Somerset area motorhomers meeting!

Bonneval lived up to my expectations. A superb medieval town which grew up around the monastery originally built in 857. The town was eventually fortified and part of the R. Loir (not the famous one with an “e”) was diverted round its walls to make a moat for added security (and doubtless a dumping water for all sorts of medieval rubbish). Of course it was fought over many times, walls torn down, church and abbey destroyed/rebuilt, destroyed/rebuilt, yada, yada. Many lovely old buildings do remain and the Aire is up against the walls of the rebuilt rebuild which was then restored, monastery which was eventually acquired, firstly by a private owner, some Duke or other, whose family either petered out or had money problems and sold it off to the government a century and a half ago; currently in use as a mental health hospital. I decided not to offer my skills!

Bonneval

I got chatting to my next door motorhomers (English) and was invited in for a cuppa, lovely couple, live just 12 miles up the road from Langport, in Taunton!! It also transpires that he vaguely remembers the name Mepstead from his REME days as an electronics engineer, BB would have been the senior (but then he’s older than Methuselah!). Small world – again! We’re headed to some of the same places so we may well meet up again and we’ve exchanged home details.

As can be seen, lovely weather during the day, freezing at night, literally.

P.S. Luvsya BB, mwah!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Docking at Dieppe

It amazes me how these ferry Captains turn it on a sixpence in the small harbour at Dieppe and side it in with unerring accuracy to tie up with nary a coffee spill, I wanted to clap but knew he/she wouldn’t hear. We were first off our deck and I hared off to Intermarche for diesel and a baguette; LWD did her first (desperately needed) pipi on French soil – vive la France, enfin nous sommmes ici!

“ Dieppe? DIEPPE? What happened to Cherbourg?”

Brittany Ferry’s prices are what happened to Cherbourg, dear regular reader. No Old Farts discount, £25 for LWD and she doesn’t even leave the van, and the total came to well over £200 for a crossing that’s only half an hour longer than Newhaven/Dieppe. I did not book. I did the maths on the extra fuel. We crossed for significantly under £100 thanks to DFDS whose staff are lovely, friendly and efficient. It doesn’t surprise me that they win ferry operator of the year; every year.

Newhaven harbour, the Seven Sisters ferry and the RNLI lifeboat

Le (millpond) Manche was so calm we arrived early and I had only one small (unsigned) diversion to overcome before reaching our designated Aire at Bonneval just after dark. The town, from our brief recce of last night, looks picture book. We are off for an explore when I’ve drunk my second cuppa!

🙂 🙂 🙂

All good fun

Four frosty days hooked up, thankfully, in the Midlands hanging out with BB. There are times when we behave like children, spontaneously play silly games and dissolve into fits of giggles.

Me: Where are we going?

BB: Dunno, which exit shall I take off the roundabout?

Me: First.

BB (having complied): At the junction?

Me: Straight on.

BB: At the roundabout in about five miles?

Me: Second exit.

BB: If it’s the M6 toll as I think it is,  you’ll have to chose another.

Me: I said second exit!

BB: That roundabout was the next roundabout, not the roundabout in five miles!

The second exit at the roundabout in five miles was the M6 toll. So we ended up taking the third exit to Lichfield; which was probably where BB intended to go all along, we just got there giggling and via a longer route!

Like me he’s into shop and market browsing and certainly neither of us is to be trusted in Fat Face. We enjoy the same films (mostly; I’ve never been a John Wayne fan), comedy (Swimming with Men and The Last Laugh watched this week) and music. You might think that’s entirely unexpected for siblings but BB left for Army Boys School when I was still in single figures (just) and I didn’t see much of him for the next dozen years – has to be the genes! The fact that we’re both currently having to diet I blame on the genes too!

The snow was very kind to us; I think Fazeley and a small surrounding area might have been in the only place in the UK that didn’t get a snow dump. Even Langport had sufficient that a snow day was declared by the local schools. The Smart One had huge fun with his mates snowball fighting and sledding, apparently returning home virtually hypothermic.

Tuesday was Coventry;

Wednesday was a brisk walk around Kingsury Water Park;

Thursday was a tiny bit frosty and included a trip to Lichfield;

I’m back now for the final week, which includes a meet up with The Bezzie and a double birthday party (J’s 40th and K’s 45th) before main engine start …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Medically and dentally fit to travel!

Last week the dental extractions happened, I can’t believe how much better I felt virtually immediately. Having had months of sinusitis and troublesome teeth it’s great to be pain free!!

This week I visited my new Practice Diabetic Nurse. She was all ready to plough through the indoctrination spiel and was heartily glad that she didn’t have to after I gave her my history. She was very pleased that the weight loss programme is well underway, and that my fasting blood sugars are already responding to the weight loss so far; not yet down to normal range but showing an improvement. Go me! As I requested she’s leaving matters to me for the next six months; when I go back to see her on my return, all being well I shall be down to my target weight, and back in remission.

The last few days I’ve been converting my travelling thoughts into hard plans; deciding on places I want to visit and finding Aires and Camper Stops. On the plans are granite granaries, schist villages, medieval bridges, and a lot of twisty windy mountain roads (snow chains and shovel are on board just in case). I’m down to Central(ish) Portugal and week 5 so far. Place your bets, dear regular readers, as to how quickly I throw the plans out of the window …

I’ve made a conscious decision to avoid all large towns and cities unless there is something in one that I really don’t want to miss. Neither Daise nor I like the noise, traffic or crowds so we’ll stick to being country bumpkins. There will be one exception; just before Easter, K and The Smart One are going to a resort just outside Barcelona. I shall find a campsite close by for that week and show them round one of the few cities I actually love.

