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 3 On Tour 2014

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On Monday morning last, we were due to leave home for our journey through France to Spain. Accommodation was all booked, everything organised, the only thing we were worried about was how well The Cyprus 3 would behave on the trip.

They proved to be the least of our problems!

We had planned to leave at 10.00 a.m. We got away only 45 mins late due to certain issues with the amount of stuff I was trying to load into the new 510litre roof box which we had purchased in order that the dogs could have the whole interior of the car.

Who new that 510litres was so small?

Thanks to the miracle that is vacuum packing bags we managed to condense the, possibly, 1000 litres of items I was loading into half the space. Believe the adverts, these things are miraculous http://www.lakeland.co.uk/p24142/Lakeland-Vacuum-Totes

We then had a little issue with locking the thing. Resolved on the phone by the very nice people at The Roofbox Company .

Bad language, and tempers forgotten (sort of)  we were off!

So, ON THE ROAD BABY!!!!!

Until about 5 miles before The Dartford Crossing when the M25 ground to a crawl and remained that way for 45 mins until we got to the toll.

Back on it!! Arrived at the Eurotunnel at about 2.10 bought ticket but they couldn’t get us on a train until 3.20. No probs. Had a coffee walked the dogs queued for the train.

Excellent!! 4th vehicle loaded after 3 coaches which meant 4th off at the other end.

En France, the doors opened the coaches drove off, except for the coach in front of us………. which broke down or, tombé en panne!!

Zut Alors!!

Loaded in a metal cylinder, daylight only one vehicle away, it is very frustrating when that vehicle is a 49-seater coach with a seized gear-box.

Lady Luck smiled upon us all at that point, they were on the final attempt at resetting the gear-box prior to calling a tow truck when, hoorah, it worked!

I could feel the cumulative sigh of relief from the entire trainload of cars, coaches, vans, trucks and all their passengers rushing up the carriages behind us, and with that garlicky wind in our sails we launched ourselves onto the French motorway system.

I LOVE French motorways, they’re empty of traffic, they’re well maintained, lots of rest stops and service stations, I could drive for days on them. Lucky, as that’s just what we were going to be doing.

Our stop the first night was booked for Le Manoir des Impressionistes in Honfleur.

We’ve stayed there several times before. It’s run by a lovely if slightly dotty English lady named Brigit who we love dearly, and her sons who are half French. Her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago.

My plan for the journey was that Buster would sleep in the room with us as usual, and Toby, Molly and Bella would sleep in the car.

I’d prebooked a room on the ground floor so we could park the car outside the window and we’d hear if The Cyprus 3 started to create a noise, but Brigit insisted that the “doggies” could all sleep in the room with us and we were to treat the place as if it were our own home.

The Doggies liked that idea and although they’d only just been allowed upstairs at home for the previous 2 weeks they romped into the room and onto the bed and assumed positions of leisure that made me think I’d probably get a better night’s sleep if I curled up in the back of the car.

I’d come with a contingency plan just in case we had to bring the dogs into the bedroom, and brought a large white sheet with me to put over the bed and the lovely bedcovers that the French usually provide, thereby at least mitigating some of the decoration by mud that they seem to carry with them wherever they go. Removing dogs, I rapidly covered up the white bedcover before it was too late.

Leaving them in the room while we went for dinner was a complete write-off as they just scratched at the door so we put them back in the car while we had a peaceful meal and a bottle of wine.

We all slept well, Mike took them out for a quick walk in the morning, everyone was off the lead except for Bella, he put them back in the car while we had breakfast, then we took them to the beach! So far as we know, The Cyprus 3 hadn’t seen a beach before.

 

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Bella, Molly, Toby on the beach at Honfleur

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Toby, Molly, Bella on the beach at Honfleur

 

Oh they loved it! Bella had to remain on the extending lead as, even though there are not usually sheep on a beach, she didn’t know that and there was no telling whether she might just charge off into the distance looking for some.

The absolute joyous time they were having brought tears to my eyes. Buster was thundering about like a puppy, Toby found the wettest part of the sand so he could get it all over himself, Miss Moll just waddled along by our sides and Bella hurtled too and fro on her lead. Then they saw the sea!

Glee abounded. It was a bit scary and had to be barked at, but it was also quite a lot of fun especially for Toby who just loves to get wet.

 

 

 

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Buster on the beach at Honfleur

 

The tide was coming in so we couldn’t linger too long.  Back at the hotel, Brigit was dying to show me the new Spa Centre they’ve just finished.  It’s been put into a very old building at the bottom of the garden. which was derelict last time we were there.  They’ve made a lovely job of it and next time we stay I’m going to try to make time to have  a treatment down there.

We said our goodbyes, loaded dogs into the car, luggage onto the top, and we were off.

I put our next destination into the SatNav.  5 driving hours to our next destination…….or was it??

Continued in part 2….

 

 

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