Scotland and some Wierd Pronounciations

1647-1648:  Busy with Electrics & Admin

 Monday 7th to Wednesday 9th September 2020

David the electrician magician worked some wizardry on our electrics … we are now plumbed in for power through all our van sockets running off the inverter.  At the moment, the fridge, hot water and heating CAN all run off the inverter.  But with this weather, we are not getting enough juice back in … so we are monitoring how it goes.  I did managed to kill the investor on night 1 by using both Instant Pot and Remoska with leisure batteries not full.  So we booked onto a CS with EHU nearby.

This also gave us the opportunity to do some much needed admin … we are now insured, car and us, for our trip to Crete (Covid excepted when we travel to a Gov non essential travel country, as Crete currently is).  Laundry, using the socket that David wired through to the garage and showers too.

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Whilst David worked his magic, we walked along the River Tweed … fishing is a big thing in these parts.  Can’s see the attraction of standing in cold water for something to happen.

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Coldingham, where we spent 1 night was a fabulous sandy beach, with beach huts.

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Start of the walk to St Abbs overlooking Coldingham beach.

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St Abbs: coffee and tray bake and a conversation with other motorhomers at the next table.  Is it mean, but I really didn’t want to rave too much about Greece … we hear so many motorhomers thinking about it …


1649-1650:  Hawick and the Devil’s Porridge

Thursday 10th – Friday 11th September

We swung by David, who worked out how to re-set the inverter.  Not just a case of an on / off switch, but actually removing the cable.  But we know now!  We stayed the night in Hawick (pronounced Hoik!).  I walked the park by the river and then we settled in the free carpark at the other end to all the heavy works vehicles, who are shoring up the river bank.

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No chance of this hotel re-opening in the near future.

In the morning, we wandered into town.  A lovely coffee and cake – taking shelter from the rain of course!  We looked at some of the cashmere shops, for which Hawick is renowned … but the prices or the styles put me off a purchase.

We then took up Meg’s suggestions for a tour … and drove off to our pm booking at the Devil’s Porridge Museum in Eastriggs.  At the start of WW1, ammunition was in short supply, so a cordite factory was built.  I spread 9 miles east of Gretna.  Spread with miles of pipe work out due to the hazard.  Thousands of girls, most of them domestic servants were housed in brick buildings that are now well constructed bungalows, and all the entertainment and day to day infrastructure was built.  Sadly the museum was housed in a new building as the local council didn’t grant perimssion for the use of a WW1 building.  But it was super interesting with committed staff.  

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The museum also had a display on the worst rail disaster.

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Oscar had a go at pre-washing a yogurt pot!

1651:  Caerlaverock Castle & a Non Rugby Game

Saturday 12th September

We spent the previous night a donations aire in the Caerlaverock Castle estate.  It used to be a 5 pitch site, but opening it up to all and sundry for donations probably required less work.  It had services so I did a mini wash, using the twin tub whilst keeping it in the garage … just ‘cos I could.  Our neighbour was much interested.  We walked through the woods to the Caerlaverock Castle.  On arrival, a steward (I noticed she was impervious to the cold and had bare arms!!!) told us that unless we had a ticket, we were to stay on the path.  Given we could see a lot of the castle from said path, we stayed on it and didn’t buy a ticket.  Covid Times:  I bought 2 postcards for £1.60 and had to pay by credit card!

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Site of the original castle (free to roam here).  The owners moved as it kept getting flooded.

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So they built this.  Photo taken from the path!

A rugby night so we headed into Dumfries … basically the nearest car park to a Sky Sports pub that said on the phone they would put the game on one of their screens for us.  Ahead of time we arrived to get a prime seat … pub pretty empty.  No FOOD!  But happy for take in, so I went and queued at the Chinese.  Game about to start, but NO!  despite both us reading that the game would start at 7.30 BST, it had been on at 6.35 BST.  Probably best missed as Leinster had a massive fail … as did we!

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Would that be your glum face James?  The pub said they would show the rugby, but no food, so take out / in Chinese  but no game  the internet had lied about the time.

1652:  Sweetheart Abbey and Kircudbright

Sunday 13th September

We had no ambitions to wander Dumfries despite the delights the guide book offered of various museums and churches, so headed down the coast to … Sweetheart Abbey.  With a name like that, it is a must.  

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Sweetheart Abbey  the widow of john Balliol, of Oxford Uni, was so distraught at loosing him, she had his heart embalmed and carried it with her!  She founded the Abbey.

We had a lovely circular walk along the coast and then back slightly higher.  Of particular interest were the stones and pieces of wood placed outside a house … the judicious adding of eyes, made them very real.

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A lovely stretch of coastline.

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 We drove onto Kirkcudbrigh, pronounced Ker coo bri.  Hadn’t planned to stay, but I spotted a dress in a shop window and a wool shop.  

