30th November 2010 – Dover to Le Treport

30 11 2010

After a tiring day yesterday we were up with the alarm at 6am with time to have a cup of tea, give Jack a walk and get to the port ready for our 7.30am sailing across the channel. We got there just in time for the 7am latest check in and didn’t have to wait at all, being ushered straight onto the ship as soon as we got to our lane. The crossing was smooth and as we neared the coast of France the view was pretty much the same as when we had left England, misty, dank and white. It appeared as though there was more snow over on the continent than we had experienced in Dover but later news confirmed that we had left at the right time, missing the worst of the British weather.

We were straight on to our first destination of Le Treport, a middle sized town right on the coast. We selected this place as we had visited last year after our fun at Ault just up the road, it was a busier aire and it had both water and electricity. One thing had changed this year however, an  €8.60 charge per night had been introduced. We decided to have a nose at two other aires close by before settling down and the first was at Mers-Les-Bains, just around the corner. This one was less attractive, had no electric and appeared to have a few caravans on it, something that is actually not allowed. The second aire we went to look at was also in Le Treport but the sat-nav tried to take us up a narrow and steep road so we didn’t bother, electing to simply return to our original choice (N50°03.396′ E001°23.215) and pay the Euros. Feeling is that we will have a few nights here and see what happens weather wise. The snow seems to be heading our way from the UK!



The day before…….

30 11 2010

What a hectic day we have had, not to mention stressful!

We had aimed to get away on the journey to Dover at around the 3pm mark, we had shopping to do, presents to post, money to change, toilet fluids to get, LPG to fill up and clothes to collect. A fair few little jobs but we didn’t expect the unexpected. The first few jobs went ok, the shopping was fine though we spent more than we wanted on tea bags, tinned fish, pasta and the like, stocking up on essentials. I then had to go and get some flea treatment for Jack at the pet shop. I walked in an asked for what i wanted only to be told by the assistant in the shop that she couldn’t sell it to me as she ‘wasn’t qualified’ so I had to wait for the ‘qualified to sell’ assistant to come back. Half an hour I waited, talking rubbish and generally getting quite annoyed. When the ‘allowed to sell’ assistant arrived she asked me if ihad used the treatment before and if the dog had had it before…………that’s it! Apparently that qualifies her to sell it over her colleagues……surreal.

That done, a quick cup of tea at Lornas parents and we were off to Albrighton to stock up on toilet chemicals. The job in between was to fill up our gas bottles with LPG which should have been quick and easy but, as always with our gas bottles there was a problem! They filled up ok but I noticed that there was a leak from the top of the main bottle. I was annoyed, very annoyed as virtually the entire system has been replaced over the last 6 months. A quick phonecall to Dave Newell in Telford and we were on our way to get it sorted. Turns out that one of the nuts had cracked and wasn’t tightening properly, luckily dave had one in and it was soon replaced and all sorted…………again! Next to Albrighton to get the toilet chemicals, on the way mywindscreen washers froze up so once the chemicals were bought I went to the garage next door and bought some screenwash. To get it into the filler bottle I used the light on my mobile phone so I could see what I was doing. Job done I closed the bonnet and off we set.

After about 15 minutes driving I heard a bit of a bang and soon realised that I hadd forgotten to remove my phone from the engine compartment and that it was currently happily bouncing it’s way along the A41 at 40mph. So, now I have no phone and I leave the country tomorrow at 7.30am…………arse!

Clothes collected from Moms and we finally started on our last journey of the day down to Dover. It was 5.30pm, over two hours later than we had planned to leave, it was cold and dark and a stop was required on the M40 to clean the windscreen and unfreeze the washer nozzles. About 50 miles away from Dover the snow came and we were reduced to 30mph in poor visibility. Eventually we arrived at 10.20pm and put the kettle on!

Still a bit annoyed about the phone situation and i’m not entirely sure what i am going to do about it, maybe buy a French one with cheap international calls and make do with that for the next month or so, then a Portuguese one etc etc. I might end up with more numbers and phones than I need!

Preparing to go again.

27 11 2010

It’s been a while since my last blog post and during the time I have been ‘away’ from my blog we have both been hard at work on the Riverside caravan and touring park in Stratford Upon Avon, Lorna working in the office taking bookings, checking the hire caravans prior to occupation and dealing with guests whilst I have been doing a bit of that as well as pitching caravans, cutting grass, litter picking and toward the end of the season, driving a tractor as well.

Frosty Morn
Riverside Park – My Summer workplace

There has been more going on than just that though. On one of the busiest days of the season Lorna had a nasty 6″ ‘fall” off a caravan step and unfortunately broke her ankle in two places as well as dislocating it. Paramedics were called and off to hospital she went where she waited for a week before the ankle was operated on, a long metal plate was screwed to one of the broken bones and the other had two screws put in it to hold it all together. She was then sent away in plaster which she had on for six weeks and subsequently started a course of physiotherapy to get her walking again.

She’s getting there.

The thing about working on a touring park is that you meet lots of people who do a similar thing to us, ie. travel about a bit, be  it in the UK or on the continent. You also see some strange sights and some very different forms of living accommodation, from 39’ American RV’s, converted vans, strange camper vans, some amazing VW’s and the occasional bus! This one had been completely converted and had room for a small Fiat 500 on the ground floor which was winched in through a door in the side.

Harold the converted Bus
‘Harold’ the converted bus with it’s proud owners

We have had to spend a fair amount of money on the motorhome in the time we have been back in the UK, first off the insurance excess to get the repairs on the wing done following my little argument with a post in France, then a new starter battery which was essential as the motorhome wouldn’t start following the repairs. The LPG filler connection has been moved inside the gas bottle locker and all of the high pressure hoses replaced so we now have a tight gas system with no leaks, hurrah! The motorhome passed the MOT first time but the list of recommendations meant more money for repairs, some of which I have to say were fairly pointless like replacing the front springs because they were showing signs of corrosion. On inspection they didn’t look bad at all with just a bit of surface rust so I’m a little suspicious of these MOT recommendations! Other costs included an Oyster automatic satellite system and awning nets, both comfort items but well worth the money on both counts. Also we finally removed the microwave as we just didn’t use it and refitted the interior carpets which makes it much more comfortable to live in. Then the boilers combustion fan broke so that had to be replaced.

All of that done the motorhome was now ready to go, it just had to wait for us but finally, weather permitting we will be off on Tuesday. Plan is similar to last year, Calais, turn right and head south. We want to look around Brittany as we missed it last trip and then head straight down the middle of France, coast through Northern Spain and into Portugal where we intend to look at the West coast before hitting the Algarve where we will relax for a good while before heading back mid March to restart work in April.

The blog will be updated when possible in line with how it was done last trip and hopefully there will be more photographs this time.

In my time at the park I have managed to get to a couple of Flickr meets, the first in Telford which was a bit of an excuse for a meet up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while and then in Ludlow which, due to poor light we ended up going to a few pubs in the town, a great way to spend an afternoon and I even managed to get some photographs, something which I had not had much chance to do over the Summer

Sunlight – Taken on the Shropshire Community Flickr meet at Granville Park.

Bench – Taken on the Shropshire Community Flickr meet in Ludlow

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