It’s Halloween!!!

We moved on another 100 or so miles today after spending nearly a week in Camping De La Bastide which was a little gem of a campsite and owned by a lovely British family, we were forced kicking and screaming to leave the campsite as it was closing down for the winter season but to be honest i think the owners deserve their up coming break, they were all very hard working while we were there and the campsite is immaculate although the shower block was a little breezy on the colder days/nights due to the open style roofing on the block but plenty of hot water and like I say lovely and clean, the campsite owners couldn’t have been more helpful as while we were there it just so happened we had to renew our motorhome insurance on the October 30th and they printed off our new insurance documents for us which would keep us legal while driving through different countries…

Which leads me on nicely to the fact that on the way to Camping De La Bastide there was a stop check point where the Gendarmes and Customs were stopping and weighing Motorhomes, lorries and the like, we smiled brightly at them as they waved us through they must have made a calculated decision that they would be wasting their time to stop us as we had a trailer so had obviously made sure we had our max weight laden and loaded correctly, now I had heard stories of these type of stops and the horrors of those that were found to be over their max permissible weight and had been fined, forced to unload extra weight etc but this was the first time I had seen one, boy were we grateful we had the trailer that day!!!

While at the Bastide campsite we relaxed in the sunshine of the first couple of days, did everyday things like clean and get the washing done (always a struggle to get washing dried while living in a motorhome if the weather isnt nice to hang it out so I always take advantage of the good days to get it all done), we also had a couple of picnics down by the riverside at the campsite at lunch times to keep us going and we took comfort in the electric fan heater and also the Webasto motorhome heating system on the colder days, although Pete doesn’t like me using the diesel heating too much as he doesnt like us using the diesel up for heating when we are hooked up and paying for electric, but when it gets cold he has no say all heating systems are going on, aint no way I am living in the cold!!!

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We took a couple of walks through the town nearby, some of the buildings were clearly very old and as with many French towns there were many closed down shops and run down buildings but overall a reasonably pleasant town with the River Gironde running down beside and through it, we took a riverside walk the day before we left and walked on the outskirts of the town back to the campsite, on the main Street there is a lovely bakery who sell the best and most amazing Citron Meringue Tarts, but to be honest I am a little fed up with eating so many damn baguettes!!!

On one of our walks through town we purchased ourselves a pet plant I have no idea what it is, but it’s pretty so lets see how long it stays alive with us in charge!!IMG_2859

Its Halloween night we have no treats in and we’ve landed ourselves in what looks like a Gitan/Gypsy campsite for the night the campsite is called La Solanilla, I’m hoping we dont get trick or treaters tonight… the campsite is looking pretty run down due to end of season and I’ve just been told there is only cold water in the shower block and wash basins but the owners have told Pete they have opened up a couple of the guesthouse units up at the top of the campsite where hot water showers are available, the campsite is busy and has lots of chickens running around of which Toffi is taking great delight in trying to catch when they come near her pitch… if she gets one we will have to eat the evidence!!  We plan to move on tomorrow and will maybe cross borders into Spain we are finding a lot of campsites are now closing for winter season so we may struggle and have to do some wild camping after all we have solar panels, gas and heating on board just got to find places to fill with fresh water for the tank and off load grey and black waste…

Well early to bed early to rise, I am off to have food and grab some sleep then we’ll be on the road again tomorrow take care all,

Donna

GPS Coords

Camping de la Bastide, Pineuilh N44°50’39”  E0°13’29” €17.40 pn

Camping La Solanilla, Midi Pyrenees  N43°41’49”  W0°8’17” €15.40 pn

Rendezvous’ & Repatriated naughty dog!!

We stayed at a small campsite called camping de la Riviere where we spent 6 nights at €11 per night the campsite owners were away on honeymoon at the time so a friend was looking after the site for them and would come collect your fees in the evening, during our 6 nights here we met several British couples an older couple came and chatted with us when we had first pitched they came to look around the campsite they actually lived nearby and had lived there for 13 yrs but had never been to the campsite in their motorhome so they were curious as to what it was like and whether they wanted to stop over, they left and returned early the next day in their motorhome the lady generously had some books for me to read, they decided not to stay at the campsite but go to a friends site instead, in the meantime another British couple pitched up next to us called Karan and David and would you believe it we chatted and it turned out they also came from the same locality in England as us had family in the same areas etc we had a few drinks together and chatted the next evening away outside the motorhomes under the cover of the awning a lovely evening was had with great company, we also met a couple that now lived in Luxembourg Sarah and Robin, Sarah was American and Robin was English another very lovely couple.

