Pauls 2012 Diary – October/November

This is ‘Pauls Diary’ simply entitled in my name as it’s ‘my’ diary. I have done this so if my wife doesn’t agree with the content then I can remind her that it’s mine and not hers. For earlier entries/lies and other nonsense cobbled together  written since April they are now on separate pages. This sadly will be my final months entries so I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have in writing them.

As with other months entries – some of the following may be made up, exaggerated or simply lies! As I do that just to keep you on your toes and to make fun of other people at their expense. And hello to Mark Asquith who I know reads this every day with his morning brew

November 25 – A quick diary entry as we have ‘popped away’ for the weekend – missing a sleep in the motorhome and needing to meet up with our ‘camping’ friends we booked a visit to Chatsworth and an opportunity to see the Christmas Market there. Given that we have spent several months away and always had everything to hand – we managed to fail at almost every level in terms of taking the right stuff with us. We took garden chairs, a bbq and a beach chair. We forgot the chestnuts and roasting pan, my new fleece and my shaver. A good job we didnt have the chestnuts as it was too bloody wet to ‘do’ them. The market was called off on the Sunday due to flooding and ongoing rain – just like most events in the UK I gather. Nonetheless a good catch up with friends we missed whilst we were sunning ourselves 🙂

November 13My last (Continental) Daily Diary entry – as we took our final drive from Broughton to Poynton I pondered that this is my final entry, for now anyway. I’ve unpacked the duty free and the washing is in the machine as we pack away some of our stuff.  As we are heading off out again in the New Year not everything will be coming inside as there’s little point. We had one final amusing episode as we drove towards Macclesfield and just 11 miles from home there was a ‘census’ set up in a lay by. We were of course summonsed to pull into the lane for questioning about our journey. I actually suggested that the interview would be amusing to the chap as I rolled the window down. “Where have you travel from/when did you leave//how long did your journey take?  I boldly offered the answers Portugal/March 30th/Seven and a half months!!  I explained our trip briefly and he commented that he didn’t have any option for such answers on his sheet and waved us through. You might as well finish a most enjoyable trip with a giggle! Cheerio for now – whilst I wont be posting a Daily Diary for some time I will pop back and report any motorhome related musings that occur, on an ad hoc basis – until our travels start again in the New Year. Thanks for reading.

November 12 – I don’t normally ‘do’ shopping but I was forced today to do so as I needed to go and buy some clothes that fit me. I’ve lost sufficient weight to ensure that my trousers hang around my knees and tee-shirts fit ‘where they touch’. I had moral support from Mrs R and my daughter as they took me to a place they call an ‘Outlet Village’ – I thought they were actually taking me to a sewage treatment works from the title. I managed several shirts a fleece and a pair of trousers. I did actually buy some jeans and a couple of polo shirts when we arrived out of sheer necessity but I really pushed the boat out today and apparently I now look ‘quite smart’ Just as well as Alison said I looked like a ‘sack of sh*t’ last week. Charming. It’s a cliché I know but I do feel better as a result of my weight loss and general improved fitness. Its something I am going to keep up too.

November 11 – I managed to satisfy my fish and chips craving today at the Plough and Harrow. They are listed in the Guardians ‘top ten’ good pub food list. It is well deserved I have to say. I also managed a pint of very strong Scrumpy cider so thats another one off the list of things I have missed.  Other than that we did very little.

November 10 – today I sat in a pub full of Welsh men watching rugby on the telly – the door nearly didn’t open due to the testosterone pumping though the room. I quietly enjoyed my pint whilst they ooh-ed and aah-ed through the broken legs and grazed shins that are involved in a rugby match. I now understand Rugby – I think. I did however knock ‘good pint of farmhouse cider’ off my list.

November 9 – we have trundled further than we have done on a long time today as we have arrived at our daughter and hubbys place in Cowbridge today – a distance of 100 miles. We havent seen her for over 5 months so she is a sight for sore eyes as they say. Her house is just down the road from a pub that does great fish and chips and a great farm-house cider too – so thats a couple more off my wish list 🙂  I also get the chance to wash her car for her, as I got 7 months ago, because if I dont do it – it will remain dirty.

