Days 104 – 111: Granddad James with Jade and Sarah

104 – Saturday:  See you soon Munchkin and Hello Jade

We set alarms for 6.00 a.m. – a very uncommon occurrence in Chardonnay.  Packed up once we finally got M up and were at the campsite barrier at 7.01 …. it opened at 7.00.  We made such good time heading to Marseille airport that will pulled over and two members of the group breakfasted on croissant and pan au chocolat.  We all then napped … my goodness … a second alarm clock in the same day!

K saw Maddy off at Departures.  Apparently being Squeezey Jet, passengers were all contained in an over stuffy tent.  Maddy getting over a cold and not feeling brilliant, felt much worse and bolted for the door.  The security guard asked what she was doing and M said she felt she might faint … she then promptly did so into his arms.  Consequence:  she managed to delay the flight a few mins, but the cabin crew did give her an aisle seat 🙂

K and J then drove to Biot, by Antibes to an over crowded and expensive campsite.  We need somewhere safe and local to Sarah and Jade to leave Chardonnay whilst we meet J’s new grand-daughter.  Showered and threw a few bits in a bag and caught the train into Nice.

K is not into babies, but Jade is the most chilled poppet.  Most babies seem to have an agonising screetch designed to demand attention.  Jade simply whimpers a little, then gurgles and smiles.


105 – Sunday:  Nice wander and Gaellic Football

K and J exercised … after two days absence:  K sweaty puddle but J managed a good 4 miles at a good pace.  Amazing to run around the head and along Le Promenade des Anglais.  And the hard core Nicois were out sun bathing by 9.30!

A second shower in two days and K’s fake tattoo has very nearly disappeared 🙂

We wandered into the town centre.  K and J were last here 18 months ago and the Place Macena was not quite complete.  It is now a real gem in the city centre – a long stretch of green, fountains and children’s climbing frames with a nautical theme.  Lunch and a wander back through the old town.


106-109 – Monday – Thursday:  Nice and Jade

It has been so lovely to spend time with Jade … sorry Sarah – you take second fiddle now!  She is such a poppet … K professes NOT to be a baby person, BUT ….

How could you not love this ...

What’s not to love?

Granddad was not prepared to lend a hand when we were entrusted with Jade ... machine gun fire followed by a stinky nappy.  Funny that!  K's first nappy in 14+ years..... it just about stayed on when jake held up!

Granddad was NOT prepared to lend a hand when we were entrusted with Jade … machine gun fire followed by a stinky wall paper paste nappy. Funny that! K’s first nappy in 14+ years….. it just about stayed on when I held Jade up! Could have been worse … Sarah had Jade producing sausages in the bath two nights running!

Just how beautiful!

Just how beautiful!

In between cooing, we managed a few walks into the old town, a light lunch at favourite restaurant, a bus ride up to a small town in the hills …. called Tourratte!  Poo, bum, arse … everything was shut until 2.00 and J had a Dr appointment in the PM, so managed a slow and hot walk and a coffee before catching the bus back.

We walked to the top of the  hill to discover the castle was hut until 2.00.

We walked to the top of the hill to discover the castle was shut until 2.00.

But views of the surrounding hills were worth it.

But views of the surrounding hills were worth it.

Fav dessert - Tiramasu!

Fav dessert – Tiramasu!

Of the 6 nights we invaded Sarah’s space for 4 nights.  Two nights were spent on the campsite … quite an experience for the uninitiated in high tourist area camping….

  • Cramped and tight pitches and road ways: needing a ‘spotter’ to move Chardonnay around due tight turns and overhanging trees
  • Most pitches given over to ‘statics’ … not camping at all!  Your could argue that – nor do we!
  • Regulation ridden:
    • one way systems with tight turns
    • we could not drive Sarah’s car onto the campsite … anywhere for 3 mins to spot for each other to vacate our pitch!  Not their problem!
    • the campsite pool cost EUR 2 despite the steep nightly fee of EUR 33 … why is it NOT included?
    • And the pool shut at 7 p.m., despite temperatures of 30 deg plus

It also boasted of a pizzeria, shop, entertainment etc … Great for families, but SUCH A DIFFERENCE to our lovely wild camps of Scandinavia.

