This website contains information on all aspects of travel
with a caravan or RV in Australia
and RVing in Australia
My 2010 European Trip
Click for page 2
writing this little prologue in March so there's a couple of months to
go before I depart on the 21st of May on a Koreanair flight to the UK
with an overnight stopover at Seoul.
I've already purchased a lovely little Peugeot Autosleeper from Steve
Cronin at Rainham Motor Caravans in Essex on a buy-back scheme so I
already know what I'll get when I return it to Steve towards the end of
Because the Autosleeper is fully self-contained I'll be able to use the
extensive network of Aires de Service in France and Spain plus I've
signed up as a member of France Passion and now have an invitation to
stay at a great number of vineyards and farms throughout France.
As an Overseas Member of The Caravan Club I also will have access to
their 200 plus Club Sites (we call them Caravan Parks in Oz) and their
more than 2,000 Certified Locations which have a limit of five RVs a
night but are cheaper than the Club Sites.
In the UK I have numerous relatives and friends to visit so the Peugeot
will be a handy means of travel. I mentioned to Steve that the
distances were so short compared to what I'm used to in Oz and he
tempered that by mentioning the traffic that sometimes slows things to
have been a lot of things to consider and arrange for this trip but
everything seems to be coming together now with just one big question
mark! I have to see a Urologist next week to investigate an enlarged
prostate and I'm hoping the result is not going to upset my plans.
I'll be starting a daily travel diary when I leave Australia and it will be updated whenever/wherever I have Internet access.
You can bookmark this page now to return to it later.
Bye for Now,
One week to go!
It's just a week now before I fly out - providing the volcano doesn't interupt flights again.
I mentioned my prostate earlier before I knew I had prostate cancer.
That came as a bit of a shock and at one stage I thought the trip might
have to be postponed. However I'm on hormone therapy now and the doc
has given permission for the trip but strongly suggested I shorten it a
The plan now is to return in mid-August and then start a course of
radiotherapy that should fix things up so that I stay around a good
while longer yet.
It's been a bit of a roller coaster these past few weeks. Bone and body
scans, biopsies, a TURP operation, a visit to the Peter Mac cancer
clinic. getting all the medications I need for the weeks away and
deciding what to take with me.
I've bought a few things on Ebay UK delivered to my motorhome dealer. A
Russell Hobbs coffee machine, a 1500 watt inverter to run it and two
Tom Tom GPS. One went astray and I'm trying to get my money back and
the other one arrived this week. It's got UK and Europe maps so that
should reduce the number of times I get lost.
A friend in the UK has bought a 'dongle' and internet pre-paid set up
for me so I should be able to keep up this diary from over there.
I will be able to send and receive emails during the trip.
It's started! At 3.30 am this
morning the houshold awoke - nobody very bright and cheerful. An
uneventful run to the airport and then the waiting started. The flight
is 1/2 hr late but after coffee and a chat with my drivers - daughter Sue and
husband Shaun, I wandered though the maze where I was checked, scanned, patted
down and apparently passed muster. I'm now in the gate lounge spending
$4 on an internet connection.
Next stop Seoul?
The plane was getting ready for us in the Tullamarine dawn light. I'll post this before the 15 minutes runs out! And I'll try to update tonight from Korea.
here! After about 10 of the most boring hours I've ever sat
through. I had a window seat - great for looking out until they made us
shut the blinds to show old boring films! I beat them just a bit as
I've got a little led light for my Kindle and could continue reading
despite the black out. The other problem was getting in and out to go
to the loo. I didn't need to go often but pressing urgency came just as
turbulence hit and the 'fasten seatbelts' light came on. No way would
they let me go - so I endured about a half hour of agony with a bladder
full to bursting.
Seoul was very welcoming. Not! Low cloud and rain so when we
drove to our hotel via the expressway, the bus windows steamed up
and all you could see through the windscreen was the red lights of all
the vehicles trying to negotiate the traffic jams. Can't complain about
Korean Air service though. Free bus to the hotel, free accomodation,
free dinner and breakfast, free sandwiches back at the airport before
boarding and free internet here in the hotel.
I may not have Internet access tomorrow so you may have to wait until Monday for the next thrilling instalment.
