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First Timer – Let’s get started

This is the post excerpt.

Today I updated my Facebook status:-

Sat here with a glass of cider, in the beautiful sunshine getting excited, and ready, for our upcoming trip – might start work on the blog tonight…!”

So I thought I’d better make a start.

The main reason for starting a blog is our year off travelling around the UK (mostly) in our motorhome in 2017.  Before that (30th May 2016 to be precise) we’re off to France for 5 1/2 weeks.

So I thought I’d get a bit of practice in before next year (bearing in mind I have no idea what I’m doing…)

Currently we’re making sure that everything is in place before we leave.  We’ve spend the past couple of months starting every weekend agreeing that we must get some ‘stuff’ done.  So, here we are with just over 3 weeks to go, and we’ve finally got started!

Okay, so we’ve done a few bits and pieces.  Mainly buying in extra provisions – such as rice and high juice.  Yes, I KNOW they have shops in France but last time we were there we found that it was impossible to find certain items, or when we did they were insanely expensive (for instance, I got a hankering for chocolate spread – no, I don’t know why either – and although we found it, it cost about £4)

Today, Calvin has made a space in the back cupboard to hang a couple of storage containers in – we can keep shoes, loo rolls and other provisions in there.  He’s also modified the bike rack so that we can fit our new bikes on without scratching them.  He really is very useful!

Oh yes, of course, we bought new bikes a few weeks back.  Electric bikes… meaning we can go a little further on them (rather than me always wanting to turn back before Calvin does).  I’d taken a couple of months to finally make the decision to buy.  Calvin decided in 2 minutes flat while I was making a final decision on which bike to buy.  So, we’re looking forward to making good use of them on all those cycle paths & routes in France (particularly in the Pyrenees).

So far we love them (went out for a short 6 mile ride this morning actually before coming over to the van).

Tomorrow we’ll carry on emptying out the cupboards and getting rid of anything that really isn’t needed.  I’ve already filled up 1 cupboard with books, and another with DVDs.

Next week we’ll give the van a good clean, and finalise the modifications to the bike rack.  We will also check if we can get the NOW TV box to work as long as we’ve got WIFI – if anyone knows if this is likely please feel free to share 🙂

Finally I have just 3 weeks left to lose all that weight that I promised I would lose some months ago.  I’ve failed miserably so far, so must try harder!

In my next post I’ll share our route through France.

 

 

 

 

Discovering Chateau de Chenonceoux and Amboise nearby

We moved on towards Tours after leaving la Ferte-Vidame.  This route was chosen after much deliberation regarding our route – resulting with us eventually, and reluctantly, deciding to abandon our plan to cross the Millau Viaduct (boooo….); mainly due to the seeming lack of campsites open for us on that route 😦

Having decided on Tours, I thought that we might actually stay for 3 nights, having seen a weather forecast suggesting full sun and a high of 21C on Monday.  Sadly it turns out that there are several towns called Tours in France, and my app had decided to provide me with information for a different one, rather than the main town of Tours located in the Loire Valley.  So we just stayed for 2 nights after all.

We could have hopped on the cycle path and ridden into Tours to visit the old city (about 4 miles away, with the cycle path passing within about 50m from the site – albeit across a busy road); but we didn’t…

Instead we used our 1 full day there to visit the Chateau de Chenonceaux.  There are so many chateaux to choose from to visit; we chose this one as it actually spans the river Cher.  It turns out that it is actually a Unesco World Heritage Site.

We paid 14 Euros each to visit the castle and gardens – other attractions within the grounds include a maze, wine cellar (caves), gourmet restaurant, tea-room, self-service restaurant, 16th century farm with carriage musuem and donkeys 🙂

But the main draw is without doubt the castle itself, where many rooms are open to the public.  One of the interesting facts we learned was that Continue reading “Discovering Chateau de Chenonceoux and Amboise nearby”

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1st few days into France/Spain 2018/19 – Brighton-Newhaven-Dieppe-La Ferte Vidame :)

6th November was the day we left home for our next adventure.  We said our goodbyes and waved to the house, with barely a backward glance.. except we had to go straight back before we made it to the motorway as Calv had left his phone behind…!!

1st stop Brighton for an overnight at the Caravan Club site situated just inland from the marina.  We had a bite to eat in the marina; a first ever visit to Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and later in the afternoon (although it felt like the evening by the time we came home (by which I mean ‘van’) at about 6.30pm, as it was so dark), we headed into town to visit the Pavilion and the ice skating rink.

