One bad site one Excellent one!

Discussion in 'France' started by eddievanbitz, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    Location:
    Taunton Somerset
    At the end of last year (2015) we decided that we would like to re-visit a site in Port Grimaud www.holiday-marina.com

    The advantage of Holiday Marina isn't just the fact that it's a fantastic site, and very clean and beautifully laid out, it is the fact that you can also moor a boat, in most cases next to or very close to your pitch, and we had decided that having not played with the RIB on holiday the previous year, that we would like to take the boat.

    So the campsite was all booked and paid for, launching of the boat was booked, as launching a 27' boat trailer with a 33' RV can be a "little interesting" sometimes. The ferry crossing was booked, travelling out from Dover to Calais but back through Dieppe to attempt to miss the immigrants and any potential damage caused to the boat with them trying to get into the UK

    (Ironic isn't it? I work hard all year to get a month off in France for my holiday, and there are the illegal immigrants risking death to leave France to get into the UK)

    So that was all good and we were really looking forward to using the motorhome and using the Zodiac in the South of France next year (This year)

    At the end of June I managed to fall off my bike! Out with the family for a bike ride, I hit a big, long pothole and the bike stopped.

    I didn't! I tried to roll out of it but, to my amazement, age and the additional five stones I seem to miraculously of grown into over the last 25 years seem to have made me less agile than I thought (bear in mind that I normally consider myself to be late twenty'ish until I see a mirror)

    So as I landed on my dominant right side, with my wrist extended I broke my wrist in two places and my arm just below my elbow. However, at this time I didn't know that, I just knew three things! My wife was helpless with laughter, I was embarrassed to be horizontal on the road with my family looking down on me, and that the quicker I got to the planned pub for lunch, the quicker I would feel better.

    So a couple of miles riding to the pub and I realised that unfortunately the Stella Atrois didn't provide its usual anaesthetic effect and lunch was an increasingly painful affair

    Another three miles riding from the pub to home and then a trip to A&E in the car, gave me the time to consider what options we had regarding the holiday as to be honest I was starting to think that I had actually broken something, and wondered how that could affect the forthcoming holiday in about four weeks time.

    So roll the day on a few hours, and it was official, I had broken my wrist twice and my arm, and worse still was that I had been sent home on the understanding that I needed an operation and may be called straight back in in the morning for the operation.

    So a chat with Lyn (my wife) and a telephone chat with Jeff and Susy our mates who we were meeting at Holiday Marina, and we decided that we would be better to cancel as I had no chance of getting the boat ready for a long journey and even if I could, the journey would be hard, with Lyn having to drive the whole thing on her own all the way from Taunton to St Tropez. Just manhandling a large RIB on a twin wheeled trailer is hard work, so we decided that it just wasn't sensible. (a previous trip)
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    The good news/bad news was that the breaks in my wrist were severe enough that after a couple more X Rays and a Imaging scan the Surgeon decided that he wouldn't achieve anything by surgery so a quicker recovery time!

    The chance of some kind of holiday in France started to figure in our conversations and we started looking at potential sites, perhaps in "non boaty" areas as the RIB and the Camper was still unrealistic.

    However, emailing and phoning campsites in the middle of July "Hello, do you have a couple of pitches for two 33' RV's in a couple of weeks please? does seem optimistic at the least.

    In the end we did manage to find a few places that fitted the bill and we started to get quite excited that, we were, after all, going to get a holiday.

    Jeff and Susy left for France a couple of weeks before us as they had arranged to spend three weeks with their family, before meeting us and we looked forward to meeting them soon.

    When it was time for us to leave, we left in plenty of time to get to the ferry. As we have two great big hairy German Shepherds we tend to favour the shorter crossings when we can as the dogs are more comfortable in the motorhome for the crossing. However, in this case the traffic on the A303 was dire, the M3 was shut due to an accident.

    Of course, if we had listened to the all singing all dancing in dash Pioneer head unit that does everything from being the monitor for the Waeco twin lens camera to the navigation, plus everything in between we would have known this.

    Actually to be fair we did listen! It kept suggesting that we turn around and instead of travelling to Dover along the A303 and M3 that we drive down the M5 and along the M4 and we would arrive in plenty of time.

