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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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.


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.
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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.




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.


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.


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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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.




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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1163-67: French Scenery and Jez Troubles

1163-1164 – Into France

Monday 13th – Tuesday 14th 2019

Kerstin was off to work early, but we said farewell to our driveway hosts and set off in the direction of Nice … ferry to Corsica booked on 17th.

Easy drive to an aire near the motorway E of Besancon; Brognard with lakes to walk CO2 around.  Another driving day Tuesday to a France Passion in Vognes, Rhone Alpes,  and possibly the most beautiful France Passion we’ve stayed on.

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A slightly tight space, but so quiet at the top of the village.  We didn’t sample the wine, but bought a bottle and some pate.  

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The scenery is just so attractive that EVERY time we drive through, we say that we must organise some serious time to explore.  But time is always so short, says I with no paid for work!

1165-1167 – Entrevaux and Van Issues.

Wednesday 15th – Friday 17th May 

We spent two nights on the free aire by Entrevaux station.  Super quiet as it is a single track line that goes form Nice up to Digne les Bains only every couple of hours.  In the summer, it is sometimes steam train.  We’ve stayed here before and fell in love with the village and region then … this was a serious contender for our property purchase.  On a walk we did see a 2 room shack with its own water supply, a veggie plot, solar panels and 3000 m2 of olive trees … yours for only EUR45,000 … just a single track path 1.5km out of Entrevaux.  On arrival, we ate in the village … I’ve not had trout with almonds for years but is was delicious and locally supplied.

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Entrevaux old town and citadel over.

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We took Jez into Nice caravans, which is a repair place and an Adria dealer to replace a wall door handle.  Fortunately they had just one in stock.  Good, as I had been putting all the cupboard contents into a washing up bowl whilst in transit … my string and double sided velcro had not worked!

Engine Trouble

On the way back up to Entrevaux, I wasn’t able to put Jez into gear.  Rolled over to the side of the road and switched the engine on and off a few times, before I could do a gear change.  All seemed fine.  But then on Friday evening when we were driving down to Nice for the ferry, we realised something was seriously wrong … pulling away, or when attempting higher revs, the engine sort of kangaroos.  Are we mad catching the night ferry to Corsica in a poorly van, I asked?  Oh well, they must have Fiat garages in there!  So once, we’d worked out how to actually get onto the quayside (which we really should have known as Sarah has a flat two streets away, which we’ve stayed in), we limped onto the ferry!  Must be the season for engine trouble as Meg has issues in Italy and now France, and Lin and Bo have just had a new gear box in Crete!