1309-1315: Plopping Back In The Peloponnese

1308-1309:  Delighted to be back in the Plops

Friday 4th cont. – Saturday 5th October 2019

We did not disembark until nearly 6.00 pm on Friday and getting too late to drive far.  We only drove 20 mins (after a slight detour and poor navigation – K) to get fuel to N of Patras.  Driving through Patras we were reminded about the double, and occasional triple, parking, Service stations where the attendant fills up for you as standard.  Some remembered shop brands.  All feeling warmly comfortable.

I’d had a slow cooker chicken and Remoska braised fennel on the go on board, using that ‘free’ electricity, so we ate with Jenni and David.

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Camping on Board – view from our hab door.  The route hugs the Italian, then Albanian coasts, past Corfu, docking at Igoumenitsa, before wending its way between mainland Greece and islands.  Under cover was good, as it did rain in the night.

IMG 3632A stoney beach, but great views across to the Rio Antirrio bridge; this , a ferry and across the Corinth canal are the two connection points for the Peloponnese and the mainland.

On Saturday we had a leisurely start and then went wine sniffing!  I know, most people go wine tasting, but we are on Go Sober for October.    

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 Achaia Clauss winery, we enjoyed the tour even though we’d done it before.  Same tour guide.  The winery is the second oldest business in Greece, A bank, this winery and then a chocolate manufacturer!  Some very old valuable carved barrels.  Originally they were made from Russian wood, now wood comes from France.  Jenni and I were caught by a worker with our heads through the window of the more modern production rooms, inhaling the fumes.  James and I couldn’t sample now but we bought a case of Mavro Daphne, a 15% fortified wine that is good with Christmas pudding (sister Clare recognised it as a recommendation by Jilly Goolden) and for cooking … and of course, drinking … but next month!!

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Achaia Clauss.

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And a baby resident bat.

 Jenni and David headed east and we went south to Elea/Elia – so many Greek spellings before you even start on the Greek alphabet.

1310:  El-aundry

Sunday 6th October 

We had stayed at Elea before and knew of a tap, that is not on the map, so not too busy around there.  We hogged the tap and once I finally got out of bed … (that 10cm memory foam topper is truly comfy!), we got down to jobs.  A blind fix, laundry, a bit of admin and an Oscar prune … he struggles with the heat.  

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And some dog walks.

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Before  … shaggy and hot …

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 … cool, slim Jim

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Our peace was disturbed by a trials bike churning up the sand dunes for a little while, but it returned with a lovely sunset.

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1311:  Gotta Gia-lova Lagoon

Monday 7th October 

We stayed at another favourite site … Gialova Lagoon.  A stunning location.  Great walk up to the castle and sitting on the beach with my knitting until the rain started.

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The Maps.Me image shows the lagoon, horseshoe bay and protected harbour.

1312-13:  Nothing Naf in Nafplio

Tuesday 8th – Wednesday 9th October 

We headed across to Nafplio – another re-visit.  Jenni and David met up with us there and cooked us supper.  The second night we ate out … We’d not planned to stay two nights, but a smart town to wander around, good company and sunshine  … and inertia set in.  And my first sloooow run in months!  

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A grey day when we arrived, but the sun came out in force on day 2.  This cruise ship behind us kept its engines running till it thankfully buggered off about 10.00 p.m.

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The fort island and dredging.  

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4th attempt by the waiter to take a shot of us without camera shake … we’ve come across this before where younger than us don’t know how to use a camera … as against a phone!  Please note J is on 0% beer and I’m on water!  


1314: A Non-acquisition in Acorinth

Thursday 10th October 

We headed off to Corinth, leaving Jenni and David with more inertia in Nafplio.  Destination – the vet that did Corrie’s blood tests, neutering and Pet Passport etc when we found her up the hill at Acorinth Feb 2018.  Oscar was due a Kenel Cough vaccination.  Our normal vet was operating – through an open doorway, but waved.  The young vet remembered us and even Corrie’s name!  Vaccination done, general health inspection and a new passport for O, as we’ve run out of vaccination pages … total bill EUR35.  Later that evening, I realised that it seems Corrie had never had a KC and Oscar was due a Lepto and the triple 3 yearly vaccinations.  Quick email to our Farnham vet to have this confirmed.  

