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.

🙂 🙂 🙂

It’s a dog’s life on the Levels.

So we (LWD and I) continue to investigate our new surrounding in terms of finding suitable off lead dog walking, and I have to report that we are a little overawed by the amount of choice. We have trekked several routes along or near the banks of the R. Parrett, we’ve found a route into town by going around it, and a route on the disused rail line to Yeovil, not that we’ve gone quite that far yet, we stopped at the medieval abbey at Muchelney.

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We’ve discovered The Hanging Chapel in Langport, a 15th century chapel built on top of a 13th century archway at the eastern entrance to the old town. It was a fairly common practice in the middle ages to have a chapel at the entrance of a town so that merchants and other travellers could give thanks for a safe arrival or pray for a safe journey on leaving. It is a Grade 1 listed building and a scheduled ancient monument. The chapel is still in use today as a Masonic lodge.

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East view

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West view

Today we climbed the steep banks of the highest hill in this neck of the woods.

Burrow Mump is a 79 ft high tor standing near the confluence of the River Tone and the old course of the River Cary, joining the River Parrett at Burrowbridge, surrounded by the low lying land, maximum 25ft above sea level, of the South Somerset Levels. Thought by some to have been used by King Alfred, he who according to legend let the cakes burn whilst on watch for Danish marauders, as a lookout point across the levels. Today the views from the top are 360° of drained farmland, in Alfred’s time the views would have been of swampy marshes. A medieval church was built on the hill in the 15th century. The current ruined church on top of the hill was built in 1793. The land and ruin were donated to the National Trust in 1946 as a war memorial to the men of Somerset.

 

All that and I haven’t even had to unpack the wellies – yet …

🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m no beginner … (a long rant)

… when it comes to moving house and after making 18 of them personally and having helped my kids on several more, I can with a lot of experience say that this one has been an absolute pig’s ear.

It was an inauspicious beginning, and continued downhill, with the van and two muppets turning up two and a half hours late. I’d already had to leave in R0X1 with the zoo (grandson, dog and cat) to meet estate agent on time leaving K to oversee the loading of furniture and boxes (already packed by us). A quick re-assessment of timing and I was expecting K in Huish Episcopi around 14.30 and van about an hour later. Nah …

Around 13.00 Kate phoned to say the van was already full with only 2/3 of our stuff loaded. Phone calls to firm’s HO ensued – K was accused of adding stuff that wasn’t on the inventory. K insisted she hadn’t and could prove it with her copy of the inventory. Conversations in a non-English language ensued between HO and the muppets culminating in an offer to get another van to move the remainder, magnanimously at no extra cost to us … !!! K arranged to overnight with a friend, and the first van-load arrived here at 18.00 without one complete bed aboard. The Smart One spent the night in R0X1 with the cat and I on a mattress on the floor on the house with LWD.

Despite all boxes being marked with their destination rooms marked on them a lot ended up in random rooms which had nothing to do with box contents. To and injury to insult boxes were all stacked 5 high, regardless of some being marked fragile contents; these guys were obviously not amongst those who consider me vertically or age challenged, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with discrimination this once I would have jettisoned my principles!

Having been told a van to move the remainder of our possessions would arrive at 14.00 the following day K spent a pleasant afternoon next door with our now ex- neighbours. The different van and 2 different muppets made a timely appearance at 18.30, loaded up and duly arrived here at 23.00. I refused to hand over any money before they unloaded as the previous day’s chaps hadn’t finished all they were supposed to, if they moved things where they should be, including K’s bed base from the conservatory upstairs to her bedroom I would pay them and then they could bring the rest in. This request necessitated several calls in a foreign language to HO, on speaking to the manager I was left with the impression that although human error had occurred on their part it wasn’t their fault as such and I should shut up, put up and pay up. The legs for K’s bed base were on the van, they would not unload them. I after the previous day’s experience of muppets clearing off without doing their full job would not give way I wanted beds made up before paying.

