NEWS FROM MARCH 2012
THURSDAY 1st MARCH.
Boy did it rain this morning and some thunder to go with it. Sounds very loud on the roof of the van, especially noticeable as it is the first time we have had heavy rain like this.
The rain eased a little around 11 a.m. and we had found out that there is a regular bus service, very 20 minutes, to a retail park in Portameo, so we hopped on that. More a sort of place to go on a rainy day than anything really interesting
SATURDAY MARCH 3rd.
We are definitely moving on tomorrow. It is getting time to start seeing one or two places we have not yet been to, such as
Our meal out in the town high street was really enjoyable and about half the price of the harbour restaurants and probably better quality. Just goes to show that the lessons learnt, early on in our days in
SUNDAY MARCH 4th.
We said goodbye to everybody and left the site around 11 o’clock and reckoned on around 4/5 hours to
We found this quite easily from the instructions given and it is in fact very large, with all facilities on each hard standing. Just the job.
MONDAY MARCH 5th.
I addition there are other places of interest which are either free, when you show these tickets, or quite substantially discounted.
We started off in the older historic part of the city on one of the open topped buses. This also took us around some of the newer bits and passed the dock areas. There was one of those huge cruise liners in the harbour and when you see it you can realise just how horrifying it must have been for the passengers on the recent Italian disaster. There is no way you would get me on one of those things!
Later we took the Santa Justa Elevator, which was originally a water/steam driven lift, now fitted with electric motors. This takes you up to the original old part of the city were there are some lovely views. We walked back down some very steep roads and staircases back to the original bus area and then grabbed our bus back to camp.
Nice day out and a nice lunch in a sunny street café, so probably not much needed for dinner tonight.
TUESDAY 6th MARCH.
We went back in to the city using our bus pass bought yesterday, firstly to take a look at some of the older parts of
The display has been built to a very high standard as some of these pics will show.
The main aquarium contains 7 million litres of salt water and eight thousand animals and plants. There are some animals that we all recognise, both ugly and beautiful. The whole is made up of a permanent exhibition area and a current temporary area with turtles, that we all know to be an endangered species.
WEDNESDAY 7th MARCH
Our final day in and around Lisbon. We took advantage of our transport tickets which still had most of today to run and took trips around the old part of the city on trams that were both old and new.
Lisbon has masses of exhibition s to visit and many old buildings that if you had time would be worth investigating. We took advantage of the continuing lovely weather and walked all along the harbour area stopping only for coffee and cake on a sunny terrace. We also went back to a shopp in town that we had discovered yesterday, they were just starting a liquidation sale and I had boughta 100% cotton shirt for 5 euros, tried it on today and now went back for 4 more. Too good an opportunity to miss.
THURSDAY 8th MARCH
We left the Lisbon site and made our way north to Fatima on some of the worst roads you could experience.
We had found in our books a recommended site at the town called Fatima. This town was famous for its church which had been visited by the Pope back in the 90s. Pope John Paul was of course Portuguese so it was not surprising that this town was extremely religious and that was clear in the shops and the whole area.
We found a dedicated mobile-home site in one of the main car parks and settled in for the night.
FRIDAY 9th MARCH.
We spent some time around the beautiful church and the area and finally left at around 12 noon, heading further north to find Reg and Brenda’s village. We were both amazed at the whole church area and the billions that must have been spent to develop this, probably would wipe off the Portuguese debt to the EU in one go.
Without too much trouble we found their villa at around 3 p.m. and settled in for a couple of days. Because we have Smudge with us, we selected to park our van on their land at the back as we felt that it was only fair for us to sleep in the van with her and not in the offered bedroom. In addition Brenda and Reg have two Yorkshire Terriers called Fred and Gofey, anybody remember some Yorkshire cricketers and recognise the names?
Brenda had prepared a Lasagne for the evening meal, so after a few drinks, in the local bar; and time to catch up we enjoyed a late supper.
SATURDAY 10th MARCH.
We were taken out on a tour of the area today and have to say that it is quite beautiful. Masses of tree covered hills and lovely river valleys. We stopped in Gois at lunchtime and had a lovely lunch in an Italian style restaurant.
After lunch, Reg took us back via the mountain route and some of the views up there were quite stunning. Many of the river areas are swimming places in the summer with manmade beaches and picnic areas. They live in a very lovely place
SUNDAY 11th MARCH
Joan’s birthday. Reg had organised for us to have lunch at the local bar and we were joined by an English friend of theirs, Patrick.
First after breakfast we all four, plus of course the dogs, took a walk over the mountain area, this was very enjoyable.
At around 1 p.m we went up to the bar were they had prepared a meal of Piri-Piri Chicken with chips and salad, washed down of course with copious quantities of local vino. Very enjoyable
WEDNESDAY 14th MARCH
We drove back over two days, stopping in Burgos in Spain, at the same place we stopped on the way down. We realised after getting home quite late last night, that it was quite silly to do the trip in only two days. Joan questioned, rightly so, why do we have a camper and then have to rush around just to get home. Lesson learnt, next time we drive for a max of 3 hours daily.
Today was spent emptying the van of all the stuff we don't store in there and getting the washing machine running non stop, whilst the weather is so nice and dry.
The garden is now also going to need some attention, so guess I will have to get the tractor mower out during the next couple of days. Also I need to go and buy something that will deter the moles, as we now have dozens of little hills all over the garden, tried to encourage Smudge to dig and catch a few but she is far too busy with all the mice that have been breeding whilst she was away. it is very clear that she is happy to be home, but we have to say that she coped extreemly well with being introduced to another living envirnment. We have to remember that she is still only 10 months old.