We headed up to Acorinth, the ancient fortress to over night, which is exactly where we found Corrie.  She seemed to not have any recollection and no-one came banging on our door claiming we’d stolen their dog!  However, we did not expect to find one of her relatives up there all alone.  A tiny pup, with some physical similarities to our Corrie.  Too skinny and wet from the recent downpour.  Other visitors to the site were feeding and making a big fuss of her.  CO2, surprisingly seemed to not be very interested in her …  James kept making puppy dog eyes at  me.  My Mum suggested James go and put his head in a bucket of water!  2 dogs in a van is ENOUGH!  On top of which, a hard Brexit would make getting all the jabs, tests and paperwork done impossible, especially given her young age.  James saw her the next morning, fortunately I didn’t, so I was not put in the position of making the decision to leave her behind.

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1315:  Busy Busy Busy

Friday 11th October 

An ancient site, vet, motorhome repair, lunch and a ferry.  Surely that’s far too much activity for folk that are supposed to be oozing their way around?

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So we actually made it inside the the fortress this time.

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Looking back down to the parking.

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After a bit of a climb up part of the fortress (not much standing other than walls, but you really get a sense of the size of the place) and coffee, we headed back down to Corinth to the vet.  Both had their jabs and the vet asked how old Oscar was.  Nearly 6 … “OK we check his prostate”.  So poor lamb had a finger up his bum and when the vet squeezed, I had to watch Oscar’s face for any signs of pain.  Relieved I didn’t have to do this for James’ prostate examinations!  EUR40 for all the injections – so much cheaper than home.   The vet called us ‘nice people’ … I think he really meant soft!  We told him we had been tempted to bring him another stray … he was pleased we hadn’t for our sakes, I think, and said about how many un-homed dogs there are.

Our kitchen tap had sprung a leak along the arm and was still leaking despite the application of glue.  Given how long we plan to be away this trip, we headed off to the motorhome repair place who fitted the rear air suspension early April 2018.  The mechanic found an Adria tap at EUR110, before labour.  We gasped and would have put up with the leak, but he found one at EUR55 plus 20 for labour.  Still more expensive that we’d expected … but ho hum.  It would have been “a lot more money’ had I paid by card and asked for a receipt.  I watched the owner fold the notes into his top pocket.  

We dropped down to a beach location just past all the oil refineries and petrochemical smells … lunch right by the beach.  It would have been a great place to sleep, but I rang Anek ferries.  Yes, they could move our crossing forward from tomorrow to tonight.  Yay … we’re off to Crete.

J rested and I dog walked and knitted in the sun until it was time to set off.  A quick stop at the entrance to the port to swap our paper tickets over and then straight onto the ferry.   At reception our cabin was assigned and a pale blue and white stripe waist coated porter took us to our cabin – it was ready despite being 2.5 hours before the ferry was due to leave.  No camping on board in Greece … Lin told me the Greek government likes the revenue of additional cabin sales.  

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Not pooping on the poop deck … crossed legs for Corrie.

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CO2 are NOT allowed on the beds or chairs in Jez … but they hopped up pretty pronto.  Not sure where I was supposed to sleep!  Curled up around them … 

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The cabin newspaper had 3 pages all about Brexit and a double page spread about BoJo.  would have loved to have been able to read it and see what their take on it is … although given the conversations we’ve had with all nationalities, it is not good.  This is the first time we’ve been away since the referendum where people are asking us what on earth is going on.  As if we have any idea either!  


 

1300-1308: Greece and East – Heading Off

1300-1308:  And We’re Off!

Thursday 26th  September – Friday 4th October 2019

We finished loading Jez on Wednesday and struck off for the Tunnel for our 0123 hrs crossing.  We parked up planning to eat nearby.  However … the mackerel I’d bought had not been gutted.  Not feeling like tackling the fish, I lobbed it in the bin.  Now. I am usually the one that snaffles any left overs for soup.  But in my defence, my Lud, I was tired.  It was late.  I would had to gut them outside – in the rain.  And I’d already had to give Corrie a washing up bowl bath as she’d rolled in poop. Lots of it.  We ended up in a very nice country pub chatting to locals.  Ho hum.

