Sunday, 28 October 2018

Saint Valery sur Somme

This will be Hebe’s last trip of 2018, a visit to the Somme.  Also first time on the Channel Tunnel.

The weather had been unseasonably warm and sunny, right to the day of departure, when it all changed.  As it was a bit of an early start for the Tunnel, we went down the night before, picked Hebe up and stayed at the Holiday Inn at Folkstone.


Parked at the Holiday Inn, Folkstone

I’d taken the afternoon off work, so we got there at a reasonable time and thankfully were able to park across two spaces.

Following morning, it was up and about and off to the Tunnel.  As we had allowed a bit of time, we forwarded loaded onto an earlier train.

Access to the Tunnel was easy for Hebe with a dedicated “high vehicle” lane and easy loading on a single height carriage.


On the train in the Channel Tunnel

One benefit I immediately found over the ferry, was you stay with the vehicle, so I was able to sort things out in the van during the travel time.

When we arrived at Saint Valery sur Somme, it was raining and the campsite office was closed for lunch.  I dropped Penny and Linda off at the local Friterie, and after a quick lunch and a cold beer I headed off to check in.


The Friterie and Camping Le Walrec

When I got to the pitch it was raining hard.  I parked up and plugged in the electrics, which didn’t work so a bit of faffng about required..  By now I was soaked and muddy and just before I went back to tell check-in, I realised I hadn’t actually switched it on.  Doh!.  Everything now working (apart from the fridge not functioning on gas) I headed back to the Friterie for another beer.


Parked up at the Campsite

By now it was raining again so I got soaked again sorting out water and things.  It was also cold and windy but Hebe has a very effective heater so that and a few glasses of wine sorted me out.  That evening, I did a barbeque in the dark and the rain while the girls sat inside in the warm.  A few more glasses of wine and it was time to call it a night.

Overnight and the following morning it rained and was freezing cold.  Later on the sun came out so we walked into Saint Valery for lunch.  Found a nice Creperie and then walked around town a bit. The old town is very scenic.


Old Town in St Valery sur Somme

It was a bit further to walk into town than expected but manageable.  We went for a walk down to the river but the wind was biting cold so it was a short visit.


Somme estuary at Saint Valery.

Headed back and ended up in the campsite bar for a refreshing beer for me and wine for the girls.  We then tried to book a restaurant for that evening but everywhere was fully booked.  I was dispatched to have a look around but all I could find open with space was the Friterie again.  I booked there and had a walk around to help my leg (I’d damaged a nerve beginning of Sept)


Pointe du Hourdel at Saint Valery sur Somme

Friterie was good and it seemed like we were becoming regular customers.

Back to the van, a few glasses of wine and get ready for departure the following morning.

Next day, it was cold but headed off for the tunnel then back to Hebe’s parking and then home.  Again the tunnel was great as I could sort Hebe for over winter storage in transit.

Good trip, the weather wasn’t great, Saint Valery is a really nice place and Camping le Walric was OK, but to be fair, we didn’t see it at it’s best.  It was a bit far out of town though.

That’s it for 2018 now.  Time to start planning for 2019.


PS, Hebe now has a Poppy on her radiator for Remembrance Sunday


PPS, I even fixed the gas problem with the fridge by pushing the reset button Confused smile

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Another Horam Visit

This one was just a weekend away in Horam again.  Basic idea was to go for a BBQ and enjoy a weekend outside.  Linda came along as well this time.

But of a rush on Friday evening to get to the campsite before 8pm.  Made it – just.

Following day was BBQ day and the weather was sort of OK.  We weren't able to get to Nick the Butchers so were using M&S ingredients – nowhere near as good.


A few beers and some wine were polished off and then it was a takeaway Chinese from Yaws Kitchen as they deliver to the campsite.

Next day we booked to stay on the campsite till 6pm, then Linda and I went off to explore a local vineyard – Hidden Spring.  Quick wine tasting (we were driving later), then a quick visit to the local Co-op and a beer by the lakeside on the way back.


Bit of a late night by the time we got home, but a great weekend 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Piccadilly Camping, Lacock (Again)

Another weekend trip to the rather good Piccadilly Camping at Lacock.  As it's a long way, we stayed the previous night at the Travelodge at Hellingly with dinner and a few drinks at the White Hart in Lower Horsebridge.

