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

 

🙂 🙂 🙂

Welcome to Spain.

My regular reader may remember me musing on the likelihood of a post Brexit barrier for Brits to be stopped at. Well I’ve no idea where it would be placed on the western route from France to Spain because the D810 became the GI 636 with no sign of an Au revoir from France or Bienvenido from Spain. I just spotted a Repsol garage and became suspicious (my motorhomer reader, who may or may not be my regular reader, will know what I mean) and confirmation came from roadsigns now in Spanish. The weather rapidly went from bad to English; leaden grey, miserable skies and heavy drizzle alternating with lashing rain in a cold, gusting wind. The welcome did improve however, with the turnout of 5, yes 5, extremely exceptional convoys spread over many kilometers, to greet me and slow me on my way! One load looked like a part-built train carriage, another looked as if it might have had the train carriage’s wheels; the rest I just registered as very large, lumpy and heavy looking. It made life interesting going up to 2,000ft behind one of them when we came to the roadworks. Welcome to Spain – just like home!

Overnight at Burgos was very cold 3℃ – heating was used! But the next day dawned bright and sunny. Burgos is not an exceptional city, apart from the cathedral which is amongst the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

 

Burgos cathedral.

Driving to Valladolid (Bayadolid) this morning I turned on the elevation doohdah on the sat nag and I realised why I’ve been so cold – haven’t been below 2,700ft for the past 3 days …

🙂 🙂 🙂

France under a cloud

It started with a thunderstorm, luckily it didn’t last all night like the last one I experienced in Millau, as my regular reader may remember. Today the skies are grey, all 54 shades, and spewing the wet stuff hard. My first reaction was to start main engines and head south – fast. On my way to reception to pay for the 2 night stay I commented to a fellow countryman that the weather is just like home. He’d obviously seen the forecast and informed me that the whole of France is under this depression until Monday. In his opinion this is the best place to be, a sheltered spot close to the town centre and its amenities; a comfortable site, showers and electric that at €13 per night is excellent value. I concurred, picked up my baguette at reception and informed them I will be remaining a few more nights.

Rain has stopped play, or may be not; literally as I write, amidst police sirens and blaring horns the big red lorries of the Circus are arriving in Millau! Have raincoat and brolly, will investigate later …

 

When I was last here the old mill building on the bridge beside the Tarn was falling apart, it would seem the renovation is coming on well. As for the bird; is it a goose? Does it have a need to visit a ducktor/dermatologist? Or is it merely very embarrassed?

🙂 🙂 🙂

Midlands meander

R0X1 needed a bit of a push from BB this morning before she got a grip on the wet greasy grass and we were able to leave our home of the past five days. I wasn’t looking forward to the journey as the forecast threatened thunder, lightning, flash floods, in fact everything nasty except fog. I did briefly pass through a slight amount of drizzle but by the time I considered putting the wipers on the windscreen had dried. Daize and I arrived back in the car park in bright sunshine which continued all afternoon.

We’ve been lucky with the weather all week, with the exception of a downpour at Warwick Castle which we avoided with a timely lunch break; everywhere we’ve been it had either just stopped raining or it rained as we were leaving or just swilled it down all night.

Warwick

BB had moored Blue Buzzard in a marina off the Oxford canal that also had a small campsite so I wasn’t off grid but over the previous weekend whilst still in the car park the leisure battery had worked faultlessly and didn’t need any more testing so I was pleased to have the umbilical cord attached! It was a lovely place to stay, quiet, the campsite being above the marina gave a great view of the narrowboats and the comings and goings, with good dog walks available and a central location, so we went out and about a bit.

Now when you’re out and about with BB driving you have to be aware that he has a compulsion to get lost at least once a day, and of course being male he is incapable of asking directions from even the friendliest of natives and wouldn’t waste his money on a sat nag. (He does use maps to navigate the canal system.) I was stunned when, as we were leaving to go to Stratford for a few hours, he handed me the road map and suggested I navigate.  We got to the outskirts of Bardic Bill’s hometown without any problem – come on, I’ve driven across whole countries without problem – except there was a problem. Stratford-upon-Avon was closed for the day, huge stationary queues, we later found out that there was some big bike race on, so we turned round and went to Banbury instead (no cock-horse to ride on so we made do with the Focus).

