Wednesday, 27 May 2009

mad morocco

the weather is 32-34 degrees the sky is blue and the ocean is clear
been to casablanca what a weird and wonderful city found ricks cafe from the film just humphrey missing
hard to find internet thats working..........well it is africa
love to all
the dogs are ok
ella has turned from a beautiful child to a young inquizative litle lady

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

africa here we come

we have been in spain a while now and we are loving it. found a real hippi camp in Tarifa the most southernly point of spain and met some lovely people.stay for a week and convinced ourselves that morocco was callin gso off we go at the end of this week to find ourselves. lifes a beach who needs 9 to 5 love to all back home
hope the weathers good love you laura xx

Thursday, 16 April 2009

on the road again

we have been almost a week in nazare and have made some very nice friends who have cooked us meals and taken us to places we would never of seen if we hadnt broken down.thats the plus side. minus side we have had to pay 950 to get engine fixed and have been advised to go home as engine is tired!!!! but the adventure must continue so on we go but very very slowly

Saturday, 11 April 2009

cant keep up

wrote a load of stuff on my pen found an internet cafe but cant transfere anything over so the blog idea is not working too well will try and sort it when we have some internet access and we can use our own laptop.
dont know when that will be as we are currently in Portugal broke down!!!!!! the cam has snapped in three belt and three valves needed. big money
but its all part of the adventure. we are camped out in garage but there is always a silver lining . Jose the breakdown recovery man and his wife invited us to a family meal yeasterday. they said come for lunch and eat fish. when we got there it was a banquet. we had a lovely day although the communication was a little hard,they spoke portuguesse or french and we spoke english. ella was made a fuss of lots of easter eggs and they gave us gifts of Portuguese porcellin. we all had a lovely time

Sunday, 15 March 2009

on the road at last

28th February

Just over a week to go and plenty to do. This is harder than organizing a wedding. Had a lovely email from Barry and Margaret at this website has proved to be our saving grace and our holy bible as virgin European travellers.
Ran the van in a bit on Wednesday took a drive to Dorchester as I have never been there looks like a very interesting place but didn’t have time to look around. Also took the dogs along for the ride to get them used to van. Bear was a little scared on the motorway but its all good practice and he shouldn’t be such a chicken anyway. Boson just took it all in his stride; he was brought up in a caravan as a pup until he outgrew it. Blinking shame.
Michael has been hard at it again today. Starting the roof racking system with rails and decking boards. We had a lovely visit from our dear friends Tracey and Pete. Ella absolutely revelled in all her special attention and it was lovely to see them, it’s been so long but that’s the good thing about real friends, it doesn’t matter how long you leave between each encounter you just seem to slip back into each others company. Mind you we normally only see them when camping and after they had gone Michael said how weird it was talking to them without grass or a sea view.

01 Mar. 09

One week to go!
Ella slept at her Nan and granddads last night and they have had her all day today which has given us loads of time to crack on. Michael has been on the roof all day long. We had a slight hic up, the two roof boxes he brought don’t fit as he wants them to but we are going to have to make do. He’s finished his roof system. I have painted the van today inside and washed outside. From now on the lists start. We have lists to tell us what to do on other list! Things are actually starting to come together now. I should hope so with only a week to go.

Tuesday 03rd march 2009

Its seven o’clock and I just can’t sleep. Ella’s alarm going off every five minutes doesn’t help!
Poor Michael, last night he was out in the van till1 o’clock trying to sort out the water heater. Yes he’s got water in it but in the mending process he’s broke the pilot light. Sold the car yesterday so that’s another weight off my mind.
I am very worried about jabs. I didn’t even think that we might need injections for Europe, thought our jabs from when we visited Africa would of seen us through and now looking into it at far too late a date I see we should all really be having rabies but its not a simple jab it’s a course of 3. and there is an airbourne one too I actually got collars for the dogs for these mossie type things but didn’t think we would need protecting.
Taking Dick on the last leg of his running in journey today. Need to go shopping too so might pop to Exeter or beyond. Of course this has to be combined with the dogs and their exercise and training on how to get used to the van. It’s just all one big lesson for them.