Stand off; eventually the bed legs only were removed from van; the van was locked closed whilst the bed was made; I paid; they emptied the van and sped away into the after midnight hours without bothering to give me a receipt.

We’re in … and still alive to tell the tale; just!

😊😊😊

Pandemonium on the A7

I realise I have not yet reported in full the visit of Paul and Meriam, however I beg the indulgence of my regular reader to bring you breaking/braking news. I will return to the Dutch folk at a later date.

If the written word gets a bit slurred it’s because I’m gulping an XXXL G&T – it has been a  l o n g day.

It started well enough with the Terrible Trio leaving Jávea and heading for the hills, as we are wont. With a quick diesel fill and Lidl top up on vino blanco, I headed off. South of Valencia I joined the A7 motorway and was bowling along quite nicely. I was way behind P&M as I’d made a coffee and dog convenience stop. Suddenly there was a very loud bang and R0X1 started wandering about the carriageways without my permission. I braked firmly but gently, hit the hazard lights and carefully checking mirrors etc. brought my wagon safely to rest on the hard shoulder. I donned my hi-viz vest and as I deployed my red triangle noted that an awful lot of the rear left tyre was on the carriageway rather than on the wheel. I phoned the RAC. Unfortunately I seem to have overstayed my welcome as far as my breakdown insurance goes – I should have left a couple of months ago – I shall have to foot the recovery bill myself.

Two lovely motorcycle cops came, one retrieved the remains of the tyre from the carriageway – brave lass. The other set about organising a recovery vehicle. The van with the flashing arrow lights – “move over” – parked behind and the driver distributed loads of traffic cones along lane 1 (of 4). Completely unsurprisingly, the cops still had to direct cars into the outer lanes as quite a few drivers thought the instructions didn’t apply to them. They were both very sweet and kind especially when I watched R0X being winched up onto the recovery truck and got a bit upset, reaction I guess, but LWD seemed to enjoy the view from its cab. I was just terrified that R0X would somehow escape her bonds and fall off.

By the time we arrived at the garage in the middle of an industrial estate it was siesta and Señor directed me to a nearby cafe and ordered me to return at 5pm. One menu del dia and a lot of thumb twiddling later, I got back to the garage at the arranged time. 40 minutes later, the temperature had dropped alarmingly, it was trying to rain and I couldn’t get into R0X as she was still up on the reccy truck. I really was starting to panic, I had no idea where I was, let alone the recovery Señor and there was no one around to ask. I was beginning to wonder if I was being set up for a robbery or worse (I really must stop reading so many murder procedurals) and one or two tears could not be held back. My phone had run out of battery earlier whilst I was keeping P&M updated. So I was mightily relieved when another Señor turned up, shortly followed by the Recovery Señor (hereinafter called the Boss). They had been trying to track down 2 tyres (I decided not to trust the one remaining  el-cheapo tyre). No Michelin camper tyres in Valencia. I might be here for the weekend.

Señor Boss asked me via the other Señor (he and I were communicating in French) if I’d like him to take me to a hotel or would I like to stay on the forecourt. I went for the cheaper option. They got a step ladder so I could shelter in R0X bless them.

It was interesting, to say the least, to be sitting in R0X whilst she was backed into the forecourt and then jerkily winched down. LWD, not renowned for her bravery, shivered and whimpered, to be honest as I was already shivering from cold I almost joined in to make it a shiver/whimper duet.

Safely ensconced for the night on the forecourt, I was pouring my XXXL G&T when there was a knock at the door. Señor Boss beckoned me outside to show me two shiny new Vanco Camper tyres and told me he’d put them on tomorrow.

