Bergues and our return to UK

So we left camping La Samaritaine on Tuesday 7th August we stopped into reception to make sure we were all paid up and let them know we were headed off after a short walk for Toffi and so said our farewells… while we were on our last short walk reception had brought us down a leaving gift, a bag full of goodies, bottles of beer, wine and biscuits for us… how lovely of them… it really was a fab friendly site and I would highly recommend it especially for families with children, as the children that were holidaying there all seemed to be having a fab time, they had all made new friends it would certainly be the sort of holiday any child would remember…

 

 

But alas our time with them was up, we had been there a month and it had just flown by, we had enjoyed the food from the chippy on site and also had been ordering a whole roasted chicken every Sunday… we had really been looked after at this site, but now it was time for us to be moving on, we travelled 200 miles North to the town of Bergues, our journey took us approx 5 hours all in a blistering heat of 37°+ this made it a rather uncomfortable journey, with no air conditioning on board, the air cooling fan although on the correct cold air setting was just blowing warm air around at us… even putting a hand outside the window as we were travelling to cool down proved futile, the whole world seemed just one big bag of hot, hot air… the dogs struggles were made more bearable by the wet cooling towel that was lain across her (oh… lucky her!!!)… We had decided to take the toll roads just to make the journey quicker but this is not cheap in France and our bill for 90 miles was €45 and because of our height of 3.2m and towing a trailer we are classed as class 4… but I loved the faces on the bridges on one of the towns we passed through…

 

We arrived at our next destination very hot, tired, hungry and in need of an easy pitch up… but what we received was far from that… now we had booked the site more than a month in advance, they had plenty advance warning of the type of pitch and services we would require etc… so they knew we were coming and that we were in a larger rig… the place was packed but mostly with permanent static caravans and they must then have 20 pitches for motorhomes/caravans/tents… it would seem all the level pitches that would have been suitable to us annoyingly had either smaller VW sized vans or tents pitched up on them… which made me even more angry at the situation and more hot under the collar with the people responsible for organising the site…

Pete went to book in and told them in pigeon French that we were pre-booked, however no paperwork was filled in which is very unusual and I believe they didn’t understand a word Pete had said to them he was also told cash only when paying, smells like someone’s cooking the books,  he was then shown 2 available plots, 1 where we would have no electric (not what we had pre-booked!!) and still would have been awkward to get onto… the next was just as awkward to get into as well, due to the narrow passageway leading onto the plot and then with a large flowering plant planted smack bang in the middle of the plot entrance, the pitch also being massively sloping with soft bare mud ground underneath, but it did have electric… I had visions of us causing mass damage to ourselves just getting onto and back off the pitch… I was one unhappy bunny all I can say is it’s a good job Pete is dealing with the site managers and not me…

 

 

We managed to get onto the pitch with help from our neighbours, 1 British couple in a caravan who were also clearly not happy with their pitch and then with having a large motorhome maneuvering nearby close to their precious caravan and 1 lovely Dutch couple in a tent touring on a motorbike and who had been placed on a pitch which would have ironically been ideal for us…

Well we ended up on the pitch after a faff about but it was near on impossible for us to maneuver about on it… so we ended pitched facing downwards on the slope with our habitation door opening directly into a bush, we were parked at such a sloping level there was no chance of us getting our boiler or fridge to work on gas either… and after seeing the state of the dated and dirty toilet/shower facilities this just left me even more angry… but we are only booked here for 3 days, to allow us to get the dogs passport and worming treatment signed off by the local vets and allow her permission to travel home… so we’ll just have to deal with it…

When I suggested to the warden yesterday (Wed) that we move off this pitch tomorrow morning before the heavy rain begins, otherwise we could become stuck and would that be ok to sit ourselves on the tarmac he replied in Franglish to stay put and pointing at our tow bar “not to worry we will find someone in a 4×4 and pull you out if you get stuck”… I’m so glad he’s a problem solver but the only issue there is the small detail of how much weight our tow bar can safely bare… the fact our motorhome weighs in at 3.5 tonne/3500kgs and our tow bar can only take 1 tonne/1000kg in pulling weight, puts a slight spanner in the works of his problem solving ability, now this would probably be information that would blow his mind but how was I going to explain this in Franglish??? plus the fact we would really need to be on our way to the Channel Tunnel by 9am and not fannying around finding a 4×4 to get us out of a pitch we shouldn’t have been put in in the first place… I gave up and decided to stop wasting my time… just because there is a tow bar on a vehicle…. doesn’t mean you can safely use it to pull that vehicles weight backwards up a sloping grassy bank and out of a mud fest jam….