Tunnel all fine with no delays.  Perhaps something to do with being the small hours, but straight through.  And onto Bergues aire, which we’ve used number of times before.  Good for walking CO2.  

We followed a route down to Ancona suggested by our friends Lin and Bo, who’ve been coming this way for decades.  It was pretty much all free motorway, and straight A roads, other than the Heavy Goods Pass for Switzerland EUR32.50 and then we paid on the Italian motorways … £31.  We tried to bring the crossing forward from October the 8th, but the earliest we could be accommodated for camping on board was the 3rd.  We had plenty of time to ooze our way down with not very long driving days.

I’ve started plotting our sleep spots with coordinates on PolarSteps/Katherine Clune … download the app and search for it…. 

 

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By a fishing lake in France, all the locals were very friendly and one in excellent English told me where to walk CO2.
 

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Italy or Switzerland?  Actually a small Italian enclave in Switzerland.  Only 0.6msq.  A mix of administration:  vehicles and currency Swiss, but Police Italian.  A fantastic spot right on Lake Lugano.  The car park was free and had been for a now bankrupt casino … apparently it had been the largest in Europe, but looked more like a power station.

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Apperatif in the little town of Camplione.

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We stayed one night at a campertstop with full services in Parma EUR20.  A EUR2 per person and per dog all day bus ticket into town.  Fortunately I’d been warned that CO2 may have to wear muzzles, and we were allowed on with 2 dogs, although the official line is 1 per bus.  A great wander around the town and we even spotted the restaurant we’d eaten in with Maddy about 9 years ago.  Unfortunately it was shut on a Monday, or we’d have revisited.  Instead we visited a couple of bars … had a good chat with an Aussie couple, who refuse to drive in Europe so travel by train :(.  Then bumped into another Aussie couple from the Camper Stop … more wine and supper together.  A good evening.

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A rather bemused member of staff looking at me re-enacting my falling asleep on the steps of the Basilica from 9 years ago.  Pix duly sent to Maddy.

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Not allowed to sleep long… face licking time!

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Overnight stop just S of Ravenna.  Lovely sandy beach for walking CO2 … and actually very warm so the shorts came out.  We are just starting the Go Sober for October wagon – see below!

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Not a glass of wine in sight … aperitif is now coffee!

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We spent the last night in Italy in the aire and Auchan just outside Ancona.  We’d received an email that our crossing was put back from 1.30 pm to 4.00 pm, but on arrival at the port, were advised that there was further delay … the ship didn’t actual sail until just before 8.00 pm.  A regular told me that the ship had been swapped for a faster one and we are due at Patras at about 5.00 pm  All very chilled.  Once parked dockside, I walked CO2 up into Ancona … an old city with Roman remains, tall buildings and small alleys.  Pleasant.  This above is the cathedral.

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Lions guarding the cathedral steps.

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One of the prettier squares.

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Made us chuckle, especially as it was on a Fix It Again Tomorrow! 

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Empty dock as we’re all on the ship.  We are Camping on Board, so we can live in Jez for the 21hr crossing.  I wandered around helplessly with our electric cable wondering where to plug it in.  Not needed!  A loooong pole pulls an electric cable down from the roof.  And it ain’t no 3 amp rubbish … we’ve had the Remoska and electric hob going, whilst charging anything that vaguely needed it.  Excellent showers and toilets.    We’ve been on deck just to walk CO2, but Corrie ‘saved’ herself for this morning … she really only does like going in discreet places and on grass.  Oscar, however, wants to mark anything he can cock his leg at and has no inhibitions.  


Go Sober October by James

Does anyone have their best ideas whilst sitting on the toilet?  Leopold Bloom (Ulysses) did…..  Well readers, I was thus encamped on the loo at our wilding – Lago di Lugano – when I remembered that MacMillan nurses are encouraging people to shun alcohol for the entire month of October!  I climbed back into Jez as we were leaving and unleashed the bombshell on Katherine – she didn’t bat an eyeIlidl (or an Aldi)!  Talk about St Paul throwing himself off his horse on the way to Damascus!!!  It was bad enough giving up the drink for Lent years ago…  I really must avoid toilets!!!   We are now committed – as I write we’re on day 4 – and no problems so far – no shakes or twitchessssssssss.   It’s a hugely deserving cause (and close to our hearts….   Rally round troops – and think of the widow’s mite!  We’re a mite nonplussed!  “We’re all going on an alcoholiday……

If anyone would like to donate the price of a coffee …. here’s the link.

 

We don’t normally do politics on here, but this made me chuckle:

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1260: Family, Friends and UK Trips Part 2

1260-1261:  Yorkshire with the Margaret and Shirley

Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th August 2019

So good to say goodbye to the Aged P’s knowing we will see them again soon.  They headed south and we headed a short distance NE to meet Margaret and Shirley (not forgetting Poppy and Boo. It was touch and go whether we met them … they’d had to be towed out of a muddy long grassed field and could easily have headed to home to clean up …  They were not be be persuaded to do Greece and East with us this winter .. it’ll be a while till we see them again.

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On the way we stumbled on Nidd Hall hotel, where I had my my honeymoon with (practice) husband No.1.  Should’ve known it was doomed, as we arrived and he promptly stuck the F1 on … all about priorities!

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 They’d found a stunning CL in Lingerfield, near Knaresborough.  Dog walking in the fields by the site and Shirley was tickled by Oscar’s ears and caught them in full upward motion! 

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Margaret grew up not far way and was our guide on Sunday around Knaresborough.

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Smiling after bacon rolls and amazing brownie for me.

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1262-1264:  Heading South

Monday 19th – Wednesday 21st

A CLs and a free night night on our way South towards Hereford.

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Clavering CL.  Down lots of winding narrow lanes so not for the feint hearted.  But so peaceful with the dog walking field at the back, so we stayed two nights and had an admin day.

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Then the most amazing wilding spot at Clee Hill Quary.  It was a quarry on and off since Bronze age days, had its own railway and industrial buildings are evident.   It is an amazing mound in the middle of lower rolling landscape.  https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/titterstone-clee-hill

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Radar station on top. 

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360 views all the way round, but a little windy … and another funny ear movement. 

1265-1269:  Hereford Meet

Thursday 22nd – Monday 26th August

Another wildcamping.co.uk meet with some ‘old’ and new friends.  We managed to get a riverfront pitch.

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We spent some quality time and meals with Pat and Jim, who we’d shared our Orkney adventures with.  We went to the Bulmer’s cider factory … they expanded and then over extended and much of where the factory was is now a Sainsburys.

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Generous tastings at the end.

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We attempted a sculpture bike ride around Hereford, but there were so many twists and turns, we aborted and had lunch in the pub!  This statue was erected by someone who survived one of the plagues, don’t know what the benefactor would have made of it being in the middle of a roundabout.

We also watched England thrashing Ireland at Twickenham in a pub … pure magic!!!  Says I!!!  And I did some knitting and chatting with the ladies.  I had an eye check up … contact lens in left eye to avoid reading glasses, working well, so I ordered a year’s supply.  And the sun came out … I think my shorts made it out for about an hour before I got chilly.

1270-1273:  Back Home and Multi-Medicals

Thursday 22nd – Friday 20th August

En route back home, we dropped the e-bikes into the centre of Bristol for their annual check up (service) … free servicing for life from the store we purchased them.  Apparently, they’ve tightened both chains to stop them slipping.  We shall see … not been on them since.

J’s oncologist still very happy with the way his prostate treatment is going … seems she is from near Palermo, Sicily and holidays every year in Sardinia, where we’ve just been.  So good to go.

With Jez on Clare and Chris’s drive, we emptied him most thoroughly and cleaned all the interiors of cupboards, footwells etc.  Stuff stacked up in the Aged P’s garage now, as well as the shed, attic and our bedroom.  They were away again, so had no control how much stuff came over!  Jez was soon to be dropped at Bristol Caravans for his medical – MOT (first and a little early), both services, electric check and very outstanding warranty work.  We packed our bags for what we wanted whilst in our house in N Devon for two weeks.

On Friday we collected the e-bikes and had supper chez Stephen and Kay, our old neighbours … we sold that house last September.

