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not so big john

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About not so big john

  • Birthday 28/12/1947

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Seaford, East Sussex
  • Interests
    Touring Europe
    University of the Third Age
  • Make & Model of Towcar / Toad
    Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Caravan / Motorhome / Static (Make and model)
    Burstner Belcanto

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  1. I am posting this in the abroad section as it is a route used by most people returning via the channel tunnel. Although I am comparatively new to caravaning (11 years) I have over 60,000 towing miles and most of Europe under my belt so do not regard myself as a novice. I have never been so frightened towing as I was yesterday on our way home from France. Most of the M20 from Folkestone to Maidstone is restricted to two narrow lanes, ostensibly for roadworks, but due to complete inactivity it could well be to create the Brexit Contingency lorry stack, but that is another issue for debate elsewhere. My issue is that there is a 50 mph speed limit, the lanes are narrow (the usual sign states wide loads can use two lanes), there is a solid barrier on the right with no gap whatsoever between it and the lane, there are posts on the left with minimal gap then a foot or so of gravel then bushes and embankment so no escape route in case of a problem. Trucks, particularly foreign ones, seem to be exempt from the speed limit and steam past in the right hand lane at 60mph, literally inches from me, with their slip stream following behind. One actually touched my extended wing mirror. You can't slow down as the truck behind blares its horn and flashes its lights. And this goes on for mile after mile. At the end of the section I was shaking like a leaf. If you are at all fainthearted avoid this road. I am posting this elsewhere as a warning. Ask yourself, if you had to drive through a gap a foot wider than your caravan, with the right hand wall coming and going and swaying in and out, would you attack this at 50 mph? Could you do this every few seconds for half an hour or so? In other European countries and restricted road width or any hill involving slow trucks, there is a no overtaking rule for HGVs.
  2. Back in 2012 we left the caravan for a couple of weeks at Le Serpolin, in the Loire valley. We thought it a lovely spot, although a bit isolated. The site has changed ownership since then but going by their website still offers the same facilities. There are a couple of hardstandings, a lovely grassy CL like field and covered storage if you want it. If the new English owners are only half as friendly and helpful as the previous ones you won't go far wrong. We had no issues with the insurance company, no extra charge, but as Ivan Leslie says above, do check. If you don't tell them they will shut you off.
  3. We had a couple of weeks over there in 2013 and had a wonderful time. Have a look at our blog for sites and pictures to whet your appetite.
  4. We as OAPs had a great time a couple of years ago, but many years before that we had a holiday with the kids in Kerry. Plenty to do, and 16 year old son acquired a taste for Guinness which he has never lost. Boat trips to the islands, pony and trap up the Gap of Dunloe. To see our caravan trip have a look here.
  5. Looking at my ACSI book I see that the discount season starts at the end of August/beginning of September, which means to me that there would be no need to book a pitch. Given the weather along that coast it would be good to be flexible. When the weather is good it is one of the best coastlines in Europe. When it is wet it is miserable. Two sites we have used and enjoyed are at Ruiloba (Camping El Huelguero) 45 minutes from Santander or Ribadesella, which is an hour an a half. Both have good scenery and beaches nearby and both provide easy access to the Picos. The most westerly coastal site we have used is at Luarca, (Los Cantiles) which is still within Asturias. A lovely grassed site set on a cliff top. There is of course a site at Santiago if you want to travel that far. Having said all that, watch the weather. IF it is raining on the coast it may well not be raining inland the other side of the Picos. So be ready to travel inland to the good sites at Salamanca, Tordesillas or Burgos and explore the historic cities and castles of Castille.
  6. We have taken the night ferry several times, albeit as a retired couple not a family. The joy of this ferry is that it is used by truckers and very few foot passengers, so although it might be "full" the night ferry has oodles of comfortable seating, semi reclining and it is possible to get a bit of shut-eye without the expense of a cabin. Arriving at Dieppe at 4am means you are out and past the Rouen traffic before the rush hour. In fact on one occasion we were sitting outside the van eating dinner at the site in St Emilion on the same day. That said, we do not have that 350 mile drive before the ferry, only 3. 5 miles, so we can sleep in the afternoon before setting off! At the other side, as Geoff says, there is a motorhome parking area, but with caravans prohibited. The one time we spent the night there, to catch the dawn ferry home, I recalled that the promenade was wide, quiet and free parking, so we headed for that. Fine when we got there, but following the "La Plage" signs took us through narrow streets, parked cars both sides, and one corner so tight we had to unhitch and take the van round with the mover! So take care with your route!
