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When we aren’t worrying about Cynthia being thrown out of the country for overstaying her welcome, we like to enjoy our time on the road. Driving, even in an area as beautiful as southern France, can be tedious. We’ve become somewhat desensitised to distant views of magnificent snow-capped mountains and endless lagoons filled with exotic birds. We need something else to entertain us. Guessing and counting the number of motorhomes we’ll pass on a journey is one game we like to play. Counting brightly coloured birds is another.

We’re not talking about the masses of pink flamingoes, egrets, cormorants and pelicans we pass. The birds which really interest us are a much more colourful species. The scenic road south from Narbonne to Fitou is the workplace for several dozen prostitutes.

Each has her own patch, often one with enough space for a lorry or two to pull safely off the road. The girls sit quietly on old plastic chairs, reading or texting as they wait for customers to arrive. Most sit quietly. One, more entrepreneurial than most, has an eye-catching way of attracting potential new clients. She hoists her short skirt around her fleshy waist and points two sagging buttocks at passing motorists. This road section is not one we like to use just after we’ve eaten.

According to French news website ladepeche.fr, very few of these entrepreneurial ladies are French. The majority come from either Bulgaria or Romania. I assume that language isn’t a problem judging by the number of chairs we see close to offroad parking, empty apart from a book and a bag holding what I assume to be a packed lunch and a jumbo bottle of antiseptic.

When we haven’t been making light of the terrible lives endured by eastern European sex workers, we’ve been gathering the information we need to try and persuade the Dutch government to overturn the decision to refuse Cynthia’s application to stay in the Netherlands long term. We spoke to a very accommodating lady for the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). She confirmed that Cynthia’s application for a long stay permit has been refused because we didn’t use a Dutch address for our application, a requirement which wasn’t mentioned when we submitted the application.

We said that a fixed address isn’t something we can provide because of our nomadic lifestyle. Our case handler suggested a solution. She asked if we can prove we were in the Netherlands for six consecutive months last year. She asked us to submit an appeal in writing including as much documentation as we can find supporting our stay. I don’t really understand the logic behind a request for documentation supporting a six-month visit when the application is for a permit to stay for longer than three months in the first place. Surely by providing proof of our extended stay, we are admitting staying longer than Cynthia’s three-month entitlement?

Anyway, we’ve been busy copying and compiling any information we think may help. Cynthia’s amassed a thick wad of bank statements detailing Dutch purchases. I’ve provided links to dozens of online photo albums. Most of the photographs were taken with an iPhone which geotags the location. I’ve also linked to blog posts written about our Dutch travels and provided a link to a Google spreadsheet showing a Google Maps location for every night we stayed in the Netherlands in 2017. We will also include receipts for significant purchases and boat and motorhome services and repairs.

If the postman has the strength to carry our bulky appeal to the IND headquarters, I think we’re in with a chance. We’ll be keeping fingers and toes crossed for the next few months and hope that our battle with bureaucracy is finally over.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 33 comments
Terry Watson - March 12, 2018

Good luck with the application, in the meantime enjoy twitching.😉

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    Paul Smith - March 12, 2018

    I twitch every time I see these ladies Terry. I feel so sorry for them. I suggested that we pull over to offer them some money to buy food. Cynthia suggested they might get the wrong idea.

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Roy Plant - March 12, 2018

“…and hope that our battle with bureaucracy is finally over.” ROFL

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helen - March 12, 2018

good luck

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Alan+Cranford - March 12, 2018

Did you put in that Cynthia DID NOT vote for Trump and she is in Europe because she is afraid of what he is doing to the USA?

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    Paul Smith - March 12, 2018

    Even though you are correct Alan, Cynthia told me that she moved to mainland Europe so that I could continue to treat her like a princess.

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      Malc - March 17, 2018

      Could I suggest the Megan Markal approach to obtaining UK “right to remain”. I bet her application to remain didn’t get rejected.

      Reply
        Paul Smith - March 17, 2018

        There are two problems with that approach Malc. 1. We are applying for a right to remain in the Netherlands rather than in the UK and 2. I gave up my job to travel with Cynthia. These days I couldn’t even demonstrate that I earn the UK’s minimum wage.It’s a sad state of affairs but at least we have our travel memories to fall back on.

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Mike Atherton - March 12, 2018

It’s amazing how, when that sort of subject is broached, innuendos present themselves – like having room to pull off lorry drivers. I even had to write that sentence carefully to avoid other innuendos.
Good luck with the Dutch bureaucrats.

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    Paul Smith - March 12, 2018

    I’m afraid innuendo avoidance has completely failed there Mike. Good effort though.

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David Hawksley - March 12, 2018

I guess you must have considered using your boats address.ie the boatyard. Anyway all the best.

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    Paul Smith - March 12, 2018

    We haven’t been able to find a Dutch boatyard yet prepared to allow their address for official purposes. The marinas appear to be much stricter about liveaboards here than they do in the UK.

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Warren - March 12, 2018

I find the immigration situation in mainland Europe hilariously pathetic. France , Germany etc are waist high in illegal immigrants , many of them criminals , terrorists on the run from African countries.
Their only effort to follow procedure is to jump on a rubber dinghy and make themselves Europe’s problem.
Then you get law abiding white non European people trying to do the right thing, and getting tripped up and tied in bureaucratic knots at every turn.
It must be very frustrating and I feel your pain.
I wish you well.