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We overnighted a little out of town but on the river, but in the industrial estate.  I managed to buy the top I’d seen and one other  that was successful, but the wool shop was pretty rubbish.

 

1653:  Via Wigtown and the Isle of Whithorn

Monday 14th September

After my purchases and a good breakfast, we stopped off at Wigtown, the book town of Scotland.  A quick walk around, but no purchases made.  A walk to the point at the Isle of Whithorn gave CO2 a good stretch.  We saw motorhomes parked up, but we headed on a round to the Mull of Galloway, the most southerly point of Scotland.

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The largest 2nd hand book shop in Scotland  we saw the largest in England in Alnwick.

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Whitehorn.


1654: Mull & Forest of Galloway

Tuesday 15th September

The cafe at the Mull, obligingly gave us breakfast …. rather heavy on meat and lacking veggies such as mushrooms and tomatoes, but we managed.  Wanting to take advantage of the Scottish Forestry Commission aire trial, we headed up to their Clatteringshaw Visitor Centre.  A new chemical toilet emptying, but the only water had to be carried from the cafe.  Limited walking … just along a path to a stone.  Felt it was a missed opportunity not to have put a path around the lake.

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Mull of Galloway parking and cafe.  Not for a windy night! 

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Apparently Robert the Bruce rested against this rock, which of course makes it super significant!!

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Oscar amused the other walkers, once they’d leapt out of the way!

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But lovely views over the lake. 

1655: A Decent Wool Shop and Near Melrose

Wednesday 16th September

After a leisurely start we headed back east to Galashiels.  Not on our tourist route, but it had a wool shop where’d I’d made my 30 min appointment on line.  It proved to be a gem … the young and enthusiastic lady gave me her full attention and I came away with wool for an extra top I’d not planned, as well as all the items on my list.  Margaret and Shirley, who live not far away, agreed she is marvellous … it was one of those encounters that really lifts you and gives you a fire in your belly.  I knitted most days after.  

We were headed to a motorhome meet in Kelso, so stopped in a car park near a monument to William Wallace.  I did a great walk to the monument and then down to a temple of the muses … passing some very smart houses.  One of the things we’ve remarked on about this area is how many lovely houses there are.  Meg later explained that the old land owning families own huge tracts of land and their tenant farmers are also well off … hence the abundance of smart property.

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Our peaceful over night stop.

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The statue is 9.4m high.

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Temple of the Muses (and CO2) over looking the River Tweed.

 

 

1656-1660: Kelso Meet

Thursday 17th to Monday 21st September

Despite being much further north than the Hereford meet at the end of August, this meet actually saw some sunshine.  I even dispensed with my thermal vest and we were able to eat outside a few times.  With better weather, we were not all huddled in our vans, so able to catch up with more folk.  The new Covid measures in place in Scotland, meant we could only mix with one other household at a time and, if the household was from a high Covid are, only outside.  Dan, who we met first in Sicily, cooked us an amazing shepherd’s pie.  We had a fab walk with Meg and then Sunday lunch sitting outside the van … the wine flowed and the cheese was nibbled … and we froze … multiple layers.  We established that my nephew has a fishing shop in town, so we had a chat with him … some years since we’d met.  Floors castle was not open, but the grounds were.  And CO2 were even allowed into the formal gardens.

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Kelso Abbey.

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Floors Castle with it’s turrets.

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Giant veg at Floors.

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The longer than planned walk with Meg.

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Which brought us back along the River Teviot.

1661-62: Another Chicken Parmesan!

Tuesday 22nd to Wednesday 23rd September

Lisa and Danny (from Turkey lockdown) had sold their Defender with the tent atop, and bought a van to self build.  Danny had managed to get the bed in, so we agreed to camp at Omotherley … a really pretty village with a good pub, where I sampled my second chicken parmesan (breaded chicken, béchamel and cheese baked.  Just as well we don’t live there … yummy.

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Incorrect spelling though … but a lovely pub.

It tipped down all next day … a wet walk not far away … who ever thought having dogs is a good idea???  Then back to Danny and Lisa’s flat car park … a few chores and trips to the supermarket to buy supper and my introduction to the Tool Warehouse to buy a proper bottle jack for Jez.  

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Jesus, the Romanian rescue dog that was sent home to Lisa’s parents, at home in the van.

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And no messing with his first frozen kong.

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I overdid the elements of the cooked breakfast, as I included everything from hash browns to black pudding … the dogs did well.


We have never had a bad trip to Scotland, even if the weather (even in summer) means I reach for thermals, fleeces and brushed cotton pjs.  Having driven through the Borders, Dunfries and Galloway previously it was good to take some time and explore there.  Recommended.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1635-1645- : Heading North and Rain

Screenshot 20200914 123657 Samsung InternetWe’ve been listening to Wind in the Willows.