1274-1286:  Home in Combe Martin

Saturday 30th August to 13th September

Loading our shopping bags and boxes of stuff (being van dwellers, we don’t have suitcases or holdalls!) in the the car, we left Jez and the long list of works with Bristol Caravans, Tackled the M5 south and across to Combe Martin to the house we bought last September.  We have had an amazing first season of holiday lettings …. just as well we’d booked ourselves in for the two weeks, or it would have been back to back house guests.

We managed just a few house guests of our own, Sinead and Shane Lin and Bo, Maddy and Robyn.  And a coffee and and wine fuelled evening with locals Debbie, Brian and Annette.  Annette is the sculpture talent behind Cornish Creatures … mostly seagulls and puffins with attitude … check them out here …https://www.facebook.com/rockyandcliff  but she’s just started branching out into more serious works.  I’m lusting after her nose to nose at the finish line racing greyhounds in bronze.

We managed to better our 2nd from last score at the pub quiz, by coming last!  Our team name was Brain Fog!

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It felt like slipping on a comfy dressing gown being back in the house.  Corrie settled right back in under the TV.

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The new Cool Garden at RHS Rosemoor … I went twice … with Maddy and then James.  Making the most of my membership card for this last year. 

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I’m fascinated but the rhythm of the glass blowing process at Dartington.  And being a resident with an EX postcode, I and a guest get in free.

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Lots of beach walks … this is Hebdon Mouth.

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And Saunton Sands.

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A favorite – Woolacombe.

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And our own Newberry’s Beach in Combe Martin which is dog friendly.

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And the main beach, which is NOT dog friendly until 1st October.

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Sunset over Combe Martin.  Sadly the second week saw some torrential rain … our plumber who was supposed to replace the utility room roof, ended up repairing the sky light leaks in his own motorhome!  So the roof will have to be done another time.

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Exhausted wet, but happy dogs!

Bristol Caravans managed to do the hab and engine services, the MOT and the electrical test, which had thrown up some unusual and dangerous wiring, but failed to complete a single other task.  They ran out of time, so these were outstanding:

  • Fit a fuel cut off switch
  • Clean the air suspension filters
  • Warranty work on front blind (Adria had sent the wrong one … again!)
  • Warranty work on the bubbling decals (Adria had sent some vinyl, but not the back, so they couldn’t complete this)
  • Warranty work on the hab door … Adria had not sent all the parts, so Bristol Caravans managed to source a breaker’s yard door and cannibalise some of the parts for a temporary fix.  HOWEVER, it transpires that the door and frame have warped … and we have a resulting crack in the side wall.  All the warranty work has been going on well over a year now … completely rubbish service.  Luckily for us, one of the Adria UK staff was nearby and took a look at our hab door damage and the result is that we need a full new door, door frame …. and a side wall!!!  Thankfully, after a few emails, Adria has agreed that as it is consequential damage, we will not have to pay.  But based on the service so far … it is anyone’s guess as to when and where!  Just hope the temporary fix to the door holds for this trip!
  • Oh, and whilst there we had 4 new tyres fitted.

Slightly irritated that not everything we’d asked to be done was done, we contacted Mulacott Caravans in Ilfracombe.  Yes, they could fit us in next week, so we picked up the van early on the middle Saturday and took it straight into them.  They are brilliant!

  • They fitted a battery monitor, so I now have a % charge on our lithiums on my phone (the lithiums don’t work with the on board control panel)
  • As one of the two UK approved Goldschmidt air suspension installers, they corrected the install we had done in Greece …. moved part of the system so that it was no longer 1mm from a rear tyre … dont’ know how we didn’t have a blow out …!  And protected the wiring with conduit.
  • Cleaned the lpg gas filters
  • Fitted fridge fans
  • Moved the sine wave inverter from right next to the lithiums, where its heat would not do them any good, to under the driver’s seat.
  • Re-attached some battery wiring (a bit loose from Bristol C!) and up graded some to low spec wires.
  • Installed a fuel cut off switch.
And all in a week … when it hadn’t been booked in.
If anyone fancies renting a holiday home in N Devon, do check us our first!  Tythe Barn House, Combe Martin

1287-1299:  Limbo in Ash Vale

Saturday 14th – Wednesday 25th September

We had to vacate the house by 10.00 as Clair the housekeeper had to come in and clean up after us for the next set of house guests!

