About Colin Rice
Posts by Colin Rice:
I know we have not been posting recently mainly because there is not a lot to say. Most days are spent along the same routine with the odd food shopping thrown in.
I ordered a torque wrench from Amazon and within around 4 days it arrived. This allowed me to swap back the alloy wheel with the steel wheel we had fitted from the spare wheel carrier under the van. I was able to torque up the wheel nuts to the recommended pressure of 130 nm.
The weather over the last week has continued to be periods of heavy showers and very high gusting winds. So pleased we didn’t bother with erecting the awning as we would definitely have had to take it down. I even lifted the awning carpet as this was blowing away in the 70mph winds.
Tina has managed to put some washing out but had to finish it off in the van again due to the strength of the wind and the rain.
In the afternoons and evenings we have watch several films from Netflix and then later I have streamed Champions League football. The internet here is free and really good speed and so there is very little buffering. There have not been too many people here during the week and a few more arrive at the weekend and occupy the 2 or 3 bedroom chalets.
Over the weekend I managed to watch live the AFC Bournemouth match and catch up with the current political situation…what a shambles. Not sure what will be decided but this week could be interesting.
We needed to take Woody to the vet as he has been limping with his left rear leg. She injected him and gave us a weeks course of anti-inflammatory tablets. He seemed to be getting better but over the last day or so he is still displaying the same issue. We will need to get him to the UK vet as soon as possible on our return.
We are now thinking of the time we will leave this place and be on our way home…not long now until the 20th.
Most of the time we have been catching up on the washing and relaxing in the sunshine.
We moved the van on Tuesday to another pitch which enjoyed more sunshine and was bigger. All this on the motor mover.
Thursday I returned to the Tyre shop and picked up the new tyre and repaired rim. Very pleased as they charged me €105 for all this.
However, I did have some concerns on Thursday that they had fitted a commercial tyre and not a 6 or 8 ply tyre. I also wanted to check what tyre pressure I should use. I wrote an email to our caravan dealer in the UK and they confirmed that I needed a 6 or 8 ply tyre. The torque and tyre pressures were on a plate on the caravan.
Friday, we took Woody to the vet again as he was displaying symptoms of issues with his right rear leg. He was limping and we wanted him to be checked out. Another trip to the vet….she was packing up to go on her skiing holiday but did organise that we return later at 3pm. The other vet gave him a painkilling injection and some anti inflammatory tablets to be taken over the next week.
At the tyre shop I was reassured that the tyre they had fitted was correct and that the tyre pressure of 42psi was OK. I feel relieved. I did try and buy a torque wrench at the local auto parts shop. They quoted me €56 plus VAT so I explained that I could have one delivered from Amazon UK to the site for £21 + delivery. On returning to the site I did purchase one and it will be delivered to the site reception on Monday.
Today I set myself the task of sorting out our spare tyre. Fortunately there is a tyre and wheel outlet not far from the vet.
I took the tyre in and it seems that the alloy rim had been damaged so I asked for them to repair this and fit a new tyre. They explained that they would try and get the rim repaired during the remaining part of the week as they were on holiday next week. It seems that it is school holidays locally and people go skiing for the week.
I left the tyre with them and asked that they would contact the site when it was ready.
We also took the opportunity to go and find a Carrefour Hypermarket. We wanted to find some bits that we thought would be available there which included a Torque wrench I wanted when I get to refit the wheel. As it turned out we bought a few things but nothing that we had set out for.
Watch a few more movies in the afternoon and evening before we retired for bed.
As arranged yesterday I was up at the reception at 9am to book an appointment at the vet in town. The staff in the office speak perfect English which really helps. We soon had an appointment for 10:30am.
After breakfast we drove to the address and found the vet. The Injections were administered and the passports were updated and she confirmed that we could travel home on our rearranged date. We made an appointment for Monday 18th March for her to administer the worming tablet. Travel can then only take place between 24 to 120 hours from the time of this treatment. I was expecting that we would be fleeced but we paid for both treatments and it was €108 which I was pleasantly surprised.
On leaving the vet we did some shopping at the Aldi which was just up the road. We needed everything as we had been expecting an Asda delivery which we had to cancel. We also had a number of hospital, doctor, treatments and other appointments we also had to postpone.
We had accumulated lots of washing as we expected to do this when back in the UK so we had to use the on site facilities. No problems as the weather was fine and sunny and our clothes would dry on the line.
Later we used the free site internet to stream some Netflix movies. Our next problem is what to do about the disintegrated tyre….problem to be solved tomorrow I think.
We rose early and hitched up and on our way before 7am. It was about a 30mins journey to the Pet reception to get the pet passports checked before checking in ourselves. The receptionist took an age and then decided that we could not take the dogs with us. The rabies injections expired in November and we would need a vet to administer the injection to each of the dogs and then wait 3 weeks before we could bring them home. We would have to repeat the Tape worm treatment as well.
We were given a choice of leaving them in a “Pet Hotel” (just a fancy term for kennels) whilst we go home and return in 3 weeks or we stay in Europe and sit it out here. Our dogs have never been in a kennel and left us for that length of time so there was no decision to make …we would sit it out here in Europe and visit a vet as soon as possible. We were devastated as we would not be able to travel home.
We sat out in the car park and looked for an ACSI site nearby. The nearest was in Belgium and about 50 miles away. We informed Euro tunnel of our decision and they made a change to our booking at no extra cost. I was in trouble now with Tina.
We travelled to the site and booked in for 24 nights….we come home on the 20th March. We needed to leave sufficient time to visit a vet and organise the Rabies jab and the worming treatment. We found a corner sight right next to the Shower block. It has free wifi and seems to be very fast allowing us to stream movies from Netflix.
