Tag Archives: france

The final leg

Things at camp naked worked out quite well in the end, we liked it so much we stayed for about a week. We had awesome neighbours, Leanne and Kevin, hopefully we’ll head up to Newcastle sometime and meet them for a drink.

Stella met who she described as her honorary grandma, a lady called Lynda. Lynda and her husband Stewart were both lovely and invited us round to theirs for a drink one afternoon which we gladly took them up on, it was a lovelyafternoon and we swapped email addresses to keep in touch.

Stella really enjoyed the beach and even ventured out onto a lilo with me and Lolly, she really got the hang of being in the sea.

She also quite like me digging holes for her to sit in and be buried.

Aside from the beach there isn’t really very much for Stella to do so we decided to move on and try and find somewhere that caters more for kids, we consulted the ACSI campsite book. We checked out one place but it didn’t look all that and the surrounding area was pretty run down so we drove on to this place.

It’s a Yelloh camping site which in season is very expensive, as it was out of season the pitches were considerably cheaper. We were offered a number of options and eventually settled by a spot by the beach which would eventually slightly regret.

I spent a little while getting set up while Lolly took Stella to the waterpark. Stella loved the waterpark and was exactly what we wanted for her.

There was a designated small baby pool which she could splash about in, there was a lazy river she floated around while in her inflatable ring, a jacuzzi we all hung out in, there was also another pool upstairs which Stella loved jumping off the edge of into one of our arms and swimming from one end to the other in her ring.

There is an on site cocktail bar and restaurant that we visited on our second afternoon there, I had a steak and Lolly had mussels, it was OK but expensive for what it’s was.

I also discovered they sell my absolute favourite Belgian beer on tap which was an excellent surprise, wasn’t cheap though, 6 euros a glass…

That night there was a beautiful sunset and I sent up my drone to get a picture.

When we first arrived we found a bar which was part of the complex called the Tiki bar, it was closed but a couple of days later we ventured back there and it was open, it dawned on me that i’d taken hardly any pictures of Stella and Lauren together so I grabbed a snap of them both sitting on one of the swings they had at the bar.

We didn’t really do to much at Aloha, it was nice to relax and watch Stella enjoying herself in the waterpark or trying to bounce with the bigger kids on the bouncy castle.

There are a lot of Germans at this site and they tend to head for the more static accommodation which looks lovely.

I also noticed the kids here were quite unfriendly. Stella would bowl up to any kid in the park or on the bouncy castle and say hello and they all just looked at her like she was an alien, I felt really sorry for her especially as everywhere else we go so many people make an effort to talk or smile at her. Most of the adults were the same to be honest, nearly every site we have been to people have been quite cheerful and made an effort to say good morning or hello, few and far between here, I’m not blaming just the Germans either, everyone was like it except us which I am sure got on peoples nerves!

Right by reception there us a little wooden house for kids, Stella went mad for it and I got a really nice picture of her in it.

Toward the end of our trip here I put up the awning lights which I’d forgotten to put out for the entire trip, they looked nice at night.

It was a lovely little spot we had but the wind blew terribly and there were mossies everywhere, they particularly liked me 😦

After 5 nights it was time to pack up and head out, when we checked in we had been told the spot we took was one price but it turned out to be about 9 euro’s a night more expensive, even though I explained we had been told it was the same price as the cheaper pitch reception were having none of it which kind of tainted the whole experience for me.

I dropped Lolly and Stella to Béziers airport and started the long drive back, I drove for about 8 hours to a place called Nonancourt where there is an Aire Lolly’s parents use, I got there and was offered some vodka from 2 kids in a car that were hanging around with nothing better to do, I declined and said I’d have a beer once I’d finished getting myself setup for the night. I’d been trying to find somewhere to grab some beers from all the way to Nonancourt and came across a garage that was open, to my surprise they sold beer and I felt I had witnessed a miracle, it was only when I was half way through the second can I realised it was non alcoholic not that it mattered I suppose, just having a beer after a long drive alcoholic or not definitely helps you unwind.

Lolly’s parents weren’t going to arrive at the air until about midnight so I caught up on an episode of Stranger Things and admired my view for the evening.

Camping for three in a motor home for 3 weeks sounds romantic but you have to take so much stuff..

The roof box was also full, now you see why we need a bigger van!

Before I settled down for the night I decided to put in my API information for the tunnel crossing, It was at this point I realised there was an error in my booking, somehow my booking from Calais to Folkestone had been booked the other way round, it was too late to call so I figured I’d deal with it the next morning.

About 7.30 there was a knock at my window and Lolly’s dad very kindly took my tea cup and filled it with tea, I had a lovely chat with Ian and Lindi along with a pain up chocolate and some cake for breakfast, I got a last picture of Bumblebee and Charlene as this will definitely be their last adventure together.

