High-Fiving Palm Trees

Running, and other aspect of my life.

Buster Ivory and the Cyprus Three – and The Motor Ho! Ho! Home! (part two)

…….continued from part one

OK let’s calm down. Deep Breaths.

The insurance was finally sorted out. We were going to collect the motorhome that week on Friday 19th December.

Next step – what to buy for it and how to get it all quickly?

Thank you Amazon Prime!

I wasn’t sure exactly what we’d need, but for a start I ordered:
a lime green and white melamine dinner set with coffee mugs,
rubber collapsible salad/dog food bowls,
plastic wine glasses,
a cutlery set with lime green handles,
a bright pink whistling kettle to use on the gas cooker
a satnav especially for motorhomes,
a guide to motorhome campsites in France and,
my all-important security device, an aluminium baseball bat!

Cuddly toy?? That came later.

It all arrived the next day as promised. I love Amazon Prime.

I plundered the airing cupboard for spare bedding. The setup in the Motorhome ( or MOHO as we motorhomers call them) was two single beds, or they could convert into one large double. I wasn’t sure how we were going to sleep with the dogs in there as well, and so I decided that two double duvets and four pillows would be best and we could either wrap them over ourselves on the single beds, or lie on one and cover ourselves with the other if we made the double bed.

Packing…… still unsure. I remembered there was a large “wardrobe” cupboard in the MOHO but I couldn’t really remember exactly how big.

Food?? I wanted to buy delicious French food, but I thought we might need some basics so I put aside coffee, teabags, butter, salt and pepper, milk and instant porridge pots. This was done in the knowledge that as soon as we arrived in France there is a great big Carrefour supermarket which we have used before and I was going to go there and buy Baguettes, confiture, pate, fromage, charcuterie,tomates, Bailey Motorhomepatissierie, et Vin, for a lovely dinner when we arrived at the first campsite that I’d plugged into the satnav.

I booked our passage on the Eurotunnel for Saturday 20th at 17.30, we’d have 24 hours to get the thing packed and ready to leave.

The dread eagerly-anticipated day arrived.

Mike was v.v.v. excited. He’d arranged a lift for us to the Dealer so we could drive it home together.

Dogs were left at home.

We were off.

When we arrived in Wellingborough we saw our Bailey sitting in pride of place on their forecourt. The salesman came bouncing out of the office ready to take our money show us our new home on wheels.

He gave us an in-depth tour of the vehicle and all it’s facilities.

“When you first get into the van always press this button The Master Switch…….. if this light flashes it means the battery is low……..don’t forget to switch the fridge onto gas when you stop…….. if the wise terrapin looks to the west then……… blah blah blah blah “, on and on it went, in and out of our heads it flowed.

After he shut up finished giving us the tour and all his good advice, he gave us the handbook and said “Well it’s all in there”.

We went into the office and handed over all our money and chattels and remade our wills in his favour, he then presented me with a lovely bouquet of flowers and the keys and let us loose.

I drove.

As I got used to the new clutch and kangaroo’d over the forecourt heading for the fast moving dual-carriageway on which the garage was situated. (What fool thought that was a good idea?) Mike wished that he’d paid more attention to the part where we were told how to open the door and jump out screaming.

Oh Ye of little faith. It was fine. I am an excellent driver.

We arrived home at about 1.00p.m. and set about getting the thing kitted out.

The thing I was most concerned about was the “Wardrobe Cupboard”. I looked at it and thought that I could get more clothes into it for our long stay in Spain far more efficiently if I packed them into a suitcase first then pushed that into the waist high cupboard.

Mike was not happy as he had envisaged hanging his stuff in there all neatly.

I packed my largest suitcase until it was completely full. Having travelled with this case many times, I know that when it’s packed full it weighs in the region of 30kgs.

I also know that Mike hates and detests this suitcase when it’s full and I was going to get shouted at when he saw it, and what he’d say when he had to get it down the stairs and lift it into the cupboard did not bear thinking about.

While I’d been packing he’d been doing “boy’s jobs” i.e. filling up the water tank and putting chemicals into the toilet cassette, and he found he was missing a vital piece of equipment which necessitated a quick trip to HomeBase.

While he was out, I lugged the case down the stairs, out of the front door, down the steps and into the MOHO.

I then managed to lift it myself, balance it on one, dare I say slender, hip, and shove it into the wardrobe with about half an inch to spare each side. I have to say that along with running two marathons it was one of my proudest achievements.

When he arrived back he was mighty surprised to see what I’d done, and I like to think, quite impressed.

We continued to load up the van. It’s surprising how long it takes to do going back and forth. I assigned each of us a “Day Cupboard” which we were to use for the clothes and toiletries we would need for the three day journey and gradually all the spaces began to fill up.

Mum popped round to inspect, as did one of Mike’s granddaughters.

Dogs gave their seal of approval and chose their sleeping spots on the floor in the way.

It looked like we were going to be on the road by 10.00 a.m. the next day as planned………

To be continued…..

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Buster Ivory and The Cyprus Three……. and the Motorho! ho! home! (part one)

Let me set the scene,

We had been trying to get away to Spain since the beginning of November but many things had conspired to stop us and also to stress me out to the point of near hysterics, which is very unusual for me.

