I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Ridley’s Bridge 88 (North Oxford Canal) – Monday 16th July

We are back, later than planned but we decided that it was really to hot to be on our 60 foot steel cigar tin when we live by the sea!  In fact, we are a week and a day late as we were definitely coming up on Sunday, but I had been saying to Richard all week that Sunday was going to be an extremely hot day and he kept on saying that it would be OK up until Sunday morning when he finally agreed!  An extra day at home meant that the things that I hadn’t managed to get done got done.

The trouble with coming up on a Monday meant that the traffic was bad mainly with lorries attempting to overtake other lorries on the A34.

We found Mary H dusty inside and out as Richard had left all the windows open.  The temperature had only got up to 33° and down to 12° - we thought it would have been hotter than that.

Unpacking done we set off and had planned on cruising for about an hour but in the end we didn’t go very far as we found a nice shady spot – imperative!

What were we up to while we were away from Mary H?  We went to France with our caravan for three weeks (I did blog about this) then Richard had a boy’s week on Mary H with a friend.  We went down to Devon to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 80th birthday

and then down to Cornwall

with our friends from Florida where we also met up with mutual friends who now live near Bodmin.  A fair few miles have been covered!

We are now heading to Tewkesbury via the River Avon – I know we did that last year but there is method in our madness which you will see pan out if you follow my blogs!!

1.99 miles
0 locks

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part sixteen)

Wednesday 30th May

We were up at 7.30am - way too early!  We have a routine for packing up now though that was interrupted today as Richard went down to the shop to buy bread and I made sandwiches.  We left about 9.45am which was 15 minutes before we had wanted to leave and a good hour before we needed to leave!  

It was just as well we left early as we got caught up in a deviation (our third!) and ended up heading north instead of South!  We had hoped to get fuel yesterday but it didn't happen so when Richard saw a small garage with a couple of pumps he stopped, filled up and went to pay.  He came back to the car and said empty your purse their card machine isn't working!  The fuel had come to 70 Euros and we only had 35 Euros!  Monsieur tried to get through to the card company but when Richard said that we had a ferry to catch he offered to take him to the nearest ATM to get the cash!  Monsieur said it was only about a kilometre but when Richard got back, looking a little pale, he said it had been further and that he had feared for his life with Monsieur's driving!

We finally got back on track and headed back to Le Havre.  We stopped to eat our baguettes and then drove on.  The road is good nearly all the way and then you hit the motorway.  We knew there were three Peages to contend with but we have a Toll Tag so can sail through the fast lane.  However at the first Peage we pulled in behind a lorry and sat there and sat there.  Eventually I got out and realised that the barrier was broken!  Richard had to reverse out with cars racing around all over the place!  We pulled into the lane next door and got through.  At the second Peage Richard was just about to pull in behind a lorry when I realised there was a problem up the front of the queue - a Dutch motorhome had got themselves into the wrong lane!  Richard was able to swerve into the adjoining pay lane.  Thank goodness the third Peage all went well!

We arrived at the Ferry Port spot on 3.30pm which is the time pet owners are required to check in.  The check-in booths weren't even open!  Eventually we were checked in and then had to wait and wait and wait.  All the cars went on board but caravans, motor homes and any other trailers had to wait.  It was so hot and poor Muffin was panting.  We realised in the end that they wanted to load the lorries before the rest of us but the lorry drivers just rocked up when they felt like it, they then had to go and register their paperwork.  We finally boarded about 4.40pm - 70 minutes after arriving.

The crossing was smooth but about three quarters of the way across the fog came down and our ship's fog horn was blaring constantly.  Richard kept looking out to see if he could see where we were and, at one stage, thought that he could see one of the forts in the Solent.  Next thing we could see the new aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, in the naval dockyard.  We were one of the first vehicles off and were soon on our way home - we only live about 20 minutes from the ferry port!

It was nice to be home - three weeks in a caravan and 1125 miles is all very well but there is nothing like home!

The photos in this post are ones are either ones I really like or that didn't quite make it into other posts.

And finally

Friday, 8 June 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part fifteen)

Tuesday 29th May

Today was our last day and the weather was feeling sad for us - crying and feeling grey!

One of the reasons for me wanting to come over to this part of Northern Brittany was that as a teenager I had a school friend who's parent owned a 44 foot yacht and I was lucky enough, at the age of 16, to go on her maiden voyage.  We left Hamble and went over to Guernsey then to this area.  Paimpol, Treguier, Perros-Guirec and Morlaix if I remember rightly - Tregastel also rang a bell.  This was 49 years ago but I wanted to revisit it all.  Paimpol we had done and Morlaix was too far away but we could do the other three.  We set off passing Treguier as we would do that on the way back.  I think I made a mistake with Tregastel as there was nothing there really.  We continued northwards and came across La Greve Blanche - a lovely find even though it was quite misty.  The coast there is called the Cote de Granit Rose or the Pink Granite Coast because of the pink granite rocks (surprise, surprise) that are dotted about.  Some are huge and others small while in places the rocks has become red shingle.

These rocks have been brought in to act as a sea defence but you can see the real  pink colouring in them.

This is a close up of the rocks.  To be honest they look like pink gravel which has been chucked into a concrete mixer and then poured out into rock moulds!

From La Greve Blanche we headed north again stopping in St. Anne where we found a small Carrefour supermarket so I bought sandwiches for lunch and we sat in the car and ate them.  We headed north once more and came across St. Guirec (we think!).  We stopped and had a quick look round and bought an ice cream.  While we were sitting eating them we saw this flag flying, it contained the flags of Brittany, Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and two we didn't know.  One we discovered was Austurias (Spain) and the other was Galicia (Spain) - the connection?  They are all Celtic countries or regions.

