Saturday, August 26, 2017

Next Road Trip Planned

I have been a bit busier than usual getting the house tidied up, the inside is ok but the outside decks are covered in dust which blows over from North Africa. Its so hard to get rid of but im getting there.

I still managed to get a few sessions in down at my office!

They even had my bed waiting for me, they are such lovely people. 

I took both Bombo and Sammie for a haircut, it is very hot at the mo so they needed a good short clip.
I also decided to make my bed a bit more inviting should I get lucky one day, its a massive super king size bed but the sheets, quilt and pillows are all over the place so I went down to a newly opened shop in Mojacar run by a couple of young girls and  bought all new bed gear, it now looks lovely.

So to my road trip....... After talking to a few of my friends who stay down here for July and August and suffer the intense heat and crowds, I have decided to go back to the UK again next year but....I decided to go direct from Spain to Portsmouth rather than the super long drive through France and Spain. In the motorhome it was brill cos I could go on the A roads and just enjoy the trip, but with the doggies and finding hotels and paying tolls etc its a bit of a bugger. Plus of course on my own its a bit boring.

Brittany ferries are the only company going from Spain to the UK, the problem is they have very few doggie friendly cabins so the dogs have to go on outside kennels on the roof where its rather noisy with all the other dogs and next to the ship's funnel.  I checked online and couldn't find any dog friendly cabins, they had already been booked!  I decided to ring them and got talking to a very friendly girl who spent ages until she found me a dog friendly cabin up and back....Result!  In going the third week of June and returning the third week of August. All up it will be cheaper as well and that doesnt include speeding fines!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Home And The Jag Must Go

Only a short trip today, about 4 hours!

I stopped to check out the caravan, its quite nice but has not been used for three years so the outside was filthy, presentation isn't a priority when the spanish sell something.

I won't jump into it, I have plenty of time to check some more out.

I was back home about 14.00 and soon had the car unpacked. 
I cant believe how hot it is, having sat in the air conditioned car and hotels for the last few days you are distanced from the heat even though the car outside temp gauge is reading 34.

Once I was sorted  thought it would be rude not to go down the pub for a couple of beers, just before I left I checked the post box, i generally get very little mail, I noticed a couple of letters from Paris, they were speeding fines from my trip north to the UK 7 weeks ago! Interestingly they send the fines and details out in Spanish, I took them down the pub and got them translated, basically pay them early and save money, with the help of the fluent Spanish speakers I did it straight away. I haven't had a speeding ticket for about 30 years so I havent done too bad.
I cant imagine how many I will have for the return trip where I was going much faster!
The shaguar is one of those cars that it really doesn't feel that you are going quick, hopefully I didnt pass any cameras today when I accidently got to 200ks!   

Monday, August 21, 2017

Back In Spain

A very straightforward day today, up at 08.00, a quick visit to a local French Patisserie for cross ants and coffee and on the road by 09.00.

A very easy but a tad boring drive, it was motorway all the way.

I could have made it in one go it was about a 10 hour drive, but I am going to check out a caravan tomorrow which is located in Murcia.  Its been for sale for a while on the Mojacar forum, it looks good and will make any future trips a lot more exciting as I Will go on non motorway roads and stop as and when neccessary.  I wont jump straight into it like I normally do, the first thing will be getting a price to fit a towbar to the Jag, Towbars in Spain are a nightmare, they can only be fitted by certain garages and must be noted in the vehicle logbook which has to be checked along with the car at a local MOT station, as usual in Spain they love their paperwork. I will then have to find a place to store it which shouldnt be too difficult s there is an awful lot of space here.

I should be back in Mojacar by mid afternoon, I will have to go shopping straight away as I shut the villa down so the fridge and freezer are bare.

I forgot to I decided to stop in Valencia, I treated myself to a nice hotel for my last night, dog friendly of course.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

C'est Magnifique

I had the earliest night ever last night, I was in bed by 21.30, I felt shattered, I think its been weeks of moving around and sleeping in different beds etc, I'm not complaining , I feel very privileged to lead such a lifestyle. The early Saturday start and the driving through Paris finished me off.  I woke at 08.15 and was on the road by 09.00.  The roads are pretty quiet, but there does seem to be a fair bit of traffic going in the other direction. 
I set the cruise control to 140ks, 130ks is the limit so a little over the top is ok. The miles just fly by and the Shaguar is such a lovely comfortable car, I really only have to stop to let the doggies have a wee.

