Friday 27th July
Yesterday I told Dave the engine battery was only ¼ and it’s normally half, this morning before we left Le Quesnoy I mentioned it again, don’t worry he assured me it’s fine, it always starts first time, famous last words, we are heading to a private Aire that Dave has found which has free wi-fi.
Stopping for diesel at an improved price of €1.36, normally in France its between €1.51 and €1.60, and next to an E.Leclerc supermarket, we’re run out of food, so a quick shop, we came back to Pogo the heat was intense so we quickly threw stuff in the cupboards and on setting off discovered, yes a flat battery, did I say I told you so? well maybe!
Checked the panel inside and it reads zero, it normally hovers over the 50% mark or a bit higher.
I called Safeguard Insurance (AA European Assistance) and my call was answered promptly although the automated choices said if I had broken down on a French motorway then to go to an orange emergency phone and call and we would be assisted off the motorway by the police? So, the AA don’t do motorway assistance in France! I guess it is a safety thing or is it tolls? Anyway, the guy takes our details, finds the supermarket, I had the details on the shopping till receipt, 45 mins he said, no problem we’ll have lunch while we wait, now that’s the great thing about having a home on wheels, we had just finished our coffee and tuna sandwiches (20 mins) when the breakdown truck arrived.
The guy doesn’t speak any English, he jump started the engine, got it going and said drive for an hour at least, using my little bit of French I asked him to check the alternator, no sorry he doesn’t have the tools for that, he was in a tow away truck.
So we can’t go to our chosen private aire as that’s only 5kms away, I told Dave whilst we were waiting that I am sure it has got something to do with the air con as that was only done a few weeks ago and its been so hot we’ve had it on constantly, neither of us know what it might be but I’ve got at least an hour whilst Dave drives to do some research, we have also noticed that since the air con has been fixed that the engine fans runs on for up to 20 mins after switching the engine off? we’d never noticed that before either.
We might as well head to the coast, so we pick an Aire with services €7 at Le Crotoy in the Somme department of Hauts de France, Northern France.
We drove without air con and boy was it hot! Hot! Hot! Windows open we couldn’t hear each other over the engine, road and wind noise.
Arriving at Le Crotoy Aire next to the sand dunes, don’t turn that engine off Mr Emms until I’ve figured out N,S,E,W,! there is no actual shade here, we picked a spot, engine off and checked the panel inside Pogo and it was 50%, it’s back to normal reading, so is it the air con?
The belt might need adjusting, there is a belt running from the alternator that runs the compressor for the air con, maybe it needs adjusting, we will probably make do without and have it repaired in the UK.
We were glad when it started to rain and had the windows open, the lovely fresh sea air coming in over the Dunes and a heavy downpour cooling everything down.
We walked along the beach in the evening to the Le Crotoy town about 40 mis away, it’s a lovely wide soft sandy beach but its actually an estuary with some mud flats and little clumps of sea grasses, loads of samphire and sea herbs,
I was desperate for the loo and one good thing about France is there is always a public loo free of charge and open as the one I found was.
We strolled around the pleasant town and headed in to a bar for a Troll beer, I loved the glasses.
Then a nice walk back through the streets admiring the colourful cottages and expensive looking holiday villas. Back at Pogo we had a late tea of ham, cold boiled eggs, coleslaw and Mexican vegan pate, we’re eating a lot of vegetarian when in Pogo as I’ve previously mentioned but I want to try some vegan stuff too, it was very nice spread onto some buttery melba toast.
We should sleep well tonight as it is nice and cool.