I organised that tomorrow morning (Monday) I would get them to call the local vet for an appointment to get the dogs treatment underway.
We set up and started to relax and analyse why I had missed the expiration of the rabies entry in the passports. Fortunately, we were still talking !!!! Tomorrow is another day …
Made the decision to not go anywhere near Paris today so we made our way west of Paris using mainly the N roads which are free i.e. not toll roads. There is a length of motorway close to Calais that is worth taking the toll road and we did so as to save going down through the valleys and up the other side which would significantly affect out fuel consumption.
On the way to the site I asked Tina to get out the directions printed on our paperwork. It mentioned that we should approach the site from the A26 as from the other directions there is an arched gate which some caravans might have issues with. It is 3.1m high with a width of 2.7m. Our caravan is 2.64m high so no problem there. How about the width .. 2.3m. Somewhat tight as we found it i.e. 20cm (approx 8in) each side. Fortunately we got through with no issues. I made a mental note to leave in the other direction in the morning.
I wanted to get to the site before the Bournemouth match started to transmit and we just made it. The site did not have any free WIFI other than in the bar. AFCB v Wolves ended as a draw 1-1 which was not a bad result except we missed a second penalty.
Went and found a Fuel station and filled after the end of the match. The price is very similar to the UK but filling when solo is so much easier than when the caravan is attached.
As a final treat we decided to have a meal in the restaurant. It was very tasty if not a little expensive.
Going home tomorrow but we do need to leave the site before 7am so we retired early tonight.
For a change we had no issues today ..
We left the site at around 10am and used the toll road for most of the 200 miles we needed to travel.
After around 2 hours we took a break in an Aire and bought a coffee & filled chicken baguette. What little cash we had has now all but gone. The rest of the journey was unadventurous and so we arrived at our overnight stop around 2:30pm. There was no-one to be seen at the reception but after around 20 minutes we did see a girl who basically told us the gate code and said go find a pitch.
We parked really close to the toilet block. None of the taps around the site were running so we had to improvise and find water in the shower cubicles.
Later in the afternoon the receptionist came and said that they had not received our booking from the club. This has happened over the last two stops. She asked us to visit the reception so we could formally get booked in. At this point she asked fo a further €2 for the second dog….this could be embarrassing but luckily I did have it in coins. I then carried on and filled with fuel at the Super U supermarket.
There is free WIFI here but only for 2 hours every day for any device so we decided to watch a film on the laptop from Netflix.
Our last big push tomorrow to get back within striking distance of Euro tunnel. Our big decision is do we go west around Paris and avoid the tolls but it will take much longer, go through the centre of Paris incurring substantial tolls or go east of Paris with tolls but skirting the dreaded ring road. Decision for the morning.
Well we had some good news and some bad news today …
We rose earlier than normal as we had an appointment at the Vet in Leucate at 10:30am. I suggested to Tina that we buy a couple of things for lunch and try and arrive a little earlier hoping that we can get away sooner. It worked as we were out the door before 10:30am and she only charged us €13 for both dogs … a result. We now took the 20 minutes drive back to the campsite and prepared the van for departure.
On getting the van off the pitch I used the motor movers probably a little too sharply. As we approached the Toll booth we were flagged down and it seems we had picked up a puncture. Getting out of the vehicle it was much worse. The tyre had numerous holes. We proceeded to put on our florescent coats and put out a warning triangle. I grabbed the socket set but the wheel nuts needed some persuasion with the lump hammer. We jacked the side up using the Hydraulic levelling, got the tyre off, released the spare from underneath and refitted the spare …all in around 30 minutes. We did see the Gendarme drive past and I was expecting an issue but nothing transpired. Note to self: I should buy a torque wrench and a wheel bar with the correct socket size. I did stop up the road and rechecked the wheel nuts …everything was good.
We stopped at the Millau bridge for some lunch and then pushed on up the A75 … a free motorway and arrived at our overnight stop around 4:30pm. I was driving on fumes but did manage to go and find a Hypermarket and refilled…must had only a few drops left.
After manoevering the van onto the pitch I placed the remote into the door pocket where it is normally kept….my surprise was that the Levelling remote control was there. Not sure how that happened as neither of us had found it and placed it there. Oh well that has saved us £200 on our return.
More episodes tonight and early to bed as we have 200 miles to travel tomorrow. We really are getting closer to the UK.
As we were packing up our neighbours that had arrived after us started to talk to me. It seems that they were at the last site when we left there. How strange people leave it to the last minute to start talking.
We drove around the narrow roads on the site with some trepidation but I shouldn’t have been worried. I was worried about something that was said to me and I read in the ‘Winter Sun’ brochure. It seems that any unit, which includes the vehicle and caravan, over 12m in length should be displaying the yellow with red edging reflector plates. Not doing so in Spain can be an instant €1000 fine. I am worried even though we only have 160 miles to travel before we are in France and they are a little more tolerant.
I decided that I wanted to fill with fuel in the large truck town called La Jonquera as it is cheaper in Spain than France. As it turns out it was but not as cheap as Benidorm. I pulled off the Toll motorway and followed the road past the spot where we saw “The Lady of the Night” some weeks ago on our way down. However, she was not in her normal spot but there was one young lady plying for trade a little before this spot. I can only tell you it would be easier to tell you what she didn’t have on….if you get my drift! I am hoping I can pull a photo from the dash cam.
After filling with fuel we proceeded into France and you can immediately tell the difference. It wasn’t long before we arrived at our overnight stop. The pitch was at the very far end but it had a newly refurbished personal bathroom / shower room with hot / cold running water.
We decided to leave the van so we had minimal work to do in the morning as we need to visit the vet for the tape worming treatment the dogs must have before re-entering into the UK.
More episodes of ‘Dirty John’ before retiring to bed.