Posted by: glenswatman | September 1, 2009

200908-2-France England

SUNDAY 16 AUGUST – We get up early for our
buffet breakfast €4.70 (£4.40) making the most of it for a good fill up.  Arrive at Mont St Michel before it gets too
busy.  We are amazed to see probably
well over hundred motorhomes that have been parked up overnight as when we
stayed a few years back we were in single figures.  The tide is low so we make the interesting walk around the island
before exploring the streets up to the abbey. 
By now crowds of tourists have arrived and we are glad to be ready to
leave.  Making our way along the coast
we get some fine views and even stop to watch the tide quickly coming in, still
not as quickly as we were led to believe by the load hailer warning people on
the beach!  In Granville we take a walk
around the old town then pick up lunch at the kebab stall down by the
waterfront for a picnic.  Arrive in St
Lo mid afternoon at the Etap hotel and settle into rooms identical to last
night.  At least this way we know where
the bathroom is during the night!  Spend
the afternoon planning our coastal tour tomorrow and also trying to find a room
for when we are back in England. 
Natasha manages to wobble a tooth lose and hopes the tooth fairy finds

ST LO, ETAP HOTEL €44.40 (£39) including breakfast. 


MONDAY 17 AUGUST – Natasha is happy that the
tooth fairy left her €2 (£1.75), so now she has money to spend.  We begin the D-Day trails at St Come De
Mont.  Arriving too early for the “Dead
mans corner” museum we continue to the tourist house.  We are impressed by a movie all about farming in the area and
can’t stop laughing when we hear the dubbed voice of the farmer talking with a
Yorkshire accent and his mate a West Country one.  We also get a laugh in the communal toilets with the first door
showing a high up mens’ urinal, the next a lower boys one, two with ladies on
sitting down toilets and the last for the disabled.  Brings a whole new meaning to the expression “going to the little
boys room”.  Bev, Norm, Steve &
Natasha go into the “Dead mans corner” museum and buy the “Normandy card” for
€1 (90p) to get them a discount at all the attractions €6.95 (£6.20) in
total.  They say it is impressive in the
fact that it is the very house from which the road junction was defended, the
dead man being a soldier stuck dead in his tank for a long time before he was
pulled out.  A Le Cambe we stop at the
German cemetery with rows of 5 black crosses between the gravestones.  Steve & I came along this route in 2001
and immediately see changes as visitor centres are larger and roads wider.  On the coast road the world peace shiny
silver statue is very impressive. 
Natasha enjoys wandering around Point Hoc, running up and down in the
bomb craters and exploring the gun emplacements.  Following the beach road we see many memorials then stop for our
picnic lunch at the back of Omaha Beach. 
Bev & Norm go into the museum whilst we go onto the beach with
Natasha.  The American cemetery at
Coleville now has an enormous visitor centre where you could spend many
hours.  Natasha is kept busy in the huge
cemetery looking for the gold inscribed medal of honour graves.  Longues Battery has a few gun emplacements in
very good condition complete with the guns inside so good fun for Nat.  In Arromanches we drive up the hill for
views of the remains of the Mulberry harbour then head to Bayeaux Etap
Hotel.  After checking into the hotel we
drive into the city to pick up take away pizza to be eaten on the picnic
benches at the hotel.  With the Euro now
at around €1.15 – £1 we are finding that eating our the food seems very
expensive and even the cheap motels are not as cheap as we remember them
being.  Don’t think we would opt to do a
tour in France this way again as we don’t seem to be getting value for
money.  Every day we are amazed by the
sheer number of motorhomes we are seeing and the amount of overnight stops now
provided and feel well and truly motor homesick! 

