We are at the Eurotunnel Terminal in Folkstone waiting for our call and, as we seem to have a couple of hours to spare, I thought it would help pass the time if I started updating my blog, which has been neglected for the last couple of weeks.
It was lovely being back in England and in our usual haunts in West Sussex, seeing friends, colleagues and, of course, our son, Pepo, with whom we were able to enjoy 3 days, including an Indian meal at Cardamon Bay in Bognor Regis and Sunday lunch at The George pub in Eartham, where we used to go regularly when we lived in Slindon. After so many months away in foreign lands, it was a relief not to have to struggle with the language, understand everyone, be understood and have a laugh with people in general. I also loved shopping in Sainsbury’s again, as there were things I missed whilst abroad that we simply couldn’t find, like smoked back bacon or good quality Cheddar cheese, Bombay mix and even okra for my seafood gumbo! I bought the lot! Equally, it was good to visit some of our favourite clothes shops, like Next and stock up in summer wear.
I also enjoyed driving again, as we needed a car while the van went for its MOT and other minor work, and I was very pleased with my brand new Ford Fiesta we rented from Enterprise rent-a-car in Chichester, which provided an excellent, friendly and professional service and even let me extend the hire period when travelling plans had to be altered. I even got a lift back to Slindon from the nice young gentleman who served me when I collected and delivered the car. I will most certainly be using their services again should we need to rent another car in the future. I will be looking for a similar car when we get back.
We stayed at beautiful and peaceful Slindon Club Campsite in the heart of the gorgeous South Downs National Park and on the edge of Slindon Forest and, therefore, we enjoyed nice long walks in the area, which reminded us of how much we used to love our long Sunday morning walks here. We especially loved our hike up to Slindon Folly, where we used to go for picnics all those years ago.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t come over for a holiday, but to get some jobs done and to keep some important appointments, not least Adonis’s check-up at QA Hospital in Cosham, near Portsmouth, Hampshire. This was on the Friday morning and I am very happy to report that all was clear and there is no sign of the dreaded tumour, so that is something to celebrate and be happy about.
Before going to the hospital, we dropped the motorhome at Ollievan near Fareham to fix a leak on the roof, as one of the seals needed resealing. We were told to return at 3 p.m. and because we had some time to kill after the appointment, we decided to drive to Southsea for lunch and enjoy the sea air and views and a visit to a local pub, for it was a very hot day.
Other appointments included a visit to the dentist for both of us, a visit to the groomer’s and Vet for Beano and the motorhome MOT, all in Bognor Regis, where we used to live, so we stayed with what and who we know and trust. The MOT showed the motorhome back brake cylinders were unsafe and had to be replaced, for which they had to keep the van in the garage overnight, resulting in us having to leave the lovely campsite at Slindon to spend the night outside garage and only a few metres away from the railway line. We didn’t get a lot of sleep that night and were woken up very early by the first train, which sounded as if it was going to roll over our heads! The best thing about it was discovering the nearby new Charlie Purley pub, where we had a nice couple of pints of real ale, Marston’s Pedigree (another thing we missed abroad) and dinner, as I didn’t feel like looking after all that drama.
We were lucky enough to be at Slindon for their annual Church Summer Fête, which was held last Saturday, and it was wonderful to see some of our work colleagues and friends there, as well as some of the students. It has a great success with a huge turn-out of people and some very fancy vintage cars, a multitude of stalls selling all kinds of things, pretty displays, a brass band to serenade us all and even a dog show: shame we didn’t take Beano; he would have won something, I am sure.
During my visit to the dentist, I was told one of old my fillings needed replacing and that’s why we had to extent our stay until this morning. So, with my new white filling now in place, the car returned to the dealer, a healthy husband, a dog groomed and wormed, a motorhome fixed and with a brand new MOT, we are ready to roll again for the summer. First stop: Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer, as wine and beer are still cheaper here! We’ll be back in the UK in late August at the end of our sabbatical/convalescence year and I am actually looking forward to it.