Monday, 23 June 2014

On our way up to the midlands

Then, on the Friday we headed off to Cheddar to see Iain’s son Connor.  The campsite at Cheddar Bridge was full (yes, it was the weekend) but we managed to find a new campsite in Shipham called Lillypool Farm.  This was a real bonus.  It was a new campsite and we’d often gone past the farm shop, wondering if they would mind us staying in their car park overnight and hey, they now have a campsite.  It’s very new and little more than a tent field at the moment but they were happy for us to stay on the car park and not go up into the field which wasn’t very level.  Now this is actually the nearest we can actually PARK to where Connor lives, let alone stay overnight, so it’s a real find for us and we will go back there again.  At the moment it’s a bit cheap and cheerful but next time we will ask if we can us the EHU that we spied set up on a building the other side of the car park.
Lillypool campsite car park - Only got to walk just over that hill!!

Sunset at Lillypool Campsite
So on Saturday morning we were able to walk up to Daneswood Care Home in Shipham, where Connor lives.  This is a wonderful care home where about 18 young adults live and are looked after by a great team of people.  In the early days, Iain used to visit Connor, making the 240 mile round trip every other week by car,  but as Connor got older and the driving got a bit too much in one day, that stretched out to about every 4 to 6 weeks.  Visiting Connor was one of our most common motorhoming trips and we used to make a weekend of it. Connor will be 24 in August and has mental disabilities caused by a very severe form of epilepsy and autism, he moved to Daneswood about 5 years ago when he officially became an adult. With our old van we used to stay in the Daneswood car park but this place is in the mendips and the drive itself is like a trip up the Alps.  

Here's some old photos I took when we used to stay there.  No way would we get the behemoth up there.

The building at Daneswood used to be a hotel and has magnificent views across to the sea at Weston-Super-Mare about 8 miles away. The first time we visited to assess the place before Connor went there we didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for and we drove Vanessa (our much smaller van) up to the top of the drive – never again.  We did used to stay about half-way up the drive but we stopped that when we had a satellite dome put on because of the overhanging trees which had previously almost pulled off one of our roof bars.  There’s no way we would get Jan the Van anywhere near the top so we have always struggled to find somewhere near enough to park let alone stay the night.

Our visit with Connor was the first since we last saw him in December before we left for Spain, nearly 6 months. Having tragically lost his mum, both grandmothers and then his sister Emma (his only sibling) in just over the last two years he had not had any visitors since we last went back in December.  Perhaps it’s a small blessing that we don’t know if he knows his visitors anyway, so hopefully won’t have missed anyone.  The weather was good and we were able to sit outside on the patio. Connor was awake for some of our visit and we were told that he hadn’t had any major seizures for a few days, so that was good news.  He seemed happy, well looked after and had put on a little weight.

I don’t want to go on about the sadness of the last paragraph but this has had a great bearing on what we are doing now.  I wasn’t lucky enough to have any children, Iain had two, but we will never have the expense of putting them through university, helping them to set up their first home, nor will we have the blessing of having any grandchildren.   This means that we don’t have the emotional wrench that a lot of snowbirds have to get back to see the family and grandchildren and when Iain said that he didn’t want to work any longer that we just did the sums and decided to do it anyway.  

Life’s too bloody short to sweat the small stuff!!!!!!! 

Even though we can do what we want, we do still envy those grannies and granddads just a bit though.

So after seeing Connor we were on our way to Cheltenham.  Namely to Briarfields, which is a campsite we love.  There’s a small shop, Asda, Harvester restaurant and an Indian restaurant in walking distance (we don’t do KFC but there is one nearby).  The campsite owners are very friendly and the campsite is kept to very high standards.  It’s the only one we've seen with a hand sanitiser provided alongside the chemical waste disposal.

So here we are, what we needed to come here for – the dreaded MOT.  That’s the only reason that we HAVE to come back to the UK.  We can’t get the van MOT’d abroad, not even in Gibraltar. So once a year we have to make the trip back over the channel to have it sorted.  But at least this gives us a reason to come back and of course we then use the time to also to visit friends and family. 

Just up the road is Motorhome Medics who deal mainly in American RV’s.  Funnily enough we found the campsite before we found Motorhome Medics and they were recommended to us by a couple we met in Saumur in France last year.  But they have proven to be a god-send. As long as you don’t mind them taking the p**s now and again, but hey, it’s only banter and you can give as good as you get, which can be quite enjoyable.

