Speed Limits Are Changing on 400,000km of French Roads

From 1st July 2018 Speed limits are changing from 90Km/h(56mp/h) to 80Km/h(50mp/h)

Needless to say, The French don’t seem too impressed.
Here is an article in the Guardian with more details
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/10/france-cuts-speed-limit-rise-deaths

And More from the RAC
https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/travel/driving-abroad/speed-limits-in-france/

 

The change applies only to the French version of our A & B roads it does not apply to Motorways which have a higher limit of either 110 or 130 Km/h and roads in towns which have a lower limit.

This even though it’s only a 6mph difference will will significantly increase travel times over the vast distances of French countryside.
The change is being introduced to improve road safety and you can bet that the French Police will revel in the chance to hand out a few more fines. Remember speeding fines are an on the spot fine for foreign motorists and could see a return to the days when us foreign truckers used to have to carry as much cash as you could, to pay the fines that at one time you were guaranteed to receive.

So watch your speed in France this summer. If your car has cruise control and or a speed limiter use it! It only takes a small lapse and it could well get expensive!

It’s not going to stop us heading to our favourite campsite in the far South.

Snowdonia Ultimate 3 in 1 Coat Product Review

Being campers in the UK means 2 things. You WILL GET WET! You WILL GET COLD!

These are 2 inescapable facts, so to combat this we campers go in search of things to combat these facts. Namely warm and dry clothing, also heat and alcohol work too but this is a review of a coat!

In the summer I needed a lightweight waterproof coat as yes it does rain in summer, especially in the Both West, so I spent the amazing sum of £120 of my very own pounds on a Helly Hansen Vancouver jacket, and I was very impressed. It did exactly what it said in the label.

So along comes winter and I realise that my old 3 in 1 Coat is looking a bit shabby and could do with reproofing. I washed itinerary the required technical washing solutions but it still didn’t look too great it was however waterproof again.

Time for a new winter coat.

Now I am not exactly small in stature or in girth so off I went to Jacamo website where I found some coats in my size all claiming to be warm and waterproof.

I ordered 2 to try a Helly Hansen and a Colombia at almost £200 each!

They both got sent back. The Helly Hanson was too short and the Columbia was too big but it was promising. However no smaller size was available.

Enter the Snowdonia Ultimate 3 in 1. Most of these jackets have a waterproof outer and a fleece zipped inside. This has a down type padded jacket zipped inside and was only £100. What had I to loose. I knew the coats were ok as my old 3 in 1 was a Snowdonia too.

It arrived and I tried it on in the kitchen over a t shirt. In 2 minutes I had to take it off I was boiling!

The inner and outer come down long enough at the back to keep my bum warm and the outer material feels good quality. I decided this was the keeper.

It’s billed as waterproof, windproof, breathable and warm. Windproof, waterproof and warm I can concur as that very night was blowing a gale and lashing it down so I wore it to go to my gig. I never even noticed the wind and the rain didn’t bother it at all. The inner jacket collar comes all the way up inside the outer jacket collar and is padded all the way to keep your neck nice and cosy.

This is a fab coat available in sizes up to 5xl so an average family of 4 could probably camp in it quite comfortably.

Chester Fair Oaks Caravan & Motorhome Club Site Review

Date Of Visit : January 26th 2018

This is our first visit to a C&M Club Site. We joined the club in the latter half of last year and have so far only used a CL so we were keen to compare a main club site.

I booked online as usual but with C&M you don’t pay any deposit when booking which is a bit odd these days. I would expect to pay a deposit. I have seen plenty of complaints in online forums that the C&M Club don’t take a deposit which people believe leads to members making mass bookings just in case they fancy going & then canceling when they can’t be bothered to go.

Anyway I got the dates we were after and we had aimed to leave Friday morning but it was my Mum’s funeral the day before and I must admit that I was more than a little inebriated when i landed in bed and was in no fit state to drive on Friday morning, so we decided to wait and as I was expecting a rather important parcel we waited until that had been delivered. We left after 4pm. The traffic was not great so it took a bit longer than normal.

We arrived and checked in with the Site Warden and paid our £41.00 fees. We were instructed to go find a pitch and let the Warden know which pitch we had chosen, at which point we were given a fob to open the entrance barrier.

