We seemed to have jumped a holiday

Yes as I write this update we are in France again. This time in Provance in a small village at the foot of Mount Ventoux, “The Giant of Provance”.

The holiday we skipped was in France in our camper van which was a tour of France from the North West coast down and across the Central Massive and to the alps. We meet Beth and Alexander there to ride our bikes and watch the Tour du France pass by on the Galibier. One of the toughest stages on this year’s tour. After that we were going to watch the stage in Bougfourte, unfoutunatly it was one of the stages effected by bad weather and they rerouted to miss the village. Here are some photos from the holiday.

Also here are a few photos from this trip

We have had a few ride so far but the wind has been to strong to attempt Mont Ventoux, its called Ventoux for a reason. Yesterday’s ride was stinker. Rain had been forecast and we sat about for most of the day. It seemed to have stopped so Lynda, Simon and I hatched a plan for a shortish ride. Well four punctures later and two hour riding in pissing rain with 800m of climbing and decending, cold and wet we arrived back at the gite agreeing that it was a bad idea. More news and stories to come in my next post.

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It hoilday time, yippee “part three”

We made it to Perranporth, one of my favourite places in Cornwall. It was nice of the Childers to come to Bude for Bettie’s Birthday. But we have moved on and on our way to Perranporth and after a couple of nights at Porth, we are now camped on a site above Perranporth. It has some great views across the golf course and sand dunes to the sea.

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The site is called Tollgate Farm. It’s very quite and avoids the busy town just down the hill. We have been here for three days, the weather has just been getting better and the sun is out. We have been on some great costal walks, Holywell and back was a bit far, so yesterday we took the bus to St Agnes and walked back. I still haven’t managed to swim yet and the golf clubs have stayed in the van.

From here we will head over to Perransands. There is a campsite there that I used to go with my parent’s camping, I would have been about 8 my brother was nine and sister 4, with our youngest sister yet to be borne. I have good memories from these holidays and both Mum and Dad liked it there. So I will check out if it is an appropriate place to spread there ashes. There is a great cliff top walk from Perransands to Mavagise so they would have enjoyed the view. Anyway its better than my sisters waldrobe.

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It hoilday time, yippee “part two”

Today/tonight we are wild camping in a National Trust carpark just outside falmouth, on a headland with stunning views to the South over the sea and behind us is a view of farmland. It seems strange to me that at this time of year that the sun sets in the North West so last night the Sun set behind us. This was a revelation that either Darran or Simon enlightened me of, on one of our recent coffee stops on the club ride. I have spent all my life thinking that the sun rose in the East and set in the West. I had just not thought about it and as a general principle it’s almost correct. Anyway here are a couple of photos of tonight’s campsite one looking South’ish and the other looking North West, I’ll leave you to workout which is which.

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I’m getting ahead of myself here, last time I posted we were in Bude with Alexander & Beth in Bude. Drinking fizzy wine for Bettie’s 60th birthday. We had a great evening with great company. After Beth & Alex left we were on our own to explore the the coast. We are still looking for somewhere that we think we could live full time. Last year we visited Padstow and we’re intrigued by the town across the bay which is called Rock so we stopped off, on our way to Porth, to investigate, down a long narrow road with lots of traffic is Rock the town, more importantly the house prices were out of our league. Although it does have some nice shops and restaurants. So we stopped in the carpark and saved a fortune by making our own lunch and tea. “Bloody Cheapskates” anyway it couldn’t have been that nice because we didn’t take any photos. Onwards further West and just short of Newquay we arrived at Porth a small bay with a pub and a campsite.

We walked from here to Watergate Bay not a bad walk but it felt more built up and crowded after the walks in Bude. Watergate Bay was lovely with one of the few Jamie Oliver restaurants to survive the recent administration. The walk turned out to be about 15km in total and we were knacked at the end of the day and just about managed to drink a bottle of wine and a few beers.

Next stop and next post “Perranporth” I promise.

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It hoilday time, yippee

I know that most people how read our blog, think I’m on a permanent holiday. You could be right. This time though we are going to put our new van through its paces. Three weeks touring the South West of England. Cornwall and Devon here we come.

The trip has not started as planned. I had arranged to get a bike rack fitted to the van. Checked a local supplier, the could order it in from Thule would arrive in time for them to fit. Thursday arrives I drop the van off. Some confusion rack hasn’t arrived yet but they track order and it should be there on Friday. I ring on Friday and they can’t fit it, because they have an emergency job, turns out someone has crashed thier trailer and they need to go off site to fix trailer and get them back on the road. No problem they can fit the rack on Saturday. I ring at 10am Saturday morning and there is a problem, the rack needs to have some holes drilled in the van. This is strange because the rack they were supposed to fit should be stuck to the van with M3 pads. Down we go to find that the wrong rack as arrived. (No bikes for three weeks). I think Bettie is secretly pleased.

Well we have been away for the last couple of weeks and are having a great time, even though the weather has been changeable to say the least. We headed down to the New Forest and had an overnight in a pub car park in Alderholt. Lots of Pubs are now letting you overnight in their car park if you have a few drinks and a meal in the Pub, some are nicer then others but we chose ones that look good and do Veggie food. This one was OK the  Churchill Arms The car park was quite and the pub opened again in the morning so we could use their facilities. The rain looked set for the day so we headed of to Swanage via the Chain link Ferry over to Studland. But first we stopped at a garden centre in Cranborne which was really nice so we had a cup tea. Then off to The New Inn in Church Knowle. Another pub car park overnight with a great view from the van. We  managed to snap  a Bullfinch out of the window.


We were aiming for Bude on the north Coast of Cornwall, so we could meet up with Alexander and then go see Paul Weller at the Wyldes. This will be our second Music festival this year. Now that we have broken our duck you can”t stop us. Weller was great with some good support bands and after we met Alex and Beth who helped Bettie celebrate her 60th Birthday.