The village near the campsite was small with little to offer as with many of the smaller villages here, although there was a bakery, church, school, sports ground and a busy bar/restaurant which we stopped at and had ourselves a quick drink outside, we walked over the river to the village there was an aire nearby but was used by the gitan (french for gypsy’s), the bridge over the river was an incredibly narrow looking single lane we had been warned about this bridge by the other couples at the campsite and told to avoid it, but I measured it roughly by foot and we found we could get over it which was lucky for us, as that was the way we needed to travel after our stay, the weather was lovely and sunny while we were here we spent those 6 days chilling out, relaxing and sitting in the sun and making friends, we made some nice meals and took a couple of small walks, we got the clothes washing done and dried in the great weather and used the free wifi.

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Well it was time for Toffi’s holiday at the Kennels so we travelled on to Phil and Lin, they made us a lovely lunch and Phil took the time to show us around, Toffi was supposed to be in kennels for 7 nights but she really didn’t have a great time separated from us and would cry during the day and also at 2am and get herself in a pickle being stressed out so we had to go back and collect her after just 2 days, when we picked Toffi back up from the kennels (Toffi ran straight past me and into Pete’s arms – now that’s loyalty for you!!!) but in those 2 days we travelled to visit with Pete’s mum and Malcom in a village called Charme where they currently live, we went out for a belated birthday meal at their favourite French restaurant which was absolutely lovely the food was amazing, I feel like I’ve eaten so much in the last couple of days we’ve been very well looked after, picking Toffi up early placed us in a bit of a situation as Pete’s mum is currently in a rented property so strictly no animals allowed inside, so while Pete is catching up I am keeping the dog company and staying in the motorhome that’s parked up just outside in the garden..

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we are also getting the chance to stock up on motorhome essentials and make repairs such as the wing mirror which has turned into some what of a debacle, turns out Pete didn’t order the cover guards for the mirrors but the actual replacement part which is fine but not what we expected and so to fix it Pete had to remove the actual mirrors which of course both broke as they were being removed, Malcom has been superb and has taken Pete out in his car in search of motorhome shops and parts dealerships and for other essentials that we needed to stock up on, Pete also got parts for the trailer to help keep the bikes from toppling and moving about when we’re towing the trailer so the boys have had their work cut out in the last few days…

We are trying to decide whether we will over winter in Spain or Portugal we are undecided but siding with Portugal as Spain gets busy with Motorhomes over the winter and the weather is similar in both Countries over winter so we shall have to make a decision soon…

While we were at Pete’s mum’s we ordered what is called “dry mat” it’s stuff that’s used on boats under the mattresses to help stop condensation building up the stuff is pretty expensive and cost us £80+postage as we’d noticed that due to us using the motorhome full time we were getting condensation building up under the mattress in the mornings, this is caused by the differing temperatures due to the bed being above a colder area of the garage and with our body temperatures and the warmth from above it was causing a condensation issue below which meant we were having to lift the mattress for a hr each morning to air it out to stop any areas getting damp or becoming fousty, anyway we came across this dry mat stuff in our search of a cure we ordered it on the Wednesday with “assured next day delivery” which cost a extra whopping £65 so a total of £145 but the delivery didn’t even get to us till noon on Tuesday so nearly a whole week for next day delivery (and yes, we did get the extra postage refunded!) Pete removed the slats and fitted this matting and we trialled it, sorry to say it hasn’t quite worked to plan like we wished so an expensive experiment as although it reduced the condensation it didn;t cure it, we’ve now put the slats back in and will trial it with the matting over the slats to see if this reduces the condensation more if not it will be back to airing the mattress daily (“dont nobody have time for any condensation problems!!”)

After spending a lovely week with Pete’s Mum and Malcom we travelled 100 miles further South and have stopped for a few days on a lovely site called Camping De La Bastide the owners are British and ever so helpful giving us 2 pitches one to put the trailer on and one for ourselves, we’ve taken advantage of the weather and got ourselves up to date with all clothes washing, cleaned out the van, reset up all the bed, set up the new replacement dash cam, typical as while doing that, the other dash cam realised it was being replaced and magically decided it wanted to work again would you believe it..!

After all of this we had a small healthy picnic by the river Dordogne consisting of a packet of crisps and a bottle of wine!!