Pitches are Hard standing and level and evenly spaced. The site is quite dark and positioning the van on the pitch could have benefited from some street lighting.
There is enough light from the EHU bollards to walk around the site at night but as I was reversing the van onto the pitch there was one side in total darkness which made it hard for even an experienced driver to gauge the distance to the grass to ensure the van was central on the pitch.

We were only here for 2 nights so we quickly connected the electric and filled the water put the heating on gas to warm the van up quicker and nipped to Sainsbury’s for a few bits and then around to the Peak pub which is virtually right next to the site for some food. The Peak is a Hungry Horse pub and food was pretty good.

Saturday morning was Wet and after breakfast we headed off to Cheshire Oaks for some retail therapy and to watch a film.

Toilet Block
Playground
Looking towards reception

 

 

The site was all in all good if a little pricey. Over £40 for 2 nights when you have already paid over £50 a year to join the club, there are plenty of commercial sites that don’t charge that much.
If you are putting up an awning you will need rock pegs. These are available in reception but at the price they were charging I’d make sure to take some with you. Awnings go on hard standing not on grass.
The bathroom, laundry and washing up facilities were all clean, warm and bright. To get any hot water out of the shower I did have to turn the tap as hot as it would go but at least it was not one of those annoying push button taps.

The children’s playground was tidy and looked in good condition. I did test the swing as @Walterswardens on twitter dared me but it was dark and there was no light at all. I think this was probably by design as much as anything so that kids don’t play noisily after dark.

Would we visit again? Yes but if there was an alternative cheaper site I’d probably take that option for just a couple of nights we can make do without the nice clean loos.
The site is ideally located for Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port and Chester as well as a run into North Wales and all it has to offer.

Saying Goodbye

I know I’ve been very quiet for some time and I’s sorry for that.

I have had quite a lot going on in the latter part of 2017 which concluded on Christmas Day when I lost my Mum.
Mum was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in March. She decided to have treatment even though she had been told it would only prolong the inevitable.

So today we say goodbye to Mum. Today is her funeral. My brother and I have been caught in the red tape that surrounds  these things. Mum had to have an Autopsy which delayed things, so it’s been a whole month since she passed away until we can finally lay her to rest.

So there has not been any camping and to rectify this and to enable us to get a break away from everything that has been going on and to enable us to reconnect.

It also gives us an opportunity to try out our first Caravan and Motorhome Club site so look out for our review of Chester Fairoaks Club Site

Broomedge Farm CL

This is our first Caravan & Motorhome Club site and it’s ok. It’s a CL same as the C&CC’s CS sites. A 5 van member only site usually not much more that a farmer’s field with a Chemical toilet emptying point. They are however usually in some nice little locations and this one is no exception.

Continue reading “Broomedge Farm CL”

Smithills Open Farm Day Out

It’s a Farm. A bit like Old McDonald’s Farm but with Meerkats! Smithills Open Farm is or was on a large estate in Bolton dominated by Smithills Hall. A well known hotel Smithills Coaching House was part of the estate but sadly this seems to be a housing estate now. The management has visited with a class from the school where she works and found it enjoyable and so persuaded me we should go. Continue reading “Smithills Open Farm Day Out”

Squeezing in a cheeky weekend

Some friends, Rose & Derek suggested we get together on a campsite soon. We agreed it was a great idea! And said we will make a plan and get back to them.

Well it was not looking hopeful! Upon consulting our diary it was looking very bleak for getting away in the van this side of Christmas, with my Trumpet playing commitments and kids moving out, and life in general. I identified the weekend of November 11th. Rememberance weekend. I’m usually busy playing the Last Post somewhere and it’s an honour to do it but I’ve not been booked yet so I could miss one year right? No the booking came it so that weekend is out.

Continue reading “Squeezing in a cheeky weekend”

Review: Lane End Farm Certified Site

Lane End Farm, Lane End, Hopwood,Heywood, Lancashire, OL10 2JE
Open: 01 Jan 2017 – 31 Dec 2017

Date of Visit: August 2017         Unit: Caravan

I booked over the phone on the Saturday before our Friday arrival on August Bank Holiday Weekend. I had been reading how hard people were finding it to get a pitch anywhere, so fingers crossed I rang.
£15 a night with electric. Hard Standing or Grass pitch available. Continue reading “Review: Lane End Farm Certified Site”