Plastic surgery completed

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 …

Pix will follow early next week.

🙂🙂🙂

Change of plans (# 42,969)

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 …

“Reflections back in the West Country”

🙂 🙂 🙂

Where the river ends …

(My regular reader will have noticed my penchant for alphabetising frequently used names; Huish Episcopi being a long-to-type place name will forthwith be added to that list.)

So, we are celebrating our one month anniversary in HE, and what a busy month it has been. I have unpacked and flat-packed, tip runned and charity-shop runned, curtain hung and picture hung, shopped and dropped and finally have come nearly to the end of the list. It has been (mainly) great fun.

We welcomed our first visitors last week J & B came for a couple of nights and gave their seal of approval to the new house and area. Their journey to see us takes half the time it used to.

So with the moving and settling in over with and K and The Smart One about to start at their respective new schools, I can start to explore my new surroundings and decide future plans. At long last I have the new rear corner panel and grey water pipe so that R0X can be repaired. Once that is done she will have a service and MoT,  deep clean and de-personalise and be advertised for sale. Hopefully I shall be able to sell her privately, don’t see why a dealer should make a mint out of me just because I’m downsizing. I’ve had a very brief look in one motorhome centre and quite am taken with the Autosleeper Duetto so far, we shall see. Long conversations to be had with The Bezzies methinks, after all they’re the experts on all things campervan.

I’d like to think that I can be back on the road early next year for a quick trip to Spain and then Holland, Germany and Denmark in June.

Meanwhile here are a few more Somerset views …

Where the river ends

This sign near the river in Langport reads “The River ends at the Sea with mud flats – which can swallow you up!”; a humorous reminder that where the R. Parrett flows into Bridgwater Bay there are 4 miles of mud flats with the second largest tidal height change in the world. Unfortunately there have been drownings with the unwary being caught out on the flats when the tide comes in. The bay itself has much more ominous and serious warning signs.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Adjustments

Neither K nor the Smart One are good at change so I shall be staying at the new, cheaper, much larger (no more car park sleeping for me!) Langport home for a few months and R0X1 will be spending a while in dry dock  (SORN’d – Statutory Off Road Notice i.e off road and paying no vehicle tax – for six months) parked up on our new drive awaiting MOT, minor damage repairs, servicing etc. and then, after a fantastic four years and 34,874 miles together, I shall be downsizing her. It’s going to be a wrench but I’m more than ready to adjust my nomadic ways a bit.

Towards the end of my 2017/18 eight month trip I was aware that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as when I started motorhoming. First I blamed all the unfortunate incidents and associated expenses that occurred last trip, next I blamed the inclement weather. The Bezzie pointed out that I didn’t allowed myself time to recover physically  and emotionally from all the hospital tests and procedures of August and September last year before setting out. I was tired and stressed and more than ready to head home a month earlier than planned.

So, after a period of reflection I have made the following observations and recommendations to myself;

  • I miss my family and close friends too much to spend so much time away from them. In future I shall not be away longer than 10-12 weeks
  • I’ve had the best time dashing thither and yon, fulfilling a goodly part of my photography bucket list but continuing at such a pace is giving me quantity of experience over quality, and exhausting me. I shall slow down rate of travel
  • Much as I love Spain it’s so far away, that many miles travelling alone for so many months is not fun any more. I shall still visit Spain but France and Northern Europe will get more of my attention
  • Our move to a bigger house means I won’t have to carry all my worldly goods with me therefore I don’t need such a large motorhome. A smaller Moho means I’ll be able to park more easily in the small towns I love to visit but currently find parking space in difficult

I’m getting my mojo back …

K has decided she would like more of my photos as art work on the walls of our new home, the theme in the hall stairs and landing, unsurprisingly for a family from Torbay, will be the beach. Here are a few of the 50 odd under consideration …

🙂 🙂 🙂

The weasel-eyed hamster is home

As I was feeling so crappy I wasn’t able to travel quite as fast as I wanted up to Dieppe  but that meant I managed to appreciate some rather nice stops.

First was a very peaceful aire at Rignac, it would be hard to find a quieter one, for an overnight.

 

Second was a site at St-Germain-les-Belles by a lake at the edge of a very sleepy and pleasant village. I swear the site’s friendly, funny and quite mad Dutch owners only bought it to have enough room to display all their hoards of junk very eclectic mix of collectibles. I stayed two nights.

 

 

Third was the aire at Mennetous-sur-Cher, picked for it’s convenient halfway-point placement between the previous night’s stop and my final overnight destination in France. I had no preconceptions it was just a place to put my weary and aching head down. It was a lovely treat to find an intact medieval village centre that has not been over-restored or over-touristified and is still thriving. The boulangerie there sold the most divine croissants I’ve ever eaten and M. Bun the Boulanger was to be seen busy baking his bread in the background (apologies if that’s just too much alliteration for your taste).

 

Fourth and final was the aire at Giverny as I couldn’t resist the urge to visit Monet’s gaffe again to see the gardens in spring.

 

La Manche was a millpond, the drive to the car park was easy and by doing my favourite shortcut via Ascot I missed all the M25/4 early evening congestion. My lovely daughter was sitting in her car awaiting my arrival and guarding my parking space in the corner. I got the tea, hugs and sympathy I needed.

My GP agreed that four or five weeks of sinusitis deserves a good helping of antibiotics. Hopefully I’ll stop looking like a weasel-eyed hamster very soon …

🙂 🙂 🙂

A mixed bag

Having parted from Paul and Meriam, them travelling south and me north, Daize and I had an overnight at a lovely aire in the Elbre delta amongst the rice fields and wetlands wildlife.

