On to France

Thursday 17th June – The original plan was to travel from Bury St Edmunds to Portsmouth on the Thursday, but the exertions of the previous day proved too much and we decided to change our ferry booking from Portsmouth so that we could travel down on Friday morning. We were heading to Portsmouth, and then France to attend Deb and Loic wedding in Normandy on the Saturday.

Friday 18th June – We set off in the van down to Portsmouth in order to get the P&O ferry to Caen. The journey down went very smoothly and a safe parking place was found for the van.

The crossing was fine, nothing like the ones Vic had previously experienced. We called the solicitors who confirmed that we had successfully completed the sale of our flat. An hour or so later we received a call from the estate agents to tell us the same things. That was pretty much the first time they had called us in 2 months. Half an hour later they rang again.

“This is going to sound terribly unprofessional, but we seem to have mislaid the keys to your flat, would you have a spare set you could pop over to us?”

Vic replied, “Yes, that is terribly unprofessional, and I’m afraid we can’t drop in a spare set of keys as we’re in the middle of the English Channel on the way to France”.

They then blustered that they thought they knew where the keys were and were sorry to have bothered us. For over £6,000 (their fee), you would think they’d be able to manage the basics…

On arrival in Caen we caught a bus and then a train to Carentan where a taxi met us. Arriving at the chalets we were greeted by Deb, her sisters and a couple of friends who were working on last minute preparations (like seating plans, menus etc). We were all pretty tired by that point so retired to bed early, if you call 11pm early.

The Story So Far…

Wednesday 16th June 2004 – We had finally packed up all our stuff (after several days of box construction and filling) and the removal firm ?? turned up at 9am to take the boxes to Bury St Edmunds for storage. We had a few extra bits and pieces to do so didn’t set off for Bury until well into the afternoon, by which time the removals guys had arrived in Bury and unloaded. Very strange to leave my home of the last 12 years for the last time. A lot of memories and emotions bound up in the place and I’ll miss Brixton and our friends there. Vic and I both shed a tear before leaving.

We had our customary mis-navigation heading across London, so didn’t arrive in Bury until early evening. All arrived safe and well, though the stack of boxes which greeted us in Bury was foreboding and proved difficult to dig through when preparing the van.

Mouse Rescue

Fossil, our cat, only moved out a week or so ago. Yesterday evening I thought I saw something move in the little alcove where he used to have his food. I had a closer look but couldn’t see anything.

Just as I was about to go to bed at around midnight, I see a tiny brown mouse flit from the kitchen into the bathroom. Quickly close the door and consider a plan of action.

Mouse like the one who visited

Armed with a waste basket and a bit of cardboard I go into the bathroom, closing the door behind me. The mouse is in the corner of the bathroom, so I put a lightbulb box down near him and shuffle about a bit. He makes a dash into the box, which I quickly pick up, only to see mighty mouse leap out of it like he was spring-loaded!

He moved to the otherside of the bathrom, behind the sink pedestal, before making a dash for a whole in the bath panel. Sneaky, but ultimately dumb as there’s no way out from under there.

Fetch screwdriver and take side panel off bath (awkward as it’s as wide as the room) and in the process spike my finger on a rusty nail. Always good to add a bit of blood to the process. There he is under the bath, sitting having a wash and looking at me with cute beady eyes.

Spotting a hole in the plasterboard wall, I put one of my Reef sandals into the hole, preventing Mr Mousey from condemning himself to the doom of being trapped between the wall. Grab the “shiny new torch I bought last week and keep a watch on him.

After about an hour and a half, he’s been into the lightbulb box a couple of times but never for long enough that I’m able to catch the little bugger.

Finally, he comes out from under the bath and I corner him between the bin and the lightbulb box. He goes in and I pop the door down. Success!

Carefully carry the box out to the back garden and let him go free. He disappears into the undergrowth, hopefully to go visit someone elses house.

He had probably come in through the back door which we’ve been leaving open while the weather has been so hot.

Back indoors, I put the side back on the bath and do the screws up, and start tidying away.

Then I remember my Reef sandal. Still stuck in the whole in the plasterboard, now behind the bath panel. Rats! (or Mice!)

Bath panel off again, retrieve sandal, panel on again. Tidy up and so to bed. 2:05am. So much for an early night…

Even more trying….

The garage decided they couldn’t repair the van this week, having decided that I was “on holiday” this week so wouldn’t be wanting it until next week. Nibblers!

Dad has picked it up, and has test driven it after re-bleeding the radiator. He’ll be giving it a blast on the M180 tomorrow so we’ll see how it fares.

Some of the folks on Club 80-90 think it might be a cracked cylinder head, so it’s fingers crossed that it passes the stress test.

Glasto tickets have been delivered, though there isn’t a campervan sticker, just a ticket. That’s been looked at.

The packing is proceding in a slow but relentless manner.

We’re both missing the cat a lot. Every time you open a door, you expect to see him there. We should see him when we go and pick up the van though, and Mum says he’s doing just fine.

These things are sent to try us

We set off in the van last Sunday, heading for Cleethorpes. Me driving, Vic navigating and Fossil the cat roaming the back of the van looking perplexed.

Having safely navigated across London and made it to the M1, we thought it was all going very well. After a bit of motorway driving the temperature gauge started to get higher and the red light started to flash, hmm.. better get off at the next services.

Just before the services at Northampton, there was a loud pop from the back end, so I pulled over to find all the coolant flooding out of the engine onto the road. We let things cool a little and crawled to the services.
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