 

Next week I’ll be spending a few days with BB at the marina; the lady “what runs it” says I can stay in the car park – if the weather remains this cold I’m hoping she’ll let me hook up for a reasonable charge.

20 sleeps to main engine start …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Well slap me on the back …

… and call me slimline; the first 5lbs are off!

It’s taken a little longer than I hoped but it was the season of good eating; I could’ve really stuck to my calorie limit and lost more but the blood sugars weren’t super high; I have another three weeks before my diabetic appointment and if I’ve lost another 3 lbs by then I’ll be happy. I’m using an app on my phone called Lose It, (Thank you for the recommendation Richardsons!) it really helps keep track of the calories for every meal, I don’t have to count the calories, the app does it; also, I’ve become more aware of where the excess calories are. Alcohol is off limits temporarily – but they say “no pain; no gain” – p’raps I should say “no gin; get thin” or “no wine; look fine”.

I’d got a more than a little lazy so I’m increasing exercise both LWD walking and knitting. Knitting apparently uses 102 calories per hour so my cotton tops for the summer are being made whilst I  sit virtuously and lose weight! In fact I may give up the walking in favour of speed knitting! (Escape Route, I presume the Extreme Knitter is super slim?)

Over New Year my favourite ATM was attacked by an explosive device

I’ve got fed up with the back cushions on R0X1’s sofas being too deep and being unable to sit sideways without back support to snuggle with LWD; guests find sitting straight a bit uncomfortable as they’re pushed too far forward. So, as I don’t need the back cushions to use as a bed, I enlisted The Bezzie’s help to measure up for slimmer replacement foam and I then alter the covers to fit. Great minds having got together we came up with a plan, which we promptly jettisoned for another plan and the final plan really works for me. With the old back cushions removed I can lean back on the cab wall comfortably and sit along the sideways sofa without having to add a panel at the cab end to lean against, (loads of work saved). The thick back cushions have been replaced with scatter cushions on both sofas which sorts out the lack of room and also looks much more homely. R and I make a great design team!!

A dart got metaphorically thrown at my computer calendar and I’m off on the 12th February. I’ve got a couple more things to do on R0X1, spring clean for a start and a little more discipline in the storage area would help, before we head for Poole. (Anyone know of a good overnight stop in the Poole area – preferably free?) I have to admit to a twinge of excitement …

🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. Seen in Tesco Friday 3rd January 2019

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Happy Easter 🤣

Sandfly swarm

The live singer in Saltash on New Years Eve was enjoyable even tho’ the mixing desk somewhat overly heavied on the decibels from the speakers. Frankly, her voice was very good and if he hadn’t had the backing up so loud she probably wouldn’t’ve needed a mic. The DJ who was on during her breaks was even more heavy handed on the decibels  – when will these folk realise that music does not need to be that LOUD in a small enclosed environment.

Okay that was the last rant for 2018.

New Year’s Day saw R and I walking at Seaton (Cornwall) sea front. I felt right at home steering R0X down a narrow, twisty windy to the beach and just after we’d parked illegally on double yellows the sun chose to come out to play. The warmth that came with the sun’s appearance must’ve convinced the sandflies that spring had arrived as the damn things swarmed everywhere. LWD was covered, R got one in her eye and I tried desperately to breathe through my blocked nose (I’m now into week 5 of the cold and cough from hell) to avoid swallowing a mouthful. Apart from that we had a great walk and lunch; R did impressively well on her new knee especially as she’d spent a fair bit of the previous evening dancing.

Seaton (Cornwall) January 1st 2019

So an auspicious start to the New Year for me and only six weeks to the start of my next trip … France, Spain, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, France, Germany and Denmark; I figure in the event of a No Deal Brexit they’ve got to find me before they can deport me!

Happy New Year dear regular readers! (I think there may be more than one of you) I hope 2019 will see you and yours happy and healthy throughout.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Solstice and a damp squib

Solstice celebrations with J & B, who came up from Torquay, were excellent. We gorged on roast lamb, pigs-in-blankets, stuffing, yorkshires, roast taters, loads of veg, and gravy and toasted the shortest day of the year. Summer’s coming! As a family we do this more years than not because unless Christmas Day is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday J is working that night.

Just as well we enjoyed J & B’s stay really as Christmas got cancelled.

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Solstice celebration.

I’ve had a Brute of a Cold I can’t get shot of for well over two weeks, some days are less symptomatic than others; Christmas Day was not one of them. Unfortunately last week K started The Cold and was also having a bad day. We made do with staying in our jammies, snacking on biscuits and cheeses, mince pies and cheesecake. We did open pressies. The un(so far)infected Smart One had the most pressies and was then happy to take himself and his loot back to his teenage cave; K and I dozed, watched Strictly and a few old Christmas comedies and went to bed early.

 

Langport reflecting the damp squib that was Christmas Day.

It could’ve been much worse and I’m having a less symptoms day today – so we’ll have Christmas today!

I have high hopes for the New Year celebrations which, for me and the Bezzies, will take place in Saltash.

Thank you for reading my blog and I do hope, dear Regular Reader that your Christmas was wonderful and that your 2019 will be happy and healthy.

🙂 🙂 🙂