    Being a man, obviously I ignored all of this and though that the system would “settle down” once I got on the A358 the link road from the M5 at Taunton to the A303

    Stupid navigation suggested that I turn around at every roundabout for miles! I even remarked to Lyn that the system was playing “silly buggers” and got told off for “fiddling” with it when driving down the road (always seems worse when your sat in the “suicide seat” facing oncoming traffic in a Left hand drive RV I guess)

    After a while I decided to cancel the route as I was starting to get fed up with being told to “turn around”

    Inevitably, we hit very heavy traffic on the A303 and I reluctantly turned on the Pioneer back of to see what the traffic updates were. The Navigation had decided that I had committed too many miles into the problem to sensibly suggest turning around, so got its own back by starting to list the problems on the route that I had “insisted” on taking despite its best efforts!

    They just kept “pinging” up on the screen, dozens of the bloody things. Lane closed due to roadworks, Slow traffic, Lane closed, and worse of all? The M3 was shut due to an accident!

    I would love to have said, from dramatic effect that we were hurtling towards this tailback of biblical proportions, but we were stuck in either heavy traffic or road works, I can’t remember now there were simply too many of them!

    We arrived in Dover about two hours after our ferry had sailed, which is another advantage of Dover, miss a ferry? There will be another one along in a minute.

    We filled the tanks with petrol and LPG (Twin fuel RV) and headed off to the terminal.

    DFDS we, as always as good as gold and simply booked us on the next sailing 02:30 bound for France. I am, as a boy from the sticks always amazed just how busy the ferry terminal can be at 02:00! Staggered is probably a better description, the terminal was simply packed, vehicles jammed in everywhere, private cars with families sat on the ground outside, as even at 02:00 it was sweltering, coaches, lorries, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. It was a real eye opener, which was a good thing as I was starting to get a bit tired.

    Uneventful ferry crossing, in the old days I would enjoy wandering around the duty free and look at strange and exotic spirts and wines all at temping prices to start to spend the hard earned “funny money” collected a few days earlier from the bank. However, as it is now stocked with a worse selection, and what is there, is more expensive than our local supermarket, so it isn’t worth losing your comfy seats for, so we normally don’t even bother.

    So, we landed in Calais about 90 minutes later, add the extra hour and it is 05:00 and still no sleep, but feeling all excited, that sadly I still get when I go abroad, especially in the motorhome.

    In the last 12 months since I was last at Calais it has changed dramatically! Flood lights everywhere, double security fences with razor wire seem to, at first glance extend for miles.

    It did! Mile after mile of motorway was brightly light and shouldered on either side by the twin security fences, painted white, lots of Police presence but the eerie sense that beyond the white lights, and fencing that all sorts of troubles loom in the darkness.

    I am not sure what the answers are, but concentration camp style fences, lighting and watch towers alongside the motorway cannot be the way forward.

    I didn’t “clock” it as I was already along the motorway some length before I realised the enormity of it, but I have been told that the fencing extends about 10 miles from the terminal and I can quite believe it.

    The original plan was to drive 40-50 miles to clear Calais and then pull into an Aire and get a good night’s sleep, but as the morning light was pushing the dark sky back hinting of a cracking sunrise, the additional interest in the fencing and just happy to be in France I decided that I would crack on and get some miles done whilst the roads were quiet, and Lyn was asleep allowing me to legitimately tuck into my secret stash of travel sweets, medicinally used to keep me from getting bored!! Honest!

    So there we are, full petrol tank, full LPG tanks, full water tanks, empty black and grey tanks, quiet roads, quiet wife, good music and calculating that I had about eight hours drive to the site that we had booked on the Atlantic coast for the first few days.

    By my calculations I would drive until about 10:00 then I would stop on an appropriate Aire. I would wake Lyn up with a nice cup of tea. We could let the dogs have a run, and then a quick shower to freshen us both up and then I would suggest that Lyn drove, so we should arrive at the site mid-afternoon

    Perfect as we had had a message from some Funsters that we have become good mates with that they had decided to join us for a couple of days as they were in the area and had seen on Facebook where we were heading

    So just as I am mentally congratulating myself on a well worked plan there was an almighty bang, like a shotgun. I didn’t help that we were under a bridge when it happened, but it sounded expensive.

    There was no traffic on the road, I slowed down as quickly as was safe, turned on the hazard lights and pulled into the hard shoulder, or what the French call a hard shoulder and limped along for what seemed an age until there was a refuge to be able to at least get the motorhome of the actually lane one of the motorway.