Here are some photos of our trip so far.

Next we are off to Perranporth another one of my favourite places.

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4 days of cycling in France

What is quickly becoming a tradition for the late May bank holiday weekend. I have been cycling in France with 5 other friends. We headed over to St Malo on Thursday, via the overnight ferry from Portsmouth.

Joining our regular group members, Barry, Jeeves and Simon were Jorge and Peeley. So after a few beers, some food and 6 hours sleep. We headed out of Saint-Malo for an 100 mile circular  route around this part of Brittany. The route included some stunning beaches and spectacular countryside.

Day 1 route

An evening in Saint-Malo’s walled old town, where we discovered a craft bar for beers, followed by a nice seafood meal and a good night’s sleep. The next day arrived soon and after a hotel breakfast we were on our bikes again, this time heading towards Falaise. This etap was to be the Queens stage of the tour 180+km and almost 2000m of climbing.

Day 2

This is what Jeeves thought of the stage when we stopped for a quick break mid ride.

The good news was, with the wind coming from the North West, we had a cross tail wind for most of the day making it a relatively easy day. We arrived in Falaise to find that Simon had take a leaf out of Ryanair play book and had booked the hotel a few km’s from the centre of town. This meant that after 350km of cycling, nobody fancied the walk into town. Good news for the day is that the hotel had a bar and restaurant. So even though we didn’t get to sample the delights of Falaise we did get a meal and some beers.

Day 3

Our sextet were heading for Honfleur. It was Sunday and we were in France. So we took the precaution of getting a few baguettes in Falaise, just in case we couldn’t find an open lunch stop. Here are a few photos I snapped as the lads were sorting the baguettes.


Jeeves turned into the support rider for the day, as he had a pannier and this was the best way to get our lunch in one piece and not some soggy smashed bread and ham. The direct route to Honfleur was a bit short so we took the circular approach and headed east of our target and looped into Honfleur to make up the km’s.

Day 3

Although it was only 120km stage, we got some rain to make it a bit more difficult, and had our lunch in a delightful bus stop in an commercial estate, sandwiched between a Decathlon and a Peugeot car dealership, (both closed of course). Today we had a few small climbs on roads that would be at home in the Chilterns, this lead to a couple of punctures. Not a big problem, but if you have tubeless clinches tyres and have filled the tyre with sealant, you end up covered in sticky glitter infused gunk. As it was Barry’s tyre he took the brunt of it, but he did make sure that we all got a bit of white/blue much over us.

Next puncture was Jorge’s, he had standard tubes, so it was a simple job, although we still got supervised by a flock of sheep.

The rain cleared up before we made it to Honfleur, but we did have to battle into a headwind for the last 30km. All the riding was taking a toll and any opportunity to have a nap was being taken.

Even in the sparsely furnished hotel reception. Tonight’s hotel was a very basic Ibis-budget. Although it was near the centre of town. Having walked to the harbour we again had a few beers followed by a very average meal. Time to dry out and get set for tomorrow’s ride.


Jorge had his gopro with him and took some nice video and photos over the weekend.


Day 4

Although it is probably only about 40km from Honfleur to Ouistreham, we of course couldn’t just ride directly there. So we headed Southwest to find some hills and a loop around and through Caen. This was planned after last year’s tour where we found ourselves 150km away from the ferry and a tight deadline to make the time cut. If we had any problems we could just cut this ride short and head for the Ferry. Today started cloudy but improved to see us finish the four days ride is bright sunshine. We stopped for a late lunch in Caen and had our best meal of the long weekend, unfortunately this was not an French restaurant but an Italian one. Now all that was left was the ride along the canal path to the Ferry. I was up for an easy ride to the Ferry, but Barry and Simon had another idea. Still they did easy up and wait for me in the end.

A great weekend away and we are already planning for next years trip.

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58 and never been to a festival!!

Well it’s about bloody time I went to one. Now this isn’t Glastonbury we are talking about here. It’s the Quirky Campervan festival. Although they have got 15 different bands playing over three days, the festival is more learning about campervan converting with workshops on electrical installation, van maintenance, and insulation etc. It is also a deisel free site with all its electricity coming from solar energy:-) also compostable toilets:-(. No worries we have a toilet in the van, just not sure if the cartridge is big enough for 3 days. I guess we will find out soon. It’s also small, family and dog friendly (not always a good thing). A nice start to festival life especially now we have the van we intend to go to lots of festivals.Arrival day – it rained most of the day and was quite cold. We managed to get settled in had some food and beer plus watch a few of the bands, before we retired to the van.Day two – the weather was much nicer, toured the stalls and went to three/four workshops. Beer/food/Van and then bed.Tomorrow we will catch up on the workshops we missed and probably leave early, or we might stay to see the headline band “Cut Capers”.Just a few photos.

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Every time you scare yourself, do you learn something about life?

I know what Bettie learns when I’m jumping out from behind the door to scare her, she learns that I’m a fool. What I meant from the title of the blog is, you have to do something that challenges you either physically, mentally or socially. This week Bettie and I have been rock climbing, yes that’s right rock climbing. It took both of us outside of our comfort zones. Our heart rates were way up and we had to mentally and physically push ourselves to make for the next hand hold or just step over the edge and trust that Alexander had set the equipment right and we would not fall. Well we both managed it.

and of course Suzi keep a close look to make sure that we were doing correctly.

I know I haven’t blogged for a while but we have a new campervan to keep us busy. Here are a few photos of our recent trips.

Cornwall and Devon our first trip in the van after we picked it up in Devon.

And we went to York and Dumfries

this time Monty keep us busy on the beach

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