While the van was in for MOT we jumped on the bus to Cheltenham.  Yes as last we could take the dog on the bus – well we could hardly leave the Tasmanian devil in the van while it had the MOT.

Cheltenham town centre was very pretty, a typical spa town.  We actually needed some shopping (yes more).  Iain needed a new pair of sandals and we went from shop to shop –he’s only been looking for 6 months, but he knows what he wants when he sees it – he’s just a bit fussy.  Well of course we had the dog with us so it’s take it in turns to go into a shop.  

So off he goes and while he’s in the shop and I’m waiting outside, an old lady with a walking frame came out of the shop and fell over in the shop doorway.  It was pretty horrible really, and I’m absolutely hopeless at these situations.  Well actually I’d do my best if I was on my own, but if there’s someone around who seems to know more than me then I’ll let them get on with it.  Well it was obvious that she was quite badly hurt and a lovely man stopped to help her.  She said that she didn’t need an ambulance but I saw the blood and said I think one should be called.  I don’t want to go into detail, but she was lying in the shop doorway and wasn’t going anywhere until the paramedics got there.  They must have wondered why I was hanging about , but I was waiting for Iain to come out and of course he was stuck inside. It must have been a half an hour before the paramedics got her into the shop and out of the gaze of the public.  I must admit that at one point I asked the man’s lady friend to stand near to me so that people could not “gawp” at her.   I was really cross at the nosey people walking past and the lady who stepped over her to get out of the shop.  Of course my husband was too much of a gentleman to do such a thing and just waited patiently inside until she had been moved.  But at least he had bought some sandals.

Now my big beef!!!!! We thought we’d have lunch  in Cheltenham and then get the bus back to pick up the van.  We went to one pub that looked nice and had a beer garden, but unfortunately they didn’t do food.  So we went off to another pub called the Sceptre (owned by Stonegate Pub Company), now I’m naming them because I want to shame them.  The pub looked lovely, a bit like Weatherspoons, it was a nice day and they had their tri-fold doors open so that the whole front of the pub was opened up to the good weather.  There were about 3 tables on the pavement of the shopping precinct and as we had the dog with us we took the outside table nearest the edge.  Iain went inside to order the food and the girl brought the condiments.  By now it was getting on for 2pm so we were quite hungry.  When the waitress brought the food, as she approached the table she said that she hadn’t realised that we had a dog with us – incidentally because she was sitting very quietly under the table, but that they had a no dogs policy and she would not be able to serve us.  She was polite and offered us a refund, buy hey the food was on the table in front of us. 

Now I know that no everyone is a dog lover, but we always make sure that our dog doesn’t bother other people and there were only three tables, no one else was eating and this was actually on the public pavement.  But no, she took the food away. The manager then came up with the refund and again politely offered his apologies but said it was a company policy. I did say that this was a public pavement that they did not even own and suggest that it would be a good idea to put some signs up to say that dogs and their owners were not welcome. So I had to stand outside their banners, only 2 feet away from the table while Iain finished his drink and joined me
Now to me that is PC gone crazy – well at least the dog was allowed on the buses in Gloucestershire so a thumbs up for the bus company.

So we’ve now got the necessary paperwork to allow us to go off for another year, so tomorrow we leave Cheltenham for Stratford-on-Avon to the motorhome show – partly because it’s 3 nights cheap camping.  Then we’re off to visit some friends, then back up to the house, to check it out and to stay in our local pub for a couple of weeks.  Then it’s off for the big adventure part 2.

Be back soon…………………………………………………………………….

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Across the south of England to Devon

I have to say that having lived in the midlands for many years I think we have been spoiled there for the quality of our roads, or more precisely the number of motorways and dual carriageways that we had.  Even the roads to Ringwood, although being A roads were little more than narrow single carriageways and I was very glad when we did actually get a bit of motorway.

We left Seaford with the LPG tank reading as “on reserve tank” and the sat nag telling us our nearest LPG station on our route was  82 miles away.  See, it’s not much easier to get in the UK than it is in Spain.  I drove as economically as I could and we finally heard the “ping ping” of going over to petrol only 3 miles from our destination, so we didn’t do too badly.  Funnily enough the LPG station was the garage just down the road from the campsite.

The campsite in Ringwood was an ACSI site and just £12.50 per night with the ACSI discount.  What a bargain, it even had an indoor swimming pool with no extra charge.  Not only that but it has the best on-site dog walk I’ve ever seen.  A small shop and excellent showers and toilets completes the scene.  I can thoroughly recommend this site. The only downside was a very narrow lane to the entrance and nothing really around except a fair walk to the nearest garage or pup. Ringwood itself isn’t very exciting (we went there a couple of years ago) but this is a great place for a few nights stop over and relaxation.  