    Now, anyone that travels with dogs will know that they get into a pattern. They were happily asleep after a walk around the terminal when we drove onto the ferry, and weren’t too fussed that we left and then returned and started to drive. Clever as my dogs are, they can’t tell the time so to them both asleep, Lyn asleep, Me driving all is well in their world.

    The bang? That’s new, better wake up and investigate! So whilst they would happily have slept/slumbered till my mentally calculated 10:00am stop for walkies wee poo and breakfast, they are now awake, and, for them, better still we are stopping.

    They don’t know or care that it is the side of the motorway and bloody dangerous, the dogs, Shadow and Sabre simply want to jump out, smell France and have a wander round! So their getting excited, and they don’t know that we are on fire!

    I in the meantime can smell burning, bad burning! Burning rubber type burning, badly burning rubber type burning and a massive vibration under my feet! With a V10 Ford engine the gearbox that has to handle that much power is rather large, and it felt like it was in exactly the right area to be causing such a horrible vibration, and it was along with the burning smell getting worse, so if it was that on fire, we needed out.

    So got off the actual motorway, and we jumped out with the dogs and expected the worst! To say that everything looked remarkably normal was an understatement! Boringly, disappointingly, reassuringly normal

    OK so it didn’t look like it was going to burst into flames, nor blow up, so I went back into the motorhome and got a super bright LED torch to see what I could see underneath.

    Nothing! Absolutely nothing, everything looked exactly as it had when we had serviced it and checked it all over the week before at Van Bitz

    Then I saw the problem. The motorhome has twin wheels each side, and the inner wall of the “inner” wheel had blown, not just punctured it had literally blown inwards and the complete wall was running free of the wheels. This in turn had taken out the air bag which would have accounted for the vibration which was transmitting all along the chassis, making me think that the problem had to be under my seat, which is of course above the chassis, and the burning smell was the rubber from the inner tyre and the air bag destroying itself.

    Slightly bewildered and relieved, all we had to do was persuade the dogs that it was really early in the morning and that it wasn’t really time for a walk, and even if it was time for a walk that the motorway wasn’t the place to do it.

    We carried on, limping slowly on, using what hard shoulder there was, hazards on, to the next services which were five kilometres. It is amazing how far five kilometres is when your limping along the hard shoulder one eye looking forward, two looking backwards hoping that some hapless, tired driver isn’t going to plow into the back of you, not expecting you to be going so slow.

    Anyway, we made it to a Aire Du Service and it was a good one. Separate parking for lorries, motorhomes, cars and cars and caravans, along with, as we found out later, a decent shop stocked with local produce, and, in the middle of nature reserve so if we were stuck there for a couple of days getting things sorted, life would be OK for us and the dogs.

    We have RAC Arrival which is great for motorhomes as they have a blanket scheme that will cover motorhomes of any size, so ideal for American RV’s So a call to them started the ball rolling. Autoroutes in France are privately owned and private recovery services are not allowed to recover vehicles from the Motorways, the Aires of course are the same.

    The RAC advised us to contact the “Depannage” and supplied a number to call, and suggested that we then call them back. In essence within about 10 minutes of informing the Autoroute emergency services, we had a unit with us, similar to our “Highways Agency” people.

    An extremely helpful man, quickly understood the situation and told us that he had seen us “stopped” in the refuge, and had thought that we had stopped to sleep! Can you imagine anyone in the UK Highways Agency seeing some one stopped having a kip! He was straight on the phone and told us that “It was all in hand”

    We made coffee for us all and sat and waited, expecting a long wait, despite the re-assurances of our new Depannage friend.

    He took another call and I said to Lyn that the chances of getting a 19.5” RV tyre in France on a Saturday morning, on a motorway were slight, despite re-assurances.

    We thought that a truck tyre mobile unit would arrive, take the wheel off, disappear and that would be that until at least Monday.

    So can you imagine our surprise when a mobile tyre unit turns up and explains to our French Depannage friend that they have a choice of two tyres, to pick from, but that they couldn’t source a Goodyear RV tyre. What a tyre looks like in 2D :eek:
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    More coffee made whilst the job was done, and in a surprisingly short period of time the motorhome was back on its own six wheels, and the tyre fitters were waving a stainless steel valve extension, suspicious that they had found the cause of the problem so hadn’t refitted it.

    They asked us to phone the RAC in Lyon and then spoke to the RAC on our behalf and got a job authorisation code, so they could bill the RAC and we just paid for the tyre, which to us seemed a great deal.

    So despite our dire, worst case, doom laden prediction that we would be there two or three days, we were in fact there two or three hours!

    So a quick shower, a dog walk and a couple of Jambon et Fromage bagettes from the shop we were ready to hit the road again.

    The destination was a campsite called Camping Puit de la Autre (www.camping-puitsdelauture.com) it seemed to be OK, more importantly it had space at the end of July start of August

    As I previously mentioned Lyn and I have become very friendly with a Scottish couple that are Funsters (actually we have become friendly with dozens) We met Bobby and Karen at a show via Motorhome FUN, a resource that I am convinced is the best combination of a club with massive membership benefits and fantastic social calendar and the biggest and best interactive on line resource in Europe (probably the world ;-)

    I digress, Because Bobby and Karen live in Scotland the opportunity to meet up are few and far between, so when we all realised that we were going to in France, roughly in the same area it seemed daft no to meet up for a couple of days, so thee had also booked onto Puit de la Autre.

    We’d appraised Bobby and Karen of our myriad of delays, and the navigation was telling us that we would arrive at the site before reception had closed. However, the Pioneer can’t build in travelling with a wife and two German Shepherd dogs, who ask for stops randomly, and as I have never bothered to programme in the fuel stops as in a RV that averages 9MPG the Pioneer just laughs and tells me that I have made a mistake!

    But with a dual fuel system we still have a great range, but when faced with the choice of 9MPG using petrol at €1.20 or GPL (LPG to us) at €0.75 it does tend to make me pull off the motorway more frequently to keep the GPL “topped up”

    So the afternoon wore on, the Pioneer kept pushing back the arrival time and the air temperature continued to rise nicely as we headed South and West.

    Once the estimated time of arrival (ETA) went past the 20:00 last check in we called Bobby and explained the we were making good time, but were unlikely to get to the site before the office closed. He suggested that as we had booked and paid a deposit anyway, and that they were already on site and set up, he would walk down to reception and explain that we had been delayed and as we were paying for the night anyway ask if they could tell him our pitch number, and ask if he could meet us open the barrier, as he already had the codes.

    This produced a flurry or activity as the owner was concerned that we wouldn’t fit on the pitches and that they only had one pitch that could accommodate, and the owner insisted that Bobby go and look at the pitch.

    Having looked at the pitch and said that we would be able to get on the pitch with no issues, however, he was told to call us, and say that it would be “Too late at night” and would disturb too many people us attempting to get on the pitch so we would have to park in the car park for the night on arrival.

    Bobby relayed the message and said that it was daft, however it didn’t really matter as Karen had cooked us a meal and their pitch was close enough to the entrance/car park and that there was plenty of space in the car park. He also said that “madam” (the owner) was being daft as there were loads of massive pitches that we would easily fit on, and the road around the site was wide and easily drivable for any vehicle, but it would be easier to sort it all out in the morning.

    The approach to the area is through beautiful Pine Forests and suddenly, almost before you know it your driving along the sea front, slightly elevated from the beach over looking the sea. It helped reinforce this indelible image that the sky was a beautiful blue, the sun was fresh egg yolk orange and the sand was golden, and the sea was like a mirror!

    This first impression was important as it helped temper my temper the following morning!

    We arrived, we parked in the corner of the car park considerately, and was greeted by “Madam” who said that she would “see us in the morning” but that she wasn’t expecting the RV to be so big!

    So, with the satisfying reassurance of actually arriving, and despite the fact that it was 20:30 on Saturday evening and that the last time we had actually had any real sleep was when we went to bed Thursday night, all seemed pretty good with the world.

    This feeling of well being was soon further enhanced by the smell of cooking and the very cold beers that Bobby and Karen had placed in our hands as we joined them at their motorhome. We enjoyed a convivial evening but, the long eventful journey had taken its toll and the lure of our bed started to win the argument. I say this because we didn’t go to bed early, but it certainly wasn’t late, not late enough to get “told off” for!