We have to be balanced … the plusses for the site (admittedly few!):

  • Secure and safe parking for Chardonnay when we left her for a total of 4 nights
  • Close to the beach for a FREE swim
  • Close to the train EUR 9 or bus EUR3 for the both of us.
  • Dredging the positives … electric was included

J has been to Nice number of times / K’s 4th visit.  It feels like a second home.  We both ran varying distances and speeds along the Bay of the Angels and swam in the Med.  Wandered the old town and ate far too well.  A wonderful place to be (if a bit hot this time).  We gave up on trying to be be too active due the temperatures of 30+.  And actually after all our running around, it was really lovely to just be …. in Nice  … and with Jade and Sarah.


110 – Friday:  Nice Adieu and into Italy

Leaving Sarah and Jade with threats to return end January, we checked out of the cess pit of humanity (campsite) and drove along the coast to Italy.  We still had Sally the Sat Nav set to non-toll roads, so she crawled us through Monaco (Country no. 11 this trip) and the coastal road of Italy, which is town touching town.  Given the warm temperatures, we were surprised to see so many greenhouses built into the terraced hillsides … we read later that this area is a main supplier of cut flowers.

Italian driving is renowned and not in a good way … but peak season and add in tourists and pedestrians and you have mayhem.  After about an hour of numerous near misses (well, that it is what it felt like) and not many miles covered, we re-programmed Sally to include motorways.

Due to traffic issues …. motorways slowing due to weight of traffic, we headed up the hills to a Parking in Cassella, but there were no other motorhomes there so we ploughed on along hilly and bendy roads to Torrigino (!) and a busier Parking …  one motorhome had a flower arrangement on their table!


111 – Saturday: Torrigiana and kindness and Into Tuscany and major heat!

We headed for a wander into the town.  Kindness Number 1:  A chap called after us and J was able to put his sentence ‘no parla Italiano’ into good use … but they chap managed to explain that if we headed up a different street … we would see stone typical of the area. We duely climbed up the hill (getting hot by now) and made it to the castle on the hill … did i mention, it was on a hill and hot?  The castle was shut!

The castle on a hill

The castle on a hill

Another one shut!

Another one shut!


Back down to the town, we needed a few green beans for the slow cooker soya casserole … Kindness No. 2: the green grocer saw how few I had in a bag and basically told me to flit … he ws not going to put a few cents through the till!

We meandered down the hills, through hair pin bends and small towns to the coastal motorway and then into a Parking in Pistoia.  Apparently they made pistols here.  the clue is in the name.  It still has metal works, but the main industry is train engines and carriages  manufacture … we saw some on the drive in.  Apparently also, it has a lovely town square which we had had the intention of walking to …. high humidity and 38C put paid to that.  So this afternoon we did …. nothing.  Trying not to move and to keep hydrated.

Amazing how easily things can be mis-understood!  Text conversation with Maddy!

Amazing how easily things can be mis-understood! Text conversation with Maddy!  I was complaining about the heat!

Amelia … a very Happy Birthday … so looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow X




3 thoughts on “Days 104 – 111: Granddad James with Jade and Sarah

  1. What a gorgeous granddaughter, but it’s just NOT FAIR, posting a pic’ of you eating tiramasu that scrummy !! Looks like the biggest ever too.
    Sylvie xx


  2. Thank you Katherine, once again a most enjoyable blog! Sarah’s baby looks so like Simon! Now so far we have Daniel very good humoured, Jake very placid and baby May yet to see, Holly is reluctant to sit still! Fun and games to come! See you tomorrow, can’t wait! Love you bothxxxxxxxxxx from your now officially elderly relative!

    Sent from my iPad



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