Where's Frankie?

Emergency Dash to Europe

Thursday 23rd March

Things are getting desperate and we now have to make an emergency trip to France to ease the situation. Ferry is booked for next Wednesday.

But first…

I know it’s been a while since I last posted but you don’t want to know everytime I go to a Wetherspoons (average twice a week) and my daily walks to Tescos to get the shopping and stay slightly fit.

We left you in the last blog with the need to get home for a court case and to help out with the birth of our daughters second child.

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First day driving was very uneventful, we took the motorway and managed to drive 300 miles and reach Pamplona, we’d been to this aire on the outskirts of the city before and since we like it here (it’s the right price) it was a good enough target. Friday evening was when we got the good news that the defendant in our court case had caved in and paid up in full with interest! How we cheered until the next morning to see a carpet of snow.

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We don’t like snow anymore but it is pretty in small doses. 

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And this is a pretty route through the Pyrenees.

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The downside is that you don’t know how deep the snow is going to get…

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…and it did start looking a bit dodgy.

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This part was rather worrying and it took our minds off the need to find a Lidl in Spain and stock up with cheap gin (€4.29 a bottle) and by the time we realised we were in France where it is significantly more expensive.

We had five days to catch our ferry so had a couple of overnight stops on the way, all fairly short journeys of 200 miles and then just past Tours we had another problem which is the main cause of our emergency trip next week. We’re happily driving along and hear a bump, bump, bump. Thinking it is just the road surface we take the slip way off the motorway and there is a big bang as the rear offside tyre explodes. It’s cold and raining, we’re on a narrow slip road on a slope and lorries can only just get past us. Jack up the back of the motorhome and we hit a slight problem. The scissor jack supplied with the motorhome is visibly bending out of shape and getting worse the higher we go.

It all looked so unsafe that I ended up calling out emergency rescue services. One of the reasons I delayed writing this post was that I might have to face up to the fact that I was probably covered by our insurance but when you are wet and cold and miserable (as usual) some things get forgotten. The upshot is that we are €225 out of pocket, have a knackered spare tyre and bent scissor jack.

I was going to change all four tyres when we got home (honest), the fronts were worn (after 20,000 miles and the rears were 10 years old (with loads of tread still). 

I’ve got very little gin, I’m scared to bulk buy loads of red wine incase I overload the tyres and have another blow out and have run out of money which is why we are off next Wednesday to restock the wine cellar.

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Finally, after three weeks of us being home, Emma gave birth to Lacey pictured here with older sister, Darcy. I don’t think you could get two kids more opposite to each other. Darcy is noisy and on the go all day long whilst Lacey has been asleep for the last two months, barely made a noise except when it is feeding or changing time. I’ve spent my time cooking and taking Darcy to and from school but that soon stopped because Emma is coping so well, she really doesn’t need our help.

If I ever see Lacey awake I’ll post another picture.

Expect blogging to start next week, we should be over there for six weeks, our plans are still very basic, we’re going Eastish, possibly Alsace, Black Forest, Ardennes, but you know what our plans are like!!

6 thoughts on “Emergency Dash to Europe

  1. Chris

    Great to see your back on the road, love reading your adventures. MIne are on hold, was due to go to Spain in March BUT…..diagnosed with Angina, Angiogram due 5 April, then probably a stent, then some recovery. A delay only, intend to get back in the “saddle” asap. We sound very similar eg. Wetherspoons/Lidls/etc.

  2. Clunegapyears

    Congrats on new granddaughter. J expecting 2nd from daughter that lives in Nice so we’ve been here for a week offering support whilst hubby away. No hardship visiting such a beautiful place but sooo expensive.
    Glad you’re back on the road.

    1. Mark Post author

      Thank you. We noticed a huge difference between prices in the different countries we’ve passed through but am sure there is a bit of a ‘premium’ in Nice. Hope all goes well with the birth.

  3. colin newby

    Keep your eyes peeled Aldi/Lidl do bottle Hydraulic jacks, however ask/borrow a proper jack and find out the height needed to get an inflated tyre off (or more to the point back on), and check your intended purchasse takes the weight, and height. Always a problem with a MH, space and weight, I feel your pain! Bonne Route

    1. Mark Post author

      Funny you should say that, I was given a bottle jack and had it with me. Far too tall to fit under so has been consigned to the garage. I bought a 2 ton trolley jack from Halfords (£20). I also needed a 14mm socket to release the spare wheel.

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