Thursday 3 November 2022

 I Have Not been Procrastinating, Honest.

About 3 weeks ago we were sitting around lamenting that we hadn't seen friends in France for 3 years so hatched a last minute plan to go visiting. We had crossings via the tunnel, bought pre Covid but not used, and Eurotunnel have been very nice and kept extending their validity so that bit was easy. (Score good service points for Eurotunnel!)

The rest of the preparation was anything but easy. Having not considered foreign parts for 2 years we had to sort European insurance, breakdown cover and various new rules like UK stickers instead of GB ones, Crit'air sticker to drive through Rouen plus having some bits and bobs fixed on the camper van. Elderly enough now that the AA and RAC don't want to know and even specialist insurance companies roll their eyes and demand service history before they will provide breakdown cover.

Anyhow, we made it and had a week's trundle about catching up with people and places around Normandie. One wet day and a week of warm sunny days and blue skies. No serious problems with the much publicised petrol shortage, no traffic jams, and no parking charges in the small Normandie towns. France has its problems but the rural areas simply reminded me what a total mess the UK is nowadays. Underlined by getting back to a blocked M20 in Kent, gridlock on the M25, and an horrendous pitch black section of M6 in torrential rain, unbelievably heavy traffic and of course no hard shoulder.

But the wine stocks are replenished, I recommend Lidl for the best selection of perfectly pleasant, drinkable basic table wines, many between 2 and 3 euro a bottle, equivalent to £6 or £7 here. And best of all my friend had bought a second hand electric log splitter then found it couldn't cope with the huge logs he uses in his enormous french fireplace, so I am now the owner of said splitter which is ideal for the smaller log burner we have. I was trying to decide if I could justify one at new UK price, now the problem is solved. Had a funny look from the customs when they checked the van for stowaways but I suppose they don't have a rule for such stuff.


So back to the UK winter, although with the rain the lawn, which was burned brown for weeks is growing like crazy now so that looks like the next job if the stupid mower will start.