Saturday, 9 July 2011

Travels end

We left the Quantocks and headed to mum's in Dorset where we had a lovely few days doing final bits of shopping, washing and generally getting caught up with ourselves before we contemplated the journey home. Taff enjoyed his last walk across the tracks from mum's....
... but then we headed in the Portsmouth direction ready to catch the ferry at 08.30 Tuesday morning. I found a cracking overnight spot on the website which was perfectly situated at the end of the road from where the foot ferry goes over to Hayling Island and just 10 minutes from the Channel ferry terminal. Perfect!

The ferry trip to le Havre was uneventful but from there we relied on the GPS to take us down towards Alencon avoiding toll motorways. This wasn't the best move for various reasons so I took control of the map and directed us without a hitch. I knew roughly the area that I wanted to head for (The Parc naturel régional Normandie-Maine between Alencon and Le Mans) but didn't know whether we would be able to find a wild camping spot at which to park up for the night. But I spotted a lake on the map. Where there are lakes there always parking spots. This one, near the village of Sillé-Guillaume, was a cracker and clearly a well-known spot for motorhome and campervan overnighting! 
Just across the road was the lovely little lake...
... plus a little restaurant from which we enjoyed a takeaway pizza. There were waymarked mountain bike circuits from the lake but unfortunately a decidedly dicky tummy prevented me from doing anything vaguely active while we were there, which was a shame. We parked up for 2 nights and then decided to make the big push for home in one go .... a push of over 8 hours of driving. Fortunately, driving conditions were good.... it wasn't too hot and the autoroutes were as empty as they always are... and we were home by 7pm with the evening ahead of us. We had been away for 6 weeks. The fact that we had only planned on being away for 2-3 weeks says a lot. Sadie has been such a pleasure to spend time in. I can't wait to go away in her again, although that won't be before September when the temperatures drop and the holiday season has come to an end. The French Alps are on the cards and then we are intending to spend some considerable time down in Spain over the winter. Fun times!

But back at base, unfortunately, over the 6 weeks in which we had been away, some adders had taken up residence around the woodpile in front of the house. The dog was our main worry, so we had a go at trapping them and releasing them well away from the house. The biggest one escaped but the one that we did catch was a decent size!

We also caught some smaller grass snakes from around the woodpile and likewise 'rehomed' them away from the house. I don't like snakes! But they weren't our only concern. I was not best pleased when I took a shower and realised that the water was not draining and the shower tray was filling with worryingly brown water. Plunging the plug hole had no effect whatsoever. There was clearly a blockage somewhere down the line! We eventually unearthed (literally) the waste water pipe where it exits the house. It was not connected to the pipe which looked like it should carry waste away from the house and it was filled with all kinds of detritus. A good rodding eventually cleared the blockage and the water eventually ran clear. Relief!

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