BAYEAUX ETAP €61.80 (£53) room and breakfast


TUESDAY 18 AUGUST – Find it easy to park in
the city and Bev, Norm & Natasha go to look at the Bayeaux tapestry whilst
we wander the streets.  The cathedrals
is very impressive inside and out so we are happy to re visit.  On the edge of town Bev & Norm go to the
war museum whilst we walk through the new memorial to reporters killed in
wars.  It is amazing to notice that the
recent years have the most casualties, most names sound to be Middle Eastern
and many dates in the 50’s have no deaths – a sign of the times I guess.  Rejoin the coast at Courseulles where Steve
finds a good café for lunch.  It is very
rustic, in a kind of tent with wooden tables but the moules & frites
(mussels & chips) and a glass of wine at €7.50 (£6.75) are excellent.  Spend an hour or so on the beach but just
beyond the dry sand is a wide bank of seaweed and the sea is very far out.  Arrive at the Pegasus Bridge and I go into
the museum with Bev & Norm whilst Steve naps in the car and Natasha plays
on her DS.  Caen is our Etap for the
night, in the city as Bev & Norm want to explore but getting to it is
difficult due to the one way streets. 
It is probably the worst so far, you have to pay for wi-fi, street
parking is a pay job and there is no air-con in the room. Bev & Norm wanted
a room in town so to explore at night but we seem to be in a seedy area by the
railway station so not keen to venture far. 
It is quite hot and stuffy in the room to start but with the window open
it is too noisy and we are directly under the illuminated Etap sign so that is
not an option either but at least it gets cooler later.

CAEN ETAP €52 (£45) room and breakfast


WEDNESDAY 19 AUGUST – I manage to direct us on
a drive around the castle before heading out of town.  Join the coast at Holgate to retrace our steps towards
Honfleur.  In Villers-sur-mer we stop so
Natasha can have a spell on the beach whilst I walk with Bev & Norm to admire
the magnificent mansions running along the back $of it.  Deuville is very busy so we don’t even
attempt to park and Trouville is worse with a street market so we take the
lorry route around the town.  Honfleur
has great free parking west of town, about 1/2km walk to the centre.  It is a lovely hot and sunny day and we
enjoy walking around and are especially impressed by St Catherine’s wooden
church.  The basin is full of yachts
anchored up and surrounded by restaurants so we do a circuit before settling on
one with a €14 (£12) 3-course menu.  For
starters you can have whelks, prawns or a ham and cheese crepe.  Main course is steak or salmon and dessert
crème Brule or apple tart and all very tasty.    Had we known what we were going to get we would probably have
persuaded Natasha onto it as it is much better value than her  €10 (£9) children’s menu of 4 chicken
nuggets, chips and a scoop of ice cream. 
It is really hot so we leave Bev & Norm to do a bit more exploring
whilst we go to the public gardens where there is a  paddling pool.  At 2pm we
set off for Le Havre, over the toll bridge €5 (£4.50) and round to the LD ferry
terminal arriving just before 3pm.  We
are booked on the Norman Spirit to Portsmouth (£195) which sails at 5pm so in
the meantime make use of the shady trees, grass and picnic area to sit
out.  The Sprit is a large ship with
plenty of eating and seating areas.  I
reckon the bar has the most comfortable seats to lay flat on so Natasha and I
go there whilst the others start in the aeroplane style recliners.  I’ve had a headache all day so am happy to
just lie around.  Natasha really enjoyed
exploring the ship and chasing back to either myself or Steve to show us
things.  The others join us in the bar
for a beer to go with our picnic.  It is
a smooth 5 ½ hour crossing with a lovely approach to Portsmouth ENGLAND where
we dock just before 10am.  After getting
on the right road in the wrong direction we finally turn around a locate the
Etap Hotel next to the football ground. 
The check in procedure is more complicated than France with forms to be
filled in for each room.  Natasha makes
me laugh when she says, “at least they speak English” as the next minute I have
to ask the Eastern European receptionist to repeat her question, as I can’t
understand her accent!  You also have to
leave a deposit of £10 if you want the TV remote control or a hair dryer –
makes you wonder what kind of area we are in!


£35 room + £2.95 breakfast


THURSDAY 20 AUGUST – Before leaving Portsmouth
we drive around the dock area for views of the Warrior and Victory ships.  At Portchester we wander around the
impressive castle but rain forces us to run back to the car.  By the time we get to Lyndhurst in the New
Forest it is bright and sunny.  After
walking around the town we set off to explore the forest and show Natasha the
wild ponies.  At Lymington we sit in a
waterfront park eating our hot pasties for lunch.  Christchurch has a free electric museum within the Edwardian
power station and it keeps Natasha entertained for over an hour.  Parking by the priory we explore the
cathedral with the famous miraculous beam (story has it that a mystery worker
replaced one that was too short with this one).  Steve and Natasha take a seat on the ducking stool but have no
fears as the river below is now just a shallow stream.  In Bournemouth we easily find the Mayfair
Hotel where we have 2 comfortable double rooms.  It is less than a 10-minute walk to the beach where Natasha is
soon strolling along the sand.  The red
arrows are going to be doing a show over the weekend and lots of stands are
already being set up.  Bump into Bev
& Norm whilst checking out eating places and end up walking up the hill to
“The Tralee” Irish pub where the £5 meals are excellent especially washed down
with any draught beer at £1.85 pint – welcome back to England. 