FRIDAY 16th MARCH
Grass cutting done, or at least the first top off as it is quite damp and will have to hope that this weather keeps dry for a few more days so that I can go over again by mid next week. Now we have to do lots of weeding in tthe borders to get things looking ship shape again. We also needed to do a fairly major shop as the cupboard was quite bare.
There is a brand new Le Clerc Hypermarket open in St Foy, which is much more convenient for us, just 15 minutes down the road.
WEDNESDAY 21st MARCH.
We took the camper back to Miramont today because before we left for Portugal, we had a firm called Roady, repair the non-working speedometer, under guarantee from Marquis Motor-Homes. Unfortunately two days in to our journey it stopped working again, so by contacting them from afar they knew that they were getting it back. Fortunatley for us our Sat-Nav gives speeds so we were able to use that. We just await there phone call now when it has been checked and repaired.
THURSDAY 22nd MARCH.
Well the lovely weather we found on our retrun has gone away now and it has been sort of miserable for the last few days. So being slightly fed up with it and not being able to do much we went down to Eymet and had lunch in The Kismet cafe, belonging to our friends Kim & Paul. Todays dish was chickem korma, very tasty.
FRIDAY 23rd MARCH.
It;s arrived, our steam cleaner ordered from Amazon as soon as we got back, so having put it together we set about giving the tiles in the spare bedroom a real good do. Firstly to test the machine and secondly to prove to ourselves, that after advice from others, the steam clean process really works.
The one we bought is a light weight Black & Decker device and have to say that it seems to be very good, judging by the amount of dirt on the steam pad afterwards. Just shows that conventional mopping doesn't really do a good job, just spreads the muck around.
Wouldn't you just credit though, today is the warmest day we have had all week, still if it dries the grass I should be able to give it another cut over the weekend.
SUNDAY 25th MARCH.
Well the grass has really dried out now so I was able to put the grass catcher on the mower and by going over twice, pick up all the original cut and then go over again cutting shorter. Really looks good now, apart that is from all the mole hills scattered around. Spent some time on my kness this evening with some things that resemble fireworks, digging holes, ligthing the smoke bomb things and trying to get then down the tunnels. Only time will tell and the job would have taken less time without the help of our four legged friend.
MONDAY 26th MARCH.
Started the planning for our next trips. We are going to take the camper up to Holland on 24th April, but with plans to take at least two full days to get there. We now have a camping book that shows all the free "Aires" in France, so we can stay on our way up and avoid the expensive "Peage" motorways. Also our new Tom-Tom device arrived today which allows us to be more accurate about pin pointing places, using latitude and longitude.
The plan is to spend around 4/5 days around Nieuwkoop and to see the family up there and then make our way back here. This time Smudge is going in the cattery
Our second trip is back to Cyprus. We have booked to fly out on 24th May, for two weeks. We are staying with Charles and Yvonne this time and have arranged to have a hire car at the airport so that we can be independant and visit some old freinds around. Charles and Yvonne are going to get their own back in August, so that's OK then.
Another experience with Ryanair though. Initial tickets to Stansted were £98.00 return, but by the time we add luggage, needed for two weeks, on-line check in, which is compulsory, admin charges etc the actual cost came out at £226.00. It is just a pity that we have no real alternative because some competition on the route would peg prices. We paid less than double that for two 7.5 hour flights to Cyprus inclusive of the same luggage and card charges.
TUESDAY 27th MARCH.
Interesting day out. We had planned to go to Bordeaux to visit Ikea and the big Leroy Merlin there. We have been looking about for a couple of metal framed loungers that double up as chairs and then lean back for the snooze in the sun. These are for the camper and therfore need to be handy enough to go on the top box bed area.
Bordeaux is around 1 1/2 hours away so we set off at reasonable time. When we got there we discovered that Ikea are doung a major rebuild, so only about 25% of the old store was open and Leroy Merlin have put a huge tented area on their car park, with all their garden stuff in it, but it is not opening before 2nd April.
Ah well its only the same 1 1/2 hours back. We did console ourselves with a nice lunch.
WEDNESDAY 28th MARCH.
Visited the Notaire in Eymet this morning to finally sort out our wills. We need to be careful here in France because taxation can be heavy and benficieries can lose as much as 60% of whats left to French tax. Not that we are planning to leave much, but there are always assets which can be converted to money I suppose. Anyway that's a morbid thought and hopefully will not matter for many years to come, but at least it is all regulated now.
We also managed to arrange a haircut for tomorrow, as our village hairdresser seems to have dissapeared and also to arrange to have Joan's car serviced next week.
There is lots of activity around the hamlet these last few days, so guess that we are about to see holiday visitors in some of the vacant properties. We know that Phil and Shelagh are due on Sunday for a couple of weeks but we haven't heard from others.
FRIDAY 30th MARCH.
We took both cars to Bergerac this morning as my Merc had been playing up on the key lock system. Some days no problem, then for next couple of days I have to play around with a key thingy.
We decided to do just a little bit of shopping as we were so near to the Hypermarket and on the way past a store called Casa, we spotted some framed lounger chairs. They were on special this week, from 65 down to 49.50 euros, just what we wanted, so could have saved all that diesel going to Bordeaux.
Went to collect my car at around 5 p.m. only to be told that they couldn't find any fault. With these things they just plug in a computer and if it can't find fault they don't know were to begin. Agreed with them that next time I am in Bergerac and it won't lock, I will be straight round there.
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