Posted by: glenswatman | September 2, 2011

20110811- 20 France England

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THURSDAY 11 AUGUST – We set off early for Bar Le Duc where there are numerous dentists.  We are on a mission to find a dentist but can’t help but take in a few tourist sites including a memorial to brothers Pierre and Ernest Michaux who apparently invented the bicycle and presumably came from here.  We find an English speaking dentist at “Cabinet Dentaire Mutualiste” and he has a cancellation this afternoon at 3.30pm.  This leaves us enough time to drive to Contrisson (1/2 an hour away) where we park up and make use of the excellent facilities to do all the clothes laundry and all to take hot showers.  Back to Stephen Pittaluga who starts work on my root canals.  He cleans everything out, takes an x-ray then begins the process of filling each of the 3 canals before topping it all off with another temporary filling.  He is very thorough stopping after each canal to take another picture.  It is uncomfortable but not in any way painful although it does take a long time.  I’m told the temporary filling is good for up to 3 months but that in the long term I will need a crown as opposed to a filling as the tooth is now just side walls and on a dead tooth these will crumble.  Total bill for canal work and x-rays €89.92 (£80), the cheapest I was quoted anywhere.  Return to Contrisson for our evening meal followed by a long card session, the kids are now learning Canasta.


FRIDAY 12 AUGUST – Another laundry day this time to get the bedding done.  I come a bit unstuck when I open the new laundry liquid and find it is bleach but we manage by using washing up liquid.  Steve finds a few patches of blackberries so we enjoy them with ice cream.  It’s just a shame that there is a railway line on the opposite site of the river otherwise this really would be a top spot.


SATURDAY 13 AUGUST – We send the kids off to the village to buy some fresh baguettes.  A couple of families arrive and set up fishing.  They leave their lines unattended and a beeper warns when they have a catch.   When we hear the beeper going crazy we head over and watch him land a massive carp, probably about 15kg.  It’s a bit of a strange bloated shape so probably pregnant so we are happy to see them treat it well and return it to the water quickly.  In the evening we put together a plan for the rest of the trip and this includes a visit to Park Asterix near Paris.


SUNDAY 14 AUGUST – The rain at night has now turned into drizzle.  Steve really gets caught out when he goes to buy bread and comes back like a drowned rat from the heavy downpour.  Some men have stayed overnight fishing and they also catch a large carp that weighs in at 12.5kg.  In the afternoon one of them comes over and tells us they have caught a smaller fish that is good for eating and they want to give it to us.  Natasha is fine until it wriggles out of Steve’s hand when we are walking back, once she realises it is still alive she is quite upset.


MONDAY 15 AUGUST – It’s a bank holiday in France with many things closed so we figure a good driving day.  After getting the mornings washing dried we head off and make it to Beautor village.  There is nice motorhome parking, including a picnic table, by the canal.  Waterside there is an exercise park which we set off round but give up on the parallel bars.  After an evening walk around the village we return to take advantage of the free wi-fi.  We now have an updated plan to go back earlier to suit the kids as Daz is on holiday next week.


TUESDAY 16 AUGUST – The local Aldi store is pathetic and Le Clerc not much better, know it is after a bank holiday but both stores are poorly stocked and short on staff.  We journey across country where I take a short turn at the wheel.  Navigate to the centre of Amiens with perfect parking beside the river and only €1 (90p) for 2-hours.  We first check out the cathedral, the largest Gothic building in France complete with a heavily adorned exterior.  Nearby the Quartier St-Leu is an attractive network of canals and cottages once the centre of the textile industry.    We finally reach the Normandy coast where there is a nice free camping spot at Creil Sur Mer.  It is a large grassy area with about 40 motorhomes and a nice corner spot for us with an ocean view.  Natasha is out of the van and down to the pebbly beach.  The water is a milky blue due to the chalk and looks very attractive.  The far end of the beach is backed by cliffs much like the white cliffs of Dover.  Other than a few restaurants there is little else here.  Our neighbours are an English couple Mark & Jane from Baschurch near Shrewsbury and we get chatting to them and sit out late over a glass or two of wine.  There’s a priceless pink sunset much appreciated by the kids.


WEDNESDAY 17 AUGUST – Steve gets up early to walk along the beach and gets back just in time for the arrival of the bread delivery van.  Fresh croissant and pain au chocolate succeed in getting the kids out of bed earlier than normal.  Natasha joins Mark collecting winkles which Steve later eats but then suffers a stomach ache.  Afternoon entertainment is provided by a car getting stuck in the big pebbles and having to be dug and pushed out.  Natasha sees someone sketching the coastline so does the same and produces a nice picture for the motorhome.  Daniel is happy to spend the day on his computer.


THURSDAY 18 AUGUST – After a stop at McDonalds we have the ferry booked for Saturday at 0200.  In Montreiull Sur Mer we park up to check out the area where “Les Miserables” was filmed.  Steve stays in the van with stomach ache and misses the downpour.  The town is quite attractive with lots of sloping cobbled streets which are very slippy when wet.  There’s a big top in the square but not for a circus rather a theatre show of fairy stories but all in French.  Heading towards the coast Steve suddenly shouts out he has seen a camel at the side of the road.  Once we manage to turn around and drive back we crack up laughing when we see it is a straw model of some sort of dragon.  Return to the coast at the new motorhome parking in Wissant.  This is the spot on the coast where Julius Caesar set off for England.  At French family are parked up and it is hilarious watching the kids on their roller blades being towed around by their dog.


FRIDAY 19 AUGUST – After yesterday’s rain we are happy to have a sunny day for our last day.  Driving up the coast we have magnificent views of the white cliffs of Dover which look so close.  Our DFDS ferry goes from Dunkirk so we take the motorhome parking near Gravelines at Petit Port Philippe.  It is on the banks of a tidal river and a very attractive spot.  An English lady comes past walking her two Dalmatians and Natasha ends up joining her for the walk and returns almost 2 hours later.  She finds a French lady with a dog to walk later in the afternoon.  The old town is within the fort walls and most attractive with lots of gardens round the edge.  For our last meal in France Daniel uses the last of the French stick to make delicious cheesy garlic bread to go with the pasta.  In the evening we watch the first half of Les Miserables before packing up to drive to the port.  We are lucky to get onto the 2359hrs ferry at no extra charge


SATURDAY 20 AUGUST – After a 2-hour crossing we dock in Dover ENGLAND at 1.00am.  By 1.30 we are parked up on Marine Parade along with lots of other motorhomes and caravans.  Parking is free from 6pm to 9am so it suits us fine.  Unfortunately neither of us sleeps well so once it is light at 6am we hit the road.  £1.50 gets us through the Dartford tunnel with no hold ups en route.  Our next toll is the Humber Bridge, £2.70 then we do a quick grocery shop before descending on YSS at Hull.  It’s a nice hot afternoon and within an hour the kids are in the pool.  In the evening everyone has a communal BBQ at the club house.

YSS HULL 1 – £4 PP + £8 camping per night or £40 week


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