£45 double room through


FRIDAY 21 AUGUST – We take the Sandbanks
ferry, £3, to get to Studland Bay where there is a naturist section of the
beach.  After about 10 minutes walking
along the track we emerge onto a beautiful beach with the naturist section in
the middle.  It is hot between the
clouds and once we find a sheltered spot in the dunes we can sunbathe in the
warmth.  In the distance we have a great
view of “Dirndl door” rock formation. 
Moving onwards Corfe Castle looks really nice perched on top of a hill
then Wareham has a pretty riverside but it is too busy to park up.  We enjoy a picnic lunch at Avon Heath then
at Stoney Cross return to the New Forest. 
Natasha loves it here especially as we see ponies, horses, donkeys and
also some deer.  In East Wellow we
detour down a winding narrow lane to the church where Florence Nightingale is
buried.  There are many testaments to
her within the church including a replica of a cross made from gunshot from the
Crimean war.  Late rooms led us to The
Grosvenor in Stockbridge and we arrive mid afternoon giving Steve chance of a
nap as he is going down with a cold. 
Natasha and I walk the street and are amazed by the number of crystal
clear streams emerging either side of the high street.  The evening meal offer of 2 for £9.95 seems
to be the best in town and the locally made trio of assorted sausages is


£40 double B&B


SATURDAY 22 AUGUST – We all thoroughly enjoy
the full English cooked breakfast and it is almost 9.30am when we leave.  Our destination is Oxford where Bev &
Norm are booked into a guest house for a couple of nights.  Arrive at 11am and say fond farewells after
an excellent time together.  I try to
direct us straight up the country towards the M1 on the basis that although the
side roads and town speed limits slow things up at least we are on the
move.  Steve would rather take the
motorways so we pick up the M40 to connect to the M6 and M62 and predictably
have hold ups but nothing major.  Arrive
in Denholme at Daz’s at 4pm.  Natasha is
very happy to see her Dad again and also her pet tortoise Flo and goldfish
Nemo.  Daz now lives in a very modern 2
bedroom apartment with nice views from the French window and we can see why
Natasha likes to visit.  Back in
Keighley Nat is also pleased to see Mummy but I am not sure Mummy is quite so
pleased to receive our 3 bags full of laundry. 
At least the machine is now fixed and it is a nice enough afternoon to
get a load out to dry.  Daniel arrives
back from camp around 7pm.  They have
had bad weather and some of the lads almost got to the stage of having trench
foot.  What a survival experience it
turned out to be. 



SUNDAY 23 AUGUST – Claire and the kids are up
early as it is Daz’s brothers baby’s christening today and they are all going
to it.  I help Claire curling her hair
then she does Natasha’s.  In a party
dress and make up she looks like a proper young lady.  Daniel has got some new clothes and looks considerably smarter
and fresher than when he arrived back yesterday.  I spend the morning unpacking his huge rucksack and sorting
through the washing whilst Steve stays in bed. 
Claire & Daniel return early afternoon, Daniel is shattered but
Natty has stayed on with Dad.  By
evening I have managed to get all the washing done and dried and reward myself
by playing bejewelled on Facebook – big mistake as I am up until 1am.



MONDAY 24 AUGUST – I pop down town in the
morning then after lunch take Daniel with me to Coldspring Mills in
Cullingworth.  I need some warm clothing
for Antarctica and pick up a micro fleece and some thermal layers.



is a lovely day so just before 10am we set off to York, having promised to
treat the kids to a trip to the dungeons. 
It is free to park at the McCarthy Glen shopping centre and the park
& ride bus leaves from there.  We
have a look around the shops before having a picnic lunch in the car.  The bus, £2.40 return, drops us right
outside the dungeons.  There’s a queue
with about 45-mins wait then we are ushered in to pay, £14 adults and £10 kids
but luckily we have vouchers to get the kids free.  Basically you a moved through the building as a group into
different rooms where gruesome stories are told and occasionally things happen
to make you jump a bit.  Very tame
compared to others we have visited where characters that appear to be dummies
suddenly spring to life. 



WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST – I get up early to follow
Claire to the garage, where she is having some work done on the car, then take
her to work.  Glad we did York
yesterday, as it is a really cold a miserable rainy day.  In the afternoon Daniel makes a fantastic
chocolate cake for his Auntie Dawns birthday and they go over there after I
take them to pick up Claire’s car.



THURSDAY 27 AUGUST – I get up early to make
the most of the nice morning and crack on cleaning Mum’s car.  After emptying everything out I vacuum and
clean the inside then do outside and have it all finished in around 1-hour,
just a little quicker than doing a motorhome! 
Today Daniel and Natasha make scrumptious Maltesers cake and serve it to
us with hot chocolate and marshmallows. 
In the evening I have invited Rod & Nancy round for a meal and the
Hungarian goulash cooked all day in the slow cooker works out a treat.  End up with them staying until midnight.



FRIDAY 28 AUGUST – What a day, it pouring with
rain and a strong wind is blowing it sideways. 
Unfortunately we are completely out of milk so I have to brave the storm
to go to the shops.  Daniel &
Natasha are staying at Daz’s tonight so I have invited Richard John to join for
a meal.  Again the slow cooker produces
a good pork curry and Claire joins us for dinner.  Richard has brought some beers along and we have plenty of wine
from France so it is no great surprise that he ends up sleeping over.



SATURDAY 29 AUGUST –Claire amazes us by
getting herself off to 6am swimming training. 
We are just having breakfast when she gets back. It is Daniels party
this afternoon and he is having it at the bowling lanes in Bradford.  Steve & I go up to spend our last bit of
time with Mom & Dad before leaving the country.  Daniel and Claire arrive back from the party where he has had a
great time.  Once he has gone to bed I
make him a cake for his birthday and no I am not smarter than an 11-year old in
the kitchen!



SUNDAY 30 AUGUST – Daniel heads downstairs to
find his cards, piles of balloons and the Wilson perpetual Happy Birthday
banner.  He is delighted to find that he
now has enough money for the Ipod touch he has his heart set on.  Daz & Natasha arrive and after doing
research on the Internet Daz takes him to Halifax to pick up his Ipod.  Needless to say he is attached to it for the
rest of the day.  Claire’s cooks Daniels
favourite meal for lunch then in the afternoon Daz & Natasha leave.  Around 8.30pm Netty & Mark arrive along
with Stacey with her new boyfriends Graham. 
Dig out some of the old video with them on have good chuckle at how we
all used to look.  It always seems to be
the hair styles that cause the most comment. 
Netty & Mark go off to stay at Mom & Dads whilst Stacey and
Graham crash out in the lounge.



MONDAY 31 AUGUST – Bank holiday Monday and
surprisingly a pleasant morning.  After
breakfast together we say our farewells to head on to Sandra’s.  Keith is home and settles us into the spare
bedroom.  Adrian and his wife Louise,
who I have only met on Facebook, arrive to collect their daughter Zara.  However Zara is still out shopping with
Sandra so we have time for a chat. 
After everyone has left we set off for a day out.  In the back as passengers we feel like
tourists in our own country and thoroughly enjoy the scenic drive across the
Yorkshire moors.  Near Thirsk we can see
the Yorkshire white horse in the distance and head that way to drive up Sutton
Bank to the airfield at the top of the escarpment.  The gliding club are having an open day and we begin with an
inexpensive meal in their café.  Sandra
wants to treat Keith to a flight for his birthday but they are fully booked
today.  For £80 you get a minimum of 20
minutes plus 3 months membership of the flying club which would give you future
flights much cheaper.  Settle for
walking around the perimeter and it is a terrific walk.  We can watch the plane and gliders taking
off, stand at the top of the white horse and get fantastic views for miles
around.  Towards the end of what must be
about a 4-mile walk the weather changes and we hasten back to beat the
rain.  We are all pretty tired when we
get back but it has been a super day out. 
Sandra cooks a meal then we settle down to watch a bit of TV, chat and



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: