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 …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Monet’s Gaff and Garden

My regular reader will be totally unsurprised that there has already been a change of plan.  This CoP took place halfway across the somewhat choppy channel and was in addition to the CoP that occurred before main engine start, so I’ll deal with them in order.

I’m not headed for Spain straight away and the Picos will be left for spring as I’m already a month behind schedule and am now delaying my arrival in Spain by a further week. Along with thousands of others K & L had their holiday plans snafued when Monarch went into receivership last week. They will get all their money back (eventually) but both were so disappointed not to be going on holiday in a couple of weeks. I felt for them especially as I was about to swan off again. So I threw a suggestion at them – and return flight only for two was booked within minutes! The only flights that were left at a halfway decent price, well it will be half term that week of course as both are teachers, were flights to Nice or Toulouse. I nixed Nice as it’s too far out of my way so I’m picking them up at Toulouse and they will have a few days in the van with me. Depending on temperatures we can either Atlantic or Mediterranean coast it and see some sights along the way.

Main engine start had me with a vague plan to go to Bilbao for a few days before heading back over the Pyrenees to pick up the girls. That was before I met Jo. I spotted her whilst we were queuing to go through passport control and clocked her as a fellow lone traveller. Then we met in the cafe on the ferry and decided to sit together for a while; well actually the whole journey, so busy nattering we hardly noticed the Rough. As you do, we exchanged views of the world (similar), frustration at people who think we’re “sooo brave”  and others who think we must be lacking something as we don’t have men – you get the picture. Amongst other topics covered were overnight stops and Jo told me that there is a motorhome stopover at Giverny. I pass by the sign for Giverny every time I come over and return but’ve never got round to stopping. Jo was right to reassure me that the gardens are still very colourful at this time of year, but only a couple of Monet’s waterlilies to be considered. (I really have watched far too much Python!)

So first night in France since June, in the car park at Monet’s Gaff and Garden …


Off to a great start.

🙂 🙂 🙂


You’d have to go a very long way to find as peaceful and beautiful a retreat as the water gardens at Gooderstone in Norfolk. The Smart One loved it as there are 13 bridges crossing the waterways and with the site map he was able to visit and cross each bridge in number order; Aspie heaven! Construction began in 1970 by retired farmer Billy Knights on a meadow too wet to be grazed by cattle and was open to the public for 20 years until his death. His daughter began reconstruction in 2002 and the gardens were reopened in June 2003. We spent a couple of hours there and for me it wasn’t long enough.

Gooderstone Water Gardens

After Gooderstone we drove to Thetford forest to meet up with The Smart One’s paternal grandparents for a picnic. Sitting around a six seater picnic bench a game of kicking the football around under the table began, goals being scored if the ball went between the legs opposite and reached the area uncovered by the tabletop. With the score at 8-6 (winners would be the first side to 10; rules were made up during play) the losing side opted for a substitution and on to the field of play came the LWD (in actual fact she just decided to join in) and although she managed to nose 3 past her opposition she wasn’t quite Roy of the Rovers, the eventual score being 10-9.

LWD plays Noseball

🙂 🙂 🙂

Did I forget to mention?

You may well have noticed that one of my hobbies is losing stuff. Thankfully, mostly it turns up eventually, usually when I’m looking for something else (and I still have high hopes for my purse). I’m very grateful that yesterday whilst I was rooting round on K’s overloaded desk for the printer cable it was the turn of my passport. What it was doing on her desk neither of us has any idea, let alone how it got buried.

I was having to print an appeal letter plus photographic proof for the DVLA as they are trying to fine me for not having insurance for the scooter. This would be the scooter that has never been out of my garden, has only 1.1 kms delivery milage on the clock, was SORNed, and insurance cancelled when I discovered the garage door measurement is smaller than the internal garage measurement and that I can’t get the scooter through the door into the space that it would amply fit into … definitely a double moment … blonde and senior!

Not on the road

I digress.

I am extremely pleased as, having found the aforementioned passport, the trip to Belgium and the Netherlands can take place in April. (I was beginning to mull over UK alternatives.) So this morning I have booked my first trip through the Eurotunnel. I’ve always said that I wouldn’t ever use it after seeing a video of it emerging from the tunnel with the windscreen wipers going – it leaks? I am accepting BB’s explanation about pressure etc., but if I drown I’ll kill him.

In the meantime, the world is beginning to look a bit more colourful – Spring!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Different journeys

The wait for the house sale to be processed is agonisingly long and I’ve started to think about it as part of my journey to retirement as a way to counter the frustration I feel. Driving back from work in the late summer sun and warmth today reminded me that next year I shall be journeying through sun and warmth in very different places at a slower pace, able to take time to just enjoy. And I thought about my journey through summer this year, a journey of colour, blue skies, warmth, sun and fun. A true summer such as we haven’t had in the UK for seven years. So here are a few of my memories of the long summer of 2013.