Early start the following morning and soon on the road, with a stop at Nick the Butchers to get BBQ supplies.  GPS was warning of traffic problems on the M25 so routed us a different way.  Also spotted lots of road closure signs for Prudential Ride London cycle event on the Sunday - the day we were coming back.  Soon hit the traffic and crawled onto the M25 where it crawled again for miles to the M3 junction.  After that it cleared.

We arrived at Lacock some two hours later than expected due to the heavy traffic. 


Parked up at Lacock

Soon were booked in and got the BBQ fired up.  Another very hot and sunny day.  Clouds were starting to gather as I walked into Lacock to have a pint or two at the Red Lion pub

Following morning, a late breakfast and laze around in the sunshine. 


Few clouds around and it even started to rain - soon it was plonking it down.  When the rain calmed down, we all headed off to the Red Lion for a few glasses and some food.


Lacock and the Red Lion Pub

Rained overnight so things were a bit wet when packing up the following morning.  Breakfast then on the road again.  M4 was a bit busy and warnings came up about the M3, M25 and the M23.  A lot of roads were closed due to Ride London, the weather was terrible with heavy rain and strong winds so soon the traffic jams started.  Miles of solid traffic on the M3 and M25, then we hit the M23.  Even worse due to weather and the roadworks and the surrounding road closures.

Finally got there, parked up and headed for the White Hart again for a bite to eat, then back to Bromley.

Terrible traffic, heavy rain but Piccadilly Campsite is really good and Lacock is always nice to visit.

I'll be back again sometime.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Loire, Brittany and Tour de France

This was a trip primarily to see two stages of the Tour de France in Brittany.  As getting Hebe to Dover takes a while we stayed at a nearby Travelodge with dinner and a few drinks at the White Hart in Lower Horsebridge.  Early start the following morning and off to Dover.


On the Ferry

Final destination was the Loire Valley but traffic in Rouen was bad so didn't arrive till after midnight.  Very long and tiring journey.  Don't think I'd do a journey in Hebe this long again.


Parked up in the Val du Loir

After a few days to recover it was a couple of hours driving to Camping Le Deffay at Saint Reine de Bretagne on the route of the Tour de France.


Camping Le Deffay

As we got closer to the Tour route, the decorations started to appear.  Also the parking spaces were beginning to fill up with Camper Vans and Motorhomes.  Soon set up at the Campsite and ready for the race the following day. I needed to visit the shops to get supplies so cycled part of Stage 4 of the Tour de France


Tour de France – Stage 4 at Saint Reine de Bretagne

In the morning it was bit of a walk to the road, so claimed a space at the side of the road as the roads closed at 11:30.  Deck chairs set up and a box of wine in the coolbag ready for the couple of hours until the Tour de France passed by.  There were various race cars and police on the road before the Caravan turned up This was a spectacle of floats and decorated vehicles from the sponsors of the Tour - basically an advertising campaign but great fun as they starting throwing items to the spectators. 



About 45 mins later the cyclists turned up.  There was a breakaway group followed by the Peleton.  There were going really fast and tightly bunched together and passed within a few inches.  Then it was all over, pack up and back to Hebe for a refreshing glass or two before heading to the campsite restaurant for dinner.


Camping Le Deffay was OK but is was a bit too "English" for my liking.  I don't see any particular reason to go back there.

Following morning off to Camping de la Rivière d'Argent at Huelgoat.  As before, set up ready for the race the following morning.


Camping de la Rivière d'Argent

This time it was a short walk to the route and were soon set up in a shady spot.  This was more French and the (French) party next to us invited us to sample what they were drinking - still don't know what it was but it was certainly potent.  Better organised this time with a picnic as well.  As before the Caravan came along but was a bit more spread out as it was further from the start. 


The whole thing seemed to develop a bit of a party atmosphere with the campsite owner turning up to wave at the helicopters. 


Again a breakaway then the Peleton and this time they were going even faster as it was a slight down hill.  Some people started moving away, then the second stage of the Peleton came along.  Again the speed they travel at while bunched tightly together is quite something.


That evening, the Campsite had laid on a dinner of Sangria and roast pig.  Before this, I cycled into Huelgoat to get some cash and to ride a bit of Stage 6.  On the way back I lost my Fitbit but despite searching i couldn't find it.