Sunday 15th march

Everyone’s hi spirited moods seemed to have calmed down over the past few days and life in the Faulkner household is almost back to normal. Michael has continued with his D.I.Y and things are almost in order we even have a stereo and DVD player fitted now.
We eventually left on 10th March 9 days later than we originally planned. We got to Tesco Lee Mill which is only 10 minutes from our house and things had been forgotten so while Ella and I shopped for groceries, Michael returned home. As we drove on and on it became darker and darker so we looked for places to sleep.Morrisons car park was not top of my list so we found a national trust property that had spaces for motor homes which were all full. We parked in the staff car park had some sandwiches and wearily climbed into bed.
On Wednesday we awoke to mystical mist which was kind of enchanting. Ella and I walked the dogs around the property where horses grazed in the morning sun. we all left pretty stressed still, Michael unable to have his morning cheer himself up fag due to the fear of needing a poo and our toilet not quite ready for action!.
We arrived early at the tunnel where they aloud us to travel on the 3.20 train for free. Beware euro tunnel travellers once you take the tunnel turning there is no going back and at the check in machine they try to get you to pay extra for your earlier journey. be strong! insist you are not willing to pay any more and you will be directed to go see the lady inside who then changed our ticket for free. It worked for us. All the travelling was stressing Bear out, when we picked him up as a puppy the journey from Manchester to Plymouth was long and stressful for him and ever since then, he has not been a good traveller, only we could do a 6 month road trip with a dog that hates travelling. When we were on the train Bear slept like a baby while we had sandwiches and crisps and before I had even cleared away we were in France. What a wonderful, quick and exciting journey.
Yes we are actually in France we have made it! The sun is shinning and it stayed light till 7ish. We looked for the free Aires we had heard about where you can camp wild for the night but believe they are only on the motorways, only time will tell. So tonight we cooked spaghetti bolognaise in a supermarket car park with a lorry next to us. We walked the dogs along unfamiliar streets. It was a beautiful clear night with a full moon.
I awoke the next morning to chickens doing their morning thing which was surprising as we were in supermarket car park in a town. Boson had been awake moaning and scraping since 5.30 it was only when I got up to give him a wee did I realise that the ladder up to Ella’s bed had fallen on him. When I let him out I noticed the gothic looking church next to us and how beautiful it looked in the morning sun.
Prices here are outrageous. We refuelled and ended up in Doullens at a big local market. We all had fun trying to communicate with the locals and purchased
6 sausages €5.90
2 chicken carcasses (for the dogs) €1.00
Cheese €11.20
Bread €1.90
Strawberries €2.50
Cakes €2.00

Total € 22.50 bloody hell its expensive here

Our cheese and bread lunch was delicious. We then walked our so far well behaved dogs around a canal and small park.
We are 100km from euro Disney and we stopped for the night in a lay-by/picnic area. We are not sure if this is allowed but the view is spectacular and the sound of the nearby cow farm is a reminder of home.
Poor Michael has had his hand stuck in the chemical toilet for half an hour trying to fix the seal and true to form he has succeeded. He is like a greyhound after a rabbit when he has a job on and goes on and on till he has completed his mission or needs sleep.
In bed by 8.30 this travelling malarkey is tiring and lack of sleep makes us all irritable.

