Monday 9th March 2016

Moving on today, heading to the channel for the ferry. The plan is to stop at a Haubourdin, which is on the edge of Lille. From there we would be able to visit the many hypermarches and buy our wine and other little treats to take back to England.

When we arrived we found that the parking spaces were not big enough for our motorhome, so we went to the local supermarket but found this was very expensive.
It was quite disappointing really but we did find this little Princess shopping trolley which Scarlett-Louise would love when shopping with Nanny and Grandad when she's a bit older!

Well, we decided not to hang around here and went straight to Bergues where we had planned to spend our last night in France before the ferry back to England. We arrived quite late in the evening but Dorothy managed to do one of her Store Cupboard dinners and it was delicious.

Tuesday

We decided to go Geocaching today in Bergues. The circuit is for 27 caches one of which is a puzzle. As we are already parked at the Aire de CampingCar and didn't want to drive to the first one on the circuit, we had to walk past the first three caches to number one and then retrace our steps.

The route took us through the countryside behind the Aire, then doubling back through a small housing estate, leading us down to the bottom of the ramparts, then up through lovely gardens

to the ramparts still existing around the old part of the town.

and then down to the moat.


We were now at the half-way point and being only a couple of minutes from our motorhome, we decided to leave the rest for tomorrow. We do like to take geocaching slowly and enjoy where it leads us. For us, it is not about the numbers and being on a route march to find the next log, sign and move on!

We arrived back at the motorhome and got the chairs etc. out to enjoy the evening sunshine, as indeed were all the other motorhomers here.

But, not long afterwards, came the RAIN!!!!!! so we all dashed inside for cover!

Wednesday

Shopping today. We know that we are going to be back in England for about 5 weeks and as Monday's shopping trip was a bit of a disaster, we now need to fill the cellar with some wine. The local shop is an E'Leclerc and sometimes they are good value and sometimes they can be very expensive. Luckily this one is one of the best that we have been to and so we were able to get everything that we needed at good prices and did not need to go elsewhere.

So we returned to the Aire at Bergues and after lunch had plenty of time to do the rest of the Geocaches on the circular walk. Luckily for us it was more of a figure of 8 and was easy to split into two. Today's caches included the puzzle cache. We don't usually do puzzles even in England, so with this one being in French and all about a movie that was filmed here in this town, there did not seem to be much chance of finding it!

Our caching resumed in the Town Square but unfortunately for us someone was in exactly the spot where the cache should be. We hovered around taking a great deal of interest in a cow!!!
hoping that the person would move on but she didn't. Oh well, we can pick this one up at the end so all is not lost.

We continued on our way, seeing parts of the town we did not pass through yesterday,

finding the ramparts again and admiring the outside of the building housing the town museum.

then past one of the war memorials and into another of the town squares.

This square was on the other side of the church that had the most amazing clarrion of 50 bells which sounded beautiful all through the day. We also came across the Tourist Information Office and decided to take a look inside. Here, on a table, Allan spotted an ammo box with a geocache symbol on it and promptly asked the young lady behind the desk "is this a geocache?" She claimed to know nothing about it (!) and Allan explained that he was looking for the puzzle cache. She did give us some help with the clues to the puzzle cache, as did another helpful lady who came into the tourist office and had overheared our conversations! We found we then had all the answers to our puzzle and so now we could work out the co-ordinates. However, (Dave B, Sue & Dave P, "spoiler alert" do not read this!!!) on leaving, Allan was still intrigued by the large ammo box with a geocache symbol on it. He couldn't help himself and had to look inside. Hey presto, we have found the cache. We still don't know if the tourist office lady knew what it was, or even if they knew that this was what we were looking for but not to complicate things we were very pleased that we found this one without any difficulty. With the logbook signed we were on our way again.

Across the square was the Marie and outside was this very imposing gentleman!
Allan thinks he looks like a certain motorhome dealer!
And at the rear of the Marie the gardens were lovely.

We continued up the hill on our geocache walk and came to the top of the gardens we saw yesterday.

Then on down to the moat and up on the ramparts again

past some quaint old houses
and back down to the moat again. These photos are specially for Clare R (W&P) again!!!

Lots of babies are around at the moment Clare.


Around the corner we followed the moat and on the other side we saw the river


and then back to the moat again

and finally back through the archway to where we started our walk today to collect the cache we couldn't get earlier, only to find it was not there anyway and had gone missing!!

We hope you have enjoyed some highlights of our geocache walks these past two days. These are the sort of things we probably wouldn't see if geocaches didn't take us there.

So, after another long walk and another 14 geocaches found we went home tired and ready for a beer.

Our friend Sue "Fuzzy Bear" is looking forward to the day that she can geocache in France. We have done 27 in our last two days here and in the league tables we are now listed as French Geocachers! What a strange world! Life is Good.