Where to start? Murphy
not only snuck onto the plane but here in the UK he must have summoned
all his British rellies to help make things difficult!
After a long and boring 12 hr flight from Seoul, Heathrow turned on a
warm and sunny welcome. That is until immigration where UK passport
holders went sailing through while we 'foreigners' shuffled endlessly
through the maze of taped lines. It took an hour and then to the
carousel to get my heavy
luggage. I eventually found the Underground and asked if all
trains went to Southgate. Oh Yes she said. Oh no - should have been the
answer, as work on the line meant the train terminated 3 stops before
They were running shuttle buses so I staggered across the road to wait
for the double decker to arrive. I stood all the way clutching the
handle of my case to stop it falling over as the bus lurched along. Not
only did the case fall but I went with it. Fortunateley no damage done.
Then I tried to ring my cousin who was coming to pick me up. 041
didn't work. Nor did no prefix. The computer battery was flat and I
didn't have their address to ring enquires! Eventually I discovered it
should be 0041 and then drop the next 0. All was well and they arived
very quickly and welcomed me into their home.
I was very tired but woke early as my body clock told me it was 9hrs
difference and I should be up and about. I decided to try to install
the software for my new internet wireless dongle and fired the computer
up for the task. I tried to do a restart but the beast died and
wouldn't go again. Just a grey spinning disc every time I tried to boot
it. I gave up and decided to wait till I had wheels to take it to an
The rest of the day was great. They took me sightseeing and we walked
on Hampstad Heath - or at least near it in lovely sunshine and the
shrubs and bushes were beautifiul. At night we went to a nice pub
nearby for dinner.
Cousin Barb's husband Steve very kindly offered to come with me next
morning and help me through the changes in the tube and we arrived
at Fenchurch St station for me to catch the final train to Rainham to
pick up my motorhome. It's a beauty and I'll ewrite more about it
later. Ther was some delay sorting out inurance and then I rang
the Apple shop and made an appointment. It was later than I hoped but I
really needed this computer.
Rhodendrons near Hamstead Heath
Instead of the twenty minute quick fix it turned out the hard
drive had failed. They managed to fit a new one and save all my data
and programmes. Thank goodness. While they did all this I went off and
did some shopping at a huge Tesco store. Cutlery, food, a pillow and
doona, etc, etc
I had got the new Tom Tom going but it kept coming up with the Vatican!
So stupidly I tried to find my way without it! Bad mistake. I went
miles out of my way before I stopped and had another go at the Satnav.
This time it worked and it brought me here nr East Grinstead in the
The 'house' battery was flat so no lights to set up the bed unless I
left the ignition on. My torch was dim. The power lead was strange and
I couldn't get power and it was cold. With the flat battery the toilet
wouldn't flush and I couldn't charge this computer - it's nearly flat
as well. Today in daylight I've found the power switch hidden in a
cupboard so I've been able to use my coffee machine.
Barb and Steve at morning tea in the gardens
I spent a lovely day with Nicky Nicols at The Caravan Club and she
introduced me to so many people and showed me so much of their
operations that it was almost information overload. THey have 300 paid
staff members and so many facets of customer service. I've finally got
the Internet going after a lot of help from their Technical manager,
Today will be
better I'm certain. I've got my internet working and can comunicate with
the world againalthough Skye seems a bit of a problem. Tomorrow I'll go back to Steve and get him to fix the
charging - he's not that far from here if you go the right way!.
Today's been a better day
although I did wonder this morning as I drove in heavy rain and spray
from trucks on the very busy M25 Motorway back to Rainham. You wouldn't
believe Murphy's embarassing trick. Steve turned on the 12volt
lights and they worked! And all the other 12v stuff as well after
leaving me in darkness for two nights. Don't know why but it's sure
better tonight here in Chichester.
I spent the afternoon and evening with cousin David and wife Judy and
we went out to a Tai restaurant for dinner very nice too.
Good mornin' all. The sun's
shining on a clear blue sky and I had a good night's sleep - I think my
body clock is settling down to UK time.
Today I intend to have a very quiet meander through Southern England and see some of my growing up places.
I'm near Southampton right now.