Friday 13th we woke to a drizzle much like England. We walked the dogs along a country track, where wildlife was somewhere out of our sight or senses but the dogs knew something was close by.
We stopped in an intermarche (supermarket) car park for lunch. I could not believe the extortionate prices except for wine which was €1.65 for a litre.
We drove on to Disney who wanted €13.00 just to park in their car park for the night and as we are not going there till Monday,( hopefully less people after the weekend). We are parked in another supermarket car park for tonight.
I haven’t tried driving yet as it looks chaotic and id rather be the bossy co pilot, not that we need a co pilot as Betty is more than capable of doing the job and getting us to our destinations.
The dogs have been good as gold and had a lovely play in the deserted car park late last night after the store had closed. I never thought id hear myself say this but I cant wait till tomorrow when we go to a camp site so I can have a shower.
We are in the Camping Club Le Parc de Paris
Rue Adele Claret
Where we used our ACSI card for the first time and saved €10 on our 2 night stay costing us €30 instead of €40.a lot of bloody money but we needed to plug in and charge things up and fill up with water, shower and do some washing. and get some internet access. Little did we know these things are on top? Another €7.00 to do our washing,€7.00 for internet access but the showers were free and power showers they definitely were.unfortunatley the gas straighter Michael brought for me are completely hopeless so my hair is a complete mess.
Km travelled so far 1810 wow! But when we look at Betty we are only actually 811 km from our home address if we go in a straight line. Hello to everyone back home and lots of love to all our family big hugs Laura I’m not sure if this diary will be so detailed in future as it has taken me ages. Au revoir!!!!

Monday, 2 March 2009

busy busy busy

hi everyone
just a quick note to let you all know things are in full i am not going to be able to continue until we are on the road as there is still loads to do.tell you all about it later bye for now

Monday, 23 February 2009

still stressed

It’s all NOT going to plan. Michael is still working very hard on the van. Ceiling still down. Still needs to be run in 500 miles and taken to the garage as there are no reverse lights

Michael has not kept to any of my timescales and to be honest I can’t see us leaving on the 7th march. There is nothing I can do all my work has been kept to schedule. I need to sell the car this weekend as the insurance runs out but I can’t how will I get Ella to school and do the running around. will ring the insurance in a bit perhaps they will give us another week such a control freak and I am totally out of control, how much more can I take? How much more can Michael take? Will we ever get away?

The roof is up, yahoo. Adrian my nephew came around last night to help Michael and it there it’s actually there just got to paper line it and paint it now. I could help with that but Michael is so finicky when he’s working and no one can do the job as well as he can so I just leave him to it.

Michael is still rebelling and insisting that our leave date is the 9th when in fact it’s meant to be the 7th. The van has to go back to the garage this week and it still needs to be run in 500 miles before we load it up. Another job I offered to do but Michael came back with no you can’t as he needs to keep an eye on the temperature and oil etc. what he thinks I can’t see these things I have been driving for 25 years!

Two weeks today till lift off going on Michaels time scale. Dick is looking much better! Roof sorted. Now for the roof rack and the inside. It’s got to go back to the garage on Tuesday evening and also has to be run in. hopefully this weekend. Then it’s just a matter of getting it packed up and we are off. Starting to feel excited now so fingers crossed we are on our way

so sorry if ive been a moaning moaner but its hard for anyone to realise what stress we have been under.its all right for rich people who decide to do this they just buy a new van and off they go.this is camping on a real tight budget and every penny counts.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

money money money

Yesterday the van went up to the garage for all the work and a new mot as ours is due to run out 1 day before we are due back, yes another twist in our tale! So I thought my husband would once more be returned to me and stress free. No such luck! He’s out in the shed spraying something for the van; dear of him I realise he is trying to make everything perfect so that when we are away it will be stress free. Saw some friends this week who had great pleasure in telling us all about the hijackers throughout Europe who hold us English for ransom.o k I was a little worried at first until I thought to myself why on earth would anyone in Europe want to ransom an Englishman at the moment don’t they know we are in a recession. Got the European breakdown insurance today saved a packet as I joined the camping and caravan club for £42 and got 10% of my motor insurance and only £214 for the breakdown compared to the £600 odd quote I got from RAC just goes to show you need to shop around. Took me two days on the internet and phone but hey ho some cash in the bank to pay for the repairs.
Lots of people have been saying how brave and adventurous we are to be going but I don’t think brave I think the world is an enormous place and I want to see as much as I can before I die I don’t want to wait till Ella is grown up, why should she miss out on this adventure because of age and .I don’t want to wait until I’m retired to look around this planet I want to live for the day and enjoy experiences now that I might not be able to enjoy later. Not that Im saying older people won’t enjoy travelling but as the years go by things change and you want to experience different things in different ways.

