Finally… a proper Bimble in Boris. Hurray!

Chris restaurant Le VeyWe are finally doing a proper Bimble in Boris.

As usual, we waited until 24 hours before departure to decide on a destination. Our choices were the Isle of Man and Ireland, or Brittany. Long range weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, but although things looked more promising for South and Eastern England, the northwest was cool and unsettled. So… France won!

June 8th/9th/10th 2017

Thursday night saw us having the most amazing evening out with some of the family. We went to Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, the Fat Duck for Dinner. Oh My. We loved it. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but for us – Definitely the best dining experience EVER!

Dinner finished at Midnight, then it was a 2 hour drive home (thanks to road closures), bed at 3am with the alarm set for 6.00am. Up we got and set off for Poole to catch the Barfleur ferry to Cherbourg!

So glad we booked a cabin! We slept for 4 hours and were fairly refreshed on arrival.

With no set itinerary we decided to head for an area in Normandy that had always intrigued me – Suisse Normande.

It did not disappoint. An area of deeply cut river gorges about 40km Southwest of Caen, it was charming, beautiful and best of all, fairly quiet despite it being a summer weekend evening. We found a fantastic Aire just outside the village of Pont d’Ouilly (prizes awarded for correct pronounciation!). Aires are the super system of cheap or free areas for motorhomes across France. It was on the riverbank, with pitches separated by hedges. Electricity and water included for the grand sum of 9 euros. It was SO peaceful.  We went for a walk along the pretty river Orme and then slept very well…not waking up until 8.45 – very unusual for me!

Next morning we drove to La Vey, a pretty village near the river cliffs. Our objective was to climb Sugar loaf Mountain (Pain de sucre). This was quite a pull uphill but the views from the top were splendid. We walked along the ridge, past a paragliding launching site, marvelling at them leaping off the top. We weren’t tempted by the offer of a tandem flight though!

After working up an appetite, and achieving my desired step count by lunchtime, we found a lovely café by the river, Au fil de l’Eau, and reacquainted ourselves with the ‘Menu du jour’ – 3 courses for 16 euros. Excellent – no need to cook in the van tonight!  We sat by the water on a flower bedecked terrace sipping “une pression et un panache” and watching birds, boats and canoes!

I should point out that our decision to head to France was now totally vindicated – a lovely French lunch and the temperatures were around 25 degrees so I was happily wearing shorts and a short sleeved blouse. The fleeces were packed away – for now anyway!

After lunch, Chris could hardly contain his excitement… I had discovered that in the next village, Clecy,  there was one of the largest model railways in Europe! We walked up to see it. Even I was impressed. It was HUGE. 350 square metres of layout and half a kilometre of track  with so many beautifully crafted scenes. Lots of locomotives whizzing round, moving scenery AND they put the lights out and it was illuminated for night time!

Oh Dear… Chris has now got even grander designs, and wants a bigger cabin for his train layout!

Then we said goodbye to Suisse Normande and headed for our main objective – Brittany. A beautiful early evening drive across country for 2 hours, hardly seeing anyone else, brought us to Nozay, north of Nantes and on the edge of Brittany. We were aiming for another aire, again with water and electricity, but just 8 euros, and alongside 4 lakes. One of the lakes was for watersports and we spent the lovely sunny evening watching the automated tow machine taking wake boarders around the circuit and over the jumps – some more successfully than others. Again we slept like logs!

Happy New Year… Bimbling resolutions…

Anne paddling in the sea in Dorset on New Year's Day
Anne paddling in the sea in Dorset on New Year’s Day
New year 2015 16 paella
Some lovely Spanish warmth at our New Year’s Eve party with friends… well I had to include a food picture!

After a rather grey and damp December, and a brief cold snap we find ourselves in mid-January and wondering when we could do our first Bimble of the year.
Boris is having his MOT and Service as I am writing this, so fingers are firmly crossed (which makes typing tricky) that he will be back tonight fully fit and raring to go.
We have the capability to camp in cold weather. The Webasto diesel heater is brilliant, and the electric blanket on the bed is even better. Chris has discovered that by using the inverter we can even use the electric blanket to prewarm the bed when we are not on electric hookup, so long as the batteries are well charged up. It has a negligible effect on the charge.
We had drained down and cleaned all the tanks in November, and we always bring all the linen and soft furnishings indoors in case of damp, but it has not been a problem so far.
So, we are now thinking of restocking the food cupboard, fitting up the bed and trying a short Bimble next week.

We will also review all our memberships and guides. Our top 3 were:

Britstops – we found the Britstops guide really useful last year. It costs just £25 and provided us with lots of free, and very welcoming stopovers in the UK, so we will renew our membership because it seems only fair to recompense the creators for all their hard work.

All the Aires – this series of books are great if you are travelling in Europe and help keep costs down dramatically. 

Camping and Caravanning Club – we have recouped our membership fees by using their discount on cross channel ferries, and making use of the certificated sites. The discounts on club sites also mean we can have one night with lovely showers and washing machines for a very reasonable rate, in the midst of all our free and budget nights. 

So…what are our Bimbling resolutions….
1. To do at least one Bimble – however short – in every month of 2016!
2. To visit at least 3 new countries or off shore locations this year!
3. To work out how this blog can be better organised to provide a list of resources for readers!
Happy New Year everyone x