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There seem to be quite a few Brits on this site and we were chatting with a lady this afternoon named Carol whose travelling with her husband Andrew, they have a blog called “Our time to travel” they have plans to travel to Thailand/Vietnam backpacking how exciting!!! I shall definately be following their travel blog…

Until next time folks!

take care

Donna

GPS Coords

Camping De La Riviere N45°53’21”  E0°40’36”

Camping De La Bastide N44°50’39”  E0°13’29”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Droite, Droite!… Drive on the right…

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Well what a week we have had, we moved on from the idyllic Des Combes site to another site called called L’ Aquarrelle du Limousin, little did we realise until we got there we had actually travelled 50ish miles up country Northwards rather than further South (I blame Pete and his map reading skills for this as he chose the site) the drive here was how shall I put it… Interesting, as one of the first roads we needed or had planned on this journey was shut off due to roadworks, so we were sent all over the region to get back on route and ended up being sent through a small narrow town called Aubbusson where we were forced to squeeze through two buildings with only an inch to spare on either side (please note.. I didn’t take any photos of this as I was far too busy with my eyes shut whilst breathing in thinking this would possibly make a slight difference, plus our dash cam is broken else it would have made great viewing!!) it was scary stuff and all I was thinking was that we were going to end up as one of those embarrassing meme’s on facebook or something and just how much duct tape do we have on board?. We eventually managed to get back onto a more manageable route much to our relief…

What I have noticed is that it takes hrs to get anywhere in France what is supposed to be a 50 mile journey according to the sat nav can take 2.5 – 3hrs, that is if your not using Motorways and avoiding the toll charges, plus being so big you are speed restricted and the speed limits change due to going through any built up areas and speed restrictions here are again dependant also on weather conditions, (not sure the distance is accurate on the sat nav either) but we are in no hurry so its all good and when we can or need too we pull over and let any traffic that could be building up past so it keeps everyone happy.

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Well we stayed at L’Aquarelle site for 2 days (€17pn) we arrived during French Lunch time so all barriers and reception were closed so took a quick walk along the lakeside and we sat and had some lunch while patiently waiting for them to open and allow us to book in, the campsite we found to be a little run down and unkempt and unsurprisingly not very busy with only 3 of us on the site in those 2 whole days, although the toilet and shower block facilities were new and clean, there was also an Aldi very nearby so was great for restocking, but what I did notice was whereas in the UK we would use those big stone boulders to stop travellers from considering using an area on this campsite they were actually using those big boulders to mark out the pitches (not such a hot idea when you can have some big vehicles manoeuvring on a daily basis) but still we managed to get in and out without too much agro… although I did have a rather good old chuckle when Pete tried to leave the site, he couldn’t understand why the automatic exit barrier wouldn’t lift and asked me to get out and put the access code in… it was then that I, as navigator, thoughtfully pointed out to him the reason he couldn’t leave was because the French actually drive on the right and yep you guessed it, Pete had forgotten and was trying to exit via the left entry side!! a lot of laughter followed… that is until we both realised that we would now have to get out and unhitch the trailer and reverse to correct our position and re-hook-up the trailer to continue (Luckily for us we were the only ones around to witness our embarrassing boo boo as it was again lunch time for the wardens and everyone else had already left the campsite phew!) reassuringly though I did remind Pete again as we set off to try to remember to drive on the right..

Yet another nerve racking drive through many single track D roads baring in mind that we have the trailer which makes reversing either arduous or impossible as the trailer either jack knifes or we have to unhitch, but luckily for us we met very little oncoming traffic on these roads and when we did it was small cars and at places where we had a little room and could allow each other through, it would seem our sat nav tries to punish us if we make a wrong turn and takes us down these tracks to get us back on route even though later we realise there seem to be perfectly good main roads that we could have taken and would have been much easier to drive on instead.

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We arrived at Camping De Montreal at St Germain Des Belles €15pn we decided to stay for 7 nights mainly because we are such lazy travellers and the drives are so traumatising for myself, plus on ASCI prices it is 7 nights for the price of 6… but at this rate we might not make it out of France! the campsite is pleasant and clean again with a small lake beside it (the French seem to like their lakes!) the village consists of a good general store, a Tabac Cafe/Bar, 2 butchers, a bakery, plus of course the 14th century Church with Bells… we believe the village to be called St Germain Des Belles because the bells ring every hr plus a single chime on the half hour which is quite pleasant then at midnight and midday they seem to ring twelve times twice over just so you know what time it is of course…

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Time for chilling out now, catch up soon, take care people

Donna

P.s I have decided to include the co-ords that we have for the campsites we have or are visiting just for info and in case anyone may be interested in them.

Camping Des Combes Felletin Limousin Co-ords N45°55’14.879″ E2°9’55.721″

Camping De Montreal St Germain Des Belles Limousin Co-ords N45°36’42”  E1°30’5″

Camping L’Aquarelle Limousin Co-ords N46.2432131 E1.5061432

 

 

 

 

Magic & Mushrooms!

