low cloud. But it showed me that the place is worth a re-visit when sunny, and this I will do, another day.
I am sure you could see lots of countryside from the tower, if it were sunny :)