Monday, 4 July 2016

T4rdis2's Tour 2 . Day 1 - 4 England and France

Day 1  Friday 1st July 2016  - Fine but cloudy with occasional sunshine.
Start Mileage 5015

We left Riddings Campsite at about 11am to set off on our next adventure in Europe- however our trip wasn't without incident!

Mrs Snooper in her 'coffin'
The first one was the sad demise of Mrs Snooper - she croaked loudly and then was no more. We used all of our efforts and capabilities to try to revive her - but as usual, she knew her own mind and was having none of it - so now we're almost 'sat nav less'.  John had a very old one stashed away in the garage so  he recommissioned it to aid the rest of our journey, but it's 10 year old maps are unlikely to be up to our requirements once we cross over into Europe.

So, tomorrow we're on a mission - Seek Out and Find a new Formal Director for T4rdis2.  The only problem is we're parked up on a campsite that is about 5 and a half miles outside Dover, so it looks as if we'll be in for a bit of walking exercise tomorrow.

The other major problem with our journey was the state of the M25 Carpark (oh sorry I mean motorway)! We stopped for lunch at Toddington Services and resumed our journey at about 2.30, and then it took us the best part of 5 hours to reach our destination - it was very frustrating but I suppose we shouldn't complain because it's the first major traffic jam we've been involved with this year!

And then our final issue, after our very drive was getting parked up and level (or not).  We'd booked onto a small Camping and Caravan Club CS which sounded ok in the reviews, however, it turned out to be a long but fairly narrow grassed area that sloped, and because it already looked a bit muddy, we did consider the risk of getting stuck again!  However, after our long journey we were ready for a rest so we decided to chance it, and  felt fairly reassured when the owner said 'I'm sure you'll be ok, but if not I've got a tractor to pull you out'.  Therefore, we rolled on and attempted to get level, but because of the caravans that were already parked up we had no chance. We tried our ramps but all we succeeded in  doing was spinning our wheels and digging divets in the soft ground, so eventually, (after providing entertainment for the other campers) we gave up, put the kettle on, and settled for being on a wonk!  And we realised just how big a wonk it was when we finally got around to eating our dinner - we almost had to glue our plates down to stop them sliding out of the window - we did manage, but later John was in grave danger of falling out of bed!

Day 2 Saturday 2nd July 2016 - Morning sunny and very warm, afternoon showers and thunder storm

I've not really got a lot to say about today!  Our walk into Dover was a 5 mile trek each way and quite uninspiring, but our mission was successful, and 'Tom' will be our tour guide for the foreseeable future. Happily, much of our walk was in lovely sunshine and the weather only spoiled itself right at the end of our return leg, when the heavens opened and let rip with a tremendous thunderstorm, but luckily at the time we were in Tesco buying a little Windows computer that seemed to fall into our basket quite by accident!   We'd been Uming and Ahring if we should indulge in one for a while, but as Tesco had them at a bargain price, and because John said he NEEDED one to update the maps on his new sat nav,  the deal was soon clinched. Oh, and because John prefers a female voice to nag him, our new guide will have to change it's name to Tomess!

Day 3 Sunday 3rd July 2016 - Cloudy in the morning, sunny and hot in the afternoon ,

We were up bright and early this morning because our ferry was booked for 10am, and John always likes to be at the port nice and early!  Therefore, we decided just to have a quick cup of tea before packing up and setting off, and to have our breakfast on the quay side.  And as you might guess, our plan went well until we started our engine, then spin, spin, spin went the wheels and splatter, splatter, splatter went the mud, all accompanied by a few unsavoury words from my dearly beloved!

T4rdis2 being towed out of the Mud
We very quickly realised we were going nowhere soon without some assistance, so off I went on a mission to recruit the farmer and his tractor! I toddled up to the farm house, but even though the top half of the farm stable door was  swinging wide open, the only response to my ringing, shouting and knocking was from a very big friendly dog who peered over at me with mournful eyes, but even he wouldn't raise a woof to alert his owners to our need!  I tried my phone, but no joy there because I hadn't got a signal, so for the next 10 minuets I continued to knock and shout, and eventually, a sleepy voice from one of the upstairs windows called back  'what do you want' (I thought farmers were early risers!).  I explained our predicament, and a short while later said farmer arrived on his little red tractor, and once hooked up, he quickly tugged us onto solid ground, but unfortunately, by this time, his little campsite field looked as if it had been ploughed. Therefore, following a quick 'thank-you', we made a hasty departure, and still arrived just in time to catch our ferry but with no time to spare for breakfast! 

Our crossing was calm and quick (only 2 hours), so it seemed like no time at all before we were disembarking, and driving off on the left down lovely smooth French roads towards our first destination which was to be a free Aire near La Touquet.

From where we were parked our view of the sea was obscured by a large sand dune, but it was only a short walk to a beach that stretched in both directions for as far as we could see.   We walked for a while and then returned home to be entertained by children sledging down the sand  dunes!

Day 4 Monday 4th July 2016 - Partial cloud but with lots of sunny periods

We spent a quiet and peaceful night on the Aire, and with our route planned the previous evening we were keen to continue our journey in the morning.  We picked up some nice cheap fuel (about 97p), and then headed further down the coast to St Valery Sur Somme, a very pretty village, but one we will have to revisit on our bikes because there was no where to park T4rdis2.

From there we backtracked a little to a large parking area that we had spotted earlier near Le Crotoy, but on the way we got held up by a huge flock of sheep crossing the road - apparently they graze on the salt marsh grass which gives extra flavour to their meat.

Once we had parked we had a little meander across a spite of land that separates the ocean from a huge 'basin' that used to be used for gathering cockles, but apparently, over the years it became increasingly polluted, so the family industry finally died in the 1990s.  However, today the area provides a lovely haven for birds, and as we walked I'm fairly sure I spotted an otter just before it dived for cover.

Then we only travelled a few more miles before we reached the little town of Le Hourdel and another Aire where we plan to spend the night.  Once we had parked up we unloaded our bikes, but we only planned a short ride, mostly to glean information for tomorrow when we will do more two wheeled exploring.  On our ride we found ourselves at La Maison de la Baie de Somme - a bird sanctuary and visitors centre where we were entertained by screaming black headed gulls, and where we managed to bag a cycle map so now we're spoilt for choice for our ride tomorrow.

Think that's about all my news for now other than to say we both feel as if we've 'come home' now we're back on the road and doing what we like best!
Take care xx