Monday, 7 August 2017
Then to the Eurotunnel terminal, where we checked in very quickly, but then got caught in a long queue for passport control. However, we got through in the end, and had about 30 minutes to wait, during which various bits of packing and tidying were done. Then finally on to the shuttle, which was ten minutes late. We had lunch on the crossing, and finally got home just before 3:00 pm. I slept all the way, so was able to help with the unpacking and putting-away, and since then I have made jam!
The van will go to its Sussex home tomorrow, and our next adventures in it will be at the beginning of September. There may, of course, be other things happening in August!
Sunday, 6 August 2017
Saturday, 5 August 2017
Friday, 4 August 2017
Thursday, 3 August 2017
Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Monday, 31 July 2017
Sunday, 30 July 2017
Thursday, 15 June 2017
We had to be at Finsbury Park for 7:49 am, so got up at silly o'clock and were away by 7:00. Finsbury Park is NOT a user-friendly station, nothing but steps, firstly up from the Victoria Line to street level, and then more steps up to the Network Rail platforms. My poor knees - and I was certainly not the oldest and lamest person on the tour, by a long way.
The train came in on time and we found our seats - an old Pullman carriage (built in 1956, I was told later) - at a beautifully-laid table.
We had hoped we had the full four seat bay to ourselves, but were joined at Stevenage by a very nice couple - it was her birthday treat, too - and they were very knowledgeable about railways and so on, which was nice. The route we went was as follows:
When we got back on the train, lunch was ready - a baked potato with coleslaw and cheese, and tea or coffee if you wanted it (which I didn't, at that stage).
The train rolled on throughout the afternoon, sometimes running late, sometimes making up the time and having to wait for itself. We knitted (my seatmate and I did; the menfolk didn't!), dozed, and enjoyed watching the beautiful English countryside, truly at its best at this time of year, roll by. There were some interesting rail depots, too.
Dinner was served quite early, and was a bit of a marathon. The first course was a choice of prawn skewers (which the Swan Whisperer chose as he doesn't get prawns at home) or Crème du Barry soup, which is a posh name for cream of cauliflower soup, and very good it was, too. This was followed by roast pork with all sorts of vegetables and apple sauce. I know there was cod on offer, too, but I don't know what, if anything, they supplied for vegetarians; it is possible there were none on the tour, but I think you had to say when booking if this was what you wanted. Anyway, I didn't want, so that was all right. Then there was a choice of sweet or savoury - we all had the sweet, which was a delicious lemon tart with a fresh berry compote and cream, yummy, and, just as you thought you couldn't eat another mouthful, there was the cheeseboard! I didn't have much cheese, but a token amount. And they very kindly found me some lemon to have in my tea - I had had rather a lot of coffee with breakfast and didn't want any more that day - so that was nice, too. And chocolates, which would have been nicer had they been chilled, but you can't have everything....
Meanwhile the train rolled on; the tables were cleared and people dozed or chatted. Our new friends got out at Stevenage, so we had the table to ourselves for the last half hour and could get our things together ready to get out when we got back to Finsbury Park. And down all those stairs, then straight on to a Victoria Line train and so home.
It really was a lovely day. Quite apart from the pleasure of being on a train - always enjoyable - it was very luxurious, and the views from the train windows of the English countryside (and of Sheffield, if you like views of Sheffield!) were magnificent. Most people would have liked a second leg-stretch before dinner, though, and were sorry there was no opportunity for one. But it was a lovely day. England really is beautiful on a summer's day.
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
After this, we decided to investigate the motorhome dealers in Calais, of which I had heard good reports. We bought a new bin, and a new set of levelling blocks, one of ours having been accidentally left in Vienna, and then my husband saw one of those containers with pockets in, and said he would buy that, but it would be too big for beside my bed. Ever since we have had the motor home, I have struggled with the lack of a bedside table - but I have several perfectly good cosmetic bags which unroll, and a couple of hooks.... problem solved! Just when I can't spend the night in the machine to test it! Oh well.... I don't quite know why I didn't think of that before - my spectacles, Kindle, overnight medications (mostly peppermint spray for a dry mouth) and little clock can all be much more easily available than when they are under my pillow. Still won't be able to drink a cup of tea in bed, though - looking forward to that tomorrow morning!