1635-1638:  Hereford Motorhome Meet

Thursday 27th – Sunday 30th August

A lovely town to wander and, in theory, some great walking and cycling from here … but it had been raining and it pretty much continued cold and damp.  So much so, that we had to be pushed off the grass and spent a couple of nights in the car park.  We left the muddy hand prints on the bonnet for a few days … not really a badge of honour!  With the weather and Covid, there was much less socialising than normal, but we did spend some lovely time with Ben and Lyn, who we first met a meet in Holland.  

A good chunk of time, was spent putting stuff into bags … habitation service due …  Oh, and we identified the leak in the garage, fortunately not a door seal, just a loose connection from the pump.  With this having been dripping and causing mould under our bed (yuk!) and the broken bottle of dish washer liquid in the garage … everything was frothing and needed a good amount of cleaning up and drying out (when the rain ceased!).

1639-1642:  Derbyshire Work and Walking

Monday 31st August – Thursday 3rd September 

Early up and off … to Derbyshire.  Jez the van had been booked into Geoff Cox Adria dealer for over a year … we had waited on parts to repair the damaged bumper (Cosica low loader damage early Summer 2019), but had to leave in September to meet the Aged P’s in Crete before they all arrived.  I was slightly concerned that the parts (the bumper costing £2400 alone) would have been damaged or worse, lost whilst in storage … but I am my mother’s daughter … a worrier.  A great moho dealer with lovely people who seem to really know their stuff. Habitation service complete, MOT passed (despite my worrying that the headlamps are aligned for the continent), bed frame fixed and a basic engine service done … bumper all new … just need to NOT drive into anything to keep it that way!

On arrival a a C&CC CS (5 pitch farm), we went into major erection mode.  I grew up being ‘dragged’ all over Europe as a child under canvas and so quite enjoyed being in a tent.  What we did not like was the odd leak (new tent!) and the cold in the evenings … no heating.  What heating, in August, I know!!!  As we had what we needed in bags and the cutlery drawers, living and cooking was slightly more complicated than it would be if we had just set off for a week’s camping trip … now which bag was the rice in???

We had use of a loan Os-car Ford Ka so were able to do some sightseeing …. limited walking as it, guess what, rained a lot.  We had Jez back on Thursday afternoon … just enough time to get most bags and boxes back into Jez and get the awning down.  Lovely to be back in our own bed in Jez, after only 3 nights in the tent.  It was a good practice run though, as we plan to use the tent on the drive to Crete.  I discovered that I should have bought a 220 – 12 volt adaptor for the fridge, and it wasn’t till we took the tent down, I spotted the electric cable entry point.  But it worked well.  

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You can never go too big!

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Our encampment.

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 An old tradition of Girlie Camping trips is the erection beer, but we refrained until the  driveway awnings up for the van contents and tent up for us to live in.  So this is a post erection wine!

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So it rained and CO2 went into body bags.

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It kept raining, so a chilly J used one of my shawls …

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And then the shawl was re-deployed to a chilly bedtime Corrie.

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A walk in between rain fall.

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Walk to Tissington: No pub, would you believe, so coffee and roll only.

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Sign in the park at Matlock … who’d have thought ducks like grapes, but they have to be seedless mind!

 

1643:  Heading North 

Friday 4th September 

The tent came down on Friday morning and we used the most immaculate facilities we’ve ever used to shower and do the services before we left.  An overnight stop along the Bridgewater canal.

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Good lay-by stop and view from our door.

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 Friendly live aboard canal boaters, one of which ran a dog walking business with this car reg!

1644:  Stockton-on-Tees Stopover

Saturday 5th September 

A stopover at the Darlington Railway museum.  Small but interesting.

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George Stephenson first engine on this line. 

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Travel Buddies.

We met Lisa and Danny and their Romanian dog (named Jesus ‘cos of it’s white cross marking and shipped home to parents, who have appropriated it) at her parents house.  They live on the edge of a large graveyard … Lisa recounted how her 18th birthday bash had been reported in the national press as ‘The Rave from the Grave’!  After a walk, we inched Jez through the graveyard, managing not to drive over or churn up any gravestones and thence to their new flat (and the washing machine!).  Danny managed to leave work to join us for supper.  

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My first ever chicken parmesan!  Breaded chicken with béchamel sauce and cheddar cheese.  Local delicacy.


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With Danny and Lisa:  Turkish lockdown buddies. 

1645:  And further North

 Sunday 6th September 

Continuing North, we stopped off for lunch at the Angel of the North and then Alnwick, pronounced Annick.  

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 Like or loathe, it is certainly striking.   And BIG. Eight reinforced concrete and steel pillars go down 33m to withstand wind.

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Waiting buddies.

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Alnwick.