November 8 – Three days on the trot and nice sunny weather – did the ferry go the wrong way and not successfully land us in England?  It must have because the roads are full of people who are too busy to be polite to concentrate on anything else. The motorways are appalling – or maybe I just forgot how bad they are.  I had to tell a bloke that ‘it was unlikely he knew the name of his father’ yersterday as he sat behind us tooting his horn whilst Alison was asking a traffic warden where we might find a car park with spaces big enough for the motorhome. The warden found it amusing as he announced “Welcome to Canterbury”. I’m guessing he was the new Archbishop as he was so nice.  We visited the antiques capital of England today – Hungerford – we need to spend longer there as its great.

November 7 – There are a few things that you miss whilst away from the UK (other than the weather) and they include ‘proper’ Fish and Chips, Lamb, ‘English’ cider (as opposed to ‘cidre’, a full English breakfast with black pudding, and so on. We also missed  ‘The Pub’ – and yes there are planty of bars but ‘Europe’ doesn’t really ‘do’ pubs. There’s bars but generally they are pretty uninspiring and quite male orientated (yes I am a male but I’d like to take er indoors in there now and then. We have ticked a few of the items on the wish list and thankfully strong cheddar was on offer when we went into the supermarket. We also found a great pub with an open fire and Stowford Press on tap. Bliss.

November 6 – We are currently in Dover – we didn’t travel far and it seems so strange driving on the left hand side of the road too. Been shopping, so I can now get rid of my ‘fat pants’, but as I loathe shopping I have only bought one pair of jeams and a couple of polo shirts for now. I was amused earlier when we pulled into the farmyard and asked if it was possible to stay at the small farm (meaning – ‘do you have space’) and we are asked “When did you want to stay?”  Er, we were kind of thinking ‘now’ as opposed to driving all the way home to Cheshire and returning tomorrow evening – if that’s alright. Welcome home (to be fair half of the folk we met on European sites were just as daft!)

November 5 – Ferry booked and whilst we are certainly sad to be setting off on the final leg of this trip we are certainly looking forward to seeing family and friends and first stop is Cowbridge to see Kirsty (daughter) and Nick. I cant wait to tell them about the three legged cat and the one legged bird that visit us here – is that Gods way of making it easier for the disabled cat to catch a bird? It’s so sick you couldn’t make it up! I’ll see if I can get a photo tomorrow = unless ‘tripod cat’ manages to catch ‘microphone stand sparrow’.

November 4 –  I have to admit but the weather is a bit crap. The police came around yesterday and told asked us to turn the  motor home around 90 degrees so that the wind didn’t blow us over. They were serious and they had guns so I told them to piss off moved the van. It was very windy too. We held up there for a couple of days as there is nothing else we can do other than stay out of the bad weather. We have arrived today at a campsite with WiFi so that we can book our ferry back to the UK and guess what – the website doesn’t work.  May I appeal to companies everywhere – if you have a website then please make it work – I manage to keep this website working and up to date every day and it’s ‘just a bit of fun’ – you require yours to make you money and conduct your business. Sort it out. Clowns

November 3 – I mentioned shopping yesterday and it has since reminded me about the near disaster – again in Lidl – following my stocking up on their excellent Merlot which you can buy in a 3 litre box for a reasonable 5.49 euros. I put 12 boxes in the trolley and to ,make life easier (I thought, but it wasn’t) I tried to communicate with the lass behind the check out that I had 12 boxes all the same so we didn’t have to pull them in and out of the trolley. Alison had bought some boxes of Rose and a few other bits and bobs (no bananas alas) and I did gasp a little at the 155 euros demanded once all our stuff had gone through. We went to the camper and packed them away under the drivers seat and between it and the end of the bed and I quickly tried to tot up how much 12 times 5.49 was and couldn’t fathom where the 155 euros had come from. I checked the till roll to find that I had been charged for 22 boxes not 12. I returned to the till to find that she had now gone home (remember these French don’t like a long day) As luck had it the manageress came out to look in our motorhome, was convinved that we hadn’t hidden an extra ten in the khazi and gave me 55 euros back. They could have worked out quite expensive those ‘bargain boxes’

