I haven’t written much over the last two weeks because, to be frank, I haven’t had much to write about. Santa has been kind enough to give us a trouble free festive break. Everything is working on the Hymer as well as it’s supposed to, so there are no tales of tragic breakdowns or careless accidents to report. I could almost describe our last couple of weeks as relaxing. I’m only joking Cynthia, of course the last fortnight has been relaxing!
At the beginning of last week we spent a relaxing couple of days on our own on Rennes-le-Chateaux’s facility free aire/car park. A complete lack of facilities and a steep downhill slope which is impossible to fully correct with even the tallest of motorhome ramps are two reasons for the aire’s tranquility.
Sorry I am a bit tardy with my post this week--seems I neglected to charge my iPad during the night, and by the time I sat down in ernest to write, the darn thing was down to 3%, then died a few minutes later. As Paul was busy writing his part, I needed to wait until after he had finished to get mine written! And, I had written a totally different post a few days ago, but Paul was lukewarm on it so I pitched it. Oh well, can't win them all!
I feel better now, thank you very much.
I received many comments last week about my downbeat, not-your-usual-jolly-self blog post. The comments were quite right. I was a bit of a miserable git. The drastic change to my lifestyle temporarily overwhelmed me. I wasn’t at all happy.
As is often the case though, the fault was all mine. I had two major issues; the acute lack of physical living space, and not enough time for me to practice what I do best… playing Billy-No-Mates on my own.
The solution was as effective as it was simple. All I needed to do was to spend some time on lonesome in the great outdoors, something which is in abundance around us at the moment.
I sometimes find this motorhome lifestyle very difficult to adapt to. Driving a large vehicle on narrow roads is often stressful and, after living afloat, I am used to living in a small space, but not nearly as small as the space I have to live in now.
I spent six and a half years living on a narrowboat. Those used to life in a bricks and mortar home would probably find three hundred square feet of living space I had on my 62’ boat a bit of a squeeze, but there’s more space than you might expect.
Our recent landing in the southern French village of Esperaza has provided many benefits. It’s a bit like the pebble-in-the-proverbial-pond syndrome. The wonderful ripple effect.
I mentioned in my last post that we had met a nice gentleman, Gary Granville, whilst we were using the facility at the aire there in Esperaza a week ago Sunday. Since that meeting we have exchanged some emails, and Gary has given us some wonderful suggestions of places we might enjoy visiting in the area.
One of these is Rennes les Chateau, only 8 km from the Esperaza aire, where we set off to last Tuesday morning after breakfast. I was happy Paul hadn’t looked at the twisting, winding barely-a-road-more-like-a-
Our first day on Spain’s south coast wasn’t quite as relaxing as I hoped. We spent the afternoon sheltering in the Hymer from torrential rain. Two scruffy guys in their early twenties shared a suspicious looking cigarette leaning against the car park’s graffiti covered wall. We spent the night with pillows over our heads as rain drumming on the roof competed with noise from three lanes of continuous traffic passing twenty feet from our bedroom wall.
At 6am we woke to shouts and the clang of steel against concrete. The car park was a hive of activity. Half erected market stalls stretched as far as the eye could see, with a solitary motorhome, us, stranded in the middle.
Well. We are back in southern France after a very long and arduous three-day drive over a week ago to Malaga Spain. We arrived in torrential rain that kept up all that first night there. Luckily we were blessed with sunshine and a bit of warmth the following two days, which was great, because our walk to the Budwig clinic was about a mile and a quarter.
All went well that first day we were there. We had left the Hymer about 9:30AM and didn’t arrive back until a little past 4:00PM. We were both concerned about the girls going that long without a break to relieve themselves. As it turned out, they were just fine.
Back in August of 2013, my then watch needed a battery to continue it’s life, and I opted out. I decided then and there that I wanted to give it a go living without a watch. For 27 years I had been a slave to wearing a watch—I was an International Flight Attendant and my life ran by the clock—sometimes to the minute.
Fast forward to this current year. This past August I decided to purchase a FitBit because I loved the look and the fact that it could tell me more than time. I had been counting on my iPhone to check the time, but it wasn’t always with me and often times wasn’t working because I had forgotten to charge it up. I do like and use the FitBit, but not as much as I thought I would.
We drove further into the Pyrenees towards the spa town of Vernet Les Bains. Before we left our Esperaza aire we checked Google Street view to make sure that the roads were navigable, but we didn’t check any of the turns onto them.
We needed to turn off a narrow main road in Estegal village onto an even narrower street between two stone buildings. The Hymer simply wouldn’t fit. Much to the joy of the lengthening queue of cars behind us, we dallied a while until we realised that the only way we could negotiate the corner would necessitate scraping the length of the Hymer along an overhanging stone window sill.
This morning we set off early in order to reach our next destination about twenty five miles west of Vernet les Bains where we spent the last two idealic days and nights.
We stopped at the Intermarche super market in town in order to have our breakfast and stock up a bit. This chain of supermarkets is ubiquitous here in France and they offer many services we find handy. We also needed to discuss how we would deal with this ongoing battery terminal issue. As we pulled into the parking area, I noticed that there was a place to dump our grey water which was also part of a do-it-yourself car wash–the kind with the wand that swings around as you move about the vehicle to wash it.