I have been nagged (repeatedly) by The Smart One because I haven’t written anything since April; as I’m about to go driveabout again I decided to humour him. Here’s the story …
As I said in my last missive I had a great few days with the Mad Dutch couple in Anduze. We ate a lot, drank a lot, laughed a lot, walked a bit and visited a couple of flea markets. We also diagnosed me with a nasty case of hayfever. The beautiful weather we were enjoying came to an end and as the forecast for Anduze and France in general was for “beaucoup de pluie” the eminently sensible Mad Dutch decided to head south in search of the sun. I was feeling the need for family time and headed towards Dieppe and the ferry via Florac and the Cevennes with a return visit to Bonneval for veterinary purposes. The weather was cold and windy with torrential rain and the so called hayfever sneezing turned into an extremely heavy cold; my misery was compounded when one morning the boiler flatly refused to fire.
The Cevennes and a mural on the side of houses in Florac
Bonneval in (a very cold and wet) spring
I arrived in Somerset cold, damp and dirty and spent the next couple of days in bed.
Upon recovery my thoughts turned to the, neglected since well before we got here, state of our courtyard garden. K is very happy to have a minute garden as, although she loves flowers, trees and shrubs, she’s definitely no gardener and over the years even potted plants have succumbed to her (lack of) ministrations. I’ve redesigned the patio and mainly concreted area, decorated with all the blue pots I’ve collected for other gardens, planted said pots and the two very small flower beds and permanently placed the hooked up hose where she can reach it! (Not that the hose has been necessary for the past few days as the English summer has arrived) Just give me the (Chelsea) Gold medal!!
Courtyard (not quite finished)
I was much relieved when a new fuse sorted the malfunctioning boiler issue, I’d had visions of major repairs costing hundreds and plans for future travel being totally scuppered for months. With the garden sorted and no longer needing to save up for a massive boiler repair, ( £1.80 bought me a replacement fuse and a spare) my thoughts turned to travelling plans. According to my Denmark guide it is inadvisable to try camping there from mid-June to mid-August as all sites are pretty well full during the school holidays; so Denmark is delayed until mid-August. Instead I’m off to … Cumbria …never been to the Lake District. I’ve decided to treat the trip as if I’m abroad and shall be using lesser roads and Britstops (similar scheme to Passion France). First five stops are planned, also a meet up with BB who’s on a canal somewhere in the West Midlands.
Apart from seeing R’s latest surgical scar, my other reason for being in Saltash was to celebrate The Bezzies’ birthdays. S had been deviously and secretly plotting a celebration for R as her this year’s birthday number has a zero in it – 100, no I’m kidding there’s a few more decades to go before that! Relatives and friends arrived some of whom she sort of half expected and others she had no idea of. As someone who was completely in the know, I delighted in watching her face as each of her children (and grandchildren) arrived at carefully choreographed times on Friday and Saturday – and it wasn’t even her birthday on Saturday, it was S’s! R’s is on Wednesday. 13 of us sat round the table for a splendid Chinese takeaway followed by the traditional singing to the arrival of the cake, only one candle, can’t have the “old” girl getting too breathless!
Then it was everybody off to the The Cecil, their local, for live music from Luke Deakin, an excellent local musician/one man band! The arrival at the pub of two old school friends was S’s final surprise for her, she’d been half expecting the “kids” and knew I was coming for the weekend but hadn’t a clue about the final guests. Simon having achieved his triumph finally relaxed and got rather merry. We sang, we danced, we drank –
[I actually drank very little, as on Friday I made the (probably fortunate) mistake of standing on R’s bathroom scales and discovered a possible reason for a recall to the surgery for repeat blood tests next week. I’ve put on quite a bit of weight and could well be close to the trigger point for diabetes and the end of my remission. Calorie counting has started. Urgent weight loss is required; I refuse to go back on medication.]
– and rocked the night away, quite literally in the case of the Bezzies and I.
