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Photo of me at Land's End, Cornwall

Here, there, everywhere and some other places too …

March 2013

A Dougal update

Many thanks to those among you who contacted me about Dougal. As I have pointed out over the past few days we have had our own fair share of dramas but today was an upsetting one.

It all started last night, as I mentioned in an earlier blog. We went to the site restaurant and enjoyed a very pleasant meal. Dougal who likes to sample the fare was in his element with chicken, steak and moules. That, as it turned out, was a bad mistake. At about 3:00am Dougal got very restless and started behaving very oddly, scratching himself and, clearly, feeling very uncomfortable. I don't think any of us in the Vinny Van got any more sleep for the rest of the night as Dougal became more and more uncomfortable.

Ji Hye and I headed into the local town to see if we could find a pharmacy to get some medication our vet in Port Erin told us about in a phone call. In short they didn't have what we wanted but offered an anti allergic option which we bought. Back at the van the little man was getting worse and the newly acquired pills didn't appear to make a bit of difference.

A few quick calls and we located a vet on the island and at 5:00pm we were in attendance with himself feeling (and looking) very sorry for himself.

The vet was a delightful young lady and quickly assured us that the "seafood reaction" is commonplace and dispensed a steroid injection and a course of tablets. She correctly forecast that he would start to improve in a couple of hours and in that she was spot on. That was a day I will quickly try to forget!

Tomorrow we head to Bordeaux to drop off Ji Hye. For now its off to sleep.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pitch number 9C at Camping du Soleil is on the extremity of the site and is peaceful and adjacent to all amenities. The sad part for us is the weather. It poured during the night and although today is dry it is far from the sunny location we knew when we were here last time.
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Last night we went to the little cafe/restaurant on the site where the food was very enjoyable, typically french. But we still managed to create some more drama. As always Dougal accompanied us to the restaurant and sampled what was on offer. To our surprise he seemed very partial to Nancy's Moules (Clams). We didn't realise that was a mistake. Today he has had an allergic reaction necessitating a telephone chat with his vet in Port Erin. He is now on some medication and we hope it will pass soon.
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This site is right on the edge of Ars-en-Re, a pretty village at the Atlantic end of the Island. Today is market day although we didn't get explore it.

Enjoy the pictures.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Joys of Motorhoming!

So we finally made our departure from Camping Haliotis but not without our little piece of drama…You guessed it, more mud. Our wheels sunk into the grassy pitch and a tractor was on hand to haul us out. Once again the staff were fabulous and in no time at all we were back on terra firma and ready to roll.

The day was always going to be one where we simply did a lot of driving to get further down towards Bordeaux where we have to deliver Ji Hye for Sunday.

As things turned out it was a lovely drive, a mixture of motorways and National Routes with very little traffic and some special scenery. We crossed over the Loire and that brought back a memory or two.

Our target was a site which gets good reviews and is in the Vendee. It is called Camping le Rouge Gorge In Pays de la Loire and is another friendly and helpful site which is very quiet at this time because the season hasn't quite started.
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True to form we managed our own little drama. As we settled down to dinner I decided that the Van needed a bit of heat but for some reason the heating controls were unresponsive and, to put it mildly, were as dead as a doornail! We looked at all the logical explanations and found no answer. Calls were made to my mate, Geoff Masden, my "go-to" man in these matters but we all drew blanks. So an early night was called for, a good sleep followed and when we woke up there was good news and bad news.

The good news? Well, the heating controls were now working perfectly. The bad news? The place was covered in snow!

Now the van is heated to a nice toasty warm and the snow seems to be dispersing and we are preparing for a drive down to La Rochelle and the Ile de Re.

An uneventful drive totalling 89 miles gets us to Ars-en-Re. The weather was downcast and misty which was such a pity as the drive from the mainland onto the Ile de Re, across the bridge was just shrouded in mist. Hopefully it will be a bit better when we head to Bordeaux on Sunday. The route today is shown in the picture.