November 2 – I don’t often go grocery shopping with Alison when we are at ‘home’ but do so here – partly to choose wines and such like for evening consumption and partly because ‘foreign’ shops are more interesting than the ones in the UK. I am often left in charge of the trolley (foolishly) and one one occasion a couple of weeks ago I left it at the end of an aisle whilst I perused the ‘man section’ in Lidl. On returning to the trolley I found a huge bunch of bananas and other bits and bobs I wouldn’t expect to see in the Riley shopping basket (or trolley). As I don’t actually eat bananas I queried why we had enough to feed the entire PG Tips acting crew Alison commented that she hadn’t put them in there. So, either Lidl encourage staff to put things in customers trollies whilst they aren’t looking or some daft old bat plopped them in mine by mistake. I hoofed all the unwanted clutter out and left them on top of one of the freezers. I am amused that someone is going to get home and wonder why half the stuff they went out to buy isn’t actually in the shopping bag.

November 1  – I will write this early as I dont reckon I will get the internet later. So seven full months, six countries,  5250 miles, 31 weeks and 80 different places that we have stopped over at. We didnt get to a couple of countries that were tentatively on our list but we will get to those later! We head back home this month (exact timing not yet established) and will spend winter in the UK (some might say that sounds a bit ‘wrong way round’ but that’s what we are doing). It will be time to catch up with family and friends and even people that we like…  😉

October 31 – So, this year we got the opportunity to poison different children on Halloween – but alas no children came a knocking – we carved a Jimmy Saville pumpkin and popped that outside the door and that seemed to keep them away! We have been away exactly seven months now but time seems to have flown by – we are already planning (if we ever do actually ‘plan’ anything in the real sense. We are off to a site near the sea tomorrow, sunshine is forecast! Au revoir for now…

October 30 – we are currently playing ‘spot the open campsite’ (well it beats Hide and Seek hands down in this motorhome) as many are shut or shutting at what is the end of the season but we have found one at Abbeville which will suit for a couple of days. I have read that Abbeville was mostly destroyed by the Germans in WW2 – so I will leave my Blitzcreig Racing shirt in the wardrobe when we go out tomorrow – it doesn’t fit properly anyway!) The other game we are playing is ‘How much should we pay for fuel before we run out’ – as many stations make up the prices (when they are p*ssed I assume) the price can vary as much as 10 to 12 pence a litre – quite a difference on a 80 litre tank of diesel. The point of the game is to avoid paying 1.48 when its 1.34around the corner but you can only win if you dont run out! I nealy lost this game in the Alps some time back but at 1.84 a litre – it mattered!

October 29 – I’m kippered from all that walking! Even with an ‘all day any mode of transpor’t ticket you end up walking about a fair bit. Great day out but we did drop a small clanger in so much as we didnt buy a couple of packets of fags on the way in as neighter of us realised that smoking was compulsory in Paris – or at least it seems like that. Its a great city but you do need more than a day there but I couldn’t have walked any further if I tried. Another early night I imagine – I told you we were living life in the fast lane.

October 28 – sorry this is late but I refuse to give the charmless pizza bar manager 2 euros for 30 minutes connevtion to the internet – I offer to buy a couple of drink in exchange but all I got was a stiffled “you give me 2 euros in turkish accented french – I’ll arrange to have him deported i exchenge for his surly attitude 😉 We are off to Paris for the dya tomorrow so we are having an early night – it been 20 years since I strolled the Parisienne walkways and Alison has never been so we thought we would catch a glimpse before we start heading in the direction of the UK.