Ringwood to Exmouth

We had no idea what Iain’s dad had in mind for dinner that night but we did need to get some essential supplies – you know beer and stuff, but we knew there was a Tesco near to Exeter so we would get them there, so on route we needed to find some bread for lunch.  Whilst looking for a bread shop, Iain suggested that we might like to slum it by having a burger or bacon bap from a lay-by food van. Well sometimes you just have to eat a little bit of rubbish so we decided that we’d do what came first.  We had just bought some bread and then found a lay-by to pull into and lo and behold there was a burger van. Now there’s a decision, albeit not a very difficult one.  So we had the sausage bap which by then we craved for.  That was a mistake as the sausages were the worst I’d ever had, it was like eating two slices of bread sandwiched around a slice of warm bread – yuc!!  They made Richmond sausages seem like “finest”.  So that night at Iain’s dads we had sausages again, with mash, just to remember what real sausages actually tasted like.

Having stopped at Tesco at Exeter, I noticed that there was a Halfords just across the road and persuaded Iain to make a visit to buy a new Sat Nag.  There was nothing wrong with the old one except that the maps needed updating, and this had let us down a few times in Spain (especially with the San Sebastian fiasco, which I wanted to avoid in future).  I had checked on the internet and it was about £80 to update the maps on our Tom Tom, or we could upgrade to a Garmin with life-time map updates for only £99 so it seemed a bit of a no-brainer to upgrade the maps on the one we had.  Now I always like to get a new gadget and as we were visiting Iain’s dad and would have good broadband I persuaded Iain that this would be a good time to get it.  So we were spending again!!!!  And it would mean that I’d be spending quite a bit of our visit getting it set up ready to use.  Well early indications are that I’m very happy with the new Garmin, but then I am comparing a 3 year old Tom Tom with a new Garmin. 

A lovely couple of days were spent with Dad, however as he lives on a busy road and doesn’t have driveway large enough to accommodate the behemoth we don’t like to wild-camp outside his house. So we left our beloved motorhome for two nights and actually stayed in the house.  There are only 3 parking spaces outside Dad’s house where we could keep an eye on our home and it’s a bit touch and go as to whether we would be able to park there.  When we arrived all the space was taken but luckily after a couple of hours the car in the middle decided to move off.  So we rushed off to move the van into a parking space where at least we could see it from the house.  Who says women can’t parallel park?? I have to admit though that I did need Iain to see me in – a bit - particularly as we have a bike rack on the back which sticks out about a metre as well.  The two cars either side didn’t move at all during our stay so we were really lucky to be able to get parked at all.

Who says women can't parallel park?

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Visiting Friends - Seaford, East Sussex

So after two days rest we were off to see Joy and Nick (and Paddy the dog).  Now this journey was quite interesting as the Sat Nav didn’t want to go the way Iain had decided on the map.
So we came to a roundabout and the sat nag said “Turn Left” and Iain said “Go straight on”, I questioned the decision what answer did I get but “Well you will be deviating from the route” – of course this is the sort of answer that a politician would give, I hadn’t got a clue which route I would be deviating from, his or the sat nag so of course I followed the sat nag. 

As an aside,  Iain does quite fancy himself as a politician as he did stand for parliament 8 years ago, for a minor party that are actually doing quite well at the moment and that was quite an interesting experience, going to the count and seeing all those ticks against his name did make me feel very proud.  I think he would have been good at it had he got in, but he had a proper job so didn’t pursue it any further. He’s definitely got the right political answers for things – no answer at all.  We have discussed this fact a few times this week, since the answer on the way to Seaford and in fact only yesterday I said “Are you ready for lunch yet?” And he replied  “Well it is a quarter to one”, which of course told me nothing.  I remarked that he was doing it again and even he had to laugh at the non-information of his response.

Anyway the route I went to Seaford took me through a small village called Alfriston. Now I don’t want to harp on this, but this area between Eastbourne and Seaford contains both Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters so you can imagine what the terrain was like. VERY HILLY AND NARROW.  The sign said nothing over 7.5 tonnes through the village so I knew that although we were legal it was going to be tight.  We proceeded very slowly through the village and then up a steep hill until we descended into Seaford.  I’m getting used to this now though so although glad to arrive, we were yet again unscathed.