Haliotis, a breath of fresh air.

One of the most infuriating things about my Mac computer is its insistence on correcting my spelling whether I want it to or not. Auto correct is the bane of many a life, and it is very easy to miss every now and then.
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Just recently I was exchanging some chit chat with a friend in Arizona. We were talking about, inter alia, Guernsey. I was about to send him an e-mail when I noticed that instead of a Channel Island I was now referring to Gurney an English poet and composer who fought on the Western Front during the First World War or an American term for a type of stretcher used in modern hospitals and ambulances. I am not alone in my frustration as you will find if you Google "auto correct". Some outcomes are hilarious but others can be a mite embarrassing. Thats the background and my reality earlier was a bit of both.
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Over the past few days we have enjoyed the features of Camping Haliotis here in Pontorson. It is a fabulous campsite, and very nearly fell foul of the dreaded "auto correct". I noticed that it had decided to rename it…Camping Halitosis!There is a difference!
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Mont-Saint-Michele being the incredible tourist attraction that it is attracts tourists in their millions. So, it's not surprising that there is no shortage of campsites, and I have spent a fair amount of time over the past few years researching them. We came across Camping Haliotis about 3 years ago and have been back a few times. It has quickly become one of our favourites because of a relatively unique feature mentioned a few days ago in the blog…Pitches with their own bathroom. But it doesn't stop there.

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The site is on the edge of Pontorson, a small town just a few miles away from Mont-Saint-Michel, well endowed with restaurants and a substantial supermarket. It is flat and has a concentration on animals with a small petting farm and lots of horses in surrounding fields. The staff are delightful and have been fantastically helpful.

Bearing in mind that the season is just beginning and the weather has been less than inviting I have to say this site is the one to visit if you happen to be in this area. So a special thank you to Gerald, Sabine and Alicia for their kindness.

Tomorrow it is time to continue our travels in the direction of Bordeaux.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Today is Wednesday, March 27, 2013 and that means it is market day in Pontorson.
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We have been looking forward to this for a while and it is Ji Hye's first experience of a French market. Interestingly though they are quite similar to markets in Seoul in S. Korea with a range of goodies from clothes to all sorts of local delicacies.

The campsite is just on the edge of the town and less than 10 minutes walk gets you into the swing of things.

Let the pictures tell their own story
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and a big decision.

A great attraction of the motor-homing way of life is that you can decide to change your mind at the last minute if the mood takes you. A few years ago we were heading down the East side of France intending to cut across to the Dordogne. As we sped down the motor way I saw an intersection approach which told me that Geneva in Switzerland was jut some 60 kilometres away. On the spot I turned left instead of right and as a result had an entirely different holiday. Well, I feel a bit like that today. We love this site, Camp Haliotis near Mont-Saint-Michel. It has its own
Image bathroom on the pitch as I described
a few days ago and everything is very convenient.

As we transport Ji Hye to Bordeaux we have been interested to show her a lot of rural France and sample local specialities as we go,

While we are being spared the rigours of the weather in the UK and Ireland nonetheless it is quite cold in the evening and the Vinny Van is very snug and there are no shortage of good TV and movies to watch.

One feature of French life we are looking out for is the French Market. We love wandering through streets looking at all the stalls and sampling the goodies on display. Dougal loves it too as, invariably, he becomes the centre of attention and he knows how to perform for the masses!

So, today is Tuesday and it was our intention to move south but as there is a market in Pontorson tomorrow we decided to wait over in case we don't get to see another before we drop Ji Hye off in Bordeaux on Sunday. Then on Thursday we will have 3 full days to get to Bordeaux and possibly even stop off at La Rochelle on the way.