    With no immediate agenda the Sunday morning was certainly no a hurried affair. We woke up naturally with no alarms or phones set, and realised that the advantage of parking in the campsite was that we had an uninterrupted view straight out of the campsite and across the Atlantic. The dogs seemed in no particular hurry to move so after a couple of cups of coffee, we showered, and then took the dogs for a walk and reported to reception to be shown to our pitch.

    We were told that “Madam” wanted to see us and could we go back at 12:00 to see her? Whilst this was a little annoying as we wanted to get on to our pitch, get set up and then go out and explore the area.

    So at the appointed time we went back to reception and “Madam” was dealing with some one but took the trouble to stop her conversation with the other customers, and tell us that she would deal with us in a minute, she actually even glared at us from over the top of her glasses!

    So having waited a few minutes we now face “Madam’s” steely glaze and she tells us that it is better do deal with problems up front, to avoid misunderstandings later.

    “Firstly when you emailed and said that you had a 10m RV and two German Shepard Dogs, I emailed back and asked prior to accepting our booking “how many axles” “You only said that you had two axles, one at the front and only one at the back! Yet you have four wheels at the back and that, we would not have allowed you to book if you had said six wheels!

    “Also, you said that you had a 10m American RV and that you wanted one of our larger “Grand Comfort Plus” pitches but you did not tell us that the RV had “extensions” (Slide outs) and you didn’t tell us that RV is high! However, we took the booking so now it is the campsites problem to find a pitch!”

    Before either of us could argue, she went onto Point two!

    “Last night my security guard said that you joined your friends on the site for dinner and you sat outside their motorhome?”

    “Yes” I replied wondering where this was going

    “Well just so we are really clear, we don’t tolerate noise at night”

    “Were we noisy? Did anyone complain? We weren’t noisy and the guard walked past and said Good evening but didn’t tell us that it was late or we were being noisy, it was just four friends catching up after not seeing each other for a while, plus most of the pitches around their motorhome are empty so we couldn’t of upset anyone any way”

    “OK” Said Madam, “Lets put it down to it’s the first night seeing friends and I am sure that it won’t happen again”

    And before I had chance to say, “lets not put anything down to that, as we didn’t bloody well make an unreasonable amount of noise”

    “Point three!” You have dogs! There was a complaint that their was a dog mess next to your van this morning, you cannot let your dogs make a mess for someone else to clear up”

    “Look” I said repeating the mantra “Its August Its August Its August, the beach looks amazing” under my breath, so the words “Stick you pitch up your arse” don’t come out, instead of my “Look, we own a campsite, we employ wardens, we understand. We don’t let our dogs just crap anywhere, and if there is an accident we clear it up”.

    “Also our dogs go twice a day, we have taken them for a walk this morning and they have done their business, and it has been cleaned up, they don’t go twice in one morning, so it wasn’t our dogs! We didn’t make a load of noise last night, and neither did Bobby and Karen, and I did email and ask if you had room for a 10m American RV, if you don’t know how big 10m is perhaps you shouldn’t have taken the booking!”

    To which she smiled and said “So long as you understand the rules, I am sure that we will get along fine, turned towards the door and said “follow me”

    Like school children (the way that I felt lol) we followed teacher through the campsite, whilst she was prattling on about “only one pitch big enough” and “if I’d known” “I’d never have taken the booking” we arrived on a massive pitch adjacent to a massive pitch, having walked past loads on massive pitches.

    “Do you think that you could drive to and get on this pitch”? “Easily” We say “OK then but if your sure, some men can drive and some men can’t drive, but think that they can”

    “My wife drives the”………….to be cut off by a “Look” from Lyn suggesting (telling me) Shut up now, and that we’ll just go back and get the motorhome and get on the pitch.

    So ten minutes later we are on the massive pitch, and I am in trouble again as I have opened the electric box to plug in my electric lead! “How have you a key? We have to plug you in” grumble grumble, mutter mutter”

    So on pitch, jacks down, plugged in, slides out, Satellite TV locked on (and tested in case of a rainy day) Table and chairs out under our new Dometic self supporting remote operated awning (Storm Katie did for the original RV one at Easter) ground anchor in for Shadow and Sabre our dogs and Bobby and Karen arrive with a grin on their faces

    “Have you seen the Headmistress? Apparently we were noisy last night and your vans is too big!

    “Yes we got the lecture and luckily she stopped at point three as I was ready to forget its August and the site is right by the beach if we got to point four!”