There’s now not a lot of G&T left in my glass and I’m feeling considerably calmer.  LWD has forgotten all about it and is blotto under the table …

🙂 🙂 🙂

The (W)hole story

There’s been another incident. I was reversing up onto the levellers (and to be fair it’s not easy when you’re short, in a big van and can’t lean out of the window to see how far on you are without altering the steering) and overshot a tad. The momentum of the overshoot and subsequent bounce whilst still being in reverse gear, lead to the inevitable… the Hole is in exactly the same place, left hand rear corner, and  the previous fibreglass repair is shattered. Thank heavens for gaffer tape. The wall was not injured during the making of this Hole!

Being totally unable to afford the £2,000 the repairer charged the insurance company last time I had a Hole there and also unable to afford further additional insurance premiums should I claim, I decided to get repair estimates whilst still in Spain. Tyres, servicing and hab. checks here are much cheaper than in the UK so I started hunting around whilst waiting in Torrox for the family to arrive. Nobody in the Málaga area seemed to want my money. One on-line enquiry led to a phone call from a ‘we fight your claim’ firm, another enquiry led to a reply 2 weeks later (after I’d left the area) and another firm never got back to arrange a time for the promised meet for an inspection of the damage.

Disheartened, I decided to head north. A couple of hours later and I was in plasticland, where crops are grown under every imaginable size of plastic cover, and in the midst of all this shiny plasticness I found a lovely site, large pitches, excellent showers, friendly staff, low occupancy (most of the over-winterers had left), bar and cafe only 50 metres from the beach and 500 metres from a small town. I de-stressed for five days in warm sunshine and had an idea …

Balerma

I’ve visited Caravannas Lorca virtually every time I’ve been over to Spain and found them very friendly, knowledgeable, resourceful and reasonably priced. The Hole has been inspected, and it’s entirely as expected, a new part is needed. They will get back to me with a price and a date after they’ve spoken to Adria.

After a night spent at a site near Aguilas that I shall never visit again, I popped into Rosemary and John’s for a coffee and catch up. Coffee, catch up, G&T, hair-cut, lunch, wine, siesta, natter, snack and overnight stop later and with a plan to return for shopping with Rosemary when the Hole is needed at the repairers for mending, I headed slightly north to wait.

I’m now at one of my favourite sites at El Berro awaiting delivery of the Part. Daisy and I will explore some more of the Sierra Espuna national park and with a bit of luck Paul and Meriam may join us here, if not we’ll see them in France as soon as the Hole is sorted …

El Berro and the Sierra Espuna

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weather

I don’t want anyone living in the frozen wastes of Northern Europe to think that those of us in the southernmost areas are getting off scot free. For the past 72hrs and for the next 10 days we have and will continue to get howling gales and torrential downpours. We have had interrupted electrical supply as water has got into fuse boxes but luckily the site isn’t subject to flooding. On seeing the forecast several days ago I had a COP and decided to remain on site rather than move off into the hills and go off grid – except we periodically go off grid here, that’s irony for you!

This area is also the subject of a severe coastal event red weather warning. Now I have absolutely not a scoobies what a severe coastal event is, even so I’m glad to be about a mile inland and the other side of the hill. If and when aforementioned SCE occurs, I will acknowledge it in this blog. In the meantime, answer on a postcard please if you, dear regular reader, have any idea, what an SCE might be.

LWD, not keen on wetness of any kind, as my regular reader knows, and even less keen on ROR (too noisy) has not been impressed by storm Emma’s wind, rain or thunder and lightning so far. Neither have many of this site’s temporary residents who appear to be leaving in droves today. They have obviously not looked at the forecasts for further away – MOS.

You only have to look at Portugal’s reservoirs to appreciate how much this rain is needed – it would take months of rain to bring them up to even half full …

 

On the bright side I have FFP due to arrive …

 

TLAs;

COP – Change Of Plan

SCE – Severe Coastal Event

LWD – Little White Dog

ROR – Rain on Roof

MOS – More of Same

FFP – Friends From Pinar

TLA – Three Letter Acronym

 

🙂 🙂 🙂