A fine Lady

The Fine Lady at Banbury X

I’d taken BB his bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it was opened in great anticipation… he smelled… he pulled a face… he tasted… he spat… bloody thing was corked and the contents ended up in the cut… Call me Victoria, I was most definitely not amused, don’t think BB was too happy either. Thank heavens for the Intermarché sauvignon blancs at €4 a bottle I also had with me.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Self (un)restraint.

I was most disappointed during our afternoon walk around town yesterday, after a cuppa and summer berries gateaux in which I was definitely not disappointed, to discover that there had been a concert in the town on the evening of my birthday and some pianist of note had been playing, amongst other things, Rachmaninov. I didn’t read the notice too closely in case it was Rach 2, in which case I would have had a hissy fit of disappointment. As a consolation prize I got some good shots of the sea which was somewhat choppy after the overnight storms, but I was still p’d off enough to leave this morning … (well actually I left according to plan, but saying that doesn’t have quite the same effect!)

Managed to do a bit of squiggling on the drive south, it wasn’t terribly exciting, the tunnels and traffic in  Barcelona, a previously unplanned destination, were hairier. The weather remained a tad inclement, and there was zero chance of any decent views, let alone of the monastery at Montserrat so I decided to divert slightly to a campsite just south of Barca for a couple of days until the weather clears enough to go to the monastery. Whilst here the bus journey into the city centre being both cheap and quick, I’m hoping to get into the Sagrida Familia. R and I decided when we were here a couple of years ago that the length of the queue to go inside (at least twice round it) meant we would miss our flight home the next day so we didn’t bother joining! That was a weekend and I’m hoping that midweek queues are not as long or poor Daisy might get a bit hungry.

Talking of hunger, I shopped at Aldi as I was leaving d’Aro, and rather unfortunately came across some tins of all butter Danish biscuits. I might have managed to leave them shelf bound but the tin had a pattern on it that fits right in with my decor, and I am short of storage tins … won’t be for long, inroads have been made into the contents. But I was very good, I only bought one tin. (But then there are loads of Aldi’s around!!)

🙂 🙂 🙂

I need a man …

The where to cross the border decision was made very easily in the end, by a website – fed up with rain and cold I looked for the best forecast and am now warm and dry at Argelès-sur-mer just south of Perpignan. Impatient to be warm I crossed from north of Bordeaux in two long driving days, I wasn’t that impatient that I couldn’t take the pretty route tho’. Forsaking the delights of Toulouse I dropped diagonally down to Lannemezan and then via Foix, the pretty route. I really enjoyed a little practice run on the hair pins around Quillans and will cross the true Pyrénnées later this week.

I find I’m quite nervous about moving into Spain. I’m very comfortable in France, speaking enough French to get by easily (and even get compliments). I speak only half a dozen words of Spanish – hence the procrastination. I shall be clutching the Spanish phrase book very close …

Shame then, that last night I did not clutch my keys very close, ironically it only happened because I popped out to check the cab doors were locked. The habitation door sometimes opens from the inside without fully disengaging the lock and pushing the door to, so that the resident escapologist didn’t, I soon discovered that the cab doors were indeed also locked and I was on the outside with the keys on the inside … I hate being helpless, especially since a lot of men seem to take great delight in being patronising on such occasions. However the charming Dutchman replied with a very unpatronising “Oh shit” when asked if he had a ladder so I could get up on the roof and in via the thankfully open skylights. He then proceeded to break and enter himself by scrambling up over the bonnet, made short work of the closers and flyscreen and lowered himself into the cab – at this point I had visions of having to re-replace the table mount! – then dropped onto the chair and exited via the habitation door. All my panicked visions of spending the night outside shivering and being eaten to death by mozzies, whilst the trapped inside dog howled the night away in distress, instantly faded. I hugged my superhero Dutchman (and his long-suffering wife) and am now pondering the inescapable fact that a man might be a useful thing to have …

Should I write a job description … or just buy a key safe?

🙂 🙂 🙂

(no photos today as upload speed almost non-existent)

If you don’t like the weather …

… move on.

After a severe thunderstorm which literally and noisily lasted the whole night and having seen the forecast assuring me I can expect several more such events daily for the next 3 days, I’m out of here just as soon as the courier has been.

Shame it’s a lovely place, and the campsite is great (mind the river level’s come up somewhat overnight). Because of poor light/weather I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of ‘le viaduc’ despite a round 14k hike along the banks of the R. Tarn yesterday . Better luck next visit

🙂 🙂 🙂