Yesterday was dry and very very cold. We made our way over to Mont-Saint-Michele which has altered considerably from prior visits. The whole approach is closed and road works are all over the place…Parking is about a mile away and overall it detracts from the experience. Still Ji Hye got these photos. One outside and one inside Mont-Saint-Michele

Mont-Saint-Michel, Sunday, March 24, 2013

Once extracted from our muddy pitch the route was westwards to the town of Pontorson, just about 4 miles from Mont-Saint-Michel. If you have never been to this part of the world then take a note and don't miss it. I am drawn to this place over and over again. It is absolutely laden with memories. My first visit was about 60 years ago when my late parents took us as part of one of our many summertime trips to this part of France. Quite simply, I just keep coming back. It has beautiful memories and it is a truly, bewitching place. Its funny the way some things stand out in the memory bank but I recalled a story dating back to 1980 when, like my parents before me, I felt the need to take my own children here to get the same sort of experience that I cherished. My son, Martin was about 8 years old and we had sailed into Saint Malo on the ferry to start our holiday. Rightly or wrongly I decided that this was to be the time that I would start to teach Martin about fiscal wisdom and allocated him some pocket money which I told him was to last for 1 week. He nodded his acceptance as we drove towards Mont-Saint-Michel.

Inside the Mont is a maze of little streets with shops, restaurants and something to catch the eye at every turn. Gift shops abound and within minutes we were in one looking at all the goodies which, unsurprisingly, were about 50% more expensive than in nearby towns and villages. I cannot say for certain if it was the first thing that Martin set eyes on in the shop but in no time at all he had decided that a small packet of soldiers was something that he could not live without. I reminded him again about how his pocket money had to last a week and pointed out that this particular treat would eat up the entirety of the money. No! He HAD to have it. It was the one thing he had wanted his entire life. So he got his soldiers.
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Now you may well ask how that all fits in with this trip. Whenever we got settled onto our pitch at Camping Haliotis in Pontorson I turned on the television to catch up with the news back home. It was startling to see the images of snow drifts and hear the experiences of everyone throughout the UK and Ireland. One of the worst spots was Belfast with not just snow but power cuts galore as well. So being the sort of worrier that I am I called my daughter Susie to make sure all was ok. Transpires they have had their problems but all is now well. I then thought I would tell her that I had returned to Mont-Saint-Michel with all the memories it held. Without pausing for thought she said, "I know, Dad, Martin's soldiers."

Memories. They are hard to beat.
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We will have more thoughts about Mont-Saint-Michel tomorrow with some pictures as we go inside once again but times have changed things just a little. You can no longer drive up close to the Mont as, it would appear, the tide has created some problems for the roadworks and now you have to park about a mile away and travel by shuttle bus to get onto the site.

Finally, just a few thoughts about this campsite, Camping Haliotis. It is in a simple rural setting on the outskirts of a small town and is memorable because it is one of the very few campsites which has pitches with their own private bathrooms. See the pictures to get an idea. It really takes camping to a new sort of level. Add to that the fact that the staff, Alicia and Gerald, are delightful. A lovely experience. Who cares about a bit of mud?

Mud glorious mud! Sunday, March 23, 2013

Didn’t the old song say, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood…? Maybe that was “Food glorious food” but who cares? Well if its not too late let me amend that to “boiling the blood”! We have spent the last two days in two great sites but affected by the same malaise we talked about a couple of days ago at Sorel. I suppose its hardly surprising bearing in mind the sort of weather that has been inflicted on us. Still we are grateful for small mercies as the news from the UK and Ireland is pretty horrendous with snow, gales, power cuts and misery galore. Add to that the Isle of Man was inaccessible for a while with all shipping and flights suspended…So whats a bit of mud to complain about?

After we collected Ji Hye in Paris and moved to the Les Trios Rois site on the banks of the Seine we settled for what turned out to be an interesting fun night. All the pitches on the site were grassy and although they looked pretty secure it transpired that several among us needed the assistance of the site tractor to move off the following day. Once installed on the pitch the satellite returned to its former glory and we were able to access all channels. I am still baffled as to why we had a problem in Sorel. So, dinner time and a severe attack of laziness took over and we decided to amble off to the little restaurant at the roundabout just outside the gate. Then we had a very funny “good news, bad news” moment. The good news? Well, the restaurant is open! The bad news? Not to the public tonight! A special party has booked it and its a private “do” so a no go for us.