October 27 – here we are in Marboue where the booklet we have describes it as having ‘good shops’ and I can only assume that ‘good’ meant ‘no’. I’m not bothered as we just needed somewhere to stop for the night. And you can stop for the night here – and that’s about it – stop – as there is nothing else to do. No shops. We are off towards Paris tomorrow where even a random guess would indicate there are shops there! Probably lots (I have been so I know there are shops in Paris – and I have seen it in films and stuff) Somewhere there is a Disneyworld too – it isn’t the same as Disneyland as that is in California and it is the ‘original’ and the first (and I have been there – albeit in 1969) I am sorry I seem to be rambling – you can thank the 3 litre box of Merlot from Lidl. We bought 12 boxes today and they fit behind the drivers seat – well all but the one we opened tonight. We will be buying 12 more at least to sit behind ‘her’ seat. And then some more to make sure that we don’t un-necessarily fill the UK alcohol/tax coffers to any degree. God bless Lidl.

October 26 – I am back on McWiFi at the moment so a late diary entry again. Here is what I wrote last night. Quite why anyone thinks it is acceptable to park eighteen inches away from a fellow motorhomer at 9.00 in the evening when they know full well they are leaving the site at 05.00am the next day is beyond me. If I had known that was what you were going to do I would have urinated into your fresh water tank you inbred numpty. Other than that – a fine day. It has dropped a bit cold so we have connected to an hours worth of elecric so we can watch a DVD and have the heat on for a while – we are so rock and roll!

October 25 – I’m a bit late in posting this as ‘someone’ on the site dropped a electric kettle base into ‘a sink’ with water in it and it blew the electrics back in the site office. They reset it but it upset the WiFi and the french being, er french, sodded off home rather than spend a few minutes resetting the modem. I’m not sure who the ‘silly woman’ was (Alison) but I hope our kettle has dried out so she can make me a cup of tea this morning 😉 It forced us to speak to each other anyway and to watch one of the many DVDs that we inherited at Chez Burrows a few days ago. We are a bit behind in watching films but finally caught up with ‘Paul’ – sadly not a documenary about me but all about a small man with a large odd shaped head and bulging eyes – oh hang on – maybe it is…

October 24 – I am writing as there is free WiFi at a town that I cannot remember the name of except that they named a cheese after it (and we are not in Cheddar, Lancashire or indeed Cheshire). I will let you know tomorrow. I looked the place up on Wikipedia and it only came up with the ‘cheese’ – before it named the town – so then, Jean Claude Van Damme didnt come from here so nor did Gerard Depardiou (sp) or General de Gaulle then. But a cheese did. We cycled into town earlier on – and when I say town – it was more village – but nonetheless we could see nothing more than a church, a crypt and a village square all or none of which mentioned the cheese. The campsite here is lovely with electricity. water and free WiFi (an innovation in France where it has not yet even reached Paris – so I am told) yet relies on its visitors being honest enough to leave the money in an envelope for any services they have used. I wish them well – I’ll own up to the free WiFi in the morning…

October 23 – today we realised just how low man can sink if pushed or coerced into doing so. We visited the village at Oradour sur Glane where on June 10 1944 just four days after WW2 was declared over German troops rounded up 642 civilians – men, women and children alike – and murdered them. A whole village rounded up and shot and burned alive in some cases. The village stands to remind us how awful that was. 354 buildings and homes destroyed after the slaughter and now the remains sit as they did in 1944 together with a museum with artefacts found at the time – children’s toys, watches, glasses and all manner of items of everyday life. We stood in the church where 448 women and children where left to die in a burning building – if they tried to escape then they were shot/ The eldest in her nineties and the youngest just eight days old/. I havent referred to any reference book for any of these figures and dates – I think – sadly – I will remember them forever.

October 22 – Firstly I will apologise for any typos as I am using a french keyboard and for reasons best known to Jacque the IT bod – the keys are all in different places! As a result – I will keep it shit short. We left Brian and Chris earlier today and headed to Oradour sur Glane which they have visited and recommend highly. They moved to St Sulpice several years ago and haven’t looked back. They have asked us to stay a few times but have been lucky enough to avoid us until now! We’ve had a great few days ‘catching up’ and the chance to have a ‘Sunday Dinner’ sat upright as I wrote yesterday and have come away with a clean set of bedding to boot (not stolen from thier cupboard I hasten to add but laundered) Thanks again Bri and Chris for looking after us.