 

In convoy we drove back to drop Jez to Clare and Chris’ driveway whist we installed ourselves (again) with the Aged P’s.  Stuff from attic, bedroom, shed and garage all scrutinised with regard to whether it deserved a place back in Jez.  Once almost fully loaded we took Jez to a weigh bridge … a chalk quarry, so guess what colour the footprints in the van were!  An interesting old chap did the weighing … he’d been granted French citizenship … I surprised him by asking if he was Foreign Legion.  He claimed to have been ‘attached’ to them, but saw active service in many French ‘empire’ battles, such as Chad.  Bet he had some tales.  Anyway, Jez came in at 4.2 tons, rear axle not over laden 🙂  Happy bunnies.  Really pleased we up plated last year from 4250 to 4850kgs.
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CO2 trying to be invisible at the vet sorting out their pet Health Certs, just in case …
 
We completed so much admin whilst at home … van insurances, breakdown (we now have ADAC but they only cover 4 months trips, Fiat Assist, but they only cover EU, so we also now also have RAC for Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and Starling Insurance who will cover Turkey!!!), travel / health insurance. Updated software etc etc.  We were hoping that the bumper repair (low loader damage whilst in Corsica) would be done on Friday 27th, so had put our tunnel crossing back to Tuesday 1st October.  But on hearing one part is still outstanding (Adria!), we gave up the wait and brought the crossing forward.  Had we wanted to pay an additional £94, we could have travelled the same day, but we can do much better good with that kind of money, so we crossed at 0123 hrs on Thursday 26th.  And onto our next adventure … Greece and East!

1234-1259: Family, Friends and UK Trips Part 1

1234:  Antibes and J’s Family 

Monday 22nd July 2019

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Harbourside at crack-o-dawn in Bastia, Corsica watching this car transporter be loaded quickly and driven away … by a very petite lady.

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On our crossing from Bastia to Nice, we had a cabin.  Daytime, and we couldn’t sleep all morning.  What was one supposed to do … make use of the shower for a hair dye of course!

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We know Nice pretty well, but not this from the sea view of it.

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On arrival in Nice we went straight to our usual campsite so we could meet up with three of J’s 4 children for an afternoon in the nearby park.  

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And with their kids … full house on grandchildren.

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Baseball was the main game … Corrie confused …

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…. Oscar knew exactly what to do with the balls! 

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And water pistols to play with.

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Did I mention, it was still hot!

 

1235-41:  Charente and K’s Family 

Tuesday 23rd – Monday 29th July 2019

A driving day with loads, and I mean loads of Deviations and road works.  We paid for the motorway to get west along the south coast but not to head up NW to Charente region to see my family at Clare and Chris’ house.  We arrived mid afternoon on Wednesday and went straight in the pool!  Fab to relax with the Aged P’s (not that it was long since we’d seen them, but with Clare and youngest Zozo, and then Chris, Louis and Abbie arrived.  We took one day out to stay on a EUR9/night munipal campsite nearby to spend time with Bev and Mike who have a house let out as a Gite nearby.

IMG 3616Aubeterre.  Would that be another lunch out?  

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Cocktails pool side.

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Oops … would that be a red wine incident??? 

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The beach near Sangatte aire.  Had to remind myself that these sea defences were German. Coming back from this walk, I got a phone call from a woeful James … He’d dropped my sharp knife vertically onto the knuckle of his foot.  Blood everywhere!  That was the second of the carpets to head for the bin … Corrie had pooped on the other!

 

1242-1249:  Back to Blighty

Tuesday 30th July – Tuesday 6th August

We crossed back to Folkestone and wended our way to Rustington to meet up with Ian, Mel and little (he’s grown again) Jimmy.  Would that have been another big wine night?  I have no idea.  I don’t remember!  Maddy had joined us but left at a sensible hour before it got messy!

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Where’s the sun gone.  A very windy walk on the Sussex coast.

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As ever, Mr Competitive Ian won the Puket tournament.

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Then the M25.  Why does it always rain and have traffic jams on the way back?  I could recycle the same pic.