We also tried to get a new lock for the gas cupboard, but to no avail. Then it was less than 2 hours before our booked crossing, so we went straight to the terminal and were given a crossing an hour earlier than the one we'd booked on. Stopped at Maidstone services to have lunch, and then home very quickly, and now have unloaded the van and unpacked.
More adventures soon.....
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
We have been in four different countries today, as every time we crossed a border, Virgin Mobile texted twice to tell me I could now use my allowances and no longer needed to buy a pass. I knew that! Plus the fees for out-of-allowance use, which I am unlikely to need to know.
So we started off in Düren, in Germany, and our first stops were in an Edeka to do some take-home shopping (most sausages and bread mix, and Schwäbische Maultäschen!) and at a nearby petrol station for diesel.
Then it was off on the long trek across Holland (the Maestricht peninsula) and Belgium as far as Ghent. For once, all the accidents were on the other side of the motorway, and the jams on our side weren't too bad. It was the weather that was appalling - heavy rain and very strong winds - and when we parked up in Ghent the thought of getting out of the motor home and finding out way into the city was distinctly unappealing.
The Swan Whisperer did get out and go for a walk, but he said transport links into the city seemed few and far between. So we decide to drive on as far as Dunkerque, where we stopped for a very good meal.
We half thought of spending the night parked up in front of the rink there, but it is very exposed, so we thought not, and drove the last hour down to Calais and are parked up in the Cité Europe, but, along with all the other motor homes there (it is busy tonight), we are "hove to" with our backs to the wind. It is very noisy, but because the van isn't badly shaken with every gust, we have known worse!
Monday, 5 June 2017
Saturday, 3 June 2017
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Monday, 29 May 2017
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Friday, 26 May 2017
Hrrmph. Grrrr. Aaaarrgh! It was the day when we needed to do the laundry if we were to have enough clothes to last us the trip. But I didn't expect it to take me ALL DAY, and most things still not to be quite dry at the end of it. Next year I must do the "Express" wash, and make sure the dryer is set on "Jeans", and I might get away with it taking just the while morning!
By the time I had finally finished, the Swan Whisperer had come back from the long walk he'd been on with friends, and he agreed with me that the cab of the van, which gets very hot in the sun, was a perfect substitute airing cupboard. So our clean clothes are piled on our seats!
Anyway, I was too fed up to feel sociable, so the SW went to watch the pattern dances while I watched them on the live stream and cooked dinner, and we ate while watching the last few. And I went to bed early to sleep off my bad mood!
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
A long day today! I decided to start watching skating at 10:35, so spent the early part of the morning wandering round the village and doing a little shopping. Got the Ortsbus back as far as Norma, where I stocked up on groceries, mostly tomatoes, and then there was just time to dump them in the van and rush to the rink for the start of the day's events. And there we stayed until mid-afternoon, when we went back to the van and I watched the Bronze Ladies on the livestream and the SW went for a walk. Then back to the rink, although I did pop out to buy a shamefully greedy ice cream at one stage. Finally saw all the skaters we'd wanted to see and came away at about 21:30, to watch the rest of the class on livestream while eating a belated supper.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
A horrible night of wandery fever-dreams and I couldn't get up this morning, so went back to sleep instead. Eventually got up in time for lunch and then promptly went back to sleep again - it was quite an effort to wake up enough to go to the rink to do accreditation duty (and I may have dozed off a bit doing that, too!)
The Swan Whisperer had found a chemists and got me a throat spray, which is horrible and makes me heave, but which is effective, although it doesn't stop me coughing. I must get some cough sweets tomorrow.
Anyway, all this meant is was after 6:00 pm when we were free to go to the rink, but we watched various masters men and ladies artistic programmes, might very good indeed, and by then it was 8:15 so we came away and had supper in a restaurant near the rink.