We drove around for a while trying to find somewhere to park for less than £10 for 2 hours; on the seafront you will pay £6 for 2 hours closer to Palace Pier, but we parked nearer to West Pier where we paid ‘only’ £4.20 for 2 hours.

I’m glad we did though, as it was just a 15 minute walk back to the Pavilion which looked perfect all lit up for the ice-skating.  We didn’t partake (we didn’t want to risk either of us breaking a leg before going away!) but it was great fun to watch.  (We have no idea who these lads are in Calv’s photo – but they seem very happy with themselves!!!

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Our ferry was leaving Newhaven at 11.30am so we didn’t have to get up too early – we just headed off about 9.30am and were at the port by 10.15am – so in plenty of time for our crossing.  It was a bit rough out there, but I managed to ignore it!!  Until we headed out of the safety of the harbour that is…  See videos below for a small taster of what we experienced! Continue reading “1st few days into France/Spain 2018/19 – Brighton-Newhaven-Dieppe-La Ferte Vidame :)”

Perfect Port Sunlight and Crosby’s ‘Another Place’

Following our day out in Liverpool (see here for relevant post) our friends arrived onsite and we took the car to visit Port Sunlight (an obsession of mine for some years since seeing it featured on various TV programmes).

Port Sunlight is a model village (not ‘miniature’ model, but ‘ideal’ model) conceived by Lord Leverhulme to house the workers for his Sunlight Soap factory (much like Bourneville was built for Cadbury workers).  The houses and surroundings must have seemed like a little slice of heaven for those who were lucky enough to have the opportunity to move there!

Lord Leverhulme also believed in work/life balance (he was years ahead of his time!) and as such provided numerous leisure facilities for his workers and their families – there were schools, social clubs, parks, sports & recreation areas and even an open air swimming pool.  There was (is) even a pub, The Bridge Inn, although no alcohol was initially served here. Continue reading “Perfect Port Sunlight and Crosby’s ‘Another Place’”

The wonderful, surprising, simply amazing city of Liverpool

We had headed north specifically to visit Liverpool as we had heard so much about it, and none of it bad.

We stayed on a handy site on The Wirral, Arrowe Brook Farm, which was close enough to public transport links for those without any transport, but we drove to a nearby train station, Hoylake, to park for free and pay a total of £4.90 to take the train into the city..

Alighting at James Street it was just a 5 minute walk to Albert Dock where there is so much going on!  There has been a wonderful rejuvenation of this area, including areas in the dock for houseboats & barges and, of course, numerous eateries and bars arrayed around the dock itself.  (Whilst waiting for our bus tour we had a quick drink and cake in Puffle Waffle in 1 of the old dock buildings).

Here, you will also find all the bus tours of the city (we opted for the 2 hour Beatles and City tour – more of that later), Continue reading “The wonderful, surprising, simply amazing city of Liverpool”

My France and Spain winter 2018/2019 trip

Follow me on my trip ‘France and Spain winter 2018/2019’ at https://www.polarsteps.com/turnrightoutofportsmouth/990685-france-and-spain-winter-2018-2019

Starting to prepare and get excited for our next trip. This will be recorded as we move on Polarsteps so if you follow us you won’t need to wait until I get round you writing up my blog to see where we are 😊

See also our reviews for each site we stopped at on the way.

Chester – Blue Plaque Heaven :)

Finding ourselves with a few extra days away and unable to book into the same site on The Wirral we found an amazing site in Caerwys, North Wales (White Gates – click for my review).  What an amazing find!  Not just the site itself either – the town is full of history too (and we also liked The Royal Oak – just saying…)

It’s also not too far from Chester – probably 30-40 mins drive.  We did drive into the town centre initially but gave up on finding that it would cost £7.80 to park for 3 hours.  So we headed back out to one of the Park and Rides (as we had been advised before we even left home…) and made our way in from there (on the bus of course).

Our first view on getting off the bus was the city walls crossing the street with an ornate clock atop the bridge.  Very impressive 🙂

Chester August 2018 (12)
Chester City Walls

We also noticed a number of stalls lining the streets as we walked towards the centre.  We had chosen Chester Pride day to visit!  Continue reading “Chester – Blue Plaque Heaven :)”