Saturday 6th August – Sunday 14th August
I did not manage to complete a daily journal for the last week as I seemed to be too chilled and was enjoying relaxing. So a lot happened in those last few days which I will now recant.
Saturday 6th August – Pontorson
We had lovely quiet afternoon and evening yesterday that we decided to stay another night. However we seem to have got ourselves dough nutted by a noisy Belgium family (with dog) on our right and a French one opposite. However The Boys proved themselves worthy and really were quiet.
Kaz caught up with some school work and I faffed around as only men can do on holiday. The Boys enjoyed themselves lazing in the sun. My highlight of the day seemed to be taking down the awning as each evening/morning so far had been rather damp and I thought it best to wind it in dry. Went down to the shop to order our bread for the morning and managed a crafty beer – but I guess K knew that.
Sunday 7th August – Carteret
This morning saw me bimble down to reception to collect the bread for breakfast and start to tidy up what little we needed to. After disposing of all the waste we headed off up the coast to meet R and D at Port Bail for lunch.
The weather became more miserable as we travelled North and it was soon pelting down onto the windscreen. We made the decision that this far north is too much like home which includes the English weather. Should we ever buy a place in France it will be further south for a better chance of more sun and warmth!
We eventually spoke to R and D on the phone and it seemed that we would not be meeting them for lunch after all as they were not up!
Ok this had not been the plan but hey ho we were on a holiday adventure so we drove further up the coast to see them at Carteret. In all the small villages that we passed through there was still evidence of Stage 1 of Le Tour which had taken place earlier in the summer.
Low cloud and misty rain greated us in Carteret. Familiar places surrounded me as it had only been a few years since my last visit here with Kaz. Prior to that I had had a static mobile home here for about ten years on the site where we were aiming for – Camping du Bocage.
Warmly met by R and D we found a plot where Martine, the Madame who still looks after the site, placed us. Then off she slowly trundled to a get a 6amp fuse for the electricity box. The site although slightly upgraded was still basically the same.
That night we walked into Carteret for a meal with everyone at Gerard’s old place Le Hettier – steak n frites and pancakes for dessert, smashing.
Monday 8th August – Carteret
This morning we went around to K and S’s van to have breakfast and then it was down to the serious matter of taking down and putting up sheds for R and S. I think in hindsight this had been R’s plan along to get us to stay and for me to help him and S.
That night after a hot and dusty days work we had a BBQ and chatted till midnight with all of them.
Tuesday 9th August – Ranchy
The previous night we had talked about going to the market in Port Bail with R and D but we decided to move on along the coast as we had more we wanted to see. Before leaving Carteret we drove up to the Cap and walked around the lighthouse to look along the sandy coastline stretching for miles in both directions. It has always reminded me of the Northumbrian coastline.
Via Bricquebec ,Valognes and Quetterhou we drove over to the Normandy beaches and just before Utah beach at Quineville we stopped. This was the first time we had parked up so close to a beach and it was lovely to listen to the sea crashing on the pebbles whilst eating lunch. K later went for a blustery walk along the shoreline collecting shells.
We dropped down into Bayeaux and parked up in an aire next to the museum (only €4 between 1700 – 0800). We plan to come back here to visit the museum another time although we did go and walk around the WW2 cemetery.
I am still not 100% sure when filling up fuel in France. Although I am used to paying by card in the machine by the pump I am still anxious as to whether the system will work for me and not cause a problem. So when I drove Zygie into the L’Eclerc fuel station, after K had done some shopping, I felt there was a problem. I wanted to fill up one of our LPG cylinders. Now I had only done this once before in the Uk and that had been Roxie. So the sign said they sold LPG but where was it. Fortunately the forecourt was huge and other cars just drove around us to the pumps while I tried to see what to do. Ok located the LPG pump but the pipe was on the opposite side! Do I drive in the wrong way or do I stretch the hose through the gap? Needing fuel also I decided just to do that. The Caxton card would not work (in fact it has not worked every time so will need to sort that out – another story) so felt I was at fault at first but no the pumps were out of order. Wow, so not a muppet after all and we drove off to find another station further on. This time there was an Italian registered car in front of us filling up with LPG and yes he had taken the pipe between the pumps so that works. Collecting the LPG adaptors I showed him my collection as I did not know which one to use in France. With a big grin on his face he pointed to the one I needed to use. My turn next! Anxiously fitting the adaptor I followed the signs on the pump – it worked, why shouldn’t it – just me. Soon it was full and so cheap compared to the Uk. The gush when you unhook it took me by surprise, I think it always will. Filled up with diesel too and paid at the exit kiosk which did not look open at first. Another small adventure for me and confidence growing all the time. I now have a marked plastic box that I keep the brass LPG adaptor in for the future.