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    Paul Smith - March 12, 2018

    Yes, the whole process is VERY frustrating Warren, but I see the government’s point of view. We slip through the cracks. We live in hope. They are prepared to consider the application again if we provide the correct documentation. We’ll know within the next three months.

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    Alan+Stock - March 13, 2018

    To right mate. Then the French want to send them here. I know the kids are innocent, and probably most of the adults are legit. I would bloody well run when that isis lot appear on the horizon. Now I will be classed as a racist.
    I can never understand what the authorities are up to.
    My wife who is white with blonde hair, was driving into London about 4 years ago. The police pulled her over, and nearly dismantled the Mercedes she had. She was on a business trip. She asked them why she was stopped and they said they were looking for terrorists. She showed me the ticket they gave her. I can’t say what I think of the police on here.

    Reply
Marilyn McDonald - March 12, 2018

Hi Paul and Cynthia, good luck with the appeal. In the meantime, do you have a back up plan? One that doesn’t involve living in trump territory?
Cheers, Marilyn

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    Paul Smith - March 13, 2018

    Plan B is our current plan, to appeal against the decision. Plan C, if our appeal is rejected, is to appeal one final time. Plan D is to apply to stay long term in France. Plan E is to apply for a long-term stay visa in England, but with Brexit, I don’t know whether that will help us to tour for long periods in Europe. Plan F is to move to the USA and submit an application for me to stay there long term. Of course, we’ll have to buy guns if we are to live there. I’m not too keen on plan F.

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      Alan+Stock - March 13, 2018

      Buy the guns man. Then go and live in California. Go surfing. Practice quick draw with a. 45 colt revolver. I love cowboy films. I would go.

      Reply
        Paul Smith - March 14, 2018

        After seeing a couple of surly rednecks in rural Vermont watching me from a battered pickup with a gun rack behind the drivers’ seat I’m not keen on joining their gun culture. I’ll take my chances with Dutch officials. They may be fond of red tape, but they aren’t going to shoot us.

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          Ian+r - March 16, 2018

          I rented a winnebago and we toured new york state to niagra. Having got bogged down on the muddy verge of a remote backroad in the catskill mountains at twilight, i feared that ‘dualing banjos, deliverance’ moment as a battered pickup truck stopped, rifles mounted on the cab rear. Three young redknecks climbed out in old overalls. I told her to get indoors and lock herself in the loo. The young dudes took a length of chain out of the back of the truck, muddied themselves hooking me up and pulled me onto the road, in the winnebago, i add !
          They would not accept any payment and guided us to a local hamlet where we could safely park up for the night. I forgot to let her out of the toilet. Quiet night ! Never judge a book by its cover.

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          Paul Smith - March 17, 2018

          What a wonderful experience Ian. I’m not claiming to have suffered any abuse from gun-toting rednecks, but the fact that they have guns is enough to scare me.

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Ian Carrington - March 12, 2018

I hope they see sense, Europe has many undesirables that seem fireproof yet they want to Expell perfectly decent people.
I was talking to a Scotish couple in Vera Almeria yesterday, they are touring in a Hymer like yours. They return to the UK once a year to get an MOT then it’s back on the road. I told them about your blog and they said they would have a look.

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    Paul Smith - March 13, 2018

    Thanks for promoting the blog Ian. I hope the Scottish couple realise, I have only recently discovered, that returning once a year for MOT purposes is not allowed. They need to export the vehicle. So do we. I don’t yet know how that affects our insurance.

    Reply
john - March 12, 2018

On a different topic Paul, obviously you have literary skills, have you by any chance turned your hand to web design?

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    Paul Smith - March 13, 2018

    Web design isn’t my forte John. This site is based on free code called WordPress. There are thousands of bolt-on packages of code called plugins. I use several of them to make the site look pretty and to enhance its functionality.

    Reply
Tricia - March 12, 2018

Good luck with the paper work. I’m coming to the conclusion there is no escape from it on which ever topic one would care to choose from. Hoping and I’m sure you will cover the waiting time with more adventures.

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    Paul Smith - March 13, 2018

    One thing is certain Tricia. Regardless of the outcome, we’ll have adventures along the way. Life would be so tedious without them!

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      Alan+Stock - March 13, 2018

      Have you tried Portugal?

      Reply
        Paul Smith - March 14, 2018

        Not yet Alan. We love France and the French people. There’s so much still to see here.

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Ian+r - March 16, 2018

Reminds me of my years living in northern Germany, or rather a small village on the Hamburg Bremen motorway. We regularly toured northern germany with a small touring caravan and often stopped overnight in large laybys. But it was in wintertime when we noticed motorhomes regularly parked up in local laybys and i could not believe so many campers toured in winter. My german colleague put me straight. These were prostitutes ! Truckies and whoever only needed to pull up close to the motorhome and climb aboard (pun intended!). The girls worked in pairs for security with the nonparticipant sitting in the drivers seat. These were mostly classy looking motorhomes so business must have been brisk. Where theres a will, and a woman, theres a way !

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    Paul Smith - March 17, 2018

    I can only assume that the German girls were in a different class to the ones we see on the route between Narbonne and Perpignan. An old Citroen van would be more likely here.

    Reply

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