Dover to Calais

We find ourselves on the ferry and can only think finally! One would think that we did not want to go at all the way we were carrying on. But now we have left mainland England and have water beneath us, the car is packed to the brim and we will not be able to buy any memorabilia at all.

So what have we been up to since leaving our flat on the 7th you may ask, well sit down because it is a long story and maybe by the end you will be as exasperated as we were beginning to get.

The plan was simple, leave London, and see Simon’s parents, drive to Scotland with stops at the lakes, Simon’s Uncle and Aunt. The reality, well we left late to see Simon’s parents with stuff still in the flat. The car not fully packed and of the things we needed for the trip, being spread between the flat, car and the rest in Hay. Then we had to be back in London on Thursday to collect the Nigerian visas and a whole bunch of other stuff not to mention my hair needed cutting.

So here is the story; On the 1st of February we set out, car packed and ready, the fact that we still had loads of stuff in the flat being of no consequence. We set out much later than planned and so arrived in Hay rather late. Firstly we had to contend with the weather that was blowing gales and ole Jenny does not like the wind blowing from the front. Then there were diversions on the road, not one but three, yes so you do understand, three being just two too many. Well a hot delicious pub dinner and good company soon made it all better.

Saturday and Sunday was spent with the family and doing some shopping for the trip, boy have we done shopping. And yes it is all necessary and yes it was fun, especially since we had been so good over the last eight months and have been saving all our pennies.

Monday the 4th and we visit Hay Primary School, we go to see year six and tell them all about our trip, Jenny goes too and we unpack her in the pouring rain to show the kids all the stuff, they are most tickled by the loo seat (of course we have one, there are times when one has to sit a while, especially when you are a boy, something about privacy and a newspaper.)

We will be sending post cards to the students throughout the journey and they will be tracking our progress on the net and by the cards they receive. So if any of year six is reading this, hello I hope you are well, Simon and I are doing fine and find ourselves in the north of France.

Tuesday the 5th and Simon finds himself back at work, don’t ask, sucker for punishment in my opinion. I on the other hand find myself running around like a headless chicken trying to finish the work I have to do to finish the degree, oh yes, UNISA and I are still joined at the hip. Well now the practical work has been done and I just have to put it together neatly and send it to UNISA. And then all is done, whoopee!

The week continues and we do loads of sorting and then some more sorting and then a little bit of shopping and more sorting. You get the general idea. So Friday the 7th and we leave to go to Hay to say our final farewell. And is there still stuff in the flat? Well of course there is. So we find ourselves in Hay saying goodbye, doing last minute shopping (what more? yes more) and collecting some “padkos” or otherwise know as food for the road (for the uninitiated.) So thank you to Eileen for the great meals without which we would of had no food
when we needed it.

So Sunday the 10th and we go to a Land Rover show, to see Kevin, Paul and Graham from footloose 4×4, they guys that gave Jenny her fine modifications. We went to collect some stuff, get advice and say goodbye and bon voyage. It was good to see the boys but I am sure that Sunday was not the last time some advice was sought from that lot, they are really good on advice. So one more lifeline to add to our list, for those of you who are a little worried about us.

Now what to do? Have to be back in London to collect visas on Thursday afternoon and it is Sunday, so instead of hanging about London for 3 days we decided to go to the Lake District instead.

The Lakes

Yes it can rain from the ground up, Simon and I realised this upon arriving in Ambleside and finding that the camping season generally started in March. So after some searching in the rain, wind, wet and did I mention rain, we found that the kind people of the national trust kept their sites open all year. Next morning the skies had cleared and we had a great time investigating the area, looks at the photo’s to see what great surroundings we awoke to (having not being able to see a thing the night before.) There are huge expanses of water everywhere and it is easy to see how the area got its name, with lots of very active looking people everywhere heading out for day hikes. We spent two days there and took Jenny for a good test drive down a country lane through a few mountain passes, she is a great car and did really well.

One of the best things was being able to picnic by a stream in the middle of the mountains, hot coffee to hand and cold chicken & cheese from the fridge.

York

For those of you who live in England this will be no surprise, York was flooded and so we had to camp before reaching it as all the campsites where closed in York as they were flooded. York is a beautiful old city and we were sorry to only have the one day there. There is much to see but I highly recommend the unusual Viking Jorvick museum worth every penny and the Minster of York, big airy bright with free guided tours a good hideout from the cold and not at all boring. We heard great things about the choir and would have loved to hear them so it is definitely worth another visit, preferably not in the rainy season.

London again then away

Last visit to London, the flat is sold, we have a final clear up and not the car is really full, much sorting out to be done on the road. Did we need more time to prepare for the trip, well no, given more time we would have left it to the last minute anyway, such is our nature, fortunately for both of us so we did not stress each other out. On the way back we stopped over in Leister and visited a friend of Simon’s, it was good to see Fiona and we were provided with a good meal and good company and a place in the warm. So thanks Fiona.

Finally setting off on Saturday morning the 16th we wave goodbye to Bow Quarter for the last time, no longer ours and time to move on. The weekend is to be spent with Simon’s brother and sister in Law. We had a wonderful time and had a great pub dinner on their recommendation, so for the best bubble and squeak on the planet go to Malvern. Early Monday we set off and thank you Matthew and Sarah for such a welcoming, restful break. Due to needing to get a MOT for Jenny and a few other things we only made it to Canterbury that evening, camping when we found a site rather than chancing not finding one later. The kind people of the British caravanning and camping association offered us membership so some explanation was needed, as it would be our last camp on British soil.

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