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