  7. Government guidelines have been issued in case of no deal brexit: https://www. gov. uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit
  8. Thankyou Gravon for such a clear set of pictures. Sadly the innards of my tap are slightly different, in that there is a blue ring inside. This was held in by a little screw which I have removed, but the ring or the top assembly will not come out will not come or turn. That is where I am stuck. Here are some better views.
  9. The wire became detached from the microswitch and because it is a sealed unit cannot be reconnected. I have a new switch but am finding it impossible to feed the wire down the inside of the tap casing to connect under the sink. Can anyone tell me how to get this top bit off so I can remove the cassette to create space for the wire? TIA Uploading photos failed error code 200. So I am trying to do thumbnails
  10. Never had the joy of flying, but remember watching these as a child on holiday on the south coast.
  11. Thanks for all your comments. I am pleased that the index is working okay. Originally there was only the drop down menu which is still there but far too big for easy use. I wish I had known about TravelArk, which by the sound of it was much easier to use as it worked the same way as Travelpod. When I saw Blackpool Belle's transferred blog I was impressed, but as mine was half transferred I did not want to start again. There is a little more flexibility in mine though. David, I agree it would look a lot better with the pictures in the text. The SimpleSite platform is quite basic and at first I could not see how to do this. I think I have it sussed now and will be experimenting with the next story, about our time in Norfolk earlier this year. We have not been abroad since the Croatia trip in 2016 as a result of some heart failure issues, but hope to be on the road again properly next year, although not for the length of trips we have done in the past. Gordon,I like the CT blogs, having come back to look at them, but the audience is more restricted. Certainly they are much better now than I recall when I first looked at them some years ago. I have only returned to CT this year after a bit od an absence.
  12. After a long and tedious transcription I have finally transferred most of my travel blogs from Travelpod. com, which is now defunct, to a website on SimpleSite's platform. The layout is not as attractive as Travelpod, but there is scope for more detail and sub-pages. There is still work to do and I should be grateful for any comments or suggestions. I am posting here as it is mainly a "caravan Holidays Abroad" blog and most of my followers have been from this page. http://www. oldagetraveller. net/
  13. We have stayed at the Lake Bled site three times now and never disappointed. Toilet blocks are clean, restaurant is excellent and good value, the walks round the lake to the town at the far end are so scenic. Nice boat trip to the church on the island. There is a lovely scenic drive up the valley to Lake Bohinski with pretty villages en route plus lots of forest and mountain views. We have also stayed at the Ljubljana Resort site which is good, with a bus service outside to take you into the city, which is a must see. If you go on to Zagreb, then Camp Zagreb on the outskirts is a modern eco friendly and very smart site. From there towards the Croatian coast I can highly recommend Camping Slapic, Duga Resa, just past Karlovac. We stopped there overnight a few years ago and ended up staying ten days . A lovely site on the river bank with river swimming in crystal clear waters, lovely cheap cafe restaurant, excellent facilities and very friendly.
  14. Like you, we hate parking in the HGV area. The Warwick Services gives you no option. Next along, Cherwell at the A43 junction (J10), has a long "side" road for caravans which, although opposite the HGV area, is usually ok. A little bit of a hike back if you want to use the serviceds. Best though is Oxford services (M40 J8A) where there are a number of diagonal caravan allocated places at the far end of the car park, and these are not accessible to HGVs. The HGV park is quite separate.
  15. Some useful replies, thanks all. The pump does not activate when the tap is opened. It activates with the kitchen tap and the toilet flush, so microswitch is the answer. I have seen a useful video on U tube on how to change it, so now I am back home I will extract it and find a new one. Thanks again.
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