On Tour Once More 😁
Monday 14th - Monday 23rd August 2017
On Sunday 22nd we left Swanwick and set off on another Grand Tour, but before that a whole week had passed since my last blog! On Monday we were on Grandma and Grandad duty again looking after just Thomas - our other Grandchildren were on their hols! Evelyn had accompanied Mummy and Daddy on their 💝Honeymoon💝 and Jack was living it up 🏊with his Mum and Dad in Lanzarote.
Thomas's visit coincided our need to move T4rdis2 to fetch LPG so while he was with us he got his first ride out in the van, and as we were already mobile we thought we may as well make a day of it by visiting Carsington Water near Ashbourne. While we were there we indulged in lunch (ham sandwiches in T4rdis2's comfy confines), feeding the ducks, blackberry picking, exploring and bouncing - I would have loved a go but the weight limit was 70kg - so that counted me out!
On Tuesday we just had a quiet day at Thomas's home playing games and catching up on odd jobs and admin that needed to be completed before our departure, and on Wednesday we treated ourselves and our very dear friends Sharon and Paul to a posh meal out at Anoki - an Indian restaurant on the A38 near Burton. The food and the company were first class, and made all the better because our meal was free! I'd been given a voucher for a 5 course banquet for 2 for helping out at a 'Fun Day' at Shining Star's Nursery (where our daughter Sarah is the manager), and Sarah treated Sharon and Paul because Paul is teaching her to drive.
I think it's fair to say we all had a brilliant time and the only thing wrong with it was that our evening passed far to quickly - good friends are hard to come by and we would very much have liked to have spent more time with them during our recent stay, but because of their commitments and our 💒'big event'💒 it just wasn't to be this time.
Thursday passed as mostly a lazy day with a bit more babysitting thrown in for the evening while Sarah and Paul went out for a posh nosh, and then came Friday which was T4rdis2's service day. We were up bright and early and the van was left at the garage by 8.30am - thus rendering us homeless for the day, but luckily Sarah and Paul are very generous and hospitable with their home so we were able to share it while we waited for ours to be returned! But really only John passed his time there - I nipped off into Derby to meet another dear friend - Sandra, and of course, while we were together we treated ourselves to a very delicious lunch in the Brasserie at Bennett's.
And that wasn't the only feast I had that day - for supper we'd been invited to Val John and Mum's house for Indian Takeaway - another lovely evening that was passed very convivially with good company, delicious food and a drop or two of 🍷🍷🍷 - at this rate I'll never be able to bounce at Carsington!
Happily, T4rdis2 got through the service with flying colours and no recommendations for any work that needed to be done, so we can now go off on our travels with an easy mind concerning our ships mechanical functions!
Saturday was our last day at 'home' and it was spent restocking our cupboards and saying a few goodbyes, but it also held a few 'scares'! John got his bike out of the garage only to find that the controller that allows the power assist levels to be changed was 'knackered'. The bike was stuck in 'tour' mode so it was just about usable, but really this couldn't have happened at a worse time - our ferry to France is booked for Tuesday so we've got very little time to sort it out. I rang 'Bikes Direct' where we had them from and they suggested that if we called in on Monday on our way to Dover they may be able to help - so now we're just keeping everything crossed that this will be the case.
And that wasn't the only issue of the day! I plugged my computer into our inverter to charge and ....zilch .... not even one tiny amp was toddling down the wire! John poked, prodded, swore and grumbled but the blasted thing didn't respond - and the inverter is a piece of kit that it would be very hard to do without on our impending voyage because we plan to spend quite a bit off time of grid! Therefore, we decided we'd catch the bus into Derby to buy a new one, but just before we left John had another tinker with it - and hey presto - we'd got power! I'm not sure what sort of gremlin was messing with it, but just in case he returns, we've decided to buy a spare for our impending travels!
Finally, Sunday arrived and this was our day of departure for our very own 'Tour de France' - but by the time we'd messed about filling up with diesel and LPG and then called at Maplin's to buy the new inverter, we didn't get an early start. However, that didn't really matter because we were only going as far as a campsite called Barnstones near Banbury - the journey all the way to Dover is a bit to far to tackle all in one go, and as the weather turned out to be almost continuous heavy rain in the afternoon we were quite glad to stop and take some R&R time.
So that brings me round to today - Monday! As expected the M25 was busy and we had several episodes where we felt we were sitting in a big car park, but after about 3 hours we arrived at Bikes Direct where we handed John's bike over for further investigation and possible fixing. The chap there was a bit pessimistic to start with, and he warned that if we needed parts it would take 3 weeks to obtain them from Germany - so we really thought that was the end of our bike riding for this tour. However, we left the 🚲 with him while we went and had lunch, and low and behold, much to our delight, he'd fixed it within an hour- and as it was still under warranty we didn't even have to pay!
Then it was forwards and onwards for another couple of hours to the Aire at Canterbury where we're staying overnight before our mid-day ferry tomorrow over to Calais - and really we only just got there in time! When we arrived there were only 3 spaces available, and within half an hour the place was packed, but despite that, vans kept rolling up and trying to squeeze in! Also when we arrived we got a bit of a shock - when John checked the ferry times he realised some 🐴silly mare🐴 had booked a journey from Calais to Dover for tomorrow and Dover to Calais for the 30th October! We thought it was going to cost us a fortune to correct it, but in the end all Ferry Savers wanted was a tenner for the alteration - so no calamity there!
This tour will hopefully take us over The Route des Grandes Alpes, starting at Thonon-les-Bains and passing over all the high passes of the Alps before terminating on the French Riviera. The inspiration for our journey came from Our Bumble - a fellow blogger who has a much more professional site and fantastic pictures - and having read their story I think if we enjoy it as much as they did we're in for a rare treat and a tour that will be memorable for many years to come.
Anyway, that's about all for now so I'll start practising my French and say Au Revoir until next time 😙😙😙
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