I said farewell to Lindi and Ian, cleared up a bit of the mess the vodka drinking kids left and got on the phone to Le Shuttle.

Whoever designed their ticketing system designed it in such a way in that if there is an error in the crossing direction you can’t just swap them round, you have to buy a whole new ticket and then give them the booking references for both tickets and they will refund you the original booking. That’s all well a good but as I didn’t notice until after hours the day before I travelled, the price had rocketed to over double the original cost. After a lot of negotiating / pleading they eventually credited my original crossing cost to to the new booking which cost me an extra 103GBP but on the plus side I am getting on an earlier crossing. I know I didn’t make the mistake so I’ll be contacting their customer complaints department.

As I write I’m sat at Calais waiting for my crossing,I thought I’d go and hang out in the Aire Lolly and I stayed at back in 2015, it’s been demolished and rebuilt since then!

It looks a lot nicer and tidier but it’s not an aire anymore, there was a burger stall and kebab shop that was really busy with kids, now it’s just a promenade with a load of lined parking, you can still get dodgy mussels and chips from the restaurant that time forget however, it’s still here and not moved with the times.

I’ll be glad to get home if not just to sleep in my own bed and drink a decent cup of tea, how very British!

We’ve covered about 1700 miles this time round and apart from a puncture Bumblebee has performed flawlessly cruising at 90mph with ease on the A roads, honestly, as a family we’ll be sad to see him go but it’s been a fitting farewell trip for our trusty home on wheels….

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Day 1

Our trip to France started with a 21st birthday party in Hertfordshire and camping in a bloke called Bob’s back garden. He has a lovely house in a little village called Furneux Pelham and had offered to host Billies 21st. Billie is Lauren’s cousin. When we arrived there was a good sprinkling of family chatting away and some of Billies guests in the pool, they’re quite a sensible lot, if someone had let me borrow their house and pool for a 21st birthday it would have been proper carnage!

As the evening progressed the only people that seemed to get smashed was us oldies, either the 21 year old massive didn’t drink or they held it down well, I was probably too smashed to notice. 

Bob’s garden is massive as demonstrated by the small band of travellers that stayed the night in their wagons taking up no room at all. 

Our alarm went off at 05.00, nothing like getting up at stupid o’clock to go on holiday, we made a brew and then lolly went for a dip. 

We had a chat with Lollys mum and dad who are also travelling to France, made a fairly loose arrangement with them and then headed off for the ferry. 


The roads were deserted apart from the odd tool driving in the middle lane forever, rather that then traffic. 

In no time at all we could see the sea which meant Dover wasn’t too far away. 


The crossing was relatively uneventful tho I did buy a new Bluetooth speaker, haven’t tested it yet but am sure it will sound way better than the one I have at the moment which is average at best and a blatant rip off of something that should be way more expensive. 

We left Calais and made straight for a little village called Chemin du cal serin, it’s about 2 or so hours drive heading in the direction of Marseilles. We’re stopping in this village as a couple we met last year recommend the Aire, for 5 euros a night you get water, electricity, WC and a nice view of an old castle. 

When we arrived all the spots were taken so in true Mark Ashley / Croydonia style we made our own space. 


We hadn’t eaten since we arrived in Dover so we set about getting some food cooking, chicken on the trusty Cobb and Lolly knocked up a lovely salad, rice and coleslaw.


After cooking the chicken the Cobb was still roasting hot so we cooked up all our sausages before they went off and chucked a couple of corns on and left them to cook while we went for a wander up to Coucy-le-chateau-auffrique. 


What’s surprising about this place is there is a whole little village built around the ruin and there is a community of friendly goats roaming about the place too, they are really friendly if you have food. 

Much to Lollys dismay we’d arrived just as the local boot fair was packing up so no wandering about looking at people’s stuff they’re trying to get rid of, we did however have a good look about the town and unfortunately just missed the tour of the castle. After about 30 minutes we came across the track we’d come so decided to head back down to the van, do all the washing up from earlier, have a little wander and then crash for the night. 

We took a walk down a lane not far from the van which will be forever remembered as mosquito alley, bastard things everywhere, I’d already been bitten once and now have a temporarily inflated foot. I’ve been bitten a few more times since that walk, we retreated to van and watched the final two episodes of Wayward Pines, ate a considerable amount of chocolate and then went to bed. 

All in all a successful first day, no fuel issues either which is a bonus, the only downside to living like this is not much in the way of showers, we do have a camping shower but I’d set that up a bit late so it hadn’t heated up very much by the time we got back to use it. 

The combination of solar panels and split charge system is keeping the battery charged and fridge powered up which means our food keeps and if I ever get any beers they will be cold. 

We’re off to the mountains tomorrow, I’ve always wanted to see a ski resort in summer so that’s what we’re doing, with any luck we’ll have a shower too! 

 

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