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!!!!


  1. well done, far so good. bit worried your wagon wont go the distance though !!???...............Keep it up babe xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Hi all thinking of you!! so far so good... hows the foreigners been and are you still in pou l'vout en francias??? we all missing you and speak soon xxxx

  3. Hi all, we're both thinking of you. Hope everythings still going ok. Nik's still in hospital, bored out of her skull, but doing ok. Speak soon xxxx