Winter 2013/14

First we are going then we aren’t.  Then we are then we are not.  That just about sums it up when we were trying to get away to spend Christmas and the New Year in Carcassonne with the family.  The problem was we were selling our house, putting all our chattels into storage and taking a well earn’t break before returning in the spring to move into our new home in Torquay Devon.  The solicitors all seemed to be determined to spoil our plans with numerous delays.  Then the Council decided to close our road for resurfacing for a whole two weeks just when we had a window to get the removals van into our drive.  Then we had to get a letter from the planning office to say we didn’t need planning permission in the construction of our sun lounge and then indemnity insurance in case the double glazing firm that fitted our windows 8 years ago went bust – even though we had the certificate stating 10 years warranty and they hadn’t gone bust.  Very frustrating.

Eventually we got away on the 18th December and headed for Folkstone and the channel tunnel.  Thankfully the weather was fair and we had no problems getting to Folkstone, then after filling up with fuel and LPG we set off for our first nights stop at the Aire at Baie de Somme.  When catching the early evening train an hours drive is long enough as we had driven some 300+ miles altogether.   Its not the best of places but having stayed there on several occasions we feel safe enough and there has always been one or two fellow camper vans to keep us company.  We usually get up and have an early start and this time was no exception so we were on our way by 7am. stopping just South of Rouen.on the Aire on the A152 for breakfast.

We continued our journey South, finally stopping for the night at Uzerche just off the A20 some 100 miles south of Limoges.  We have stayed here before and is a great place for a night stop – especially in winter as there are free EHU points (15 amp I believe).  There are toilets, wc emptying point, fresh water and all on a hard standing.  Well done for the town of Uzerche.  Uzerche is also a convenient point for us as it coincides with our need to refuel and there are 3 supermarkets in the town – all selling cheap fuel and a chance to get fresh bread and croissants.

Our third day saw us down in Carcassonne by mid afternoon and a chance to get parked on the Aire at Carcassonne and settle down before meeting up with the family.  We were quite surprised to discover that over the whole Christmas and New Year period there were a minimum of 40 camper vans each day on the Aire.  There were several days when the Aire was full with vans having to park by the services point and even outside the Aire.

We spent a great Christmas and New Year with the family especially seeing our new grand daughter for the first time.  We did all the usual things one does over Christmas – ate too much, drank too much.  We even managed to fit in a trip to Grissan to have a plateau of Oysters and seafood.  Sadly it all flashed by too quickly and before blinking we were in the middle of January and becoming concerned that progress on the purchase of our new home was not going as well as we had hoped.  We decided to travel back to the UK and find a site in the Torbay area to be near to the action and hassle the various parties when necessary.  We arrived in Devon on the 17th January to discover there had been a “significant rainfall” over the preceding weeks with the Somerset Levels featuring on most of the news headlines.  The first site we chose was in Exmouth however after only a day we couldn’t cope with the mud and sinking camper so moved on to Twelve Oaks at Teigngrace where we stayed for the next 3 plus months. Claire and Andrew made us very welcome and we really enjoyed their cheerful and friendly banter over a period that turned out to be a stressful.

As many may remember the winter of 2013/14 turned out to be the wettest winter on record with endless storms, driving rain and severe flooding.  We were parked on a hard standing that fortunately was on a slight mound and we spend many hours with our noses pressed against the window watching the flood water get nearer and nearer with no way of leaving as all the roads were closed due to flooding.  On several occasions the water reached to within 20 feet of us all around – scary stuff I can tell you.  This period was another first for us in that we had to use EHU for the first time in seven years – after all we had no sun for over two months so solar was definitely out.

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