I was sleeping in R0X and they in Big Blue (their new camper van) the bedrooms being filled with other guests. The arrival of an uninvited overnight guest rocked our world as a storm with gusts of up to 70mph swept up Plymouth sound. Parked outside their bungalow right up at the exposed top end of Saltash we did not have a peaceful night in our rocking vans!
🙂 🙂 🙂
P.S. S’s birthday was not ignored he got cards and prezzies and was sung to in the pub as well, much to his embarrassment, he doesn’t do front and centre!
A huge welcome home to R0X1 following “surgery” to her rear nearside (UK) corner and replacement grey waste pipe. At the same time she had a service and MOT and is once more fit to travel. Many thanks to Richard and Brian at my local garage in Langport.
The BFF has also just come out of hospital having had surgery so next week R0X will get a long overdue run out – down to Cornwall so I can help relieve R’s boredom – she really doesn’t do “take it slowly” at all well.
Tomorrow morning festive decorations will appear chez Crosby/Mepstead, looking forward to seeing all my baubles and my Santa collection again. One of the nicest things about this joined up multi generational household is the huge amount of baubles, ornaments, trees and lights we jointly own, all of which will be on display. Then late afternoon we’ll go into Langport for the market, fireworks and lights switch on, hopefully amongst the food concessions there’ll be a mulled wine stall …
My regular reader may remember bullet point 4 in a previous blog, “Adjustments” when I declared that a smaller Moho would be in my travelling future.
Several months and a restful, well since I finished the unpacking and sorting it’s been restful, period of reflection back in the West Country and I find that I have absolutely no desire to sell R0X1 and downsize. I will however, bear in mind time constraints on my breakdown insurance abroad to ensure no further “Arrogant Macho Peacock” occurrences; which experience knocked my confidence sufficiently to cause all the self doubts I’d been having, well that and a four and a half month bout of sinusitis.
The sinusitis ended very abruptly one morning in September when on getting out of bed I suddenly had a moment of dizziness and nausea. I controlled it, sorted The Smart One out for school and then went back upstairs to bed as I felt decidedly unwell. After a violent bout of vomiting the dizziness cleared and I felt better. A few days later I realised my sinuses had been pain-free for over 72 hours without sniffing drugs … and nary a twinge since. 🎶Halleluja! Now that my sinuses are pain free, Halleluja! Halleluja! Halle-e – lu-ja!🎶 (with a chorus of apologies to G F Handel)
The parts for R0X have been sitting in her underpart patiently waiting to be fitted. I’ve found a garage in Langport, the owner of which is very friendly and he and his wife have done some serious motorhoming; R0X will be having her new back corner and grey wastepipe fitted there, along with an MOT and service at a reasonable price in just a few weeks . And of course she’ll have to have a little test run after … probably down to see the Bezzies as poor R is virtually confined to barracks with a serious knee problem, the need of a replacement for which is urgent (no news to us) according to the consultant Orthopod. Having sold their old VDub, R&S were hoping to be making their first trip abroad in their new-to-them campervan early next year but that’s had to go on hold; R is, as always, very philosophical about it and looking forward to being able to do the trip, and many more, without pain at a later date. [She should also consider changing her name to Metal Micky or RoboCop, as she will after this have had both hips replaced, a hip replacement replaced and both knees replaced … my bionic mate!]
Good luck my Friend x
Half term next week and I’m off to plague Big Bruv and help him drink his gin …
Two and a half years ago when I was in El Berro, as my regular reader may recollect, I got into conversation with the owner of the small village store. The conversation was in French as she didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish. She told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had started chemotherapy. Her hair was thinning, she was feeling horrible and was quite tearful. We hugged as I left the shop and I wished her all the best and have thought of her many times since.
A few days ago K wasvery shocked and upset. She told me that one of her friends has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. N is due to start treatment tomorrow.
This morning needing one or two groceries I nervously went back to the shop hoping for the best, dreading the worst. Thankfully, there was Madame, behind the counter, looking very well with lustrous long black hair! Her treatment was successful and all is currently well with her recovery. We hugged again – several times.