My god I can hardly believe that this time next month will be the last day in our home for 6 months. Things are not going that smoothly though the van is still at the garage, the bits we ordered for it only half have turned up and Laura got laid off from her job today, it never rains when it pours. Got to sell our car soon but I think the neighbour may be interested so that should save the advertising and all the blag talk that goes with selling a car to a complete stranger. No Arthur Dailey needed. Went to see my sister Nicola today who suffers from MS she is a great inspiration to me on how I DON’T want to live my life and why you should do everything you want when you want as you never know what’s round the corner.

More expense today on the van! You need different gas connectors so we are changing to LPG as this is available throughout Europe, but you need all sorts of connectors and valves and new gas bottles. You would think that camping was camping where ever you were but apparently not.
This is not the easy carefree trip we imagined it to be.
My nephew and his wife visited today to drop off their beautiful daughter Jessica who is having a sleepover with Ella and they seem to think that all these obstacles that keep getting in our way are a sign telling us not to go.puppycock…..that is a negative way to think as we have had all these things done we can be 90% assured that they wont need doing again while we are away. Money is real tight now maybe its lottery ticket time!
27 days to go!! Well maybe, we are thinking of maybe waiting an extra week, that’s an extra week’s wages. Yes things are that tight. Michael has been working flat out doing things for the van even though the van is not here. He is meticulous in every thing he does and I know when we are away all his hard work will pay off and we will all reap the benefits.
Oh my god! Just been out to look at the inside of Dick and I don’t think we will be going anywhere the ceiling is hanging down we have had a leak and the whole lot looks fucked! Michael thinks he can fix it but it looks awful. Was going to take some photos but for some reason my camera is not holding a charge. This is a major setback oh my god. And to top it all paid out a bomb to get van mot and all this other work done and it doesn’t seem to make difference.26 days to go.oh my god. AND I forgot to mention that when the van was at the garage we had a cold spell, snow and everything well Michael forgot to winterise the van and empty the water so the pipes have busted and the hot water system is not working. It feels like the adventure is over before it begins
Feeling very depressed today. God knows how Michael must be feeling, because even though the van looks bad to me he’s the one who has to do the repairs. Well not exactly. Last night my nephew Adrian came over to have alook.hes a carpenter and has done this sort of thing before on mobile homes up north. He seems to think that it will only take him and Michael one day to sort it. I can’t remember all the details but have a look at these photos and you will understand my depression with only 25 days to go.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

oh my god

In bed just getting over a two day flu still I cant complain Laura has been laid up for four days so far. Poor old dogs! Boson cut his foot open on the way into dog training on Monday night so he is refined to the house and Bear always acts strange when I take to my bed like he knows Michael will do the bear minima to assure he’s been walked.
Haven’t seen Ella either since yesterday as Michael has thought it best that she stay at nannies and granddads house, she adores them and loves it there. I believe last night was mama mia night
It happened last week got the news from Michael, didn’t know weather I should laugh or cry but my lip has come out in a cold sore and my chin has sprouted loads of spots………….Dick needs a engine recon or something and whilst the engine is out we might as well have a new clutch and some brakes!!!!!!!!!!!well I’m no mechanic and I aint got a clue what Michael is on about but I am the accountant and the handler of bills and I know that we will be using what is meant as our spare emergency break down cash for this so there will be no spare emergency breakdown cash.
Had a nightmare with the dogs this weekend too. Saturday took them walking where there is normally no sheep and some silly farmer had decided to fill his field with sheep. well Bear was gone first then Boson, they don’t harm the sheep its just the chase really but I know this could cause heart failure and all sorts in the sheep, eventually got the buggers back and got to say smacked them both which I never do but I think it was a mixture of relief as the farmer didn’t shoot them and they needed a dam good telling off. Yesterday went for a walk in the woods and Bear started chasing deer so Boson joined him again. The excellent thing about deer is they can’t half run. When I finally got them back they knew they were in trouble so why oh why do they bother and will they ever learn? I think in Europe dogs must stay on their leads most of the time. But it won’t be as bad as we will have one dog each. Got lots and lots of bills to pay today the time is getting nearer and nearer infact 39 days till lift-off yahoo. No more stress and hopefully I will get my motor home widowed husband back.
Happy New Year!! We are only just recovering from our Xmas festivities and we have to stop spending. I am very worried about the work Michael has found to do on Dick it seems to be one thing after another and with only 8 weeks to go it’s going to be hard pushed to get everything done!! Yesterday I gave a months notice on our phone and internet and digital TV we won’t need that for the last month. Well I’m hoping our neighbour will let us use their internet for the last month. Dogs have had a quiet Xmas with no mishaps except one wee on the floor New Year’s Eve but to be honest they were left for 12 hours and probably scared by the fireworks at midnight.