Now, I am not too sure what happened next. Was it the look of starvation on my face? Perhaps it was Nancy’s smiling acceptance but more than likely it was Ji Hye and Dougal casting their special charm. Anyway what happened was pretty special. The hostess looked at us quizzically and out of the blue said, “Do you like dancing? Salsa dancing?”

Transpires there is a salsa dancing class tonight and if we don’t mind classes in between courses then we are welcome to come! The night’s highlight was the look on Dougal’s face as some less than dignified “Strictly” wannabes meandered between the tables voicing, “1,2,3,4…1,2,3,4”. Verdict? We will talk about this night for some time to come.

Friday, March 22, 2013 …Its off to Paris

A couple of times in the past we stayed off at a campsite just about an hour north of Paris called, Camping de Sorel. It is in the Oise region. It is a full grassy layout set in a pretty French Village which boasts the compulsory Chateau!!
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Times have changed since we were here last as they have added a restaurant which, sadly, doesn't open on a Thursday night!

The owners are a happy bubbly couple for whom nothing is too much trouble and were a little unhappy because poor weather in recent weeks had made the pitches muddy and none too attractive. Still they located us on one of the pathways and all was well except for the fact that Dougal and mud go together like peaches and cream and carpet cleaning is now added to our list of ever growing skills!

On the down side we bought 24 hours worth of Wi Fi as I like to do my writing catch up at night time so imagine my chagrin when it simply turned off and didn't return until 8:00am. Not so good.

Also we had trouble with the Sky satellite and it seems that the Sky organisation have now made it tough for people like us to access the their service from abroad. I don't pretend to understand this but no doubt I will be adding bits and pieces as I go along.
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Today is a special day as Ji Hye joins us in Paris for a few days on her way to Bordeaux to study. There will be lots more about her later as her parents in Seoul will be following our travels on this blog.

Hope to see much less mud and much more sunshine. The forecast I looked at this morning is optimistic!

What an interesting thing the satnav happens to be. How did we ever find our way around before they came along? A great example was today's exploits. We were camped overnight about 60 miles North of Paris. Ji Hye Lee flew into Charles De Gaulle airport last night and stayed over night in a hostel just east of central Paris. So the problem for us was how to connect.

Last night she e-mailed us the address of her overnight accommodation, I put it into the search bar of Google Earth and dropped a pin onto the map. From the info tab I got the precise coordinates and promptly keyed them into the satnav. As they say over here, Le Voila! I started the trip shown on the map here and got directed to the very spot where she was standing, suitcase in hand! Minutes later we were on our way westwards out of Paris and are now settled in a beautiful site right on the banks of the River Seine. The site is called Camping de L'ile des Trios Rois, Les Andelys in the Normandy region of France. The site is dominated by an ancient castle on one side and the imposing River Seine on the other.

It was a special moment meeting up with Ji Hye again. For those who do not know her, she came into our lives in 2003 as a 14 year old who came to Arizona to be an exchange student. She lived with us and has remained part of our life ever since. She recently graduated in architecture in Seoul and has come to France to learn the language so that she can pursue even more qualifications. She is joining us and we will meander our way to Bordeaux where she starts her new course on April first.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today we leave the UK and head into France. Following our two day stop over in Surrey we are well placed to make it down to Folkestone to get onto the Eurotunnel service to Calais. Interestingly most people who travel into Europe seem to favour the cross channel ferry route but, for me, the tunnel is simplicity itself. Drive up, check in and drive on without having to leave your driver's seat. Then 35 minutes later you drive off and straight onto a motorway. A great service and my preferred route.
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Anytime we travel through Calais we have always stayed at a campsite in the small town of Guines. It is called La Bien-Assise and is well maintained, friendly and has a fabulous restaurant attached. The facilities are meticulously maintained and we have never had a bad experience. Our problem this time was that they are not officially open until next week. They will, however, let you stay and keep 4 or 5 hard standing pitches available. There are none of the usual facilities operating such as the site shop and Wi Fi. So we decided to try somewhere new. A modicum of research in the Alan Rogers I-Pad app showed me that just a half an hour south of Calais near Boulogne is a site called, Camping L’ Eté Indien. I called ahead, they were open and yes, they had availability and certainly had Wi Fi throughout the site.