    Just then, amazingly Madam turns up in her little buggy and asks if she can take some picture of our motorhome! Which we amusedly acquiesce

    By the end of the stay there she had mellowed to the point she came and said “bye” on the morning that we left, but I does show the importance of a business making a good impression up front. This is the entrance to the site where so much fuss was made about our "big van" [​IMG]

    It could have just been us of course, but just as an aside, about twenty minutes of taking loads of pictures inside and outside of our motorhome, and loads of the dogs she came back in her little buggy.

    You didn’t tell me that you have more friends arriving, another big RV towing a boat!! Its just to much”

    We actually didn’t know, but were delighted that Paul and Sophie Burns had decided at the last minute to join us as they knew where we were headed from a family facebook group as Paul is our Daughter in Law Kate’s brother, So family.

    As for “Another big RV” Paul and Sophie bought Jim and Sian’s Hymer! A lovely van yes, but not too big, and certainly not RV “silly” sized.

    That night the six of us went out for dinner, and swapped notes about the bollocking that we had all received on arrival for nothing more that wanting to stay on the site lol! The area though is beautiful and with cycle tracks everywhere easy to get around.
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    Perhaps that explains why the site has vacancies at the beginning of August! The three of us would never, ever go back despite the site being ideally placed. There are too many other options in what is a beautiful area. The above pictures show by day and by night and it is really a nice place to relax

    After a few days Paul and Sophie left in their “Hymer RV with a boat” heading further south towards their destination of St Tropez and Bobby Karen had to start their epic journey North back to Scotland.

    We had only about a three hour trip inland to a site which we had booked, which was the site that we had arranged to meet our mates Jeff and Susy.

    Camping La Roche Posay was such a fantastic contrast ( http://www.larocheposay-vacances.com/en )

    The site is owned by a young couple, John who is French and Angela who is English. Our emailed questions had all been answered promptly, politely and with all of the information that we required.

    They had advised that as we were two large motorhomes travelling together that they wouldn’t be able to give us two “super pitches” near to each other, but as no pitch was far from water or drainage and every pitch had a decent electrical supply, they would give us two nice big pitches together, and it would be slightly cheaper. Based on this we had booked the site.

    En route we called into hypermarche and topped up with the essentials, and then stayed stopped at an Aire to give the dogs some fresh air and a run. Bear in mind that this is on a main road in August!

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    We honestly didn’t hold out too much hope that we would want to stay too long in the area once we had met up with Jeff and Susy as there just didn’t seem to be enough in the area to keep us amused, all four of us are dreadful for getting itchy feet and start to wanting to know what is over the next hill.

    The site was very easy to find, just as the sites directions said and the first impression was of a clean, properly run, well laid out site. It was hot, very hot about 38° so as it was my turn to drive, I stayed in the motorhome with the air con on (for the dogs) while Lyn popped into reception. A couple of minutes later Lyn was back in the motorhome saying how helpful and friendly the reception was (bearing in mind the previous experience)

    As we had arrived first, we had the choice of either of the two pitches, and after the usual discussion that inevitably happens to every couple when there is choice of two pitches, oncw decided in no time the we were sorted and off to explore the river that runs along the boundary of the camp site.

    If you have dogs and your dogs love water, this site is wonderful, the river is clean, tested for humans to swim in, has a slight current and is teaming with fish and wild life. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Our “Paddle” while the dogs gambolled around, looking like they thought that “their” holiday” had finally started, and ended up with us swimming around and just floating in this amazing river, bearing in mind that it was 38° in the shade! It seemed, after travelling for three or four hours and leaving the campsite of inquisition, Heaven!

    Our friends arrived shortly after and after helping them sort themselves out on their pitch, we went back to river to show them, and let their dogs have a swim. There was no way that our dogs were not getting back in and to be honest, I was very happy to cool off again in the river.

    The site has a wash down area which is idea for rinsing the dogs on the way back to the pitch as although the river is clean and clear, long haired German Shepherds are magnets to everything that hangs, floats or lays on the floor so being able to shower them just by our pitch was great.

    That sort of formed the daily routine for the next couple of weeks to our surprise. The town of La Roche Posay is about one mile away and a decent sized SuperU Hyper market is about the same distance the other direction.