Finally we decided that we would set a date and that would be it – we would be leaving come hell or high water. Monday 15th December was that date.

I spent quite some time arranging the accommodation for the trip through France, making sure that we were staying in places that were happy to accommodate 4 dogs, but which also offered a lovely restaurant and welcoming bar at the end of a long driving day. It was tricky as a lot of places are closed in December and that close to Christmas, but after a few days of trawling Booking.com I did it.

Night one was to be in Honfleur at a place we’ve stayed several times, they were delighted to hear from us and were looking forward to seeing “The Doggies” again.

Night two was a chateau in a village outside Cognac, we hadn’t stayed there before but the owner was willing (albeit somewhat apprehensive) to take the dogs. “Are they small because four dogs sounds quite a lot?” “Oh yes, quite small” the lie slid off my tongue like melting Camembert off a baguette.

For night three I had decided to do something different and have an adventure. I had booked a log cabin on a campsite just inside Spain. My thinking was that we could stop at a market in France and buy lovely cheese and pate and charcuterie and bread and wine and put together a wonderful meal, and there’d be plenty of places to walk the dogs.

I think that in some ways I have to blame myself for what happened next. The seed of adventure had been planted in Mike’s head and once a seed is in there, it is watered, fertilized and cultivated until it could win first prize at the Chelsea Flower Show!

I think it was December 1st that Mike uttered the bone-chilling words “I want a Motorhome!”

Some of you may remember that this wasn’t the very first time this idea had been mooted. Earlier last year we had been to the Motorhome Show in Birmingham to have a look at them.

That day was hampered by the fact that Mike unknowingly had pneumonia and could barely stand up. Indeed that very night I phoned an ambulance and had him taken away to hospital where he remained for the best part of a week and on the day he checked out one of the cleaners said to him “Oh, I am glad to see you going home, they thought you were going to die the other day!” The caring face of the NHS!

We didn’t get to see many Motorhomes that day at the NEC, but I do remember deciding that there were two things I wanted from a Motorhome.

1) It needs to be a Tardis.

2) IT NEEDS TO BE A TARDIS!!!

I wanted something small enough to be able to drive easily and park it in a town, not on the outskirts, but it also had to be able to contain all the clothes and shoes I need to take to Spain for 4 or 5 months, everything we need for the trip, Mike’s stuff, and the four dogs plus all their luggage. (You’d be surprised).

I remembered that I’d taken a photo of the only one I’d seen that struck me as maybe possibly OK. Scrolling back through 11 months of photos on my phone I eventually found it and it had the make written on it – Bailey.

Bailey! Mike was on a mission. He found that there was a Bailey dealer about 45 minutes away in Wellingborough. He phoned them. Yes, they had one in stock. Yes we could go to see it the very next day.

Driving up there he assured me that we were only going to look at it as he couldn’t remember anything from the Motorhome show and just wanted to see what it was like.

I said that was good, and we certainly did not want to buy any motorhome without a test drive as neither of us had ever driven one before. He agreed wholeheartedly.

We arrived, we were shown the Motorhome, it was landlocked, immovable, surrounded by many other motorhomes, it would have taken hours to have moved them all to get it out of the show area for a test drive. Naturally, we bought it.

I say that we bought it, but that’s not quite what happened.

We went into the office to talk about it with the salesman. Mike said he wanted it but we had to have it by 15th December. That, apparently is not much time as it has to be registered, and go through the workshop to have every bit of it tested and checked, cupboards, fridge, loo, shower, computer etc.etc.etc….

The salesman decided that he couldn’t do it by 15th. (I was quite surprised because I thought that if you had a sale you did every single thing you could do to keep that sale even if you had to work until midnight on your day off!) So we had to walk away without actually buying it at that point in time.

The next day Mike was gloomy, nay, he was like a small boy who had been told that he was not getting a new bike for Christmas. The corners of the mouth were turned down. There was sighing. I believe there was also stamping!!

Gritting my teeth I said, why not put the trip off a few days and see if he can get it to us by the end of the week, the 19th?

Moving like a man with a winning lottery ticket he grabbed the phone, posed the question, and YES! They could get it done by the 19th so long as we didn’t have our personlised numberplate on it and just had whichever one was issued. They were closing on 20th for their Christmas break so they had to get it ready by 19th or it was not going to happen at all.

Wreathed in smiles Lord I. set about getting the insurance sorted out.

Well, have you ever tried to insure motorhome? What is wrong with people?? If anyone wants to set up a motorhome insurance company go for it there’s a gap in the market!

It is a fact that many many motorhome owners are retired, therefore older. Try to get a motorhome insured for an older person and you’re lucky to get an excess less than the total value of the bloody thing. In fact I think that if they could, the insurance companies would make you pay THEM if it got stolen.

My already raised stress levels were peaking. I didn’t know if we were going to get away before Christmas. I had nothing in for Christmas if we were going to be at home. If we were going to get away we were likely to arrive at home in Spain on Christmas Eve and I had nothing in Spain for Christmas.

Would my demented father be going to my brother’s for Christmas or would he stay at home and we’d be having him?

Should I pack? What should I pack?? What should I pack it in??? Would it be going in the motorhome, or in the roofbox on the car? If we went in the car where would we stay? I’D CANCELLED ALL THE ACCOMMODATION!!!!!

To be continued…………

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