October 21 – My wife has asked me to point out that we aren’t eating ‘conkers’ which I may have conveyed in last nights diary entirely due to me being a ‘bit thick’. We obviously collected the sweet chestnuts that you CAN eat. We have spent most of the day hiding fromthe rain however late afternoon graced us with some sunshine which we sat in as long as we could. Its a cold Sunday afternoon so the Sunday Roast we were treated to was well recieved – potatoes/gravy/neeps – all good!! I’m done.

October 20 – we’ve had the wettest day in a long time today but thankfully – as we are houseguests in a real house with a roof and stuff – we haven’t been too bothered by the wet weather. We took a trip out to stretch our legs and fell upon a ton of horse chestnuts and as we now know the difference between them and a conker we have a huge bag full of edible chestnuts to enjoy. We are easily pleased.

October 19 – tonight we are in a real bed, with a real toilet and real shower – not all at the same time obviously and these are all in different rooms for a change. After months of living in a 6 foot by 12 foot space (give or take) we now have the luxury of rooms and stuff. Not since Pete and Pats have we enjoyed the benefit of plumbing and the like. And to make matters even more pleasant the garage downstairs is full of Porsches and rare Mustangs – I have died and gone to heaven (see pix tomorrow)

October 18 – I’ve been asked by the French government to become their Director of Commerce following yesterdays diary*. Today we went into a big marquee at the Auchan supermarket where they have for sale lots of chrysanthemums in various stages of growth. We thought this would be an ideal gift for our hosts this weekend who we are visiting (they live here in France now) After a quick snoop about we decided we would do our bit of shopping first and return to the ‘outdoor’ display. I quickly checked my watch and noted that it was ten past one and deduced that it was likely to stay open over lunch as it was still open at ten past one. You guessed it – as we returned at quarter to two – it was shut and therefore no sale of chrysanthemums – making Auchan down on the days takings to the tune of a couple of pots of chrysanthemums. My trip to the internet shops (all three of them) has proved fruitless too – with yet another French person referring to French WiFi as “orrible” and expensive – he actually used the word ‘robbery’ and he lives here! For your info I am ‘posting’ this sat outside the Bourganeuf tourist information office who leave their free WiFi on overnight. My electric is provided by the council on their free socket at a lovely Aire adjacent to a stunning turret (pix in the blog later) so a ‘result’ there – well two in fact

*this is a lie

October 17 – We toddled off to the shops today to see who might be open. You may laugh but given that shops only open for a couple of hours in the morning and then take a 2 to 4 hour lunch and then open again for the rest of the day or seven in the evening, or none, or ten – can sometime leave you guessing whether or not they will be open at all. I may have mentioned this in my diary before but at the risk of boring you (further) I will further risk saying it again. It’s all very well telling people that they can buy a phone card/tin of tomatoes between the hours of 7.00 am and 7.00 pm but I have no use for either of those times – the effective shopping hours for me therefore are 11.00 am to 12 noon and 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm so that’s 2 hours each day – because that is when I actually see them open. And that is why – my foreign friends – that so many of your shops are closed down/shut/bust. Sadly, as in the UK, times are tough and when times are tough your silly half day lunch breaks don’t even suit the locals – meanwhile they are down at Intermarche – who sell EVERYTHING including PC’s, phones and tomatoes. We have seen food shops (deli’s) shut at lunch and shops suddenly offering the ‘new idea’ of opening 0900-2100 ‘Non Stop’ as if that was some sort of bonus. Today we bought a gift from a shop, because it was open, and because the owner was near the till. No doubt he will boast in the pub later on that he’s cracked the recession with a great new idea – he actually opened the shop whilst people were awake. Cest Bon mon Amie!