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Claims to have the largest 2nd hand book shop in England.  Housed in an old railway station.  Did I really need more cookery books?

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But really famous for the castle aka Hogwarts.

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Attractive main Alnwick square.

We almost made it to Scotland, but not quite … Battle of Flodden site and monument.  Knew the name, but following the battlefield walk, I discovered that James V and most of the Scottish nobles had died here … for once English battle tactics had prevailed, despite a smaller force.  However, it was also significant due to the death toll … 10,000 Scots and 4,000 English.  And all over within hours.  Up there with First World War battles for loss of life.

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Battle of Flodden monument.

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Overnight Parking.

Scotland tomorrow.

 


1618-1634 : Chop Chop Busy Busy Work Work Bang Bang

1618-1634:  Work – Chores and Busy with Friends and Family

Monday 10th – Wednesday 26th August 2020

Do you remember the BT advert with penguins?  Chop chop work work busy busy bang bang .  That’s how it’s been with us since we landed back in the UK.  It was all so busy, I had to set up a 3 column spreadsheet so I could keep track!  And now catching up with the blog.

With a stupid o’clock crossing, we parked up for the rest of the night close to Folkestone and then drove round the M25 to the Aged Ps in Ash Vale.  Maddy and I (and the laundry) alighted from Jez and I picked up the car … leaving the laundry in the machine, dropped Maddy at her home and drove around to join J at Coxbridge Farm, the CL (5 pitch site) we regularly use.

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A bit squished!

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Obligatory pic of M25 traffic, at least it wasn’t as bad as normal and the sun was shining.  A stop at Cobham Services was a reality Covid check after a more relaxed France.

Here for a few days only and the weather was glorious. And I spent it in the stuffy and even hotter attic … I’d been warned not to add to the volume of our stuff there and as we will be emptying the van into the attic, garage and shed, pruning was needed!  Over the 5 years of on the road, we have swelled the contents … items we’ve picked up as they seemed like a good idea and others that we have carried around and not sufficiently used … they all made it into the attic.  As soon as I descended from the stuffy and sweaty roof, the weather turned …. it seemed to move into Autumn pretty rapidly.

During this period we did some socialising and chores. Our Fiat airbag warning light was resolved (new innards!), and we combined this with 2 nights on Frances and Edward’s driveway.  Niece Zozo had an 18th birthday family Garden Party and we combined this with a side trip to see Ian, Jimmy, Mel and Ruth and Brian in Rustington.  Michelle and Craig joined us outside the van, for an American supper … I’ve done their prawn and smoked salmon starter for others as it was so good.  An overnight to a soulless Club site in Bladon, Oxford, to see ancient Uni friends for supper.  Met up with another old Uni friend, just as ancient, for supper in Lydney.  A very boozy lunch with Caroline – isn’t it great when off spring can act as chauffeur?!  E Bikes are serviced … Maddy drove me to collect them one by one and I cycled them back to Ash Vale.  The car has had the air con fixed, as we will need this with taking the car to Crete.  Maddy also dragged me a number of times to her gym … we did legs, arms and cardio over 4 days, so every part of me ached.

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New labelled bottles formal my sauces … thanks David and Karen for the link.

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Our Coxbridge view … and the new ex-racehorse.

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Always love a pic of one of the Severn Bridges where J worked, whilst we had 2 nights in Aust.

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Oscar is often ambitious when it comes to sticks.

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Lydney Harbour where we overnighted after meeting Sarah, ex Uni.

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Getting comfy on a trip … we’re using trellis to keep them off now!

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Our view of Southampton – the Solent … overnighting here before the trip to Fiat.

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Our first British breakfast whilst Jez in with Fiat – It may have been with plastic cutlery and on polystyrene trays, but yummy.

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Walking in the New Forest before going to Frances and Edward.

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We saw lots of the wild New Forest Ponies …

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… and CO2 got mucky!

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Corrie nesting in Frances and Edward’s flower bed …

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… and she ousted Bevan from his bed at Bron’s.

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Weather OK one night for BBQ with Maddy.  It was supposed to be confit duck, but we couldn’t open the tin …  a quick trip to Waitrose for provisions. 

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A walk before Zozo’s 18th birthday party with views of Arundel castle.

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And Oscar found another big stick … or log.

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Birthday girl.

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Corrie and Doris hoping for cake!

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Walk on Climping Beach after the party.  New tradition to each collect a shell each beach walk for Clare and Chris’ new house.

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Ian had passed a load of Nicky’s photos to Ruth … she’d sorted some out … this was the truck Nicky and I hitched a lift back from S Spain in … we had to stow away on the freighter!