Been ringing round for European breakdown cover and insurance cause the van is starting to worry me slightly, bloody hell isn’t it dear!!! Michael couldn’t even get Dick to start this morning it was so cold. Bring on the sunshine.
Two hammocks I ordered arrived today, I really just want to get into the van and start cleaning and packing but as usual Michael is lagging behind, when we go on holiday I’m all ready and packed whilst he is packing his suitcase the night before with a million things he doesn’t need. HELP I need to be organised
Picked up the dog’s passports yesterday, another tick off my list. Oh god I hate the wait I like to do things spontaneously, keep busy.

hard work and dogs

God Michael is working real hard on dick, he’s almost done the fridge and managed to buy an oven from eBay for £8.27 he’s such a hunter gatherer! I’m so lucky to have him, this trip would not be possible else. As for the dogs they are another matter I can hardly hold Boson he is so big. He pulled me off my feet yesterday and started chasing sheep. I got hold of him but left the field in tears imagine if the farmer had shot him. God Im so worried what will our trip be like with these big boys?


Ella headmaster has been informed that we will be taking her out of school for 6 months, I was rather nervous making that call but luckily Ella has a young hip headmaster, not like in my days at school. He advised that this trip would be very educational. When I thought about it harder I could hardly agree more. How better to learn about war than a visit to the mass graves in France, fancy seeing Rome with your own eyes and discovering about the Romans and what about the great Grecians and their coliseums all first hand with your own eyes.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


Then to the dogs, this is the crazy bit of the whole trip. We have two big dogs, Bear and Boson. Bear is a Northern Inuit a wolf cross and we have had him since he was a pup of six weeks, Boson on the other hand is a rottie cross mastiff whom we rescued from a local dog kennels last Christmas he’s still a pup though bigger than most dogs and his training is taking its toll on me and the rest of the family. If Boson decides to run I just can’t hold him. The dogs have had their rabies injections, then 30 days later back for the bloods to be taken. Now we just have to wait for the results of the blood tests as not all dogs become immune to rabies with the first jab infact with some dogs it never works so fingers crossed.


This is the story of our fantasy adventure around Europe in our motor home Dick. Dick is a fiat highwayman so the connection is Dick Turpin……highwayman…..yes that’s how our van got his name. My husband was not too impressed that the van was a boy so we let him have the tom tom and her sweet voice which he named Betty.
My name is Colette I am 41 years old but still 17 in my mind.
It’s been a long hard slog trying to persuade my hubby to travel around the world! Ok so Ive only managed Europe at the moment but at least that’s a start.
My husband is Michael, hes the brains behind the van which we brought cheap and he has slowly but steadily built into a lovely little van. Ok its not new age and we are probably going to look like gypsies next to all these posh homes but hey ho Im well happy.
I have two children Laura 20 and Ella who will be 10 when we leave. The thought of travelling around Europe with her parents is far too much for Laura to handle, I’ve even tried a little emotional blackmail but she’s adamant, well who wouldn’t want to stay home alone at 20 party party party!! Our youngest daughter Ella is almost as excited as me.