…and Finally

This was our prison..er.. ferry for the bumpy 24hr Bay of Biscay crossing

Finally..! The last chapter of our adventures in Portugal and Spain. Last time out, you left us on the quayside in howling wind and torrential rain in the Port of Bilbao. Thanks for that; I guess you weren’t so keen on crossing the Bay of Biscay with us then? I don’t blame you one little bit. If I could type in green ink that might give you an idea of how we felt only twenty minutes out of the port.

This crossing has a pretty fearsome reputation for rough seas when the weather gets up, but to date I’ve got away with it on three or four occasions. Not this time! Gill was the sensible one, taking a shower and getting organised before we’d even sailed past the breakwater. I stayed on deck in the fresh air for a while then said I’d meet her in the lounge once I’d had my own shower and spruce-up. I have to confess here it’s the only time I’ve ever stood my wife up on a date. After she’d given up waiting for me and returned to the cabin she found me horizontal and comatose on the bunk. I’m not a great sailor so I’d dosed myself up with some pills we bought at the pharmacy in Burgos; it’s the only way to cope – what a wuss! I’m rather proud that neither of us was actually sick, plenty were, but it’s time to move on and do our best to forget that 24 hours and remember the fun times instead.

You have no idea how welcome this sight was. Hello Portsmouth and dry land at last!

From Portsmouth it was all go – straight back to Telford and to our former next-door neighbours to collect our car as they’d been kind enough to let us leave it there for six weeks while we were away. We needed the car as Vince was due for both his annual engine service and his habitation service where all the gas connections, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are checked as well as running a damp detector round to confirm we’re not leaking anywhere… And did I say they were kind neighbours? They even gave us a set of keys as they were away for a couple of days – they’d filled the fridge and told us to make ourselves at home, get the washing done and generally relax. Bless you Pat and Terry.

After six weeks in the van it was so lovely to spread out a bit – I had enormous difficulty persuading Gill to get out of the bath after all the traipsing across freezing campsites for lukewarm showers. Can’t say I blame her, but the scent of one of my special steak dinners soon brought her downstairs. We had a frenetic few days of hair appointments, optician appointments, bill sorting and paying and ferrying vehicles from one service centre to another.

This was how our car looked when we got back. Southern Spain has never seemed so far away…

We were so pleased that in the midst of all this we managed to have two evenings out with old friends before we moved on, even though one of the pubs we went to had run out of beer! When they started to run out of food too, I offered to pop to the co-op for peas, but they didn’t seem too amused. Ah well, we’re not likely to be back there any time soon as that was our fond farewell to Telford, an area we’ve lived in since 1988 eek! We really are homeless for the time being, so we welcomed the offer of a driveway for a night* with my biker friends in Crewe; despite the large quantity of beer consumed we seemed to suffer no ill-effects the following morning. Once again we need to pass on our thanks – Dave and Nik couldn’t have made us more welcome despite being forced to park on the street due to Vince’s bulk. Thanks so much, guys!

So here we are, parked up in a muddy farmyard in Scotland for the Christmas holiday. In return for somewhere to plug Vince in for the duration, we’re doing the shopping and catering for Gill’s folks and hoping to catch up with as many family members as we can. Those that want to see us anyway! We have a couple of weeks of house sitting in Yorkshire during January but Vince will be back on his travels not long after that.

Sorry? Where are we going..? I have absolutely no idea! But one thing I can say for sure, is that yule be the first to know. Sorry, I’ll get my coat 😉

Have a fun and peace-filled Christmas and thanks for sticking with us over 2017. Here’s to new adventures in 2018!

Kendal stopover on the way north
Shropshire sunset before the long trek to Scotland
The service centre kindly blasted six weeks of Portuguese and Spanish mud from Vince’s bodywork before returning him to us. I’d forgotten he’s actually white underneath
These two brand-new Benimar motorhomes were stuck out in the weather for the whole crossing. Hope they checked the exhaust for jellyfish before they delivered them

*and we’re open to any further offers of driveways, electricity, water, baths or general charity over the next few months 😀

 

14 Comments on …and Finally

  1. Merry Christmas & a happy adventurist new year.

    I enjoy your blogs immensely and appreciate the effort you make to keep us up to date with your travels.

    Best wishes Barry

  2. Merry Christmas Gill and Ken.
    Best wishes for 2018
    Love
    Di
    Xx
    Ps we have plenty of room on our drive for the next 5 months, at least, here in Somerset – and haven’t had a single flake of snow – it all came down the week after we left!

    • Thanks Diane – And have a merry Christmas yourselves 🙂
      Be careful what you wish for – you might wake up in a week or two to find us parked up outside!!

  3. Reading this on Christmas Day! Have a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year. You are very welcome to Colchester anytime you are passing. B&B with Ensuite available – and a bath! Thanks for all your writing during 2017; loved it. God Bless! H xxx

  4. Hi Ken, just picked up your blog. Great read. Have done the Bilbao/Santander portsmouth route 4 times now and we’ve had no problems,lol. I’m sure 1 day our luck will run out. We started to do housesitting beginning of October and are loving it. Hope to see you out and about in Europeland. Myles

    • Thanks Myles! We’ve been following your Facebook travels for a while now 🙂 It’s on our list to investigate the house-sitting option. Currently we’re only doing it for family.

      Looking forward to paths crossing at some point!

      Cheers

      Ken

      • If we can be of any help, just ask. Would love to meet up. We’ll be bombing around Europe for a few years yet so hopefully our paths will cross. Have seen you have a fellow bloggers page on your website. Any chance we could be listed? Cheers

  5. Great to meet up with you both in Shrewsbury to celebrate my birthday before you headed north , forever boo hoo ! Shropshire will miss you both ! Find a new home soon so we can come to visit you . Have great New Year celebrations wherever you will be , see you sometime in 2018 ! C&T xx ( these kisses are not for you btw)

    • Thank you! (But not for the kisses)
      Nothing is moving on the housing market at the mo but hopefully it’ll pick up in the Spring. If not, the Red Barn is a handy stop-off on the way to the Dover ferries..! We can See you on the way past, or swing by Najac if you’re there.
      Happy New Year to you both 🙂
      xxx

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