    La Roche Posay has bistro’s bars and restaurant around a town square which has water features and the locals play Boules or sit in the shade under trees. The square host a food market Tuesdays and Fridays

    There are many villages along the river and they make excellent destinations for bike rides to explore.



    Talking of bikes we have trailers for the dogs which double up as excellent shopping carts to visit the town for the most amazing bread and pastries from the towns bakers, or the SuperU up the road when not full of dogs (The trailers that is not the SuperU)

    Our favourite restaurant was the Aburge de la Rosay (http://www.aubergedelaroche.com) where we found the food amazingly good yet surprisingly good value.

    So the site and the area that we thought we would be bored in after a few days managed to keep us happy for fortnight! Admittedly the weather was fantastic, and it did allow for lots of swimming in the two pools, laying on the sunbeds in the pool area, swimming in the river, enjoying snacks and ice cold drinks on the terrace by the pool, in short being lazy doing things when we wanted and not doing things when we didn’t. The speciality ice cream the bar sells are just amazing flavours and not to be missed either.

    We got a call from our two Sons James and Simon that had pooled resources and gone to Spain in James motorhome with their Fiancés and were going to stop at La Roche Posay for two or three days on the way home from Spain to Dieppe if there was space.

    We wandered down to reception and asked if there was room for their motorhome, which again at 10m is quite long and we told not only would there be space, but that the pitch behind ours would be ideal for them and as the people on the pitch were leaving the following day, they would keep it for “your family” to ensure we could all be together. I offered to pay for the additional night as it seemed such a nice gesture and frankly the idea of us all being together sounded a good idea.

    They wouldn’t hear of it, which shows such a contrast to the attitude of the Gruppenführer that ran the previous campsite.

    As it happened, to further mark the contrast between the two sites, La Roche Posay reception closes for lunch, as Sods law would dictate the time that James and Kate would be arriving from Spain. The solution? Reception said, “No problem you have the number for the gate, you know where their pitch is, we’ll see them later on”

    As we had all intended to move on before the final weekend of our holiday and as we were all due to depart back to different parts of England we hadn’t really formulated a plan to get the dogs to a Vet! Especially now, as James and Kate have a 65Kg Leonberger so our pack has risen to five!

    Over a beer in the bar one early evening, John the proprietor comes up with the solution “ Simple we will tell the vet that he needs to come to the camping and sort out your dogs on Friday afternoon” “I will organise it in the morning and then let you know”

    True to his word, he did, and then he sent somebody over to our pitches and said that on the Friday we didn’t need to wait at the camping cars, as someone from the camping would find us where ever we are as the vet had been told to phone when he left for the site!

    Simple! helpful and efficient!

    I can honestly say that I would have no problem whole heartedly recommending La Roche Posay as the site is great, the area is lovely and the staff are so accommodating, friendly and helpful.

    One last cautionary tale! James and Kate got their current motorhome recently, and have due to a family wedding and having two young children been very busy. Add to that that Van Bitz are always stupid busy, so there was no time to get their motorhome into the workshops in Taunton for a security system to be installed before they left for Spain.

    The day after they arrived with us in France, we were having lunch, the great family types of meals where everyone’s table is end to end and it is a long winded grazey, nibbly social affair with three generations of one family plus closest friends and James decided that he ought to lock his van

    I saw him whispering to Simon and I heard the words “don’t say anything to Kate” unfortunately so did Kate! Kate who was sat the other end of the table talking to someone, about something completely different. Then in that way that all married men know when they their wives say “Don’t tell Kate What???

    Basically a very lucky thief had had a narrow miss the previous evening. Both locks on the RV door had been attacked, rendering them useless, obviously a screwdriver had been employed to mash the lock, which had resisted the attack. Had the door opened, he would have been confronted by an angry 65Kg Leonberger, who until the birth of Harrison my Grandson would have run a mile from anything, but in natures strange way decided that he had to be Harrisons “minder” and now won’t tolerate strangers near Harrison or our 10 month Grandaughter Eva. A 65Kg dog growling at you would be menacing! And Blu Boy is BIG

    Add to that James and Simon are both fit young men (some one described Simon on holiday as a “Troll lol) and either would die of embarrassment if anything happened. My two Daughter In Laws who are fiercely defensive of the kids, would punch, bite scratch and kick anyone to protect them, so all in all I think that it was that thief’s lucky day.

