And so it begins…

…at last! I’m writing this, Vince-less and alone in the concrete wasteland of Telford Town Centre’s shopping mall. I’m trying very hard to look nonchalant as I abuse Barclays Bank’s free WiFi by writing this at the same time as downloading some movies to watch on our trip. Well – you have to save your own expensive data for when you really need it!
Note to self… check if Spanish banks also offer free WiFi 😀

Our Next Big Trip is here at last; we departed from the beautiful south west of Scotland on Friday, with a three-day stop in the Midlands lasting until tomorrow, when we head off to Portsmouth for the ferry on Wednesday.

Vince all sparkling and shiny before we left. In torrential rain 🙁

I’m already feeling a bit green around the gills to be honest, as this morning’s forecast predicts high winds and heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay – oh no! Regular readers may remember from our last return trip from Spain that I’m definitely no Jolly Jack Tar. At least this time we remembered to pack the Sturgeron so I shall hopefully lie comatose in my bunk the whole way while Gill maxes out the credit card in the Duty Free.

It’s all a little strange and unfamiliar being back on the road in Vince. After living in him for five months over the winter when we sold our house in 2017, we must confess to falling a teeny-tiny bit out of love with the van life. It was cold. It was muddy. Frozen pipes. Snow. And did I say cold? A few short trips during 2018 restored our love of the big fella somewhat, bless him. But now? Now I’m like a big kid on the way to Disneyworld! It’s like time-travelling back to April 2016 and our first venture abroad. All those days stretching ahead to see new sights, meet new people. And cheese.

The last few days have been all about catching up with old friends in Telford and Shrewsbury where we lived for thirty years before selling up and venturing off to Scotland to find a new life. We haven’t found it yet, although we’re getting there, so it’s been great fun eating out and having the odd shandy with folks who know us well. Actually, thinking about it they can’t know us that well or they probably wouldn’t have turned up… Especially those grubby bikers you met on our travels without Vince.

On our first night I’d booked a table for ten at the local golf club as they kindly offered to put Vince up in their huge car park for the night, saving us a camp site fee. We did wonder if that was such a wise decision when the waiter turned up during the first course to say they had no desserts, as in none, zilch, nada. Not even some ice-cream from the freezer. We bravely carried on however, until the waiter’s second announcement some 15 minutes later that the bar was about to close. At 9.30pm. Now that really was out of order! Luckily we had Terry the Yorkshire Rottweiler with us to er… negotiate a sizeable discount. Needless to say we won’t be stopping over at The Shropshire next time 🙁

Our little clockwork mouse, bless!

Today Vince had his annual service and MOT with Pete Robinson. As a small family firm we thought we’d give them a plug as they’ve always looked after the big fella since he joined the family in 2015. They must be good as we’ve travelled 300 miles to use their services! To our surprise this time they offered us the free use of their little runaround car so we didn’t have to hang around at the garage; it’s a little off the beaten track. After arriving in Vince, the little Fiat Panda felt like driving a clockwork mouse, but it did the job and allowed us to get to the town centre to buy all the bits and pieces we forgot to pack for The Big Trip, which is where we came in above, I think..?

We have one more night here in Shropshire then the trip really gets under way with the run to Porstsmouth for the ferry to Bilbao. Have you packed your toothbrush? Well you’d better be quick about it if you’re coming along – our next chat will be from a hopefully sunny northern Spain. Pass the sick-bag and we’ll see you on the other side 🙂

“Don’t forget the bikes are on the back, Ken. I said, don’t forget the…STOP!!”


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