Posts Tagged 'motorhome'

ici la post premiere sur France

un hoboWe’re preparing for our first ever trip abroad. A few years ago we went to Eire for a few weeks, but that doesn’t really count as abroad because they drive on the left. But in April we’re heading for France where they drive on the right. This will be the first time I’ve driven on the right in other than a left-hand drive vehicle.

Hobby is German, but she’s right-hand drive. I take a little comfort from knowing that the gear stick will be in the same place even if the roundabouts are a challenge to my sense of balance and direction.

Our French is poor. Michel Thomas is trying to rekindle dim memories of schoolboy GCE French (failed) but I can’t move beyond “comfort-A-bler.” Why are educationalists so obsessed with pronunciation and precise grammar? Most who are proficient in English as other than their mother tongues speak English as it is spoken in their home towns. They speak the language but their accents always betray their true origins and we always know what they mean when they say “I be here tomorrow.”

Everything is more or less gathered together now. The ferries are booked; insurance has been arranged. Spare light bulbs have been acquired. We have a pair of day-glow yellow waistcoats and our health cards and Camping Card International are fully valid. An emergency triangle is in the post from that nice company on E-bay, together with a set of headlamp adaptors. The ‘van has had a full service and I can feel her straining at the leash to enter the breach once more.

The satnav has French roads pre-loaded and we’ve bought an atlas so we know what we’re missing when we follow instructions slavishly. The dust has been brushed off the passports and I’ve checked my stock of khaki shorts, white socks, rainbow braces and knotted handkerchiefs. The first-aid box is loaded with Factor 800 and we can’t decide whether or not to take the mosquito repellent so useful in Scotland. Being “comfort-A-bler” is very important to us. The English abroad, eh?

I’m assured it never rains in Brittany during April and May. The man who told me is normally very reliable. His brother knows a man who read it somewhere on Wikipedia I think. Should we take waterproofs?

Oh dear. Only three weeks to go.

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a short trip to lincolnshire

hobby tetford imageWe’ve just returned from a brief trip to Lincolnshire. Our first night we spent at the pretty little Wold’s village of Tetford in Lincolnshire. It’s not very famous. Tennyson probably visited the local hostelries because he was born nearby. Captain Edward Dymoke, the royal champion at George II’s coronation, is buried in the church; a commemorative tablet is topped by his breast plate and basinet, evidence of his diminutive stature in contrast to his grand rank.

Many churches give the impression of being nothing but show pieces, but the interior of Tetford’s church has the air of an elderly avuncular parishioner wearing his favourite ancient woollen jersey, looking slightly dishevelled but warmly comfortable and proud of it. It was built about 700 years ago out of local green sandstone, the blocks of which are now mellowed, if pitted and weather-worn. Gargoyles on the corners of the tower glare down as if to reprove late comers.

It’s a peaceful place. We pitched the motor home on the grass of Tetford’s camp site, a Camping Club CS. Just one other ‘van was there, a woman attending a course on colour therapy at a venue within the village. She said she was the only one from England. The other 70 delegates were from China, Russia, USA and sundry other countries around the globe. What a thing to discover in a quiet pastoral corner of old England! If you don’t stop to poke around, you’ll never know what’s happening on the other side of the metaphorical hedge.

At Skegness the next night, we discovered that we don’t always want to know. The last time we were here the only saving grace was the pub overlooking the beach near the camp site’s gates. Now even that’s gone, having been reduced to a series of concrete foundations and a pile of rubble. The arcade is boarded up and fenced off, presumably awaiting demolition – not before time. This part of Skegness is slightly ragged, and I couldn’t see any sign of pride. When we English do shabby, you have to admit we do it wholehearted


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