For most of this part of our stay in the UK, we left Jez on Clare and Chris’ driveway and moved in with Mum and Dad.  I seem to remember Dad giving a speech at my first wedding, along the lines of, love her, and love it when she leaves but then she comes back!  And I’m still coming back and filling the attic!

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As we’d extended this trip by going to Corsica and Sardinia, we would not have time to do our normal Ireland and Scotland tour.  So James flew to Dublin for the weekend to see 3 of his 5 siblings.  

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Michelle and Craig became van dwellers for 2 nights in the New Forrest with me whilst J away.  Oh, and their 2 Springers … so that made 4 mid sized dogs and 3 adults in Jez.  It worked fine!  And the sun came out!!  Good walking … flat!

We spent a few nights at our usual CL Coxbridge Farm, and Caroline and Terry came to supper.  Trying to persuade them to visit us in the Caucuses.  And we fitted in dentist and doctors etc. We also started the job of emptying Jez.

1250-1254:  Uffington White Horse and Abingdon Meet

Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th August 

Wilding isn’t always possible in the UK – after an abortive 3 car parks with height barriers and no overnighting signs, we ended up in a small farm site.  Great location as it was right on the Ridgeway and close to Uffington Iron Age Fort and the White Horse.

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 I did one walk solo with great views of the rolling hills.  Amazed to still see ears of corn as all the harvesting had long since been done in Europe.

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Oh dear! 

We joined a wildcamping.co.uk meet near Abingdon.  Caught up with some old (!) friends and made some new.  Relaxed and big fires most nights.  

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We watched this heron shake this huge fish down its narrow neck.

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One wet grey and windy day we caught the bus into Oxford with one of the ladies on the motorhome meet.  Her great uncle had been a Master at Pembroke College and had some Halls of Residence named after him.  He had been largely instrumental in the independence of Persia (I think!).  I was tour guide around the main city sights until, cold and hungry we took sanctuary in a pub.  Whilst half the menu items were off the menu, we had no choice but to stay as finding somewhere for 3 dogs had been challenging.

 

1255-1259:  Yorkshire with the Aged P’s

Monday 12th to Friday 16th August

We spent 5 nights up in Yorkshire with the Aged P’s.  This trip came about as Mum fancied visiting RHS Harlow Carr Gardens, and I’d taken out membership for a year.  They were in a small family hotel and we were on their CS (5 pitches site) next door.  The family were originally sheep farmers and still kept rare breeds, but had diversified.  The vegetarian daughter doubled up as restaurant waitress, front of house and sheep farmer … she had lots of ‘old girls’ as she could bear to part with them.

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Our View.

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The Aged P’s joined us for drinks and supper in the van.  Although we did eat in the hotel restaurant (the only dinners!) twice.  An ordinary menu, but superbly cooked.

RHS Harlow Carr on the one day that the forecasters suggested might not rain! On arrival we had coffee and cakes in Betty’s. Yummy.

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The next day was forecast to rain.  And it did.  But we booked the Rover ticket for the Keithly and Worth Valley Steam Railway, so were ‘ moistly’ dry.  https://kwvr.co.uk  Built by the textile mill owners to get their worsted cloth to the main railway line. A short railway with several stops, including museums, a vintage bus side shoot and The Railway Children film station.  An excellent day.  Lunch, eventually, was a quirky little cafe about to shut up.  I spotted some Lewis Chessmen high on a shelf, to be told no one else had recognised them … the owner’s father was having a late lunch too … he got them off the shelf … he’d carved them from a picture in book.  Some talented people.

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Hadn’t realised the UK operated on different time zones until the railways forced a single time zone.

Bronte Parsonage, Haworth https://www.bronte.org.uk  Small but fascinating.  Quite a lot about the family members who, even individually, were interesting to learn about.

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A teenagers’ bedroom … no brother Branwell’s room.  An intellectual and talented portrait painter who could find love or a career and descended into self pity and narcotics.

The Bradford Industrial Museum is housed in an old mill and run by the council, but free.  https://www.bradfordmuseums.org/venues/bradford-industrial-museum  A hotch patch of collections from cars, to engines, printing, mill worker houses through the ages etc. … but don’t expect a cafe, just a vending machine

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We also discovered Skipton, and Mum and I went back one afternoon to do some Christmas shopping!  I know mad isn’t it … it’s still supposed to be summer!

