Published: March 4th 2012March 4th 2012
I haven't written a blog for a week or so and there seems as if there has been nothing to write about. We have lost a whole selection of photographs taken in the beautiful cities of York and Durham, some from our visit to Portsmouth and a few from the pretty Rhug Chapel,near Corwen and Portmeirion - home of the The Prisoner. I can recommend both York and Durham, both being pretty cities. York with its Shambles and wonderful Gothic cathedral and Durham with its cathedral. There is so much to do in both locations and with the need to retake photographs we will have to visit again. Portsmouth even on a grey windy day was an interesting place to visit for a weekend. The roman remains of Portchester Castle, the Spinaker Tower and the naval museum with Nelsons flagship and sail proved worthwhile destinations. Rhug chapel although small showed an insight into church life in the 16th and 17th centuries. And finally don't miss Portmeirion. It's my second visit. The first in 1980/81. Little has changed with the Italianate village looking distinctly odd in the Welsh landscape of Snowdonia but yet perfectly normal. It shows how an architect with vision
can produce something interesting and aesthetically pleasing.
This week has been monumentous - I have joined the old gits club or so I have been told. My birthday came round and one night I was 59 and the next morning 60. Life begins at 40 or so they say but for us life in the motorhome begins now. Work Life balance has been totally wrong over the last few years. Working for five days and having two days off meant I spent too much time at work and not enough at home. Over the last month I have been counting the days to release and applied to work part time . Having changed my hours from 37 to 26 I started the countdown a month ago. I likened it to being in prison and I was digging my way out. The month flew by and finally I am free and will only work the end of the week which will give us time to get out in the motorhome, take up hobbies and walk more. It has felt like a long time coming.
We have even been looking at geotagging. An interesting little tool that will track us
on our journeys around mainland Europe. More work to be done reading about that but it looks as if it might be added to our kit in the end. We do love gadgets.
We have continued kitting out the motorhome - latest requirement of the French is that we buy breathalyser kits . Quite an interesting way to make money as the kits are produced in France and have to be certified by the French. I feel quite cynical about all of this . I agree we shouldn't drink and drive but this seems like the French governments excuse to raise revenue. It will be interesting to see if they just target the English who seem like easy targets between Paris and Calais.
We have joined Motorhome Facts and posted our first Newbie posting. We have been following the site for about a year now. We have joined the National Trust and hope to use this on our trips in Britain. Hopefully it will save money in the long run. We have signed the e-petitions asking our government to introduce a vignette system in the United Kingdom. It seems wrong that we have to pay to use French,
Austrian and Croatian roads this trip and yet all the vehicles from abroad pour into our ports and pay nothing to use our roads. On our way to the tunnel we are amazed by how many foreign vehicles come in and drive with impunity. This also affects the A55 which has more Irish lorries on it than British sometimes. My mother would have said "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander". An old saying but true. And think what it could do for the governments coffers in this time of austerity. Perhaps it would enable them to reduce petrol duty for the rest of us. This is a worry in the motorhome as diesel is now almost hitting £1.50 and seems destined to rise even more in the budget this month. When will the government realise it's about time they stopped hitting motorists? Our motorhome reputedly does 28 to the gallon and time will tell if this is true.
We have also signed another e-petition which asks the government to wake up to motorhomers needs and provide stopovers similar to the aires/stellplatz and sostas on the continent. Councils are so afraid here of itinerants setting up
camps that it is virtually impossible to find a place to stop unless it's a certified campsite. Many of these are out of the way and inconvenient for a motor home. Height barriers adding to the problem.
We have been looking at pre-paid cards which seem to be useful for Europe. We did have a post office one some years ago but let it lapse. We found it easy to load up when we were at home but it was impossible to load when abroad . It seems now though with technology we should be able to buy a card, load it up with £500 and continue to use it abroad and be able to re-load it over the internet or by phone.
We pick up the motorhome on Tuesday. It will be a leisurely drive for us up to Nottingham. Lunch in a local pub, a tour of the motorhome and its workings and then home. We are excited finally but also feel a little apprehension. I am sure though once we drive to Warrington to have the tracker fitted we will feel happier and on each trip confidence will build.
The photographs today are a selection of those that I didnt add to previous blogs. I like looking at them again and again for the memories they bring. For us the holidays are divided into three equal parts. The first is of course all the planning. Searching for sites to stay at, google earth is such a wonderful tool to see the towns and villages of an area and to survey the landscape and roads. We use the internet to book visits and buy tickets. This all adds to the general build up and excitement of the holiday. The second part is the holiday itself and finally uploading photographs to our computer, writing blogs and reviewing what went well and what we would do differently next time. And before you know it planning time comes round again for the next holiday.