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We have been on Tour for a month already… a whole month on the road, its a little disconcerting to know just how much time has literally flown by… We are currently situated in an idyllic and extremely tranquil forest camp site next to a Lake, the site is called Des Combes in Felletin at €13.80 a night, its owned by an English couple who found and purchased the site back in 2008 at the time it had been shut down and was in a state of disrepair so they have spent their time rebuilding and renovating the site, we decided to stay for 8 days here due to it being so peaceful and with the bonus of lovely hot showers, although I admit I am starting to get slightly restless, most of the time we have spent here the weather has been wonderful though with just a couple of rainy days, on sunny days we have rambled through the countryside the site owner mentioned that there was a bridge somewhere nearby to cross over to the other side of the lake but we have yet to find any bridge, the first outing we walked all the way down the road and hill we drove in on and took a stroll along a river at the bottom of the road where we found electric cable markers that looked like land mines… I kept yelling at Pete “dont stand on those we’ll be blown to smithereens!” I think he missed the humour completely…

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The next ramble we found ourselves down at the bottom of reservoir wall i did indicate to Pete that I didn’t think we were supposed to be walking here due to all the Privee and no entry signs plus barriers (I even took a photo of him under the sign that I’d pointed out to him on the way in, as we rambled back out!!!)  but as usual Pete was in his own little world and ignored all my warnings even the locked and spiked gates at the top of the reservoir were not enough to pre warn Pete, Well what a trek he took us on, we walked and climbed the reservoir from the base right to the top of the otherside, I even climbed the metal staircase at the otherside while Pete and Toffi climbed the wall trying to find this elusive bridge but to no avail, so we then climbed and hiked all the way back down and over, even the dog was scared stiff and froze in fear at times, we then rambled through the woods and down to the quarry site where the was a huge concrete tube used by the quarry I told Pete this was actually a waterslide and if we could just find our way to the top it’d be such fun to slide down…

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The other days we have spent here were spent either cleaning, doing washing or just chilling out, on one of these days we took some drinks and a little food with us down by the side of the lake and had ourselves a picnic, we have taken the time to inspect the mushrooms growing nearby and those we have spotted on our walks, Cep mushrooms are growing on our pitch then there are the Liberty mushrooms we found growing in a couple of clusters also a couple of Fly Agaric’s (so some of which are definitely of the hallucinogenic variety and growing in abundance this autumn in France) others we failed to identify and then we have also had a few little creatures around as visitors…

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There’s been a max of 3 pitches taken here all week, ourselves in our motorhome and a Dutch couple in a caravan who have been here all of our visit, then a British couple with 2 small children turned up in their motorhome and spent a couple of days here too,  we chatted and found they were also touring for a year they had come over through the tunnel just the day before us.  Other than that the occasional tourers who were just stopping for the night before they carried on with their journey’s.

We’ve been wanting to get on our bikes more so that we can explore further afield but Toffi has demonstrated her total dislike and fear of the Doggyhut and tries desperately to escape it when we put her in it, so for now it is a matter of trying to persuade her of the benefits as on longer walks we have found that she starts limping on the paw that she has a missing toe on and she’s far too heavy a dog to be lifted or carried far, we shall persevere with short rides around the campsites until she gains more confidence in our bike riding abilities.

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We have observed our touring style to be pretty lazy and laid back compared to that of others (demonstrated by Toffi in this next picture enjoying her morning lay in) we tend to have stayed on camp pitches much longer than others, who mostly seem to be just passing through but in our defence most of these travellers are only on holiday for a couple of weeks whereas we have a whole yr to travel so we are so far not in any rush, we also have rendezvous’ to make as we plan to put Toffi into a friends kennels for a week on the 14th Oct (cozy cats and dogs kennels) while we visit Petes Mum and Malcom, so Toffi will be taking her own short holiday while it gives us chance to travel up to visit,  we aim to get nearer to them in the next couple of weeks.

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Pete being such a sensitive soul seems to have been bitten multiple times so far on this trip whilst I seem to have escaped from all the biting insects being the hardy soul I am, Toffi has the protection of Advantix drops that she has regularly which seem to work most of the time… although she has insisted on laying over what look like spider mite nests a couple of times and has been bitten to shreds on those occasions but she heals within a couple of days, we did bring Avon skin so soft with us as that is supposed to stop the biting but Pete keeps forgetting to put the stuff on so I am wondering whether i should put some of Toffi’s Advantix drops on Petes neck instead…

Pete ordered the parts we needed for the repairs to the wing mirror but the suppliers have sent some of the parts to our house that is now rented out despite 4 emails asking that they send the parts to friends or relatives addresses in France,  hopefully our tenants and rental agency forgive us and take pity on us, so we’ve now had to ask Pete’s relatives to chase the parts up when they’ve been delivered to the UK and collect these then from the agency and if time allows hopefully Pete’s mum may be able to bring them to France with her once she’s finished her holiday in the UK, what a kerfuffle…

Enough rambling on for one day have fun enjoy

Donna x