That night we stayed in an orchard c/o France Passion. This was a lovely time although some noisy dogs in the field adjacent kept The Boys talking too. The cider tour was very interesting with lots of Franglais being used – our French is improving though. We bought plenty of cider and then settled down to a lazy evening. We were joined later by a French van but we had hunkered down by then.
Wednesday 10th August – Ranville
After we had breakfast we made our way up to the coast again to follow the D-Day beaches. Having seen a tv programme about the Canadian War Museum just before we left the Uk I was keen to make a visit to this relatively new museum. It actually was a clever concept as it showed the involvement of Canada as a country in the second world war and after. I also took a tour of one of the German bunkers deep inside the sand dunes. I did this on my own as K would have found it all too claustrophobic.
After a long drive following the coast I drove Zygie onto a campsite at Ranville. We had passed some brilliant beaches and the views were amazing. with the sun shining all day. I was glad to stop but the sight had an unusual layout and it was not easy to find a suitable plot without being under low trees. I also found I could not lock into the French electric hookup. This something I need to sort out before our next trip.
Thursday 11th – Saturday 13th August – Guines
We arrived here about 7.30pm following a long day driving. On the way we had come across a vets practice at Yvetot. The Boys were really good and found the whole experience easy. It was helped by the fact that it was out of the way and quiet plus the vet gave them the worming tablet in fresh food rather than having a jab.
Our time at Guines was very pleasant and it gave us a chance to sort out the van before going home, making a list of things we needed and putting to one side items that we now know we would not need or use. It was here that we actually got the Tv to work, although it seemed strange to be watching it again. We walked around the site with The boys one day and felt they were becoming used to other people and dogs. We even took them down to the onsite restaurant bar for a midday drink.
One evening we returned for a lovely meal whilst The Boys stayed and looked after Zygie. Apparently they had soon settled down (according to some campers that we had befriended earlier next to us) and were asleep when we returned.
We decided one day to take a trip out to do some shopping at one of the supermarkets close to Calais. It was a large Auchan but had a run down feeling to it but we did pick up another table at Decathlon It was on this occasion that Brandy pulled his claw out.
Sunday 14th August – France to Home
We all left Guines after picking up the bread from the on site shop and drove down to the Shuttle. First things first – The Boys needed to be checked over. Following the big black/brown paw signs to the Pet Control we pulled up outside a small building. We had heard from other people about how this all works so we chose to take one of the them in at a time. Actually they behaved themselves probably in awe of it all. I found the chip on each of them easily and they were very quickly stamped, clear to enter the Uk. It was paw some!
Although our departure was delayed, the trip inside the shuttle was soon over and we joined the busy roads heading back home. Numerous stops on the motorways due to heavy traffic made us long for the smooth French open roads again.
Over the three weeks away we travelled just over 1600 miles on this our first bimbling trip into France. Next time I plan to record more effectively what we spent, where we went to, how much fuel etc etc. I am still unsure what mpg Zygie achieved but again does it matter, well yes as we are planning a longer trip next time.
Post Mortem – general blogging
I admire all those that are able to keep their blogs going no matter what. To be able to write informatively and with such humour as well. I wanted to do the same and keep a diary of events which I feel I have managed to do but failed to maintain this on a daily basis, but does that matter? I also failed initially to include some of the many photos that I had taken. So both these points are food for thought for my blogging in the future.
Whiskey and Brandy
Well we had a great time and enjoyed travelling in the new van Zygie. Laying in the sun the other day I spent one eye looking at the registration plate for ages and have now realised where T n K got the name Zygie from. Wonder where our names came from? The French love us both and think us cute. They call me Cognac not Brandy and both of us are apparently “Crosiers”
We are becoming used to some of the sounds of the van and the feeling it gives us when travelling along. Usually I am in our basket under the table but W, as he is so nosey, usually sits on the seat behind T while he drives and looks over his shoulder.
We are also becoming more used to strangers walking close to the van although we do feel its our job to protect Zygie and T n K and give off a warning bark (or two, or more). The dog breaks that R brought over from the Uk help a lot. I did though get very excited inside the van one day when I saw another dog while T had gone off to do some supermarket shopping. Jumping down from the passenger seat I somehow caught one of my front claws. The result was pain in a big way and now I am one claw less as my vet, Sandra, has had to take it off. I am finding very difficult not to lick it so K has to keep putting a sock over it!
Our daily walks have been different and unusual, ranging from river banks, woods, beaches and the occasional lay-by!
We have enjoyed ourselves loads and are eagerly waiting to hear of T n K’s plans for our next trip.
Bye for now …
(my turn this time as Whisky is dozing – as usual)