Friday, May 21, 2010

21st May 2009 - You are joking??

Local Swift dealer says they can get me a new shower tap 90 odd quid... and... 3 weeks wait - WHAT? No time for all that - £60 on Ebay saw precisely the right tap, on my doorstep, ready to fit within a couple of days.

Enquiries via my insurance company put me in touch with AutoWindscreens for replacement glass. Frustratingly they had no idea what the screen was from as Swift Bel-Airs do not appear on their database. With time being important I contacted Swift direct and established part numbers and yes, they had a couple in stock BUT one would have to be ordered via a dealer and... you guessed it, it would take 2 to 3 weeks!!!

Now this may be a bit of a rant but, I cannot believe that companies can be 'authorised dealers' and not carry decent levels of stock. I realise the windscreen is for a 'rare' model but the shower tap?? Come on - it is NOT acceptable to have to wait so long for parts! Rant over :-)

It was established that there would be no replacement in time for our next departure. So it would have to wait until we were back in the UK later in the year.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

18th May 2009 - Cristal d'Arques, glass experiences....

En route to Arques a large stone was thrown up by an oncoming lorry hitting the front of our motorhome - hard! By the time we could stop and check for damage a large crater in the base of the wndscreen had started to crack upwards - bugger!

We visited Crystal d’Arques and managed to get three items for 3.50 euro in the huge outlet they have there before moving onto La Touquet for the night – well what is there to say? A very efficient and well placed Aire for the ports of Calais and Boulogne.

Expensive by comparison to our recent stops, this Aire is set on the side of a very upmarket seaside town, so posh in fact, that we even saw an Afghan hound! The beach is in easy walking distance so we took a leg stretch before settling down before our ferry the next day and a house with a much needed and very overdue shower!

Monday, May 17, 2010

17th May 2009 - Champagne!! or, maybe not as it's Sunday :-(

Maybe our smell arrived before we did in the Champagne area, stopping at Mareuil Sur Ay, who knows? By then we had forgotten the tap by switching off the water except when we needed it and were both looking forward to tasting some of the local produce – not open on a Sunday then? Whenever does a traveller have to know which day it is? Well that’ll be Saturday so you can be prepared for total shutdown on Sundays! We are learning fast. The Aire was however delightful and we met a few more people, enjoyed a lovely canal side walk and a great Pizza and local beer. That’s us - champagne tastes, beer budget!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

16th May 2009 - Elusive, these shower taps....

Thaon Les Vosges is very busy but very scenic on the side of a canal.

With just a short walk to town. Sadly the dealers we went to visit, obviously on foot as we didn’t want to lose our pitch, was on the outskirts of the town in an industrial zone. We made it by 5.50 on Saturday afternoon and were amazed to find it open. Turning to desperation that they did not have a stock of the Whale tap fitting we needed to mend our by now furiously dripping frost damaged tap and equally importantly get ourselves a shower. Prevention of frost damage becoming increasingly important.

May sound amusing but, with no working tap, putting an amount of water into the plugged shower tray and using it as a human bird bath was getting quite tiresome now!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

15th May 2009 - Into the Rhone-Alps

We continued north and were now venturing into Rhone Alp land. The scenery at once became both dramatic and beautiful. Known as the Lake District we were treated to some truly stunning scenery.

Our trip to Nantua and its beautiful lake was where we met our first ‘British friends’. Hi to Maggi and Clive if you are reading and thanks for the offer of a shower! It was great to speak to them and exchange our first experiences with people who had enjoyed their motorhome for a similar period of time but who had been very adventurous with a trip to Morocco during their first year!

We loved Nantua and this area and again we are certain to make this another trip for the future, spending a little more time instead of long travel every day which we were doing this time. So we finished the day overlooking the lake with a lovely bit of steak – sheer bliss

Our view of the lake:-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

14th May 2009 - The search for a new shower tap begins

A long wet journey north further frustrated by the sudden lack of motorhome dealers. After three attempts to get the shower bits we needed, we ended up by blocking up the pipe holes – a reminder of the very old mice joke! A little Spanish trick of clamping the pipes tightly bent back on themselves stops the increasing flow of water. Well we can’t blame Laudun for the weather. It just poured with rain so hard our only real memory of this pretty little village was the mad dash round for super glue to add permanence to the earlier major repairs to the tap. Very good tip - don’t travel without some! It didn’t mend the shower tap but helped stem the flow (for future information - prevention of frost damage can be found on Club Motorhome website!!!!!!!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

13th May 2009 - Beautiful French gorge

Lucky (13th) for us we just didn’t take to Bolquerex, our first choice for this night stop. It left us feeling a little uneasy so we moved on (one of the great benefits of using Aires with no booking) to Thues Entre Vall our second choice and were very glad that we did.

Set in a beautiful gorge in the Pyrenees , the cascading white water soothed us into a very comfortable night stay – extremely privileged to stay for the princely sum of 2 euro! Should have been 4 euro but the entrance barrier went up with the first coin inserted - so who were we to argue?

Only real problem was that our water pump kept ticking away on its own for no apparent reason. A quick check of the plumbing revealed water running down the back of the shower from below the tap housing - another leak and probably more bloody old frost damage by the look of it!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12th May 2009 - Out of Spanish storage and onwards to the UK

We woke Trevor (that's the motorhome!) from it's 'siesta', loaded all our gear and set off, mountain bikes included this time.

Here we are back at Morella en route from Spain to UK. This time we had time to visit the little town and although takes around 30 minutes to walk up to it is time well spent. There are sightseeing, shopping and photography opportunities a plenty. Once again a great first night for our trip up the eastern side of France.