Day one (again)

Counter reset as we embark on a new trip. Day one, to Louroux de Bouble. A longer than usual leg for us on this first day, with a shopping trip in Montlucon along the way to fetch goodies from Grand Frais.

In honesty, a shorter trip would have been better. Dusty came in last night for a change (it was raining) and spent most of the night on our bed, frequently waking us up for attention.

He is of course now complaining that he has been kept in for /weeks/.

Noisy little beggar.

We are making good time on a familiar route, with low volume traffic. I am thankful that it is not too taxing for a tired driver.

Another half an hour to Montlucon then perhaps a further forty minutes to tonight’s CCP Aire. Should be parked up by afternoon coffee time if all continues well.

This is a test of post by mail
Perhaps it will serve us better than the failing IG: IFTTT posting method.

No pic with this.


Where were we?

I mean it; where were we?

Dusting off the blog today, doing necessary security updates etc. and was planning to put some flesh on the bones of our recent trips. What do I find but that a complete six week trip has gone missing, with both the Evernote location notes and the IG photo updates not having come through to here.

It looks as though I have a great deal of work to do!

In the meantime, you can find the short versions that should have copied across to this blog right here>>>

The location notes are simply vapour and I shall need to write up the entire itinerary.

Bridge over the Vienne at Availles-Limouzine

Just to fill in a bit: our latest jaunt was two nights in Availles-Limouzine (28/29 July) – more of which soon.

Plans and further plans and possibly some actual planning

Sometimes WordPress just removes my will to live…

I had saved a draft under this heading. It was almost a complete post and simply in need of proofing. I opened it up last night and it was blank!

I wrote this post again but WP would not save it nor would it upload an image. It has taken an hour this morning to set matters right. I hope that we may now move on.

If I remember correctly I had been waffling on about our next Big Trip. It is an unexpected one and seems, like Topsy, to have just growed (and growed and growed…) Events have moved on and so I will address short term plans first.

This one evolved only yesterday. As previously mentioned, we had hoped to go out every week between arriving home from the winter trip and going off to Girona in May. A combination of factors has prevented that so far (Dusty and the vet; Mr Snail and another virus; the bloody awful weather.) We have about another week of rain to come but after that there should be some slightly improved weather and an opportunity to venture forth (if a third virus doesn’t intervene).

We hope to make a three night trip; two nights in Amboise and a further night at Selles-sur-Cher. We will drive up the quick way – motorway to Tours and then along the Loire by the Levée to Amboise. From Selles-sur-Cher we will return by a more meandering route cross-country.

Amboise is known to us, although the previously privately-owned Aire, which had been closed, is now reopened and operating as a CCP site. Selles-sur-Cher is new to us, though we know (and love) the cheese.

Quite a homecoming

You would think would you not, that I might have cracked on with writing up our adventures in the blog once we had arrived home. So, why the radio silence?

We had a difficult week.

We arrived home to find that the battery on the Batmobile had died whilst we were away. The Batmobile turns out to be a very touchy car and accessing it with no life in the battery was very challenging. To keep a very long and fraught story short, it has involved buying jump leads (no success), an intelligent charger (it gave up), a nifty wee booster box (got it started!) and a new battery… which then necessitated further purchases of a Diagnostic Box and a couple of Apps to get things working, Much time has been invested and much staying in for deliveries. We finally had a working vehicle a whole week after we arrived home.

Dusty needed to go to the vet on the Monday morning. A hitherto unrecognised abscess on his leg burst on Sunday evening, the day after we got home.

Five return visits to the vet in L’Isle Jourdain were required. Again, time-consuming – not to mention the mental stress involved in caring for a sick animal.

Aside from the initial servicing of tanks etc. on the day after coming home, the van has been in almost continuous use in lieu of the sick car and has yet to be properly unpacked/repacked.

Our forward plans include a return to Spain in mid-May, to Girona. We had intended to go out every week between coming home and the Spanish trip. Part of that thinking was to get plenty of use out of the van. More importantly we felt that we should keep Dusty used to travelling and to being confined.

Due to our difficult week we did not go off anywhere last week and this week the weather seems to be against us, so it seems that we shan’t be going off until next week. It’s disappointing. However, at least Dusty has been getting plenty of travel/carrier practice in – not to mention having to be kept indoors rather than regain his outdoors habit. Not all bad then.

Looking Forward

In the course of writing this post in dribs and drabs throughout the day (I have been doing a lot of cooking and freezing in readiness for future travels) plans have been morphing. Plans may morph further still but currently we are looking at another long trip of probably around four months duration.

We want to go to Scandinavia to avoid the worst of the summer heat in France.

Now, we could come home from Girona in May, pootle around a little for a while and then head North, but we have reached the conclusion that once we are out, we might as well just keep on going. Bad news for Dusty!

There is a deal of fine dining factored in to this trip. El Celler de Can Roca in Girona in May is to be followed by Noma in Copenhagen in June (Seafood Season menu) and a return to Noma on a date between July and September (Vegetable Season). Between the two Copenhagen stops we will explore as much of Scandinavia as our time allows.

Quite a trip, if it comes off. As always, we remain at least flexible, if not downright fluid.

We need to get Van Nessa in for her first annual service before we go anywhere too far afield or possibly en route if we really do set off in May. There are plenty of Fiat garages in Europe, aren’t there? we’ll find one somewhere.

One thing is for sure, if we do carry out this mad plan, we can convince ourselves that we are genuinely giving Nessa a run for our money.

Will I find time to bring the blog up to date with our Iberian adventures before pack up and head out again? It seems unlikely, doesn’t it. I will do my best to post some highlights and some photo galleries. Every little helps.

Gone agley again

I had been eagerly anticipating a few days in Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site and apparently the Portuguese town with second best quality of life, it also offers some good restaurants. Jolly good.

We planned to take three nights at the Orbitur site there and then extend our stay if we liked it.

In the event, it was all a bit of a disaster. The site is situated close to the outer edge of the ring road. There was nowhere to walk the dog. Mr Snail has injured his back so walking into town for dinner or sight-seeing was off the agenda and getting the bikes out, completely impossible.

It was all a bit of a shock to the system after the peace and quiet at Markádia. The traffic noise was horrible and the air quality not at all good. Nell had to be walked around a derelict building site (again).

We stayed one night and saw nothing of Évora at all.

It wasn’t all bad. When walking Nell we stumbled across a good pet shop, where we were able to purchase Nell a new bed ( her old one being now in a very disreputable state of repair and quite disgustingly malodorous.) She also acquired a bag of three balls to play with.

This morning the weather was atrocious and water was running all over the site. The showers were cold. We just got ourselves off site asap and off to stock up at Pingo Doce, knowing that our next stop was to be miles away from anywhere.

So, we made it back into Spain! We find ourselves the sole guests on what must have once been a very elegant campsite indeed. However, it has been closed for some time. Now reopened but showing all the signs of neglect in the interim.

The man who runs the place has little English but was welcoming and helpful and he lost no time in turning the hot water on for us. Good man. Intriguingly, he handed us our very own toilet roll… Also, very unexpectedly, the restaurant is open daily from 08:00. Who are they serving???

The scenery is awesome, with some wonderful geology and Griffon Vultures flying over the ridge that looks over the campsite.

That ridge does however block signals. We have no WiFi, but some phone signal – hence the emailed post with no images.

Catch up later.

We will probably stay here two nights at least. I have plenty of food on board.