There is always hope … think pink …
Cactus in bloom outside restaurant in El Berro. Only 24 hours between buds and flower images.
Storm Emma confined us to barracks, we hung on, and on, and on, at Espiche where we were sheltered from the worst of it. LWD wasn’t that much interested in going out, neither was I, well apart from socialising with old and new friends in the bar and or restaurant! It was great to see Anne and Bob again from the last time I was there, Penny and David who I’d met at Pinar at Christmas turned up, and lovely to meet Patricia and Jim, whom I hope to meet again when I go to Scotland in the early autumn. Who’d’ve thought I’d get such a busy social life from driving around Europe?
Half the sand from the beach at Luz was washed away thanks to Emma. The tide lines have altered considerably.
Escape from incipient alcoholism came after I saw a forecast that the weather was better in Spain and LWD and I headed back across the border – all my playmates were also gone or going. The weather however did not play ball – it was a BBC forecast so no surprise there then. All bets were off and I just made it up as I went along. Manta Rota, last stop in Portugal was beautiful, the Aire was free and there were really great board walks along to the dunes and beach for LWD.
The beach at Manta Rota
The campsite at Isla Christina, due to be my first stop in Spain, however looked dismal and dark with the inevitable pine trees blotting out light. I pressed on – to Seville! I went to an Aire that I knew had a workshop. A mechanic there changed my blown headlight bulb. It’s a relief to be legal again, and to be able to see …
After a very noisy evening and early morning, we got peace from midnight til six a.m. from whatever they were doing on the docks there; it sounded like tons of metal being thrown around. Yes I know Seville is well inland, but the river Guardiana is navigable and a lot of “stuff” gets shipped to the port there and unfortunately that’s the area this particular Aire is sited. At leastI now know how to change R0X1’s headlight bulbs – trouble is I’m too short to reach where I need to get to do it myself anyway …
So where to go next? Forecast is more of the wet stuff in every direction until next week.
So we’ve headed north and we’re now at an Aire in Merida to visit it’s many Roman ruins. Well I am; LWD is not allowed in and will have to stay home tomorrow, but I did walk her round the town this afternoon for a quick glimpse of what she’ll be missing.
LWD was pronounced “improving” by the vet on Friday morning and we hot tyred along the much improved N125 west to Luz. The Portuguese are the latest country to have caught the English roundabout disease and as well as ironing the road surface they’ve added loads of the damned things.
I arrived at my hosts nearly a month late and luckily they didn’t hold it against me. Linda and Trev’s springer isdead ringer for BB’s Sally, identical features, they both half close their eyes when content, brown fur growing longer and rougher than the white, hardly surprising then I was struggling to remember to call her Ruby; definitely related to Sally. Trev very kindly researched solar panels for me and I’ve decided which I’m having. I did think about getting it delivered out here but currently I would have had to have taken the side sofa apart every time I wanted to plug it into the leisure battery, not an option, so I’ll wait til I get back. (BB got a tiny little electrical job for you in the summer …)
Linda and I managed to natter away a couple of days!
Me ‘n the Scouse
Linda and Trev
Monday morning, and we had breakfast of bacon butties and fizz whilst sitting on the very warm patio before I left. They’re back off to UK this week as Linda’s having her second hip replaced in a week or so. It was super to see them and I had a great time, thanks guys.
Arriving my pitch at the campsite at Espiche and manoeuvering on to the levellers I managed to overshoot and bash R0X1’s left hand rear corner AGAIN, leaving a small amount of red glass on the ground. Waste of money to do anything other than gaffer tape it until I can afford to get distance sensors put on (and anyway the lights still work). There was also a bit of a Hokey Cokey with a camp fridge/freezer until I realised that for some reason the circuit breaker had tripped and that was why my fridge/freezer wasn’t working.
Perhaps I should rethink my dark night policy and not continue to cover up the little “I’m working” lights on the main panel … I’m sure the lovely lad who danced the Hokey Cokey to my pitch and back with the fridge/freezer would have appreciated it!