On the medical front, J has had another blood test … PSA still effectively 0.  Specsavers have lifted a chunk of £s for new glasses.  And I have had a hip Xray … not significantly showing signs of arthritis, which is good, but an old injury may be causing problems … will have to wait for a clinic appointment … initial telephone consult just as we cross over to Europe …  may need to get this looked at in Crete.  J also paid the GP to do the medical form for his post 70 C1 license … despite the government announcing that all expired licenses are valid for additional months, we don’t believe that this covers overseas … and currently think that I will have to do all the driving to and in Crete … ho hum.  Of course, no way of getting any idea of when the license may (or even further medical test) arrive. 



 


 





 


1604- : Covid Changes and Heading Home!

1604:  Quiet in Quinson

Monday 27th July 2020

A run with CO2 in the park and then off to Lidl to stock up for the next few days whilst we had use of Sarah’s car.  Then James returned the car … lunch on site with a late check out.  Really helpful site, Les Treilles, the owner ran the hose for a good while so we would have fresh water in our tank. Although with these temperatures, it doesn’t stay fresh long!

2.00 pm saw us at Feu Vert … a chain of tyre stores … front tyre looking a little soft.  Lovely young lady assisted us with the machine, as it defeated us.  And so up into the hills to Quinson … a lovely free parking recommended by Lin and Bo, with a toilet block.  On a lake with a pretty small town.  I did walk along to the prehistoric site, but it was a unremarkable two hut recreation.  We did manage an ice cream in the town, of course!

Maddy, my daughter, was reading about risks of the UK government re-imposing quarantine with France and was really worried bout her flight being cancelled on 2nd August.  This was to be her only trip this summer … so we bought another flight for her from Stansted to Toulouse … well Carcassonne really, with Ryan Air.  For tomorrow!   And guess who paid?!?  A bit of a change of plan; the tourist planning I’d done was now null and void.  And we went into van cleaning and bedding airing mode. 

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Quinson.

1605:  Tyre and Airport

Tuesday 28th July  

We planned to leave about 10.00 to give ourselves plenty of time for the 4.30 hr drive to Carcassonne.  Whilst we were breakfasting, others on the parking altered us to a flat tyre.  The one that’d had a resuscitation of air yesterday.  Completely pancaked.  Decided which of the 2 choices of breakdown recovery policy to use and rang RAC.  Yes, would typically have someone with us within an hour.  It was nearer 2 hrs!  When he did arrive, it was in a battered old car with no kit, but the ever important mega jack in the boot.  Repair to tyre will have to wait till tomorrow … we’re off to the airport.  Only 2 hours later than planned.  Maddy had to wait about an hour as we were late and her plane was early.  

We parked up in the authorised motorhome parking in Carcassonne  … free till end July as a gift from the council and retailers.  A walk around the citadel area, but quite busy and then across the river in the newer part.  A glass of wine on the way and then the time got away from us (too late for me to cook!), so we ate out … nice.

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Our pukka grease monkey.  One being asked if I could take his, pix, he smiled for me.

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The culprit … a whopping nail.

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The Medieval part of Carcassonne is simply stunning.  A massive citadel around narrow streets.  But even in Covid Times, it was busy.  And the carparks were empty, so heaven help anyone who comes in a normal summer.

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The ‘new’ Carcassonne is not to be ignored either.

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This is not the first time, I’ve warned M that we will be walking and then her shoes rub up a blister, so we swap! 

1606:  Carcassonne

Wednesday 29th July  

We exercised … leg workout, never again!  And wandered into Carcassonne for breakfast / brunch.  It was even busier than last night, so we didn’t stay long.  Perhaps the best time to visit is Spring / Autumn.

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Maddy rigged for iPhone charging and a fan.  Corrie attempting to join her!

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Maddy led the leg workout.  What you can’t see are the resistance bands around our thighs.  I felt muscle pain for about 3 days.  Funnily enough, I refused to do it again!

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Carcassonne again.

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Busy, busy, Busy.  We don’t like crowds at the bust of times and especially not in Covid Times.

We found another Feu Vert tyre place …. they could fix the tyre but we would have to wait an hour.  All the garage was emptied onto the tarmac and we sat and waited our turn.

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Maddy to the opportunity to soak up some rays … bemusing the odd shopper!

Determined to do the tourist thing, I dragged M, J and CO2 around a book town, Montolieu, the French version of Hay-on-Wye.  Would have been great for buying all sorts of second hand books, had we been fluent in French!

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Book shops spilling out into the narrow streets.

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CO2 flaked out after a ball game in our overnight aire.

1607-9:  Millau Sheltering and Sweltering

Thursday 30th to Saturday 1st August 

I had planned lots of places to visit … not to happen!  We ended up avoiding the heat by booking into a campsite for 3 days.  It had a pool for Maddy, shade for for all of us.  And other than a walk into the market, we didn’t do a lot!  A couple of BBQs and a bit of swimming, laundry and admin.  Even the water adverse CO2 had a couple of enforced dunkings in the River Tarn.  We were up early mornings, so it was cool enough to exercise, but NOT that leg workout!