The leveling blocks have done very little for leveling out the motorhome and to be honest even before any rain has started the blocks are already sinking into the muddy pitch under our weight, not only that each time we move around inside it feels like we are drunk and are seemingly drunk stumbling from one end of the motorhome to the other,  to top it off we are due some prolonged rain the pitch is mostly dry mud at present which is going to be delightful when it gets wet… after 2 nights like this I was in despair… there is now a pitch free I have spotted that is suitable so with rain due to start in an hour I’ve talked Pete into getting us onto this other pitch and fast… we managed to move… all is good in the world again…

The permanent residents here amused me by being really nosy, and although they seemed friendly enough they all claimed to not speak English but seem to want to talk with you anyway and cleverly they seem to be able to understand what you are saying to them (even though you are speaking in English)… they come out in droves to watch you when you first pitch up or if you attempt to move again… I can imagine them all on their telephones curtains twitching while reporting back to reception, whom may I also add claim not to speak any English either and given my utter dangerous mood is probably for the best anyway… it’s almost like you must gain the permanent residents permission to do anything here… I do hope they have told reception that we have moved now, because by this time I couldn’t be bothered to try to explain myself again to them as well…

Now we did have somewhat of a surprise with Toffi and the vets appointment, we were dreading taking her in for her worming treatment, she is not a dog that is treat based and rarely takes anything offered to her outside of her home environment… especially something offered to her in a stressful vets surrounding, but I had picked up some different tasty morsels at a shop on our walk there and it seemed I picked those morsels well… Toffi was put on the scales and it would also seem she has not been sticking to her diet… her own Vet will be very disappointed by this fact upon her return but we will deal with that later, after all we have prove she’s even scaled a mountain or two on her travels this year…

The Vet offered toffi the all important worming tablet… ha… like it was ever going to be that easy!!!… nope Toffi just turned her back to her and stood waiting, looking for the doorway to be opened ready for her escape… this is where Chocolate eclairs come into their own, forget ham/cheese/meats we tried these… just go straight for chocolate eclairs… after the vet placed the tablet inside the cream of the eclair then passed it to me to offer to Toffi… a couple of rubs on her nose gave her the taste of sweet treat and I managed to get her to scoff the tasty thing right down her throat in one go…  yep even the vet was impressed… and probably quite relieved too!!! treatment done, Passport signed stamped and dated… Toffi just has to wait 24 hours then she can travel…

 

There is an upside from being at this campsite Vauban and it would seem to be that the town of Bergues right on the doorstep which is very nice, it’s a walled town originally built in or around the 10th century with parts of it that have been destroyed in various calamity’s over time such as wars, fires, floods, bombs etc and with much of it restored or rebuilt over time and ever since mostly remaining in sympathy with the old original style and old remaining parts, in all fairness it is a nice thriving town with old parts and ruins to explore along with its many canals, with gaggles of Geese and walks which suited Toffi…

 

While exploring we also came across what is known locally as the haunted house the Maison du Fort Lapin in Hoymille… now sorry guys but I don’t do the whole believing in ghosts thing… I just don’t believe in stuff like that now I don’t like to offend those who do but I just don’t believe in life after death/ghosts/spirits etc, so yes of course we had to explore the building and no we weren’t scared!!! apparently a young girl died here, drowned in the basement during a flood and then people have since tried to renovate the building and 2 workers were killed while working on the building so naturally many people are now scared of the place and refuse to go near it, and then those believers in dark happenings and ghosts etc have now given it the reputation of being a haunted house… I’m sure others would have made something creepy of the fact that a huge murder of crows were in flight that day over head, there must have been over 100 birds in this flock!!!

 

Soon the day arrived that we were to travel back to the UK, the morning of 10th August 2018… we set off early for our drive to Calais and to the Channel Tunnel, with not one migrant in view along the route, we arrived at the Channel Tunnel about 10am and went through all the customs checks etc p.s. customs absolutely love seeing a dog with a photo in their passport… I have to admit Toffi has got a very cute picture for her passport photo and they loved her calling her by her full name and making a fuss and blowing kisses to her through the window…

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the train we were booked on was due to leave at 11:50am but if they have the space the lovely staff will always try to get you on earlier trains if they can so we were on board a train by 10:40am and on our way for the 35 minutes journey through the tunnel back into the UK… and because the UK is 1 hr behind we were back on UK turf by 10.15am where we continued our 6hr Journey towards Stonehenge Touring park where we will stay for 2 nights before travelling further back down towards Plymouth, Stonehenge Touring park is the first campsite we visited after leaving Plymouth at the beginning of the tour just before we left the UK last year for the tour, so seemed fitting to stop over here to complete our circle of the Europe tour this year.

P.s please note the language of wood pigeons seems pretty much universal…

Take Care

Donna x