We realised at the point that we weren't going to have time to do anymore sightseeing as we needed to get back to the caravan and start packing up - the awning had to come down and the car sorted out.  It was a real shame but we will be back and next time we will stay over that way so we can see it all.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part fourteen)

Monday 28th May

Today was messed up with Muffin having to go to the vet in Paimpol to get the all clear to travel home.  I was very brave and rang the surgery and spoke to a girl who managed about the same amount of English as I did French!  In the end I said I would go at deux heures and just hoped that I had remembered that correctly and that they would be expecting us at 2pm!

We got into Paimpol about midday - just in time for lunch as Richard wanted to have 12 oysters this time!!!  We found a nice restaurant and sat out in the sun.  His oysters looked - well like oysters but my calzone looked better!

After lunch we wandered around the town and found it to be a really lovely old place.  It was so quiet though but I guess it was about 1pm on a Monday!  I wish I had taken more photos.

We were on the vet's doorstep at 2pm - it was then I discovered that there was no appointment system and that is what the receptionist had been trying to tell me.  Fortunately there was only a cat in front of us so we didn't have to wait long. All the vet did was look in Muffin's ears and mouth, fill in his part of the Pet Passport, give us a worming tablet (which he was supposed to administer) and charge us 30 Euros!  Money for old rope!!

From Paimpol we headed south to Binic.  Penny's book said nice things about it so we thought it was worth a visit and yes, it was nice.  I took thus from the Brittany Tourism website.  "Once a little medieval village, Binic grew to become one of the most important ports in the French fishing industry. It was the expeditions of the ‘terre-neuvas’  - the fishermen that left France to fish in Newfoundland  waters – that secured Binic its place in history, and the imposing granite and schist ship-owners’ houses lining the Quai Jean Bart are testament to this prosperous business. The town became a sailing resort as well as a charming seaside destination during the 20th century, and to this day boats shelter behind the 350 metre long main jetty referred to by locals as the ‘grande muraille’ (big stone wall)."  What is schist?  Wikipedia says "Schist is a medium-grade metamorphic rock with medium to large, flat, sheet-like grains in a preferred orientation (nearby grains are roughly parallel). It is defined by having more than 50% platy and elongated minerals, often finely interleaved with quartz and feldspar."  There you are then!!

We walked down passed the harbour and onto the "big stone wall" and sat there watching the tide coming in.  The rise in the tide today was about 7 metres so it came in pretty quickly.

We then walked over the lock gate and round the other side of the harbour.  One of things that we noticed was that at least 95% of the boats in all the harbours we have been to have been yachts - motor cruisers don't seem at all popular in this area.

Later in the evening, back at the caravan site, we wandered down to the bottom row of static caravans to see what sort of view they had.  

On our way back to the caravan we came across a chap playing a banjo!  We had heard him earlier and Richard was convinced it was recorded!  He was playing traditional Irish folk music.  We stopped and chatted with him and his wife.  He was from Belfast and she was from Nottingham - I have to admit that we both struggled to understand him as his accent was so broad.  

Later on in the evening there was a wonderful sunset - we really counted ourselves us lucky to be able to see it from our caravan windows.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part thirteen)

Sunday 27th May

We woke up this morning to the sound of a Cuckoo.  It sounded as if it was on the pitch next door!  I don't think I have ever heard one so close.  

When we opened the blinds we got such as surprise as not only could we see the sea but also land on the other side!  We weren't too sure where it was though!

We drove into Paimpol and had a look around.  It is a lovely old town and it was nice to see that not all the boats tied up were leisure boats - there were some fishing boats.  Apparently the town developed around the important cod fishing industry from the 15th century to the 19th century and Paimpol’s fishermen used to set off on long trips to Iceland each February, trips which lasted around eight months at a time.  Today, its glory is an oyster: the famous Paimpolaise.  There is still an active fish market.

Today was Mother's Day and most local people were in their Sunday best and carrying flowers I guess on their way to visit their Mothers.  We found a restaurant that served oysters as Richard was determined to have some.  He had six and assured me that they were lovely!  I stuck to a Salade Cesar!  The big blot on Paimpol's landscape was that the fair was in town and the pantechnicons were all along the harbour side which meant that instead of being able to sit looking at boats I was sat looking at a very large lorry.  The one good side was that the fair wasn't open though it was beginning to show signs of life as we were leaving.

We walked round the harbour, two harbours in fact, and across the lock.  The tide was out and a large dam holds the water in the harbour.

From Paimpol we drove up the peninsular to see if we could find the land we had seen this morning.  The French have a habit of putting No Entry signs with Sauf Riverains \9except residents) on them on roads that lead to the sea - we gave up and ignored them in the end as did a lot of people it appeared!  We never did find the houses that we could see from the caravan.

We drove up to the Pointe de L'Arcouest where a ferry goes to the Isle de Brehat and then round to another place - I'm not even sure it has a name - where I was just blown away by the rocks.  With the tide being low the sea was just a mass of sharp, nasty, not-sailor-freindly rocks!  They were amazing and stunning.  

We continued to Loguivy-de-la-mer which was pretty but nothing special.

Our final port of call was the Sillon de Talbert which is a thin line of land reaching 3.5 kilometres into the sea with an average width of 100 metres, it’s made up mostly of sand and pebbles. Sadly it is a regional nature reserve (RNR) and is totally dog free - even the beach.  

On our way back to the caravan we came across this junction!