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Marinated thighs with satay sauce … yummy.

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Greek night in France: fava, aubergine salad, beetroot with garlic and slow cooked beans.  With my first attempt at flat breads.  Nostimos!  

1610:  Bridge Views and Roquefort

Sunday 2nd  August 

Leaving the campsite we headed to a bridge information centre under the bridge.  Maps.Me is infallible, I’d spotted it here … obviously long since closed but it gave a sense of perspective of the hight of the bridge legs.

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You catch the odd view of the bridge from all angles.

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We attempted to follow the sat nav, set up for our weight and size, to the correct information centre for the bridge.  It took us down the valley and across to Peyre … one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and a village perche.  After narrow road and cars coming in the opposite direction, we lunched in the car park and then aborted our quest for the bridge information centre.

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Peyre, super pretty, but the mediaeval and troglodyte caves to be explored another trip.

We arrived in Roquefort – the AOC village where fluorine air from the caves gives the cheese it’s distinctive flavour.  Super helpful last in the Tourist Centre but the free aire.  She told me about a walking app, which I duly downloaded.  Maddy and I took CO2 on a short walk.  Little did we realise it was down, down and down to the river, then up, up and up back to the parking. This, with a run in the morning, meant we both achieved more than our target steps.

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The walk was called the Sentier de Mehir … this store which apparently has very little in common with a menhir!  But CO2 got to cool off.

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Interesting canoe tent!

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View from the free parking with free services.  Thank you Roquefort.

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1611:  An Active Day: Tasting and Cycling (of sorts!)

Monday 3rd August 

A pre-booked, but free tour of Roquefort Papilion.  Tour in French but I followed most of it, aided by the booklet in English.  Sadly, my French has been letting me down … whether it is the face masks making it harder for me to translate and / or my ear is just not in, but I’ve had the humiliating experience of French people on hearing my French, offering to speak English to me.  Much to Maddy’s glee!  I am not amused! 

OK, a few cheeses facts:

  • Only 7 producers have Roquefort AOC accreditation.
  • The fungi is grown and harvested from rye bread
  • A local left rye bread and cheese in a cave, came back later and … liked the mould!
  • Production is seasonal …you’d have thought the sheep could be more accommodating and spread out their milk / lamb yield.
  • It takes 25g of mould to produce 1 ton of cheeseIMG 6441

Maddy and I did a self guided tour or another marque, having first sampled their ewe’s milk ice cream!  After lunch, we went back in and bought a cheese for a third producer.  All set up for a Roquefort tasting with our friends Bev and Mike who we are seeing soon.

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And Maddy doesn’t even like mouldy cheese!

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A rare sign of affection!

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Cheese loaves maturing … fake at this time of year.

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A flock of steel sheep on the roundabout at Roquefort.

Late afternoon we shifted to Saint Eulalie de Cernon.  We had booked a 5.00 pm velo (bike) ride … think The Railway Children film … pedaloes on a disused railway.  Across viaducts and through tunnels.  Great fun and the 8KM were over too quickly.  A train took us back to the start.

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Two people pedal and up to 3 can take it easy in the back. To be honest is was mostly downhill, so as much breaking as cycling.

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Pedalling selfie.

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Over night we were in a private aire by the medieval town of Saint Eulalie de Cernon.  It even had showers and toilets.  

 

1612:  Les Hospitaliers and the Bridge Proper

Tuesday 4th August 

With access to water, a laundry session was in order.  The aire owner pressed leaflets into my hand … even for the velo ride, despite my saying we’d done that last night … perhaps my French let me down again!  Maddy didn’t fancy going into the Knights Hopsitaliers medieval building, so James and I took a gander.  No pix as my camera SD card died.  

After lunch, we set off for the correct / current Millau Viaduct visitor centre.  Tours on the build would have greatly interested J, being a bridge man, but we’d not booked.  However the information centre was pretty good and had a viewing area.

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With hot weather forecast and M needing to top up her tan, we headed for water … Lac de Pareloup.  A massive ex-municipal campsite turned camperstop was rammed.  But fortune smiled on us … after by passing a lake side site that wanted EUR42 plus 3rd adults plus dogs … we found a farm site about 700m from the lake … EUR18 inclusive.  Pretty basic but roomy and we had shade late afternoon.  

Mum rang.  She’s due a minor op and doesn’t want to risk it being postponed should quarantine arriving from France be introduced.  They brought their return forward and we would not be now staying with them at my sister’s house in Charante.

1613:  Lazy Lake Swim

Wednesday 5th August 

Exercise again in the morning .. I found a run off road … J complemented me on finding so many hills! More laundry … cos I could and it mounts up quickly when there are 3 of you (and one changes her clothes every day!).   M and I did a session on the beach by the lake.  