So here we were, ready for a busy two nights with our friends we had met in Spain.  We wild-camped on the seafront and while there were signs that parking was restricted to 12 hours we were not moved on.  I don’t expect you would get away with it in the summer though.  The only thing between the bottom of Nick and Joy’s garden and the seafront is the road, so we were actually only just outside their house.  As expected this was to be a heavy weekend and Nick and Joy had laid on some entertainment for us.  A steam train was due in on the Saturday as a celebration of 150 years of the Seaford railway, a 2/6p tour of Seaford and then on the Sunday afternoon a BBQ.  Which was actually in their neighbours garden but there they all seem to share one big area. 

Nick doing his bit to pump up the "banana boat" for the neighbours

Dogs enjoying a walk along the beachfront

Busy doing nothing - on Joy and Nick's balcony

View from the balcony - the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry passing

Best view - but then I would be biased

Sunset from the balcony - with views like this I wouldn't ever want to leave home

We had a terrific downpour about an hour earlier - then the sun came out!

The seven sisters and the beautiful countryside

Apparently the most photographed view in the country - so I just had to join in
Seaford is not somewhere that I have ever been to before, but it was an absolutely stunning place and I'd recommend it to anyone, even if they don't know Joy and Nick.

So by the Monday we were again ready for a rest and so we headed for Ringwood in Hampshire which would get us about half way to Exmouth in Devon where we were to visit Iain’s dad.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Back to Blighty – 2nd June 2014

I’m a couple of weeks behind on my posts and we’ll be off-grid for about a week so I’ll do an update now and “trickle” it out to you so that you don’t get too long a post.

Monday 2nd June - So getting back to Dover the first thing to remember was DRIVE ON THE LEFT.
We wild-camped the night in Folkestone while we took Iain’s brother and his wife to dinner to say thank-you for looking after our post while we were away.  It was surprising how little post we actually had, and of that how little of that was actually important. We also took the opportunity to do some banking and sorting out of some urgent post.

Then the next fixed plan was to go off to Seaford in East Sussex to visit Joy and Nick and from previous experience we thought we would stay a couple of days in Hastings on the way through to prepare ourselves for what we knew would be a heavy weekend.

The campsite in Hastings was very good with a pool  and gym (both an extra charge)and lots of statics. It was on the top of yet another hill and the ups and downs in Hastings were challenging. We understand that it can be a bit windy on the top of the hill when the weather isn’t too good. Hastings itself was really very interesting, I must have been there as a child but didn’t remember it. Firstly the top of the east cliffs is one big nature reserve with some lovely walks and the dog loved it.  The views were stunning,  and the weather was pretty good while we were there. Then thumbs up for the East Cliff Lift, it actually allowed dogs so that saved us a long walk down and even more difficult walk up again.  It’s actually the steepest cliff lift in the country, and Iain’s not much of a one for heights.  The old town itself was full of quaint streets and buildings and the seafront is scattered with old net stores which look like glorified beach huts.   The walk from the campsite was about 2 miles so not too strenuous but I wouldn’t have liked to have taken the bikes as I would have spent all my time pushing my bike back up the hill with the buggy in tow.  Of course when I go uphill and push, I do make the dog walk.  I’m not dragging her uphill as well as my bike and buggy.

East Cliff Lift

East Cliff with the lift station at the top (of course)

Net stores - it's great the way these have been preserved

View from the top of the East Cliff

I wonder how many people actually remember what these were for?

The campsite was however nowhere near anywhere, shops, newspapers etc so we were a bit stuck for supplies.  Before we left Albir we had cleared out our cupboards, particularly of tins that were out of date.  Some of them had just been shoved into the van  5 months before when we moved out of the house in a hurry.   The oldest out of date tin we found was some grapefruit segments with a best before date of 2004.  Well at the time we had a tin of corned beef that was just out of date, and whilst we thought about ditching it we knew that if we did, we would need it.  Well we did now.  Iain said it was a shame to use it as it had been to Ireland and Germany and France and all around England with us and he was rather attached to it.  Still it cooked up ok and stopped us from going hungry the first night.