Well, it was an easy enough drive down there although the last half mile was on a narrow pot holed road where two vehicles could barely pass. Still I got there and went into the reception to "sign in". It was a shambles. The assurance of Wi Fi given by telephone was simply wrong. They had "a problem" and the machine that issued the passwords had broken and after hanging around for about 20 minutes it was clear that they were not going to be able to provide. Added to that if their system had been working then it was device specific as described in yesterday's blog and would have cost "an arm and a leg". It took little thought on my part to decide to double back to Guines and La Bien-Assise.

On arrival we had the entire site to ourselves. We selected a nice pitch beside the toilet block and ambled off down to the restaurant for a fabulous meal and were able to avail of their Wi Fi in the restaurant to catch up with e-mails.

A huge plus point for us for this site is that they are very dog friendly and Dougal was given pride of place on his rug on the floor beside the table. Then it was back to the Vinny Van and a catch up on the budget chitter chatter.

Tomorrow we head off towards Paris this time stopping at a pretty town called Orvillers-Sorel which has the almost compulsory Chateau, about an hour north of Paris. We have stayed there a couple of times before and from what I read it is now even better. No doubt you will be hearing more about this in the next few days.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today is a day spent relaxing, chilling out and catching up on emails and such like.

It's also a day for using the Internet to look up sites I may well want to visit in the coming days which leads me to express some views about sites and the Internet in general. I feel quite strongly about this.

Firstly it is inevitable, in due course, that the Internet will be available and free in years to come. In many places it is already but there are some who still seek to capitalise by charging through the nose for the service. I am speaking particularly about sites that sell access to the Internet for a single device and nothing else.

With the speed of evolution of technology it is commonplace for people such as ourselves to have more than one device. People have iPads, iPods, blackberries and computers because the nature of communication has changed so dramatically in the last few years. It's now a struggle to keep up. What this means is that when you go to one of those sites that sells single device access you end up paying twice or three times the price depending on the number of devices you happen to have in your motorhome or caravan. The Caravan club is one of the better organisations in that you can buy a subscription which gives you a password which you can then use on any of its sites throughout the country, or at least most of them. The subscription is not device specific and the quality of the Internet connection is usually excellent.

Remembering that communication has changed dramatically in recent years people now rely on their computer or iPad for not just emails but Skype and other forms of communication to keep in touch. I think, therefore, that sites should be attracting visitors by offering free Internet connection instead of taking advantage by charging over and over for the same service. I have to say that this attitude to Wi-Fi is fast becoming one of the main considerations I use when deciding whether or not to visit a particular site.

If anyone has any thoughts on this subject please feel free to go to my contact page and let me know. I am keen to get other views and ideas.

Taken it easy today gives me an opportunity to look back over some sites that I've used over the years and if you're travelling into southern Europe make sure you note
Dianne Thompson's pages, the joys of caravanning, which are very helpful and worth a visit.

Monday, March 18, 2013

There are so many advantages to touring by motorhome that sometimes you can be blinded to the downside. Yesterday was something of an ordeal, an early start, a four hour boat trip followed by a drive of over 200 miles to get to Lincoln Farm Park in Oxfordshire. The end result was that I ended up feeling a little wobbly which led me to feel that perhaps I was working my way through one of those viruses that are on the go and that everybody else seems to have had, of late. I suspected something was not quite right when I didn't feel inclined to eat bearing in mind that right next to the campsite is the Black Horse pub, one of my favourite restaurants!

