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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That was 2018 – A round up of the year part 1

Now that we have changed our lifestyle, with a higher focus on enjouying life, It not only seems but actually is that our years are getting busier as we get older. This retirement lark gives where you have loads of time to yourself and find it hard to fill the days seems to have past me bye.

In January I found myself in Chamonix for long weekend with Alexander and a few of his friends for a ski touring training session. (Training they said)

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Next up house hunting in Devon. In February, since retirement Bettie and I have been looking at places we might like to live. So far we have been unsuccessful, we have a couple of favourites but can’t agree, so the hunt goes on. This weekend we went to Totnes, because it has a lot of ethical shops and bars etc. We also went for a walk and train ride along the coast.

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March saw Bettie and I going back to the Alps, we had booked apartment in the centre of Chamonix for a month, we wanted to experience more than a couple weeks in the Alps in winter. We had great plans about trying new winter sports, but spent most of our time enjoying the mountains and town. A couple of friends joined us for a week, which involved much fun and alcohol, also talking over old times, we have been holidaying with Ray and Jackie for the last 29 years.

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towards the end of our time in Chamonix we were joined by Alexander for a few days and then Bettie’s skiing adventure was up. She was to fly home to meet Alex (her Dad), and to prepare for a weeks cycling in Italy. Alexander and I stayed on in Chamonix to prepare for our failed attempt to accend Mount Blanc. We did get some ski touring in.

April – A quick turnaround for me. Time to leave the winter behind and get on my bike. Alexander and I drove home from Chamonix on Thursday. I then packed three bikes and cycling kit into bike boxes/bags on Friday. Bettie her Dad and I then flew to Italy on Saturday. This was for a week of cycling in Riccione, staying in hotel Dory again. Before this my hair needed to be sorted, I needed to go from winter to summer Fred.

Another great week, it’s hard to work out how you can cycle about 400 miles in a week and still put weight on, that is until you see the buffet meals they serve three times a day.

May – was a quite month, we did drop Bettie’s Dad of in Portsmouth, he had booked on another epic cycle trip, this time he would cycle down through Europe from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. It was part of his preparations for the Lands End to John O’groats world record attempt. If you want to read more about it follow this link. It also meant that we had a nice weekend in Portsmouth, if that’s not an oxymoron.

June – A split month for us. Bettie had planned to spend some time with her sister. They had a rough plan to visit some old hauntso from thier childhood and have a tour of the Islands. (Add some photos from Bettie’s trip here). I on the other hand had been convinced by Stef a friend from Belgium, that it would be a good idea to enter the Milan-SanRemo cycle sportive. This had been a long ambition of mine. It is the first of the Spring Monuments (Cyclings equivalents of the Grand slam of Tennis and Majors in golf). They consist of one day races. Four in spring, Milan Sanremo, Paris Roubux, The Tour of Flanders, Lieage Bastone Lieage, and in Autumn The tour of Lombardier. They are considered the hard man races of cycling. They are monuments because they are all over 27km with Milan-SanRemo being the longest at 300km which on the day we road it turned out to be 295km or 192 miles.

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Day 43 – La Veulta – Hotel life, We could get use to this

As mentioned in our last post, we have booked into a hotel for our last night in Spain, it’s just as well as it poured with rain all afternoon and night. Here is a view of the hotel from the ferry.nor

We went out for Pizza in a classic Italian restaurant which was about 200m from the hotel and then spent the rest of the time looking at the view from our hotel room. We have booked the ferry tomorrow and it leaves at 3:15 so a long lazy morning followed by a very short ride to the ferry.

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