The recent & ongoing, global pandemic has made everyone think about what is important to them, made them rethink the future & made them reminisce of days gone by…..
Our lockdown, like many others across the world, has been difficult and one which we have struggled with the mental health of our 18 year old, autistic son hence the need to look back at past adventures to satisfy both his & our need for some distraction from reality and look forward to taking to the roads in the future once it is safe & legal to do so.
Our many visits to Disneyland, Paris, Bruges & various UK destinations, have given us many fond and cherished memories and one of the main reasons for starting this blog when we started motorhoming, providing a simple record of our adventures with our 2 son’s, the places, the sights & sounds, the thrills and we are so glad that we have this to look back on.
We will be resurrecting our youtube channel and adding some new journey footage (obviously pre lockdown) reviews and projects with the occasional blooper I’m sure.
It was a Saturday morning, I’d just opened the kitchen door when I heard a meow!
I knew that this wasn’t our cat, we didn’t have one or not at least for several years since we lost our beloved Clyde so what on earth was happening?
For sometime we have been building an extension to the side of the house and guess what? Yes, a mother cat had decided to leave us 2 little bundles of fluff.
We were very cautious to begin with, we didn’t want to scare away the mother and set up a CCTV camera to keep an eye of the little ones & gave them water and food, just incase….
We waited & waited and after 2 days it was evident that the mother was not coming back so we had no choice, I had to catch them and bring them indoors.
This was not easy, but after a few scratches and bites, they were safe and settling into their new home with their new family.
We booked them in at the local vets for a check up which went well & it was estmimated that they were approximately 4 weeks old.
We had only got a few weeks to make sure they had their vacinations so that we could either a) obtain pet passports or b) book them into a local cattery and we were sad that there was not enough time to get the pet passports in time for our next trip but as we travelled all over the UK with Clyde, this was our plan for our 2 new family members, Oscar & Claude.
As you may have seen in my last post, it rained quite heavy whilst we were at Disneyland and although it has abated slightly when we departed, we had a very interesting journey home.
When negotiating the exit slip road from the A104 onto the A1, we encountered flooding which we had no choice but to drive through after all, cars were seeming to get through OK.
Everything was OK until it started raining again and we realised we had no wipers, then we had no lights, then we had no anything……
As it is diesel, we were still running and we continued of a while until the rain dictated otherwise and we pulled into a motorway aire to see what the problem was.
We had plenty of time to get to Calais or so we thought.
I suppose my mistake was stopping the engine – it would not restart afterwards which I knew but still did it anyway!
We quickly found an on-line manual showing all the fuseboxes (3 of them in total) so where was our problem????
After about an hour checking fuses and relays, I was none the wiser and we were ready for calling the breakdown service when the unexpected happened!
Yes, I stepped onto the battery cover in the cab and the dashboard lit up like a Christmas Tree.
Quickly taking up the carpet and removing the cover, I found that the fuses had come loose – why? I don’t know so a quick tighten up and hey presto, everything was alive.
The negative terminal was a little loose but this is down to the actual connector which I will replace as soon as I can but for the time being, we were back on the road.
The journey went well, we arrived in Calais in plenty of time for our ferry.
We parked up in line, switched off and when it came to our turn to board, it even started again – job done! or so we thought.
We parked right at the front of the ship, meaning we would be one of the first off in Dover and yes, you’ve guessed it, the bloody thing would not start.
A quick press down on the battery cover and away we went so I concluded that the actual problem was the loose negative terminal, not the fuses but not to tempt fate, I ordered a full replacement set and replaced them before our next adventure began.
Well, we did it! We finally plucked up the courage to spend Christmas & Mrs H’s birthday away home for the first time and what better way to it.
Our planning for this trip started months in advance to ensure that our youngest son was well prepared for the massive change in our festive routine and hopefully avoid an Autistic Meltdown in the process.
Our journey started with the P&O Ferry from Hull to Zebrugge with the usual 5 berth Club Cabin to give us that little extra space, TV and double bed – we do still need some home comforts after all & these are perfect for our son who loves to sit at the desk and draw, worth every penny to see him relaxed and happy.
A short drive from the port to our campsite in Brugge, Camping Memling which would accommodate all of our needs for the next 10 day’s. Check in was quick, easy and we were on our pitch before we knew it.
This was the first time that we used our Fiamma Privacy Room which was easy to put up (ish) and somewhere to store the bikes at night along with leaving our wet shoes/boots outside.
It really felt like Christmas, Brugge is a magical place especially at this time of year and we highly recommend a visit whether for the day or a little longer & we never tire of visiting this city.
The Ice Rink had been moved around this year due to a change in security planning but this did not detract from the festive feel of the market at all and I suppose something that we all are learning to live with and accept.
Not all of our time was spent in the City and the area surrounding our campsite is full of woodland walks and an outdoor exercise area ( not likely…)
Camping Memling have their own Youtube channel giving some good, useful information about check in and else the area has to offer and it is worth a look if your planning a visit.
Finally, Christmas Eve and it was time for the first celebration of the week, Mrs H’s Birthday and we came well prepared with cards, and presents with a great day had by all.
You will never go hungry in Brugge and even more so at Christmas. The smell of fresh baked rolls and Bradwurst/Burgers gets me every time followed by a really good hot chocolate, Oh and not forgetting Belgian fries from the market stalls below the Belfort.
Christmas Day, Oh No! How would this go? How would he cope?
After a good nights sleep, it was Christmas Day at last, and everything we had tried to achieve over the last few months all hinged on these next few moments & we were not disappointed. No meltdown, no anxiety, just a young man enjoying his Christmas – what progress.
The day was a success and we all enjoyed our motorhome take on Christmas dinner and we look forward to doing this again in the future.
Our final days were spent, experiencing the sights of Brugge at our leisure either on foot or by bike.
This is a subject that I had been exploring for some time and finally I decided to go with a Gas-it system instead of our Calor Propane bottles which only keep rising in price.
Some would say that this is an expense that is unnecessary but when travelling in Europe, as anyone knows, Calor gas is not available so therefore it’s either go without gas or purchase a bottle/regulator/hose for the country that you are in and this can prove difficult & expensive in itself.
I ordered my kit direct through the Gas-It website – https://www.gasit.co.uk which was easy enough and whilst there was a supply issue, my kit arrived in time for our holiday and I was really surprised how easy it was to fit and it only took around 15-20 minutes from start to finish.
I now carry my 11kg Gas-It bottle which i still have not refilled since my initial fill up but I’m sure we will be getting ready soon & a 6kg Calor Gas bottle as a back up, just incase.
The easy fill system is just that, easy, and we filled up at a Shell Service Station on the M1 for around £22 (and this was motorway prices)
Overall, we are very happy with this set up and may consider another refillable bottle to add on at some point but for the time being, this is perfect for our needs.
For information – this was my order for my set up.
100ml Leak Detection Fine Spray Bottle With Spray Nozzle Lock (GI-0093)