Anyway the following morning (today) we left headed towards Surrey and the
Alderstead Heath Caravan Club site which I had long wanted to explore. The trip was uneventful, just over 80 miles leading onto the M25 which is often referred to as the world's largest car park. It doesn't take you long to figure out that's not a bad description!
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The site is just a few miles off the motorway making it an ideal stopping off point if you are heading north or south. A beautiful rural setting; hard to believe you are so close to the bustle of London. One thing about the Caravan Club is its level of consistency. You always know what you are going to get and are seldom disappointed. Of course the staffing invariably adds to the quality of the site and I have to say the wardens here are top-notch. We were greeted by Linda, very jovial and extremely helpful. She shares the warden duties with her husband Ron, also attentive and thoughtful. Later in the day when Linda learned that I wasn't feeling 100% she was attentive in the extreme. This is a site I will come back to.
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Weather-wise it still on the cold side but, at least, the sun is shining and we seem to have avoided the miserable snow and frost that so many parts of the UK seem to be complaining about right now.

Our trip from Oxfordshire to Redhill (near London), was uneventful and quick. The day continued to be rainy and cold, but the bigger issue became Frank's health. He simply wasn't the jovial, happy camper, he ordinarily is on these trips. As our plans were to take the Eurotunnel into France tomorrow, this became a critical problem, so Frank spoke with a doctor. After some probing questions, it was concluded he probably has a virus of some kind.

Tuesday: This morning he feels considerably better, and was able, in typical Frank fashion, to eat a hearty breakfast.

We've put our plans back one day, and will stay over in this campsite another night to give him time to feel better still, and if he is back to his annoyingly chipper self tomorrow; we'll be in France sometime Wednesday! So today is a relaxing day, and I'll get back to editing my book!  Cheers!

Day 1, Sunday, March 17, 2013

What a day! St. Patrick’s day was never like this. The alarm went off at 5:00am and after the usual last minute bits and bobs we got underway with the first leg of our trip. Port Erin to Douglas and the ferry to Birkenhead (Liverpool).

It was a four hour crossing but a cabin made it a whole lot more comfortable and I even managed a couple hours sleep. The second leg of the journey was a long haul taking us down to Oxfordshire and, more precisely, the Lincoln Farm Park site in the beautiful village of Standlake. We have been here several times before and have nothing but the highest praise, friendly, helpful and a pretty location.

One of the interesting things about the trip was that as we got further south the colder and whiter it got. The temperature dropped to minus 3 degrees overnight (29° F, -3° C) but the van was very cosy so no complaints.

Its always quite challenging for the first few days as you remember the little things you forgot to pack but this time we feel fairly complete; so far so good.

Dougal is adjusting to the van life and, as before, loves it to pieces. His toys are where he wants them so he's happy!

We got of to an early start on St Patricks day and even had a dog friendly cabin on the ferry - so Dougal was happy too! The crossing was smooth and we arrived at Birkenhead around noon. After dropping the car off at our storage facility, we hit the road, arriving at Lincoln Farm Park, in Oxfordshire around 4:00. We'd planned on visiting the local pub, The Black Horse, which is a fairly easy walk from the campground, but decided against it as an early night was a good idea.

Up early Monday morning, March 18th, to find FREEZING temps and rain, so the van's gas heater was turned on full, and breakfast is just finished. We'll hit the road again in a couple of hours, our destination; Alderstead Heath motorhome park, Redhill, in Surrey. Cheers!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So far an interesting day…Read on.

We are still on the Isle of Man, exercising the option to wait until tomorrow. I think there was just too much exertion yesterday coupled with too little sleep. As a result I felt quite unwell at departure time and common sense dictated that we rest up for a day and do it tomorrow.

Unwittingly we learned a very interesting lesson which people should take note of.

Firstly, what would the cost be for putting everything back by 24 hours? Well, we were unable to get in touch with the Steam Packet company to cancel till 9:00am, one hour after the boar had already sailed, and to my immense surprise there was not a single problem…They switched everything over to tomorrow’s sailing and the cost? Nothing at all. So well done the Steam Packet Company.

Next phone call was to the Plassey leisure Park neat Wrexham. We were booked to stay there for tonight. Not so lucky this time They read me the rules and I forfeit my £19:00 fee. There was no compromise. What they don’t need to do is lecture you on the need to have adequate insurance cover to manage the cost of cancellations. Do they really think someone would make an insurance claim for £19:00? So a bad taste from a site which I have visited many times and recommended many times. My view? Bad public relations even though they were well within their rights. Can’t see us going back.

“Day 1 of our 2013 motorhome adventure got off to an alarming start. We were up early, and began preparations to leave our home  at 6:45a.m. to catch the ferry which was departing at 8:00. Frank had a few last minute details to deal with on the motorhome, and I was upstairs finishing the few things I had remaining as well before leaving. Frank came upstairs and laid back down on the bed...which for those of you who know Frank, is very unusual. He was excited about beginning our journey and so the fact that he needed to lay down was worrying. Good sense dictated we wait and soon made a decision to put everything back for a day.

Frank has mentioned the Steam Packet Company, kudos to them, no extra charges for tomorrow’s crossing. As a side-note, we had to cancel one of our long-time favourite campsites; Plassey near Wrexham, Wales and were shocked to learn,  even in the event of a health scare, they would not refund our £19. Frank was very polite, and explained, in detail the circumstance of our cancelation, the receptionist’s response was very businesslike, and even though we've stayed with them many times, did not offer even the most cursory comment regarding his health, instead commenting that everyone should have good insurance cover for cancellations! Obviously no one would make an insurance claim for £19, and if they did their increased premiums would more than make up for any advantage such a claim might have given them. Needless to say, we are both surprised at the cold attitude of the receptionist, as well as the companies’ policy - we will not be returning”
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Everything is prepared, the Van is as ready as it has ever been. We have checked all the systems and they seem to be functioning properly.

So today is a bit of a bonus in that all the work is done and some good rest is now available and we will capitalise on that!

So this is the view of Port Erin that we are leaving behind tomorrow morning. No matter where we travel, home is hard to beat.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Here we are with less than 24 hours to go to the start of what, we hope, will be an exciting trip. Today has been spent loading the Vinny Van and discarding stuff that we have accumulated over the last few years.

Dougal has gone to see Rod, his groomer and should be a smart looking young puppy. He gets very excited as the van is being prepared as he clearly knows that we are soon to be back on the road. He loves travel and is incredibly funny carting his toys from the house to the van in case we should forget! As if!!!

It will be an early night tonight as we are up at the crack of dawn to get to the ferry in Douglas for the first leg which will take us to Birkenhead. After that we will stop off at the motorhome storage point where we will leave our car and then its on the road with the first stop being the Plassey leisure park near Wrexham. We have stayed there many times before and it is one of our favourite stopping off points. It gives us an opportunity to do all of our final checks before the serious travel.

Whilst we have checked out all of the systems to date it is always handy to recheck after actually living in the van for a night.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This is how we will introduce comments, pictures and videos from Nancy through the blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The preparation continues with a big battery check requiring a run into Douglas. Acquired a new leisure battery and some good advice about how to ensure the battery won’t run down when in storage for a few months. Feel a lot happier about things. This was todays driving time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The preparations have begun in ernest. I went to Liverpool this morning to bring the Vinny Van back to the IOM to prepare it for the trip. A very cold day, but an uneventful drive to Heysham to get the boat across. This is today’s travel map.

Thursday, March 7, 2013



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