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.

It’s coming…

We are getting ever closer to our new van. It is supposedly 13 days away. I say “supposedly” because we have been here before and I shall not quickly forget the horrors of last year when Mr Snail had to stay near Paris for several nights after travelling up on the train at 6am and finding Heidi Hymer not yet CT’d or ready when he arrived on collection day.

At least Naintré is a bit closer to home.

The funds have been transferred for the balance of the payment. It hurt a bit, the Exchange Rate being what it is. A good job that we didn’t actually buy the more expensive van from Cognac.

Anyway, all that we have to do now is to sit and wait.

With under two weeks to go perhaps I should be doing more than just waiting. Perhaps I should be organising some packing? We have invested in some of those colourful plastic skips with handles. They are flexible and durable and we think/hope that they will be just the thing for organising the luggage space under the bed. I could at least be sorting items into the skips (we got all the colours so that we can identify what is where. Also, with great regret, I feel it may well be time to be laundering, ironing and filling packing cubes with clothing in readiness.

We want to go away with more or less immediate effect, in order to test all systems and fittings. We will most likely just pop out to one of the many nearby free Aires for our first trip but we have found a local English-style brewery that has an event on; with ale, bikers, music, and the fish and chip van in attendance. Motorhomes may stay overnight at no charge. It is most tempting but it happens the day after we are supposed to be collecting the van so would require a very fast turnaround. That and the fear of not getting the van on the 19th leads us towards not making a booking, alas. It is, however, exactly the kind of escapade that we hope the nippier new van will facilitate – and frequently. We believe that using the van conversion will change the way that we approach our motorhoming. More frequent but shorter trips would seem to be the way to go.

Lunch in Montmorillon this week leads us towards going there for the second stage of van-testing – for which we shall be needing a campsite and hook-up. The Municipal campsite is a very short stroll from Le Lucullus, where we lunched in the Bistro and now fancy dining in the restaurant. It feels like A Plan. That said, Airvault offers many temptations too (and better dog-walking.)

The Plan for a late Summer foray to Modena remains in place, so long as no problems emerge with the van before then.

Plans are also firming up on what to do this coming winter. Initially we were tending towards Sicily but are now thinking about returning to Portugal and Spain again (trying to do new places rather than just the ones that we know and love) and thinking hard about going on to Morocco. Mr Snail is conducting research.

The Cat Contingent may well screw any or all of this up. It remains to be seen how they manage to cohabit in the smaller space. We may be needing a House Sitter. A free (long) holiday in France, anybody?


This blog is flying south for the winter.

The packing of the van has begun, subject as ever to great indecision and panic about which clothes to take and what kitchen equipment is needed.

The one item that was not questioned is this one:

A little light entertainment

It will help to pass those long evenings until the Pablo’s ATH begins. We have purchased vol 2 of these puzzles but think that one hefty book should see us okay for this trip and, after all, I am supposed to be keeping the payload down. If I leave the second book behind I can take another jumper… Will we need jumpers? Not if last winter’s weather is anything to go by, at least not after the snow and the rain ran out. I think we need to pack for three seasons. 

We shall be heading to known territory initially and hope to be in Arcachon the day after leaving home. If I remember correctly, it was warm and sunny in Arcachon last year and we were eating ice cream on the prom.

Night one will be on an Aire somewhere between here and the coast.

See you soon.

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