This little doggie in the back seat cracked me up, he kept popping up to see what was happening ahead. 

I have driven over the Millau viaduct before but it was raining with very poor visibility, today was superb so I pulled over to the viewing area to check it out.  

It really is magnificent. 

The boys didnt give a toss as usual. 

After viewing it for about an hour it was time to drive over it. 

I drove for about 550 ks then pulled over at Pezenas which is in the South of France, I found a hotel straight away and after checking in went walkabout downtown.
Its very hard to find a crappy French village or town and this one was no exception.
A big plus was that the sun was shining and it was now 32 degrees. 

I sat here for a while and scoffed a pizza and downed a couple of glasses of red. 

I have just over a thousand ks to go, I could do  it in one day but I will take two, no point in killing myself, Mojacar's sun and beach will be there for a few more years yet. 

Love xxxx

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Finishing Up In The UK

The UK trip is now over and I am somewhere in the middle of France, scoffing Pizza and having a red wine.

The last part of the trip was to catch up with friends and relos in the Macclesfield area.

I visited the East Cheshire Hospice to once again thank the lovely ladies for looking after Elaine last year.

I had breakfast in town with two of the lovely ladies as they weren't working when I dropped in.

These two Sarah and Jill were the two that we had first contact with when Elaine was first admitted and became good friends with Elaine and myself.

I also caught a train over to Chester to catch up with Patti and Mick. they are a couple of Aussie friends who are in the UK for a months holiday.

I spent a fair bit of time walking in my favourite UK village Bollington, we lived here for six months when, elaine was having a course of chemo, I absolutely love it there and should I ever live in the UK it will be in Bolly. The weather is crap but the friendly people and amazing views more then make up for it. 

I left Macclesfield on Thursday and spent one night in Milton Keynes with my brother and family then one night in Kent with Elaine's sister.

I was up at 06.00 this morning to catch an early shuttle under the channel.  I then drove through the centre of France, going round Paris is always a bit fraught and its always nice to get to the other side unscathed. I stopped quite early as I was absolutely shattered, I will try and get up early tomorrow and clock up a few more miles. 

Im pretty sure I will go back to the UK again next year but will definitely investigate getting a caravan as it will be so much easier and will make the drive through Europe a lot more pleasant.

Peace xxxx

Friday, August 18, 2017

Elaine Mcbride 5-2-1962 18-8-2016

Its a year today since my lovely Elaine passed away, she will never be forgotten by me or the many people who came into her life.

I really cant be bothered to do a normal blog so for today I Have copied last years post which is basically just pictures of the lovely girl.

Please click below

Im off back to Spain tomorrow morning so I will catch up with the blog on my final days in the UK and the drive back to Spain.

Paul xxxxx

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Messing About On A River

After the excitement of the showjumping it was time to chill on a narrowboat for a few days.

I left Milton Keynes on Monday and drove up to Derby  where I left the car in the safekeeping of blog reader Kevin, who also kindly gave me a lift to Derby railway station, many thanks Kevin.

I caught a train to Althorpe via Sheffield where I was met on the platform by Ray from NB Ferndale.

It was a short walk to the boat, we then sat in the late afternoon sun and had a couple of beers. 

The next morning we were up at the unbelievable hour of 05,00 as we had to leave the lock at 06,00 to catch the incoming tide on the River Trent.

We squeezed in between two other early morning nutters! 

The day started off quite fine and calm. 

It soon deteriorated to pouring rain , it was absolutely freezing on the stern of the boat, and even with wet weather gear we both got soaked, the shorts did prevail though!

By the time we stopped at Torksey we were wet through and numb with cold.  A good hot shower did the trick, separately I may add. What I could have done with a hot woman!

We didnt even go to the pub as it was just too grotty.

The mooring was nice and quiet. 

 We were off again the next morning at a not quite ridiculous time of 09.15.

We shared most of the manned locks with GRP cruisers. 

It was a much nicer cruise with no rain.

We stopped for the night at Newark and moored up just opposite the castle.

We had a quick look around Newark and tried a couple of really nice pubs, at the last one we had a nice couple of Pizzas for dinner. We also had a bit of a chat with a couple of nice local ladies. 