October 16 – you must think that I go about nothing other than noise but it has recently been featuring highly in our agenda. I’ve stopped getting wound up about it and it now just makes us laugh. We were alone last night but that didn’t stop a rude awakening at 0659 this morning. The church bell rings seven times a few moments before 7 o’clock and then seven more times after that just in case you didn’t hear it. For reasons best known to the Good Lord Himself it then rang roughly 60 times. There cannot have been a person in the Rhone Valley that wasn’t awake then. It was just as well as it allowed us to get to the next site early and grab a 240 volt socket before the others!

October 15 – A quiet night tonight as we are in the middle of nowhere. An aire with just two spaces and the other one is empty and I hope it stays that way! Well that’s our hope anyway. We did stop further back at the rather charmless town oforn – it was more like Rwanda. It didn’t help that it was raining but it reminded me of Oldham – sorry if you live in Oldham. Not for being rude about Oldham but I am genuinely sorry you have to live in Oldham. We had the advantage of a power socket last night so we were able to watch a DVD – unfortunately the one we chose was Woody Allens ‘Picking up the Pieces’ A truly awful film. I can only assume he was referring to picking up pieces of dog excrement.

After an ‘internet-less’ couple of days – I am back…!

October 14 – Firstly we would both like to thank Geoffrey and Catherine for allowing us to listen to their wedding reception music until nearly 5.00 am. I’ve never before realised just how much I hated Boney M and John Michael Jarre. It didn’t keep me up as much as it did Mrs R – she must have had less wine that me. I thought I’d nearly lost Alison today – literally – I returned to the motorhome after a bike ride and she was no longer behind me – she’d turned right rather than left and ended up ‘lost’. Whilst I searched for my mobile to ring her and she where she had got to she did turn up – with my mobile in her bag. Dead handy!

October 13 – I am gpoing to talk about toilets today and mainly about the ones at our disposal here in St Forgeux . It would seem that in an interest to accomodate just about everyone the two toilets on offer here are at each end of the spectrum. One is for the ‘disabled’ and causes you to sit like Alice on Wonderland with your feet dangling in the wind and the other is for children and sits so low that your knees are under your chin when you are ‘installed’ upon it. There is no ‘normal’ toilet – well if there is I havent found it yet. According to Mrs R its the same tale in the ladies. The urinals are the same too – one for Linford Christie and the other would suit Ronnie Corbett. I am glad we have our own facilities on the motorhome!

October 12 – another quiet night and a lovely little Aire in the middle of nowhere. we were initially surrounded by Germans (one either side) but they left early – no doubt to invade someone/put their beach towels down somewhere (old jokes but gooduns) We bumped into an Aussie couple tonight who are loosely based in Davenport – not at all far from Poynton so they now qualify as the most local people we have met on the trip so far despite being from Melbourne – there’s logic for you! We had too many glasses of wine with them so they are now putting up their beds and I am typing this earlier than usual just in case I fall asleep. We are off to look at the local village tomorrow – that evidentally will take about five minutes.

October 11 – quiet night and say no more 😉 Nantua is a lovely place to stay and has a harrowing war time story to tell – I will leave you to work that out if your curiosity requires you to do so (my photo yesterday on facebook will lead to you what I am on about – enough said) Thanks to some funny parking of the van Alison and I actually slept in separate towns last night – we were actually on the border where one side of the sign said Nantua nd the other had a line through the towns name. We are tonight parked in the middle of nowhere with a lovely view of fields and nothing else – life is great. I managed to fill our LPG bottle today – this is a triumph in our little world – it will mean nothing to most people but trust me – it is like the birth of Christ…

October 10 – Alison reckons that the past few weeks ‘diaries’ have contained little more than me complaining about noise – if that is the case then I am sorry. But I can’t help the fact that recently where-ever we have been has been noisy. Sometimes you couldn’t make it up! Last night not long after Alison said “the road outside has quietened down” (as predicted earlier by both of us) and at precisely 11.00pm a team of ‘operatives’ (read BawBags) started opening up the road with a jack-hammer. They carried on until about 11.45 and them proceeded to yell instructions back and to – presumably (as I couldn’t understand them) asking each other if they were being quite noisy enough. I hope they fall in one of their own holes. On the plus side we both managed to by a cake – ‘sans flies/wasps’ today from a very nice insect free shop.

