524 – 526: French Partings and Reunions

524 – Wednesday 2nd November 2016:  Temporary Partings

J ici – 6:30 am start from Pereihat to get me to Bordeaux airport for flight to Gatwick – minor medical appointment in Guildford on Thursday morning. Ring motorway was well behaved – no serious bouchons… Some flights delayed due to heavy fog – but my Niceyjet plane left only 5 minutes late – and arrived in Blighty 15 minutes early? How does that work? I suppose its like construction programmes – we always allowed ‘float’ time in establishing targets.  Huge thanks again to Diane and Grahame (still in France!) for allowing me to bivouac at Royal Rothbury Dock… 

K here … I drove onto Le Teich, along the Arcachon Baisin.  The motorhome aire was out of order, next to a station and with no other motorhomes.  I reckoned it would not be my resting place for the night, but Oscar needed a walk so I followed the sign for the port … and found a nest of motorhomers, just outside the Ornithological Park.  I moved Jez here …. 14 vans by night time and a further 5 up the road.  I did feel safe.

Being Oscar’s birthday, he got several walks and playtimes with his balls (the throwing sort!).  He is now a mature (!!!) 3 years old.

I cleaned the inside of the van, which we had not had time to do on the jobs day yesterday and caught up with some blogging.  I don’t know if it was NOT overeating or having the bed to myself, but I slept really well!

J here – ok so you sleep better when I am away…???


525 – Thursday 3rd November 2016:  Reunited

James … Thursday at 7:30 am, I joined the jolly commuters (just like old times again…) en route to business – our business is travelling and being retired – but not exactly being put out to grass!  Guildford, successful appointment – minor window shopping – and back to Gatrow/Heathwick…Gatwick – for BA this time. K managed to recognise me on the kerb at Bordeaux Airport next to a giant wine bottle – and off back to the Aire.  There is a story here, folks. Some years ago (about 100 or so), when I was an ‘important’ CEO of a medium-sized PFI company, I stayed with K (before we lived together) at her house in Fleet and took the train to a Board Meeting in Londinium.  Kindly, after her usual frenetic but superbly managed schooldays, she offered to collect me from Fleet station. I alighted from the carriage (isn’t that a lovely word? “alighted” – if you alight from a train – do you belight on to it?) and rushed to be greeted by my darling! As I approached, she stared fixedly past me – and I was completely ignored!!!  I wasn’t too ‘belighted’ at this! She claimed it was my suit – I suppose I was disguised to look like every other ‘very important’ business bloke at the station…  Now that we are full time motorhome travellers, we know we are really ‘important’ indeed…  We don’t really miss the ‘suited and booted’ days, but they were fun, sometimes…   

K back again … I took Oscar for a longer walk than usual around the Basin de Archachon, hoping to  find a bistrot for a bowl of soup in the next town … No, full of burgers and pizza, all offering student rates … YUK!  I had a white coffee at a bar and then wondered how to go for a pee with Oscar and a largish rucksack.  If I had left him outside he would have created mayhem with pulling and barking …. in the end I just took him and bag with me.  Anything seems to go in France with dogs.  I munched on my reserve breakfast biscuits on the way back and then fell on some soup.  


The Basin de Arcachon really reminded me of the Norfolk Broads, near where I used to have a holiday home.  Dead flat, reclaimed land and sedge and reeds feeding an abundant birdlife.




I was lucky enough to catch this fellow eating a fish … he allowed me time to change my camera to 400x zoom and only paused for a second when Oscar made a noise.  Think he may be a stork.


I collected James via the large Carrefour, so large the staff are on roller skates.  We I’d been there after dropping Kerstin at the airport, it been heaving with families and children … today was much quieter and altogether more pleasant.  We are intending to de-tox a bit (only a bit), so it was strange coming out of a supermarket with no booze!

We overnighted back at the same spot in Le Teich as it was under an hour away.


526 – Friday 4th November 2016:

Running had taken a back seat in recent times – due to Chardonnay issues and K9 capers – the former a bit of a chore and the other a huge joy – Amelia and the other Irish siblings will know the meaning of “an madra deas alainn air fad!”.  OK, ok – the Dublin Olympics may be light years away so we have ample time to prepare for the Decathlon – we’ve started by spending lots of Euros at  Decathlon stores in Euroland!  K9Oscar will of course enter separately for the Welsh Winter Olympics – he already has a medal in Olympic ‘lock picking’ – specialising in opening/tearing soft doggy crates and doggy treat bags!!!  He will fail a ‘drogs’ test every time… we have years to get the red vino out of our system – trouble is – we keep topping it up again…    

Following our soft training and Oscar’s poo-training, we visited the town of St Jean de Luz – a seaside resort where Louis XIV married Maria Therese of Spain to cement a political alliance that didn’t prevent the 2 countries going to war subsequently. He was a randy old git, sorry – goat who rushed to privately consummate the union before the “public” consummation!!!  Can you imagine it – the young couple at Westminster Registry Office – the Registrar says – “now you’re officially married – get out on the street and get your kit off and have your consome soup – with afters!”.  Pleasant seaside resort with nice sqares, we retired to our nightly bivuac – a small Aire with tightly packed vans on the edge of the town railway station main platform!  The trains didn’t stop all night and the really loud ones were the freight trains – the station announcements went on also every half hour – “don’t leave any unattended bags on the station, etc etc”.  Therefore readers will understand that when K’s daughter phoned at 3:30 am from UK to complain of a headache – K patiently restrained from suggesting an enema placed up her nether regions!!!  


St Jean de Luz … the port area is pretty, and so it the beach, but …


… Dogs not allowed, not any time of year!  We had to walk him right along the promonade in the lead to the hill one end of town, before we could let him have a free wander!

Now we don’t like to moan – but the rain did beat incessantly all night in tune with the trains, announcements, enema-esque headaches, etc. Very little would have been connsome’d in our van last night!  Too much detail? Let’s move on then…  Spain tomorrow for some sun????