    A word of advice though, when your dog that doesn’t normally growl overnight, starts to growl and wakes you up, telling him “Shut up you stupid dog” isn’t the wisest cause of action. I hope that the kids remember that next time as well! Blu Boy heard to bugger(s) and got told to lay down and shut up!

    This tale of course ended with Jeff my mate asking James why he didn’t have a Growler fitted to his motorhome? And the response was “We are too busy at work, we haven’t had time” Kate then was (to be fair tongue in cheek) suggesting that with our Grandchildren travelling in the motorhome you sort of would have thought that we would “made time”

    I answered this, feeling that I was being picked on unfairly and with a theatrical “sniff” said that at great personal expense and pain (broken arm remember) that I had built an emergency alarm system to pop on the dash board, which would plug into the cigar plug and that James had only to fit a contact switch on the caravan (the only) door and a day light blue LED and “jury rig” the wires to the alarm box as a temporary alarm. This was said to deflect the barbs of being a “Bad Grandad”

    This deflected the “Bad Grandad” glare to being a “Bad Daddy” Glare! “James, Ed said that he built us an alarm box, why didn’t you fit it?”

    “Errr, I forgot it!

    Great trip and really looking forward to my trip to Ireland for Christmas and New Year
     

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  2. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    What a wonderful read thank you.
     
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  3. DABurleigh

    DABurleigh Funster

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    Thanks for a good read Eddie, that fills in the gaps to what I'd seen on FB :)

    Dave
     
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  4. scousebird

    scousebird Funster

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    Shame about the first site but it sounds like the second site more than made up for it
     
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  5. davidbaldam

    davidbaldam Funster

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    Phew, thought I was reading a book there. Glad you sorted your problems out and glad you had a great deserving holiday. :)
     
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  6. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Excellent, Thank Eddie....
     
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  7. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    the time taken to write that epic could have been used to fit a decent alarm to your sons rv
     
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  8. barsteward

    barsteward Funster

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    Excellent read Mr Vanbitz. Just glad you haven't got time to go on holiday too often lol. On the plus side, that Tyre, painted white would have made a perfect planter.:D
     
  9. scousebird

    scousebird Funster

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    How's your arm/wrist now?
    And have Shadow and Sabre enjoyed their holiday?
     
  10. DonA4000

    DonA4000 Funster

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    Quite an enjoyable read :) glad it all worked out, we're just going to see about getting on to a site today hopefully a welcoming site and not a school lecture :)
     
  11. StitchesnFluff

    StitchesnFluff Funster

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    Great read, thank you. How's the arm?
     
  12. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    Well that's the point, @jamesvanbitz fits alarms lol, yet I was the baddy(y)
    The dogs loved it, Sabre is definitely in decline sadly, whilst he love swimming, he can't walk very far hence the bike trailers to enable us to go out. He did improve though being able to swim everyday.

    We cannot walk him on concrete or Tarmac anymore as his nails catch when he walks and soon wear down, and can bleed if we don't watch it.

    Trouble is he is still a very happy dog, and has a zest for life. We took him to our vets for a check up after the holiday and all seems OK. he is Twelve in Ddecember, and other than the limp doesn't look it

    I cut my cast off before I went on holiday, and saw the Registrar yesterday and all is OK, just a funny shaped arm, and a much more useful left arm lol
    image.jpg
    Fingers crossed(y)
     
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  13. jumartoo

    jumartoo Funster

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    Wow, what an Epic! Both the read and the journey.
     
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  14. Zigisla

    Zigisla Funster

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    Great to hear this again. Funny how much you forget about a story and then remember it again Lol.
     
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  15. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    I see you had typing lessons whilst you were laid up Eddie:D
     
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  16. big bertha

    big bertha Funster

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    Good read Eddie, love your dogs. SIL's GSDs swim in their pool during hot weather in Spain. Her oldest at 13 3/4 is suffering a bit now with hip problems but soldiering on.
     
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  17. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    Dictation Chris! It's the way ahead!
     
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  18. DonA4000

    DonA4000 Funster

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    We made it and so far so good it's turning out to be a great site :) Les Péneyrals campsite

    http://www.peneyrals.com/campsite-france-dordogne.html

    We're both dog lovers and it's hard to see them getting old, I'm afraid we're one dog down this year's trip :(

    All the best
     
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