Delta d’Ebre

It was a longish drive to Figueres where we visited the castle. Daize was her usual patient self; she is so good at standing still as soon as the camera comes up to my eye!

 

The fort at Figueres

I had planned to stay overnight on the aire beside the castle and visit the Dali museum but having both read the reviews and sussed the place out, I decided against. Ignoring the sat nag’s repeated orders to the contrary I left Figueres for France via the coastal route. And what a spectacular drive it is; I only wish there had been miradors big enough for R0X1 so that I could have taken some pictures but, hey ho, one can’t have everything I suppose. Suffice to say it’s one of the grinniest roads of my travels so far, very twisty-windy-uppy-downy (and scarily narrow in places) with the most beautiful views of the Med, the coastline and cliffs, and gorgeous little harbours and marinas. I stopped at the aire just over the border in Collioure, judged it okay and a quiet night ensued. The Adria dealer in Perpignan didn’t have a replacement grey water pipe so I continued on to Mirepoix, with a plan to head east to Provence via the non-coast route, having noted no water leaks from R0X at all.

By this time I was feeling really rough; all my top teeth had been hurting, and getting worse, for well over a week. So when, with great relief, I parked up at the aire in one of my favourite places I decided to stay put for a few days. The temperature was high, the sun was shining, it had to be good … or not.

Overnight the temperature plummeted from 26℃ to 6, the wind had risen to gale force and some rather heavy precipitation had commenced. As soon as I put my head outside, the cold wind hit my face and I was in agony; and that was when I finally realised that my teeth are fine but my sinuses aren’t! I went to the nearest pharmacy and after a conversation with the pharmacist in French (and I needn’t have googled hypertension and sinuses; same words, different pronunciation!) I left with a nasal spray which contains camphor and has just about reduced the pain back down to manageable levels but my glands are still well up.

 

An LWD walk along the old railway track near Mirepoix

So I’m heading home sooner rather that later. I need tea, hugs and sympathy … and possibly some antibiotics.

🙂 🙂 🙂

The Arrogant Macho Peacock.

So, Señor Boss (Pandemonium on the A7)was an arrogant, macho peacock who was deluded about the extent of my nous. He’d got the head shaking, shrugging and teeth sucking down to a fine art and a great deal of it went on as he examined the remains of the defunct tyre and the opposite rear tyre. I think he thought he was on to a winner when I immediately agreed to replace both tyres (What idiot would replace only one tyre?) but I was way in front of him, having already swallowed hard, acknowledging I had to replace both. Then there was the introduction of tutting as he mentioned how difficult it was going to be to get 2 new tyres – and tomorrow’s Saturday. (A lot of hand signing and French, with the junior Señor, was being used by now). He must’ve been disappointed in my lack of interest in the day of the week. If he hadn’t been so determined to siesta and had just taken me to the nearby, but not in sight, tyre centre I could’ve been on my way in only an hour or so. As it was his “garage” was only a lock up – not a wheel balancing machine in sight!

I had to play it somewhat carefully as I was in a very vulnerable position; I couldn’t go anywhere without his co-operation.

When he arrived the next morning to put on the tyre, he started again with the head shaking, shrugging and teeth sucking, adding in a low whistle for good measure. He pointed out that the wheel border had a couple of tiny (and bash-outable dents) and started to talk about a new wheel … out came my phone, and google translate informed him that he could put the tyre on as a temporary measure. Suddenly the dents were not a problem. He capitulated and stomped off taking wheel and one new tyre, bunged them in the boot of his car, and shot off. Back within 15 minutes of departure, he put the wheel, minus any dents, back on. He then put the other new tyre in the hab. area and decided he was driving R0X1 to the tyre centre where the other tyre was changed, I was allowed to accompany him and consequently learnt of the proximity of the tyre centre!

When we got back to his lock up further head shaking, shrugging and teeth sucking occurred when he found out I didn’t carry loads of €s in my purse and that the transaction would be via my debit card. He glared, obviously annoyed the Spanish taxman would get to know about this particular bit of business. By this time my simmering anger was about to head into steam … I couldn’t take much more of his arrogance.

Then my card wouldn’t work, he tried again and again reducing the amount each time obviously concluding that I didn’t have the funds. He looked at me almost triumphant, thinking he’d be adding R0X1 to the collection of many vehicles stored in his lock-up I imagine. I rang my bank and they helpfully informed me that the arrogant macho peacock was trying to put it through on contactless payment and the bill being rather more than €30, the machine was having none of it. For the first time I had the upper hand and I couldn’t resist a smile as I informed him that the card needed to go in the slot and payment rapidly ensued.

You’d be wrong if you thought this was the end of my tyre saga …

Last night having spent a few more fun days in P&M’s company we were due to part company in the morning. I decided to empty my grey water into a bucket as the campsite didn’t have a drain point. I bent down to turn on the tap only to find nothing there. Further investigation showed that the back end of the waste pipe had been destroyed by low flying tyre – I’m not worried about that at the moment as I can put a bucket underneath the new “end” of the pipe. What does worry me is the two slow leaks of water slowly dripping underneath as well. I shall be in Perpignan tomorrow at an Adria dealer to find out where the leaks are coming from. I’m going to France as;  A) I speak more of the language; and B) given my recent dealings (or not in some cases) with Spanish garages (or rather lock-ups in one case) I don’t trust the Spanish – shame really.

I’ll leave you with pictures from Altomira as a reward if you’ve got this far into this overly long blog!

🙂 🙂 🙂