October 9 – once again whilst wandering about a pretty town we fancied a cake and coffee but today it wasn’t to bee (no pun intended) We backtracked around Annecy (site of the recent contract killing but that didn’t put us off – murder isn’t contagious) to find a patiserrie we spied earlier. We were about to sit down and request two coffees and decided it was easier to look at the cakes in the shops display rather than try and chose one ‘blind’ We were glad we did. “Do you fancy the one with the wasps on it Alison or does the one sitting under the great big ‘dog-poo dancer’ of a fly tickle your fancy”. We opted for neither and then struggled to find another convenient and appealing ‘cake shop’. I turned my fancy to ice cream then and whilst wanting to buy a three blob adult ice cream was horrified by the ‘ice creams Nazis’ sign next to the smaller cones that said ‘Only for children’ – does that mean he wouldn’t sell me a smaller one unless I produce a small child? I strutted off with no ice cream at all – they’re no good for you anyway – so I had an apple.

October 8 – and we had a successful evening catching up on Corrie via YouTube – I managed to get the French internet working by pouring garlic on my SIM cards, or something like that. We even managed to get out on our bikes twice today however we must have taken leave of our senses this morning as we both forgot our helmets – not recommended on any ‘Renault crammed French street’. We had a typically English meal tonight in the shape of Liver and Onions with mashed potatoes – how foreign are we?! We followed that up with a fresh cup of tea – we are just so Rock and Roll its’s untrue. Anyway I must dash as I’m off to sing Rule Brittania in the awning…

October 7 – we have headed for a proper campsite today as I thought that Alison could do with refreshing her ‘using the washer and drier skills’. Mind you I had to lend her the 6 euros to play with the housewives attractions – and I’ll not get that back I can tell you! She did quite wel and managed to bring back all of my tee shirts all spick and span. Good job as well at 6 euros! I am using the internet and electric to full effect – not only to get my moneys worth – but to bring our blog page up to date and get all our photos sorted out. We did try and watch Corrie earlier but the wonky french internet couldnt cope with Kirsty lamping Tyrone or Roy buttering yet another roll. Oh well.

October 6 – First things first – hello to ex-collegue Gordon Park in South Africa and thanks for reading my daily stuff Gordon. One legged beggars, council workers and digger drivers are all safe tonight as none have managed to cross my path! We are sleeping at the foothills of even more Alps (by gum this country has some share of mountains) in the quietest place known to man. They advertised a ‘Fete’ today and tomorrow but we have yet to find it – we thought we had had before but it was two balloons and an arrow to advertise ‘Michaels Birthday’ – poor wee bugger had his party in the Boules pitch behind the council offices – his parents must really be feeling the pinch. Speaking of which we seem to spot a fair number of people sleeping in their cars on Aires (I’m not kidding – I am being serious for once) We met a guy back in Portugal who lived in his Renault – booted and suited for work by day but came back to the lakeside to sleep in his car, wash up in a fashion the next day and then go back to work. Food for thought when you are having a bit of a grumble about your own lifestyle.

October 5 – tonights diary comes with a bit of a warning – if you fill any of the following criteria then please be aware that I may – within this diary entry – criticise you/your job. Do you work for the council/a recycling company/drive a digger? If you do then I suggest you leave now to avoid any personal insult. I do not need waking up at 073o by either a/ the bottle bank being emptied or b/ a digger – ‘digging’. At 0730 you should be either sleeping or waiting to carrying out any noisy work for at least another hour (or more). If you don’t then you are in fact the sort of bastard than I thought you were this morning. There – that’s done. Now, following my early and rude awakening (by the knob refered to earlier) we drove further through the Alps to Albertville and are currently parked at the foot of a proper medieval village dating back to 1400. Its rather lovely to – we cycled around the town that was host to the Winter Olympics in 1992 and the start of the Tour de France’s Alpine stage. Its sufficient to say that whilst both of our bicycles were moving neither approached anything like the speeds or distance acheived just a few months ago.