Thursday

Tonight we will be back in England.

It doesn't seem possible that we have been in France for 12 weeks already. Our first stop today is at Auchan Hypermarche in Grande-Synthe which is a district of Dunkerque. We need to go there to fill up with our last Diesel and LPG at French prices. Sat-nav says left Dorothy spotted a sign that said Dunkerque to the right. We turned right and it has just added another 4 miles to the journey. Did I not say we are going to Grande-Synthe and not Dunkerque? Next was Allan's fault as he took a first left and not the second, so we took to the motorway for another 4 miles pointing in the wrong direction! Luckily we found an exit and rejoined the motorway heading in the right direction but after six or more miles Allan then took the wrong junction for the Auchan filling station. We ended up going through a busy housing estate during the school run and rush hour, doh!

Nothing was going right but eventually with everything filled up we were on our way to catch the ferry at Calais at 11.30 a.m. We were there in plenty of time and were offered an earlier sailing which we took. Whilst on board the ferry we noticed one lorry all on its own that will not be sailing to England any time soon, as the Border Control were finding a lot of prospective illegal immigrants on it.

And here is the good news. As we sail away from France Allan is proud to announce that his tummy has shrunk and there are now TWELVE spare holes on his belt. Must keep up the diet and not be too naughty when we are on holiday in England.!!!!

We had a wonderful, smooth crossing. Dorothy says it was the best ever. We were on the newest and one of the largest ships on the P & O Fleet.

On arrival in Dover we had to drive along a lot of country roads to Johns Cross, East Sussex, where the motorhome company will have a look and quote for the repair needed.

Then, at last, we went to see our beautiful granddaughter Scarlett-Louise and her wonderful parents in Hailsham. My word, how she has grown. So perfect. And such lovely smiles she gave us.
A wonderful, wonderful welcome home.

We didn't stay too long because Scarlett needs to get used to us again and so we then travelled down to Seaford to see Dorothy's Mum. She was so pleased to see us as she wasn't expecting us to visit until tomorrow.

After a very long and tiring day we made our way to our overnight place in Seaford, East Sussex, for our first night in England.

Friday

We woke to a sunny day but had to stop and think where we were!

During the morning we made a quick phone call to Allan's sister Sheila as Dorothy had promised to take our nephew Gary bowling as a belated birthday treat as we were in France on his actual birthday. Allan asked would Gary still like to go bowling. Sheila told us that Gary had not stopped talking about it and so all the arrangements were made for us to go bowling on Monday.

We obviously have a computer but it is seven years old, very slow and the screen is getting so dim we can hardly see it at times! It seems so outdated now, so whilst we are back in England we want to invest in a new one. Notice the word here, Allan says invest, Dorothy thinks that it is just spending more money. (Actually, to be fair, it was Dorothy who suggested we should upgrade!)

Having a look at PC World in Shoreham, now in Curry's as the PC World store is being completely refurbished (so we found out), it seems as you look along the shelf that each computer is better and faster, with more memory (and more and more expensive) and that the only computer anywhere near suitable is, of course, the most expensive in the store. £999. Well it's only money, you can't take it with you - no pockets in a shroud and all that!

We decided to consider the computer some more and made our way to the Saltdean Carvery where we had a very good (large) carvery dinner and Allan's first English "pint" for a long time . Harvey's of Lewes Brewery, Sussex Best Bitter of course! The world is a good place, ahh.

Saturday

After a bit more deliberation about which computer would suit us best, we went to Currys, PC World in Eastbourne and bought a new HP computer. The only downside is that the colour is blue and of course it has the dreaded Windows 10 but it should do everything that we need and is not nearly as expensive as we first thought it was going to be. We also decided to get the latest version of Microsoft software that we use so that we are all up-to-date.

We spent the night in North Hailsham where, upon unpacking the computer, Allan realised that the software that we were sold did not include "Outlook" which is very important to us for sending and receiving emails. Oh dear, a trip back to Eastbourne tomorrow was on the cards.

Sunday

We went back to Eastbourne today and said that the software sold to us was no good as it didn't include "Outlook" which we had on our older version. The saleslady suggested that as the appropriate new software cost a lot of money, we should try the software from our old computer and if that works then to return the new software for a refund.

Today we are travelling to Horam for Zelie and Martin's Ruby Wedding party. This is the reason that we have come back to England earlier than expected. We were thrilled to have been invited and it was so good to celebrate with them and to meet up with all of their family. We had such a lovely time. Thank you so much Zelie & Martin.

Dorothy was pleased to have a photo taken with her Godson Grant and then with Grant and his sister Kirstie who was one of our bridesmaids.

During the evening we left Horam and travelled down to North Hailsham for a wind down evening. Allan was pleased to find that our original software worked fine and so now we can return the new software and get a refund on some of our money.

 

It is exhausting being in England - and we have only been here for four days!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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