The road out of the campsite was to be challenging.  When you arrive, you don’t know what you are letting yourself into, but then you have the time at the campsite to ponder on the return.  These roads were narrow and very steep.  We left the campsite and navigated the first bit ok but then we had to turn right down a steep hill.  And what did we find, parked cars all down one side, not a problem except that someone had illegally and inconsiderately parked on the double yellows on the other side.  There was no other way around so I stopped the van and Iain jumped out to see me through.  Now our van is left-hand drive and the impatient driver in the car behind wasn’t too happy that the driver had just left the van in the middle of the road and got out.  He started hooting at us, he must have been in a hurry, I do feel sorry for people in a hurry!!!!  I’ll be he felt a complete “id ten t” when he realised that it was actually the passenger who had got out.  We inched our way through with only inches to spare and we were on our way.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Through France and Back to Blighty

Many people who know me thought that I’d be bored not working, absolutely no chance of that! The problem with moving on is that you spend a lot of your time just travelling, so there’s no time to get bored, after all we’re “Busy doing nothing” and thoroughly enjoying all of it.

Time to leave Spain - again

Thursday morning and it was drizzling.  I really wasn’t looking forward to getting back down that hill with the drop on our side so we took it very steadily.  I think it was about 10 mph.  Iain spent the journey concentrating on setting up the sat nag but did say that he took a peek once.

The motorway wasn’t far away so only the first bit to worry about.  LPG filled up and we were on our way to Angouleme about 230 miles, our first day of driving home.

We’d allowed 4 days to get to Calais, one night in each stop-over with a spare one to get the dog to the vets.  We’d also still not booked the ferry in case we had to wait until Monday to get the dog sorted and that would have meant that we could not come back until Tuesday at least.

An aire just south of Angouleme at Roullet St Estephe sufficed for an overnight stop.  We took a walk into the village and all was shut with no sign of a vet.  The aire itself was very pleasant and not too far from the motorway.  The only downside was what appeared to be a campsite about 250 metres away.  We gave the dog a walk around the lake and approached the campsite which was a bit higgly-piggly with white vans everywhere.  I said to Iain “Iain is that” to which I was cut short with a “Yes it is”, no more needed to be said.  There were about 5 other vans that turned up after us so the feeling of safety in numbers sprung to mind.  Must remember – don’t drive head on into a space, or use chocks unless absolutely necessary; always reverse park when possible, then if anything happens in the night, you can always drive out forward.

Sees - Normandy

A good night’s sleep anyway and in the morning we were off – towards Sees, about 230 miles.  There was an aire at the Intermarche supermarket and whilst the directions in the aires book were good, we of course followed the sat nag (again) and it was virtually impossible to find the place.  There were several motorhomes driving around who seemed to have the same problem.  

The problem with Sees is that it’s a lovely old French town but it has very narrow streets and every road towards the centre says nothing over 3.5 tonnes, and of course we are over 7. So as we were travelling around the ring-road around Sees the dulcet tones of the sat nag repeated over and over again “Turn left” but every turning  said nothing over 3.5 tonnes.  All this time we were only half a mile from the aire. We ended up heading out towards Alencon which was totally in the wrong direction and then pulling over into a parking area to re-assess the situation and to use the tried and tested method – read a map!!!!  We were by then out the south east side of the town heading south and we should have been on the north east side of the town, heading east into the town.  We realised then that we had to go almost back to the motorway and turn right to get onto the correct road. So if anyone is trying to find the aire in Sees you have to follow the directions, go well out of your way and come back into the town to get onto the aire, don’t go through the middle it is VERY narrow.  

Was it worth it?  Well yes it was.  The aire was in the Intermarche car park which had 4 motorhome parking spaces clearly defined and we were the only van there.  It was really handy for picking up some of the essential shopping that we needed.  As we needed to find a vet we took a walk into the town. By now it was late Friday afternoon  and we weren’t holding out much hope to keep to our plan of taking a ferry on Monday.  But lo and behold a quick 15 minute walk into the town centre and there was a vet on our right.  The assistant was very friendly and although they couldn’t fit us in on the Friday evening she offered us an appointment for 8.30 the following morning.  That was great as we could get the dog done, stock up with shopping and be away for a reasonably early start.

As we had had a good result on finding a vet we then continued into town for a nice relaxed stroll.  Now I had been thinking so much about finding a vet that I had forgotten to take my camera and boy, did I regret it.
Sees is a small town in southern Normandy with a population of about 5,000 which seems to be split into 4 quarters and according to an Irish man we met who lived there, each quarter still regards the others as being “Foreigners”.  There is a “Historic walk” that is way-marked around the town and it is a very pleasant walk with some interesting buildings to have a look at including a cathedral which for such a small town was unexpected.