October 4 – what a quiet night we had and I slept like a baby. Although some numptie did come about a quarter to seven and emptied a load of bottles into the recycling – why? at that time? I soon went back off though and didnt awake until ten o’clock. There is a God! I’ll tell you about the 2 Euro electricity token when I have had change to change laptop batteries (ironic) that may have to wait until tomorrow now…

… oh – I am back. The 2 euro token provided the following – 2 showers (heated up the hot water tank), our chilli dinner, two kettles of hot water, a camera batteries for the Nikon, one for the Canon, charged two Ipods, two Kindles, two iPhones, the dongle (which I am using now and two sets of batteries for the laptop (albwit one only halfway) and we had the heater on for half an hour. We also boiled the kettle for a cup of tea. Value for money !

October 3 – May I start by thanking the Aosta Steel Manufacturing Company from ensuring that I didn’t enjoy a single moments sleep last night. Why yet another nation of people who can’t manage to open their shops for a full day would ever find the need to clank bit beams of steel together all fecking night and morning is beyond me. At 2.00 I borrowed a pair of earplugs from Alison but even they could not silence the continuous rumbling and occasional clanks from the world dumbest steel factory. I will write about it elsewhere but Italy has to be the noisiest place in the world to try and camp and sleep. I am sure the national anthem is simply the sound of a glass recycling bin being emptied at 0700 hours (yes we have had that at least three times). Other than the noise – Italy is lovely – we have crossed back into France now and I have already checked on all Alpine based Drum and Trumpet Factories.

October 2 – Well we found out what was causing our uncontrolable urge to drink coffee this morning as we left the town of Verres – we were camped behind the Lavazza Coffee factory and its droning machines worked through the night to ensure that if the caffeine didnt keep you awake then their bloody noisy machines would. We have moved onto a lovely town/city called Aosta and probaby the last Italian spot before we head through the Mont Blanc tunnel back into France. We’ve really enjoyed this part of Italy – its unspoilt and there’s no prettier place than Aosta to cap it off. As any large town attracting tourist it has its scroungers and beggars – one unconvincing chap admittedly this a slightly twisted foot sat in the middle off the market with his other leg tucked right under his baggy pants – he had the required number of legs and feet alright but expected a handout for it. We passed a shop where ladies tights are displayed on those single legs – I suggested we take one back for our pseudo one legged beggar. We didn’t.

October 1 – Well that’s another month and a couple of countries gone – in fact we have been in four countries in total this month. After a good long walk today I did something I dont often do – and that’s ‘fancy a cake’. I’m not a sweet tooth type normally but having smelt something similar to coffee all day in the town of Verres I though coffee and cake would be about right. It’s a good job that I don’t live in Verres as I have now found my favourite cake shop – hopefully it will be shut tomorrow or open very late (like most European shops) and I – or rather my waistline (still much reduced) will be spared.

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6 Responses to Pauls 2012 Diary – October/November

  1. Jim McAdie says:

    It has been absolutely delightful to follow your travels. Thank you taking us along in spirit.

  2. Trevor says:

    What an enjoyable blog to read, several of your entries brightened my days. Have a good Christmas and I look forward to episode 2 in the New Year.

    Trevor

  3. claire jones says:

    I have been spending time at aire du bois chaudron as i mentioned somewhere else on your blogs and decided your sense of humour is warped like ours.Alain (owner) has just told us his lovely horse has been put to sleep after getting bitten by a or some ticks he has had him for 17 years Pirou made us laugh when we gave him a french bread stick. so now i am continuing reading your blogs while hubby lies under the van with a fresh water tank leak (drip) hubby thinks around the stopper.

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