Monday 26th October 2015

A final visit to our storage booked for 10 a.m. and then we are off to spend the day with Dorothy's Mum (and also to make a final use of her washing machine!!). At the end of the afternoon we did a geocaching walk on the South Downs above Denton/Newhaven/Norton.

James has the evening off work and it is the intention that pizza is on the menu for us when he gets home. However, on our way we get the news that Frankie is unwell and so there may be slight change of plans. We head to a different parking place to wait for further news from James. We have to postpone our evening together and so we decide to move right out of town back to Horsebridge where we were a few days ago and waited until James phoned to let us know what was happening. They were now in Hastings hospital.

Tuesday

Very early hours of this morning we get another call from James asking if we could travel to Hastings (about 20 miles away) which we do and so now at least James has a bed for the night with us in the motorhome. Luckily James has the day off work today as we had all planned to spend the day together. Later in the afternoon Frankie is much better and is discharged from hospital. We breathe a sigh of relief that all seems well, especially as our ferry to France is booked for tomorrow! We say goodbye to James and Frankie as they make their way home.

We do know that whatever happens to James and Frankie, and Mum, and Brothers and Sisters, we can be home quite quickly. A plane ticket from most parts of France can cost as little as £26 and we are never more than a few hours from the channel ports.

Our homeward journey is broken with a welcome stop at The George Hotel, Hailsham, for a Wetherspoon's Tuesday Club meal, Steak and Chips. This is our last meal in England so we have to do it and Allan is getting quite used to Longman Brewery ales.

Then back to Seaford later in the evening for a farewell visit to Mum and Dorothy's brother Tony. Both are sorry to see us go.

These partings are never easy but it has to be done. The womens' pension age in England has been increased to 66 so Dorothy does not yet qualify for one yet and although Allan does have a pension it is not easy for two people to live on one pension in England. France is one of the easiest places for people to live in a motohome with space for parking, usually free water and sometimes even free electricity. (and as a bonus the diesel and wine is also much cheaper!)

We return to spend the night in Newhaven to be close to the port for our sailing in the morning.

Wednesday

After a quick detour to post a very important letter to our friend Sue H, we arrived at Newhaven at 8 am for the 10 am return sailing to Dieppe.

The Ferry making it's way past the Marina

Dorothy got a bit emotional saying it was a pity there was no-one there to wave us off this time.

Almost immediately we spotted a familiar red and white van. Martin H had come to wave "goodbye". This really made our day!

Slowly we slipped out of port, passing the lighthouse.........

Goodbye Newhaven. See you again in two months time!

We arrive at 3 pm French time in glorious sunshine and lovely warm weather. Our first stop is the Auchan Supermarket in Dieppe. They are still doing a big store refit but there are many things we need to stock up on (mostly bottles). Then diesel at French prices which is three quarters of the price in England.

Satnav programmed and then we are off to Rugles about 105 miles south. On the way, in the busy town of Elbeuf, south of Rouen, the clutch pedal gets stuck. Dorothy asks is it the mat that has moved and is holding the pedal down. Allan tries to free it, in the middle of the busy high street with a long stream of traffic behind! Something goes right and we can change gear just enough to get moving again and enough to pull into a bus stop. By now the pedal has finally given up and is completely hanging loose. So we have to find the telephone number to call assistance. You never know how good your insurance or breakdown and recovery are until you need them.

Without a doubt we can say that Adrian Flux motorhome Breakdown Insurance worked like clockwork. The man took all our details and said that he would phone us back. When he did, he said that a truck would come to collect us within an hour, which it did and it brought us to a secure compound about 10 miles away in Oissel.



We had a few scary moments seeing how close the rear of the motorhome was to the ground going on and coming off the trailer!! Mind the water tank shouts Allan!

We had been offered a stay in an hotel but we preferred to stay in the motorhome and so the truck driver gave us electricity and we spent the night safely locked in the "Ets Wibault Depannage" security compound in Oissel! This is not how we envisaged spending our first night back in France!!!

The man from Adrian Flux insurance phoned us to ensure that all was taken care of and said he would phone us again tomorrow.

Thursday

During the morning the insurance recovery people phoned to ask if we had a preference of garages and as we didn't they arranged for a garage to come and take a look at the problem.

The garage will send a quote for the repair but they can't do the job until Monday. Again we were asked if we wanted to transfer to an hotel but as we are allowed to stay in the motorhome in the compound until then, on electric hook-up, this is what we did. However, whilst the job is being done we can't stay with the motorhome so Adrian Flux insurance will put us up in an hotel on Monday.

In the mean time we have to spend the next 3 days in the compound, which is a long way from any town, in an industrial part of Oissel. So it is lucky that we did our shopping at Auchan in Dieppe. We wanted to be on an electric hook-up, charging up the batteries and phones and doing the vacuum cleaning and here we are doing that - just not in Rugles where we wanted to be. Looking on the bright side we have everything we need, the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

Friday

No quote arrived today but we did manage to find out where we can dump the toilet - outside the compound when the "Guards" (sorry lorry drivers!) are here to let us out! We also find fresh water, over beside the main block. This is not our usual way of living. We are in a security compound behind an eight foot tall steel fence topped with razor wire and electrically operated gates to keep people out (or us in). This is a maximum security unit. It is not frightening, just intimidating as we are locked IN. There is no outside, no freedom.

What shall we do today? Sit out in the sunshine again we guess! Yesterday we had a quiet night in. So today, why not have a quiet night in?

Saturday

Phoned Mum to wish her a Happy Birthday this morning and Dorothy also texted Anne at W&P to wish her a Happy Birthday today too.

More of the same today, just stifling. No going out, just stay here. The warders (sorry, lorry drivers) come in and out every so often and things happen beyond the wire. But we are here, INSIDE.

A film tonight may just take the edge off staying here. It's not that we have lost our freedom it's just that there is no freedom. We are locked IN!!

Allan is finding this so hard!! Dorothy is enjoying the rest, sitting in the sunshine with a good book (or two)!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday

The weather today is again sunny and warm so we take the opportunity to sit outside the motorhome again. Being Sunday and a Public Holiday (All Saints Day) the compound is fairly quiet with only a few comings and goings.

Roll on tomorrow when the motorhome is due to be fixed................ and we are let out for good behaviour!!

 

Just in case you missed it, somewhere above is almost a quote from Porridge, September 1974 - 41 years ago.

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