Dinner was great washed down with the bottle or two of wine.  I liked this campsite, there was a good atmosphere, Huelgoat and the forest around it is a very scenic area and it's a very nice place.  I would go back here.



Huelgoat and the Enchanted Forest

Following morning, pack up and head back to the Loire Valley - a four hour drive.

Following morning a very early start for the drive to Calais.  Despite driving fast (and using a lot of fuel) we only made the Ferry as it was running a bit late.  Too close for comfort.  Then it was drive from Dover to Hailsham, park Hebe up, get out the car and drive back to Bromley.  Again a very long day and not something I would probably do again.

Tour de France was great.  Fantastic atmosphere and quite a spectacle.  I'll be back....

Hopefully next year they will have stages in Northern France.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Horam Again

This is just a short trip to sort things out in advance of the forthcoming Tour de France trip.  An opportunity to organise a Dragon (called Norbert) and sort out some ladders, so a lot of running around.


Lake at Horam and a Dragon in Hebe

Did have Penny's cousin over for a rather good Barbeque on the first evening so did get a few beers in.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018


This is Hebe’s first “proper” trip to France and first longer drive.  The Ypres trip was shorter.

Anyway, bit of a rush getting to Hailsham, getting things sorted out and heading off to Portsmouth took some time but we got there ok for check-in at Brittany Ferries to St. Malo..  Almost immediately we were moved to the Quayside where we waited and waited and waited.  Eventually we were loaded but were 2nd last on the 20180502_183544boat.  Then Brittany Ferries tried to put us into a space where the doors wouldn’t open so then a lot of reversing and moving was needed.  All pointless as the doors had shut and there was plenty of space.  One of the worst ferry boarding experiences I’ve ever had.

Anyway, on board, got to the restaurant and some sleep before arriving in St. Malo the following morning.  Road works in St Malo but got through and headed off to a Supermarket and then to La Moulerie de la Baie at Jospinet Plage.


Thankfully lots of parking places free so soon parked up with a sea view.  I wasn’t feeling too good so didn’t go to the Restaurant so had a look around instead.

After lunch. headed off to Camping Belle Vue Mer at Hillion.  We were put on a site facing the sea with a private terrace – fantastic.


Walk on the beach, dinner in the on-site restaurant and watch the sunset over the sea.

Following morning it was back to Jospinet Plage. to visit the Le Panier Iodé seafood place to get a platter de fruits de mer.


Got it in the fridge (just) and then headed off to Camping Saint-Michel at Erquy.  We got there at lunchtime and they were closed so parked up and headed for the beach.


I went back to the campsite when it had opened but despite having booked a seaside space three months before, they put me in the middle of a field.  After an hour of fafffing about, I finally got given what I had booked.  So it was settle down for a very late lunch, chilled white wine and then a walk to explore a nearby bar.


Following lunchtime it was off to Le Petit Saint Michel, 15 mins walk from the campsite.  Fantastic place with fantastic views and they had spider crab on the menu.


After a long lunch in the sunshine involving several bottles of wine it was a slow walk along the beach back to the campsite for a few more glasses of wine.


Following morning it was time to move on.  Packed everything up, parked outside the campsite and back to Le Petit Saint Michel for another lunch.  Bit less wine this time as I was driving.

Then it was off to Camping Domaine de la Ville Huchet near Saint Malo for the final night.  Very hot and sunny so thought I’d try out the Awning for the first time to give a bit of shade.  Bit fiddly but finally got there.


Evening was a takeaway Crepe from the on-site restaurant all washed down with a few glasses of wine.  Needed to pack up in the evening as an early start the following morning for the ferry.

Very easy drive to the Ferry port, were loaded on without any problems and left for Portsmouth.


Lunch in the on-board restaurant and then a rest as it is a long trip. 

Got into Portsmouth in the evening and passed the new Royal Navy aircraft carrier and some other ships.


Then it was a long drive back to Hebe’s parking and then back home very late.

Great trip, Brittany is fantastic and great for Motorhomes.  Will definitely be back, just wish we had a longer time.


Saint Valery sur Somme

This will be Hebe’s last trip of 2018, a visit to the Somme.  Also first time on the Channel Tunnel. The weather had been unseasonably warm ...