I'm learning more about this great little Peugeot every day. It's
beautifully fitted out and so compact. Setting up the bed is simple now
I know how. In the dark first night was a pain.
I'm sitting in a McDonald's car park writing this and my inverter is
charging the comp. battery as I type. It was in danger of cutting out
at the last Maccas so I've hooked up the inverter to the vehicle
battery under the bonnet. The 'house' battery is under the drivers seat
and the terminals are inaccessible or I could charge on the move.
I tried Maccas free wifi yesterday but couldn't make it work. It turns out you have to register and now it's OK.
I'm settled in at a lovely grassed site at Alderholt and the power's
on. There's free wifi so I'll be able to post this now and use Skype in
the morning - at the moment everyone in Oz is asleep or should be!
Where to start!
It was raining in the morning but I went for a little nostalga trip -
first down to Bickton where I used to have friends I went swimming with
in the River Avon. The old mill has gone and units taken its place. I
then went on a very narrow and rough country lane to where my 'Breamore
Nan' used to live. The house is still there and looks the same outside
but the stables and sheds were in disrepair. I knocked on the door and
a little old widow lady came. When I told her who I was and that my
dad's mother used to live there years ago, she asked me in and we had a lovely
chat over coffee. She and her late husband had completely remodelled
the inside and she showed me around.
Then the reunion. It was fantastic! Over forty people showed up - some
knew each other and others had never met. Tongues wagged, pictures
were studied, cuppas and biscuits were consumed and many photos were taken
Here are just some:
Michael, Ann, Ruth, Dorothy, Barb, Pam, Nellie and me.
The lovely cake Ruth organised for the occassion
Mike and 'Tick' at the cuppa bar
The full group
People came from all
over to be there - Birmingham, London, Chichester, Weston-Super-Mare,
Clevedon, Norfolk, Cornwall, Bournemouth and of course Australia to name just some.
Cousin Ruth's daughter
Sarah did all the organising and did a wonderful job seeking out and
finding everyone and planning the whole day.
Pam and Barb and their
families were going to a quiz night at the local Fordingbridge church hall so I
stayed another night and joined them for another great night. Our team
won the wooden spoon!
I forgot to mention
that at the end of the reunion yesterday some of us walked up to the
local churchyard and found the grave stone of our Grandfather's father.
Today was a good day. After writing up the diary and posting it I got
ready for the road in bright sunshine. It had been a happy stay at the
Hill Farm Cottage Caravan Site although Murphy tripped the power switch
while I was out last night and so no coffee until the 'warden' came to
look and showed me what had happened.
The early part of my journey took me through leafy narrow roads through
lovely countryside and although slow it was really great.
At Rockboune I took this picture of the thatched cottage where Gran and Grandad Jacobs lived when I was young. Later Tom
took me through the large town of Bath and then it was motorway
for most of the rest of the trip.
I arrived at my cousin Ruth and husband John's home about 11.30 and
after coffee and a chat we set off for yet another family gathering -
this time at a local pub where we enjoyed the lovely carvery.
Then all back to Ruth's for a while to watch video of yesterday's
reunion and my slideshow. The dvd played up so we had to watch the
slideshow on the computer - Murphy again!
I'm sleeping inside here but I can't get used to not having everthing
to hand. Everything is so compact in the little Peugeot and I sent my
big case back to London with Steve as it was a pain and got in the way.
I rang friend Derek at Brecon last night and he and Barbara are looking
forward to seeing me on Thursday. Brecon is in the Welsh mourtains
and it should be a very scenic journey.
Today has been great. After a relaxing start to the day Ruth and John took me for a scenic drive to the famous
Cheddar Gorge where we had a lovely three-course lunch at a restaurant
they knew. I had a faggot for the first time in more than fifty years.
I was also rapt in the treacle sponge and custard - bad for me I know
Cheddar was very busy as it was a Bank Holiday and people thronged the
many little shops and eating places. We tasted cheese in the original
cheddar cheese factory where they still produce many sorts of cheeses
including the original.
We had some of that cheese for tea with crusty bread!
On the way home we had a look at the pier and seafront - it's not very
impressive as it's really the Severn estuary and the water is a bit
free to email any
queries you may have - I'll try to help