It was a fantastic mooring, we were in no hurry the next day so went for a nice walk around the town, ending up at a coffee shop right in the middle of the town square. The coffee shop just happened to be owned by one of the nice ladies!
 We sat and chilled for a while watching the poor people going to work!  

We set off in glorious sunshine. 

It was a perfect day for cruising down the river. 

It was a very long day, we finally moored up right in the middle of Nottingham outside of County Hall .

In the evening we went to a nice pub on the river and shared a lovely nachos. We were the perfect couple with our two little fluffy white dogs, once again it would have been nice to share it with a hot woman, no offence Ray! 

We then had a change of plan, Ray wanted to stay in Nottingham and watch a cricket match at nearby Trent Bridge whereas I was keen to get to Macclesfield, my job had been done on the river, the rest of Rays journey would be on the canal which is easy peasy single handed.

I caught a train from Nottingham to Derby where once again Kevin kindly picked me up and took me back to his house and the Shaguar.  I then drove back to Nottingham and picked up the doggies and my bag plus a few goodies from Ray and Diane including a years supply of Tim Tams which are truly the greatest chocolate biccies on the planet.

The boating trip was now over, it was a lovely trip with great company, but it did make me realise that my boating days are over, to me it would be just too lonely on my own. Unless of course I meet a hot chick who happens to like boats or preferably owns one! 

Im staying at Elaines dads house in Macclesfield and he has made me very welcome.

It was a bit strange staying in Elaine's old bedroom and indeed her old bed, it still has her little signs on the bedroom door.

I have been for a walk along my favourite stretch of canal.

I also visited the hospice where Elaine spent the last two months of her far too short life. the nurses made me and the doggies so welcome, it was quite emotional but I'm so glad I went. A couple of the nurses weren't there so I'm meeting them tomorrow morning for coffee.

I have also caught up with friends and Elaine's brother Trevor who kindly gave my laptop a once over and backed it up for me.

Im meeting up with some Aussie friends on Tuesday, they are over here for a months holiday so we are having lunch at nearby Chester.  

I have also made a booking for the channel tunnel next Saturday morning.

My time in the UK is nearly at its end.

Its been a good trip but could have been so much better with some company along the way, Cornwall was just lovely but the locals were far from welcoming, family is family so it's always good to catch up with them, even though I dont get time to catch up with all of them.

Time in my sisters caravan was lovely but once again a tad lonely.

The showjumping was brilliant as usual and a highlight of my trip.

The narrowboat was very relaxing but as I said earlier I dont want to cruise on my own so I'm so glad I went on the boat rather than spending thousands on another boat and realising I dont like it.

Im loving Macclesfield, the people are so much friendlier especially in Bollington which was the village we lived in for six months a couple of years ago.

I went to my old local today The Spinners Arms to watch Man Utd's first game, I was welcomed like an old friend. 

I am getting quite excited about returning to my little paradise of Mojacar where I have some lovely friends, I miss the  great bars, restaurants and music and of course the terrific weather.

I will also start looking at getting a caravan to tow behind the shaguar, it will make travelling so much easier especially travelling with the doggies.

I then need to find a hot chick who likes caravanning.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Showjumping At Stoneleigh

Its Saturday evening and the showjumping is over for another year

Both the girls did very well but not right up in the placings this year.

Its a real fun filled 5 days, I never in a million years thought that I would enjoy showjumping, but when you know some of the competitors it is so exciting and a bit nerve wracking.

Sammie took refuge in the tack box. 

Poor Bombo ate something dodgy and started bleeding out of his bum, a trip to the vet ensued, he is looking and acting a bit more like normal now, I took him to the vet last Wednesday.

I took him out for a walk this evening and he got stung on the mouth by a wasp, the poor little man really is in the wars. 

This was Kimberley going for it today, but...... 

....The trailing foot just clipped the pole and knocked it off putting her out of the running. 

 Pole going.


The girls bought the boys to the camp for dinner tonight. 

Big thanks to all the family and friends who made it such a great 5 days.

The competition finished today and most of the people have packed up and left, we will have a leisurely pack up in the morning and leave early afternoon.

I have really enjoyed the caravan and will have a look at buying one in Spain when I get back, it will make travelling through Europe and the UK so much easier especially with my doggies.

The only thing missing was the lovely Elaine, she loved coming to the show jumping, she didn't make it last year as she was in the hospice and was getting close to the end of her short life. Im sure she was watching over us though.

Elaine the horse whisperer two years ago xx