We had a pleasant quiet night alone in the car park and didn’t feel any need to be nervous, however I had a horrible dream that night.

I dreamed that we heard noise outside and when I looked out there were a load of young people who had hooked up our van to what can only be described as a Ford KA and were towing us away, laughing and joking.  Now our brains are terrible, as if a Ford KA would be able to tow us anywhere. We were taken on a long journey, under some low bridges and we were swinging around from side to side.  Now what were we doing all this time in my dream, sitting in the cab seats trying to get the phone charged so that we could call the police (Iain’s always moaning at me because my phone is never charged when it is needed).  Anyway, eventually we were taken to some sort of housing estate where there were several burned-out motorhomes and once we stopped, someone resembling Gene Hunt from Life on Mars in a camel coat swaggered up to my window.   Somewhere deep in my memory I plucked out that I should take flash photographs as that often makes “bandits” run away, but as my door opened and “Gene” looked in, I pointed my camera at him and all that came out was a squirt of water right into his face.  At this point he sneered at me and said “Just what do you think you are going to do with that?” By now I was glad that I am quite a lucid dreamer and I decided that I’d had enough of that dream and woke myself up.  

The rest of the night I spent stressing about what I would actually do if anyone did try anything during the night. That dream was however not conducive to a sound night’s sleep before a long drive – oh well I could always have a nap in the afternoon.

Actually it was a very nice spot and at least we didn’t have to go very far for our shopping. I would recommend the aire to fellow travellers.

Vet info for pet passport travellers:

Clinique Veterinarian – 31 Rue Argentre, Sees. A lovely lady vet who spoke pretty good English.  She charged us just a total of £40 for the examination and worm pill which is necessary and including 3 month’s supply of flea and tick treatment (not compulsory these days) . Compared to previous vets we thought this was a good price.

The morning after the dream, we were off to the Boulogne area about 220 miles which would only leave us a short drive to Calais for the ferry.

We had decided as always to only have short drive on our last day to Calais, just in case there are any problems and hold-ups.  This had worked well for us before when our van had failed to start as we were leaving for the ferry.  So we thought we’d have a look at Wimereux just outside Boulogne which would leave us just over 20 miles on the final day.  We had also not had to use up our spare day with the vet, so we could relax at a nice campsite for a couple of nights – Saturday and Sunday. What we hadn’t bargained for was that this was the last weekend of the Bank-holiday week and there was just no room at the inn.

We usually travel outside the peak weeks and had never booked a campsite but had been successful everywhere we chose with just “dropping in”.  However having driven some 230 miles and tried two campsites we were thinking that we would be spending our last nights on an aire.  So we quickly checked the ACSI book and headed of inland to Guines. This was on the way to Calais (almost) and if we couldn’t get in there then it would be Calais docks for us.

Luckily we were able to get a pitch on a very nice campsite for us to relax before our trip of England visiting family and friends for the next two months.

Guines itself is not much to write about, about a half-hour walk around the town and there was very little to see, so we walked back to the campsite.

What really surprised me is the number of British people who go to France for a week’s holiday, only to drive 12 miles from Calais and stay there for the entire holiday.  Personally I would rather take a drive a bit further south, maybe further into southern Normandy.

Anyway, a full day and two night’s R&R and we were off to Calais. I had waited until the last minute to book our ferry and just for a change P&O proved to be the cheapest.  The only problem was that their website was not that easy and one mistake and you have to enter the whole booking again, and I was doing this on my tablet so didn’t have proper keyboard.  I’m sorry but I’m just not keen on touch-screens and pre-emptive text and after much frustration I must have got something wrong, probably my email address – so sod’s law said that we didn’t get the confirmation of the booking!!!!!

Well after my hissy-fit at the booking I must have been feeling very chilled because we left for the ferry and totally unlike me (mrs worry pants) I just had this attitude of “Well we’ll sort it out at the port and get on one ferry today, and even if we don’t it doesn’t really matter”.  I must have been really chilled. But then when you don’t have work to return to, why worry?

We left in plenty of time and all was sorted at the port, we even got on an earlier ferry.  So now it was:-

Back to Blighty – 2nd June 2014

By this time we had been out of the country for 158 days (except for our brief return to England by air), had travelled some 3000 miles, all of course on the “wrong” side of the road and been up to an altitude of 738m at Granada, but I'm sure we saw a higher signpost on one of the roads.  I’m also very proud of myself as I’d driven every one of those miles!!!!!!! Even though they proved to be pretty scary at times.