Monday 22nd February 2016
We have a storage unit in Newhaven and today we had booked to open it and change over the things that we no longer need and to take out the stuff that we will need for the next few months in France. The new toilet cassette is one of the things that we will not need as we hope that the temporary repair with superglue on the original cassette has sorted out the problem, fingers crossed and hope for the best!!!
We spent the rest of the day with Mum at her house in Seaford as this will be the last opportunity before we return to France.
Today our son James is 23. ****** HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES ******
James was born on a Tuesday and in fact it was Pancake Day. When he was younger he couldn't understand why Pancake Day was never on his birthday!
After Allan visited the doctor in Newhaven for an ongoing problem with his big toe (some of you may remember the saga when he reversed over it whilst he was outside of the motorhome!) we drove over to Hailsham to spend the day with the birthday boy.
We took a trip to the David Lloyd bowling centre in Eastbourne and had two games of Ten Pin Bowling with a snack in between. Frankie won the first game and after a quick bite of fries and something, James won the second game. Did we let them win or were we the oldies - the parents and now grandparents, just useless at throwing a bowling ball in the direction of a few skittles. OK they won fair and square. They thrashed us (almost, as we all managed to get some strikes!) but we want revenge next time! Scarlett-Louise slept peacefully all through this but it won't be long before she will be making her presence known and enjoying it all.
Because of a mishap with the transport arrangements, the birthday cake was still in the motorhome (whoops!) but we collected it on the way back and had tea and cake whilst Scarlett had her bottle. Another thing that will change shortly!!! We had a lovely day with them all and it was good to have some time at home, just the five of us, on our last day with them before we leave.
We had a last hug with Scarlett and then made our way to Peacehaven to visit Allan's sister Jean and her husband Dan. We had a nice visit with them before making our way back to Mum's in Seaford, a bit too late for dinner. Dorothy's brother, Tony, helped us bring the bikes back to the motorhome and took the generator to storage and so, now, we are finally ready for our trip tomorrow.
A last farewell to Mum and Tony, then we headed off for a good night's sleep, praying for a calm crossing tomorrow!
Today we return to France on The "M/V Côte d'Albâtre" 10 am ferry from Newhaven. James, Frankie and Scarlett-Louise came to the ferry port to spend an hour with us before we had to board and this was lovely of them. Proud Nanny and Grandad had very special cuddles with Scarlett-Louise.
Then it was time to say goodbye.
Frankie had asked Dorothy not to cry and she held it together until we saw them
drive off to the other side of the river to wave us off. And so we boarded the
ferry and took a last look at Newhaven until we return later in the year.
On deck we got talking to a man who used to live in Sussex and had just been visiting family in Polegate.
He took our photo.........
And Allan took Dorothy's..................
And then the ferry began to move!
At last the family come into view..............
James, Frankie and Scarlett-Louise, Mum, Tony and Martin H were all there to see us off. This was wonderful xx And a text from Zelie as well xx
Then, we spotted Robert H lurking behind the white signal box. He must have been quite surprised to have his name hollered out from the deck of the morning ferry when Allan was shouting goodbye to everyone! and we managed to capture a photo of him in the enlargement of the family photo. We also include here, his photo of us on the ferry.
(Photo Robert Horscraft)
And then they were gone......................
At the last car park we then spotted
Peter and June waving to us from their car. Peter used to call "Happy Holidays"
in a loud voice to the ferry as it it left whenever we were on the beach with
This time it was just a wave and then we were gone, on our way again to France.
Further out and we have another photo
taken, this time by a foreign lorry driver.
And it is all getting too emotional for Dorothy!
We have had a mixed time in England over the winter. The premature birth of our grandaughter Scarlett-Louise, Dorothy's Mum having a successful operation to her arm. Christmas at Mum's with a visit on Boxing Day from James, Frankie and Scarlett-Louise, New Year with the East Sussex Caravan Club, Jon's 50th Birthday party are just a few of the many highlights.
Let's hope that the English Channel
gives us a smooth crossing.
As the ferry turns and makes it way into the channel, Dorothy went below to collect her thoughts
and send some last messages before we lose contact until we arrive in Dieppe.
Allan then returned to the deck to
watch the land disappear over the horizon.............
************************ HELLO FRANCE 2016 *****************************
We are really glad to be back here in Dieppe but are already missing our family and friends.
The first thing to do is some shopping. So the first stop is the Auchan shopping centre at Dieppe and the first isle that Dorothy heads for is the baby clothes! This will be her size when we return, she says. We need to buy some things as we tour around so that we will be ready when we go back to England. Allan is thinking we need wine for tonight!!!
We leave Dieppe, intending to travel to Rugles for our first stop but decide to shorten the trip as it has been an emotional day for us both and we are feeling very tired.
So, our first stop is at Montville.
We have been here before and this time it gives us just the rest we need.
After yesterday's smooth crossing we now find ourselves relaxing about 40 miles south of Dieppe at Montville. Although there is a heavy mist and the temperature outside is minus four the batteries are slowly recharging with solar power and we are getting used to the peace and quiet.
Huge English breakfast, the full works and totally delicious. The diet must start but for now we are relaxing. We decide to stay here until after the Saturday market but then will move on as the water here has been turned off because of the frosty weather and also we will need electricity to boost up the batteries.
During the day Allan works on the blog, photos and writing some stuff for TripAdvisor.
Only toast for breakfast today with a glum look from Allan. What, no marmalade!! Later we had a walk to the Carrefour Supermarket, returning for light lunch and in the evening, after trying to get the photos and a few words together for the blog we had an enormous Stir-Fry dinner.
It always amazes us how, even if
there is plenty of room in a French Aire, the French always want to come and
snuggle up to vehicles that are already here. This is the reason that Dorothy
had to fit some net curtains to enhance our privacy!!
Us, joined by 2 and in the rest of the Aire ????
The market was very busy, even on
a February Saturday.
Just a few of the stalls which continued up the main street!
We had a look around the market and were surprised at the huge size of some of the carrots! (Orange, yellow and black carrots!)
Then we spotted these vegetables.
There is no prize for giving the name but what are they called!!!! Answers NOT on a postcard but on our message board!!
Thank you Montville for a pleasant stay but it is now time to move on.
We had a good journey down to Rugles,
avoiding the town where we broke down in October!!!
We now have a nice, sunny pitch on the Aire and have noticed that they have re-seeded part of the grass in "our" garden following some maintenance. Water and electricity all in working order and we are now snug as bugs in a rug!
Finding that we have no phone signal at all here and therefore no internet connection either, we took a walk into town to see if we could pick up a signal there. On the way we crossed over the river and passed by the Lavoir. (Is there now a geocache here?!!)
We managed to get a wifi connection outside the Marie and the Tourist Information Office but obviously both were closed and it was too cold to wait around outside for very long. We need to go back tomorrow to try to communicate with family at home and visit the 3 website to see if there are any connection issues. Other motorhomes on the Aire have perfectly good phone signals.