Maddy NEEDED to wear her posh dress out, so we booked a table at the restaurant.  Lovely food with a choice of menus.

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J had salmon tartare with a beetroot sorbet.

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Charcuterie for M with pickled mushrooms.

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Foie Gras and another sorbet ? for me.  And lots of edible petals for us all!

Main courses were also excellent … then the cheese course … 

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We filled our boots and then I did a homemade doggy bag … the remainder into a doggy poo bag.  The lovely waitress gently told me that it was for us to take and return what we didn’t want.  Oops, I’ve just taken it.  “I saw!” was her wry reply!   My justification was that on hygiene grounds they couldn’t re-serve the cheese to others, surely!  Anyway, they got a good tip, as I felt guilty and we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch!

1614:  Rodez Shopping 

Thursday 6th August 

Leaving the campsite we set off for Rodez.  Maddy had not had time for proper retail therapy and Rodez had a Sephora … makeup store!  We parked slightly outside and let CO2 tow us uphill to the centre.  A bit of shopping and a cafe frappe.  Given the heat, we headed for Belcastel, another Beaux Villages, but we were one side of the river and the campsite was the other … just a small packhorse bridge between the two which was quite unsuitable for Jez …. narrow roads the other way …. abort.

A quick perusal of Park4Night and the next village on our tourist trail was Figeac, but temperatures predicted to be up in low 40s, so we stopped just before at another ex-municipal site, now a camping car aire.  Barrier with multi-lingual instructions and we gained entry for 2 nights and we now have a card for the Camping Cars Sites.  For EUR11.92, it was a great site:  EHU with good amps, hedged pitches, hot showers and river front on the Lot.  The site had the Lot!

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Rodez cathedral.

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1615:  Return Change

Friday 7th August 

The Times newspaper, so it had to be believed, reported that the Government was seriously considering imposing quarantine on arrival from France.  We have a LOT organised for our return and it would be awkward to impose on anyone for 14 days (I know Lin and Bo have kindly offered us their yard) … so as soon as the lines opened, I held on for 25 mins to bring our tunnel crossing forward.  The earliest we could take was 0123 on 10th.  This stupid o’clock time also incurred an additional fee of £34 … prices just keep going up with demand.  But a small price to pay compared to 14 days incarceration … and I do appreciate that most folk have done this for months.  

We cancelled seeing Bev and Mike … but will catch up with them in the UK … wonder if we will be able to keep off consuming the varieties of Roquefort for the tasting we’d planned!?  A local vet could see CO2 at 4.30.  I cycled the 1.5km with CO2 in the Os-car … far too hot for them to walk.  In the event I was a sweating puddle as soon as I felt the vet’s air con.  I had rivers running down my arms and legs …. if anyone had looked closely as me, they would have assumed I was incontinent.  Result with the vet … as I provided the worming tablets, he only charged a consultation fee … EUR30.  Sure this is the cheapest i’ve ever paid.

1616:  Return Change

Saturday 8th August

Up at 6.00, showered, water filled and we were off by 7.15.  A long driving day.  Maddy would love to get behind the wheel and take a turn … but NO!

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The rear sleeping seat for the non driver!

We arrived at Nonancourt, a municipal aire with free services, that we’ve used before.  Dog walk, dinner and bed.

1617:  Last Day

Sunday 9th August 

With half day closing, we shopped at Evreaux …. a super huge Carrefour.  Maddy slightly irritated that I chose to walk every aisle … she was hungry.

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Car park croissant.

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Just as well we are planning a lot of dry days or this would not last until we come out again in October!

We parked up at the Sangatte aire.  Walked the dogs, ate and walked the dogs again.  And blogged whilst waiting for our 0123 train.  

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And another plug for the FaceBook group … Campaign for real aires … CAMpRA.  do check it out.

 

 

 

1598-1603: Bimbling to Biot

1598:  And So Out of Italy

Tuesday 21st July 2020

Briancon is a pretty town … we didn’t walk up to the Vauban style part … too hot and too lazy.   A large LeClerc, so I pulled the shopping trolley and stocked up on a few essentials for self catering. Amazing how often the trolley gets used!

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Upper Vauban Briacon.

Not a long drive, just down and then up to Ailefroide.  We lunched and then walked back down through the huge campsite amongst the trees to the reception to pay the municipality our EUR10.  An ice cream stop was EUR10 for 2 ice creams with cream … not too bad.  But the coke was EUR3.30!!!  Really going to struggle with these prices.  A lot of eating in!  If I don’t fancy cooking, it will be a trip to the supermarket deli counter!

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On the drive, cant help but get excited when you see hills like these.

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Really must clean the windscreen!

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River walk  the water looks so icy and we spotted people swimming in it the next day!!!