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1230-1133: Corsica Of Corse!

1230-1231:  Porto Vecchio

Thursday 18th – Friday 19th July 2019

If of a squeamish nature … skip this paragraph!  The plan had been to buy some LPG and some Sardinian goodies before our mid day crossing to Corsica.  But a certain person who shall remain nameless had toilet trouble.  Mum, James and I have all had on / off diarrhoea … and a dose of Imodiam 3 days ago had left J completely blocked up and uncomfortable.  Senakott the previous night had brought on tummy palpitations  … no more detail required.  But note to self is that only take Imodiam if absolutely necessary and only in less than the recommended quantities!  Don’t think our issues have been anything to do with all our medicines being long past their use by date!  Second note to self … restock medicine bags before next long trip in September.

We made it onto the boat for the 1 hour crossing and back in to Corsica.  We headed about an hour down the road to a campsite walking distance from the town centre of Porto Vecchio. Fairly basic but shade and a pool … and a toilet!  Two loads of washing that evening followed by 3 more the following day.  Normally I would have deployed the twin tub, but I had towels and bedding from Maddy’s stay, beach towels etc … I even washed our mattress and pillow protectors … not because of the above paragraph I hasten to add, but as I didn’t want to turn up at my sister’s house in France in 5 days time or the Aged P’s house at the end of the month with several sackfuls of laundry which would have smelt like a land refuse site!

We walked into Porto Vecchio late the second afternoon … a leave it place.  Much hyped as being a yachty harbour, old town with quality restaurants and a stunning night life.  The only thing that was stunning for us (eyewateringly so) was the two scoops of ice cream at EUR5.5 each.  Back with French high prices and even more so in Corsica.  This was borne out again when we paid EUR1.10 /ltr for LPG – almost double what we would expect to pay!!!

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Porto Vecchio.

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1232-1233:  Beach and Mountain Pass

Saturday 20th-Sunday 21st July 2019

We did a mountain route to start our northward journey … through another area marked by the lady in the Tourist Information centre from when we arrived in Corsica.  Being the weekend, most of the Corsicans had had the same idea, but it was easy to see why.  Stunning mountains, marked paths, lakes, rivers … we have marked this a a spend a  week exploring for when we come back to Corsica.  We had a yen to spend our last night by the coast and I’d found a camperstop just south of Solanzara … at a mere EUR11.44, and the .44 was Tourist Tax.  This was amazingly good value given all the pukka campsites would have charged about EUR50.  16amp EHU, marked pitches and a rocky beach either side.  35 pitches with an electronic entry barrier.  And ONLY US plus one permant chappie who obviously lived in his 5th wheeler and worked locally.  Sunset, sunrise, stars and peace.  We sat and watched the leisure boats in and out of Solenzara.  We stayed till our 24hrs ticket was almost up and then drove the final leg northward along the eastern coast … flat and campsite after campsite … not the best Corsica has to offer.

Our ferry leaves at 8.00 a.m. Monday and we are supposed to be at the port 2 hours before.  A campsite would not have the barrier open this early, so we had no option to wild camp … Park4Night had a few spots up the mountains from Bastia … we found ourselves in a car park at the top of a mountain pass, but only 16 km from the port.  Not much sleep.  A farmer in his pickup was up and down the road and dirt tracks by us looking for his cattle who’d escaped.  The carpark was by a hairpin, so numerous cars ripped their horns as they approached, despite oncoming head lights that would have alerted them.  Oh, and the idiot who likes to wheel spin in gravel car parks.  Silence eventually prevailed at 2.00 a.m. and alarms went off at 5.00!  Ho hum, we’ve booked a cabin for our morning crossing.  

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We had a coffee stop by this reservoir … the tree stumps had not quite disintegrated.

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One of the rocky beaches at our camperstop.

 

So our spontaneous (an Easter Sunday conversation about where to go after Germany) Corsican and Sardinian adventure ends.  62 days spilt evenly between the two islands.  My phone has travelled 6,273 kilometres … van and by foot.  When we win the big Premium Bonds prize, we’ll come back to Corsica …. the scenery is always what wins it for us.  

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