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1599:  Shifting Down the Mountain

Wednesday 22nd July 

An active start to the day.  J ran up the road …. a steady slow up hill.  I pilates’d and then walked CO2 back along the river.  We used the motorhome service on the way down ..always a good feeling when you are empty and full in all the right places. We stopped in L’Argentiere-la-Bessee to visit the silver mine and museum.  A detour up to it, so we stopped about 1.5km away.  Left CO2 and walked up to the museum.  It opened in 10 mins … we waited.  No, you had to pre-book and we hadn’t.  Ho hum!  So back down the hill to lunch in Jez.  At least I scrumpied apricots – the tree was laden and overhanging the path!  Not in the mood for a town, we parked up beside a small pond on a gravel car park.  

A bit of dog walking and knitting completed the day.

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Large pond.

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we had it to ourselves for a while, but overnight joined by another 4 vans.  

1600:  Entrevaux Again

Thursday 23rd July 

Another running morning … along the River Durance.  A leisurely start all round.  We rarely do the “up and at ‘em” early mornings.  Although, we have been recently so that it is not too hot to exercise.

A drive down through the mountains to Entrevaux.  We’ve stayed here a few times and really like it.  Stunning medieval town on the river, with a free parking complete with services.  It was one of the places we looked at for property purchase.  

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The sun may be shining, but that water looks cold and not about to test it!

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Drive down to Entrevaux.

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Entrevaux citadel over seeing all.

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We had a wander in more for a dog leg stretch, but then were tempted by a couple of glasses in the small square.

1601:  Antibes, or Rather Biot

Friday 24th July 

Supermarket shop on the way down, past Nice and straight to our camping site.  We’ve used a number of site around Nice and Antibes over the years but Camping Les Treilles was new to us.  We’d booked it as it was a LOT cheaper than the others we’ve used before in peak season and it was closer to Sarah.  Small, no pool, basic and old fashioned, but without all the frills to attract loud families.  It is only open until the end of September as it is in the flood risk area – you may remember the Nice area floods a few years back … 9 people from Biot died and many campsites were destroyed.  The only negative is that it is right next to Marineland, a huge water park.  But the noise of this is drowned out by the cicadas!

Having set ourselves up, Sarah came and fetched us.  Supper with her and the children.  Sarah explained she is cooking a lot for a Joe Wicks low carb book … I had a flick through, impressed and then ordered 3 of his recipe books.

I drove us back to the campsite in the spare car.  A VW Golf that has done 135,000km and is going strong.  It is insured for all Sarah’s visitors.  We had missed Gareth by about a week.  Jade was heard to explain to Cian that Daddy had to go back to work as they’d run out of money to buy things like electricity and sausages … the essentials in life!

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Cian aged 2.  He starts big school come September and they will both travel on the school bus.

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Princess Jade, aged 5, just!

1602:  Bimbling in Biot and Getting Lost in Antibes 

Saturday 25th July  

A run for both of us in the park, great as CO2 can be off lead.  I headed out into Antibes to buy dog food and visit a huge Carrefour, which left me bad tempered.  So big and busy that I couldn’t find everything I wanted, but I lost the will to live.  My temper was not improved as I took a couple of wrong turns … all the roads look the same and I was trying to drive in traffic and navigate from the iPhone.  A late lunch and then I prepped dinner to take up to Sarah’s.  Great to cool off in the pool … did I mention, they have a pool!?!

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All forgiven.  Asleep after they’d had a falling out!

 

1603:  Lunch in Antibes

Sunday 26th July  

James did his longest run for a good while – 6km with Sarah on the sea front form Antibes.  I ran with CO2 in the woods.  We met Sarah and co. in the centre of Antibes for lunch.

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Clune running crew.

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Pudding was a visit to the ice cream parlour.

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Dog Handler.  Corrie trotted along nicely, but other pedestrians are expected to jump!

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Until October when we expect (hope) to come back on our way back out to Crete

 

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A pic I forgot to put up … our super meal in Maribor, Slovenia.

 

A Recommendation  …

A group of sensible people have formed a group called CAMpRA … Campaign for Real Aires UK.  We know a couple of folk who are involved in it … The aim is very much to encourage land owners, be it council or private, such as the National Trust to provide basic aires along the lines of those found in France, Stellplatz in Germany etc.  A supply of water, grey and black waste emptying.  They are working at putting a business case and costs to owners.  With the increasing numbers of motorhomes on the roads, more service areas are vital.  

Another aim is changing public perception.  It is rarely the motorhomers who leave rubbish, light fires and crap on paths … we have facilities on board … but we are blamed for the day trippers rubbish.  An example of the proactive nature of this group is to print a sheet and attach it to a rubbish bag, stating that the rubbish collected from the site was collected by a motorhomer.  

Please do look for them on FaceBook and join the group.