There is no heatwave here! Calais-France

Thursday 9th August 2018

Cathy posting,

We are still at the private aire and today we can’t decide what to do?  Tomorrow we are booked on the tunnel crossing from Calais to Folkestone at 7.50am French time, do we stay here? It’s pouring with rain, it costs €6 to stay and it’s free to empty waste, it’s only about a 30 mins drive but when we check Fridays weather it looks terrible, with 45mph gusts. We decide that we should move to Calais Citie Europe Aire at Calais which is free and has the advantage of being a massive shopping complex including a Carrefour, we want to stock up on cheap beer and wines, it will save so much money for our home budget but also for us to take to Ireland in a month or so time.

The 4G signal was good so we blogged and researched ferries for Ireland and stayed until 3pm. This private aire is completely empty this morning apart from us, yesterday there were 25 motorhomes here, did we miss a bargain on the crossing?

Eventually a decision is made, and we are off to Citie Europe – a straight forward drive and we parked up easily, it’s a huge car park (GPS N50.932779, E001.812194) next to Toys R Us, floodlit, overlooked by the police station, good news! and with high fences, there is no barrier though and you come and go as you please.

P1080956It is chucking it down, so we stayed in Pogo, had something to eat and drink, relaxed and we eventually headed over to Carrefour at 6pm, 200 metres walk, we stocked up on beer and wine spending €90, also there is a hairdresser’s inside and I go in, no appointment needed, yes they can do my hair but no colours after 6pm, flipping heck! I could have come over a couple of hours ago, the first two times I had my hair done in Croatia and Belgrade had been so easy.

Early night for us after trying a bit of the €3 per 1.5 litre wine, not too bad and left-over chilli, which always good, can’t beat a two-day old chilli! Dessert was raspberries, crème fraiche and honey, absolutely delicious, well it was for me! Dave found this in alive and crawling his dish!


Sorry if you are eating whilst reading this!

Our alarm was set for the first time in months, it feels weird, I hope we don’t sleep in!

Good night

Cathy x

Cap Gris-Nez and a wonderful walk, Pays de Calais – France

Wednesday 8th August 2018

Cathy posting,

Pogo is liking his sleepy spot at Ferme De L’Horloge (GPS N50.86280, E001.64907). The breadman called this morning at prompt, Dave goes and buys a baguette and a couple of pain au chocolat, my favourites and I’ve managed to resist the indulgent pastry until now. Dave sneaked his favourite sticky affair in too some sort of curled up pastry with apricot raisins and icing, he loves them, far too sweet for me.

Dave took a look at the map and we’ve decided to walk the 7kms to Cap Gris-Nez, the nearest point to England from France, water and indulgent pastry in the back pack and 2 jumpers in case the strong sudden breeze comes back. It was a lovely walk along a very quiet roadway passing a craft brewery and admiring cottages and bungalows with Dover cliffs in their view, we wondered if the locals like their view of Blighty?


This was on zoom

Arriving at the Mairie (local mayors house) we pick up a trail leading to La Plage and from there another trail to Cap Gris-Nez, we are walking above the beach on the dunes as it looks like the tide is in and there’s a rocky outcrop that we may not be able to get past.


a beautiful natural beach

We find ourselves at a couple of look out points, one looks directly back towards the other Cap, Cap Gris-Blanc, there were boardwalks with lots of information boards of the history of this strategic position during the world wars but also the history of important migration routes for birds which start their journey from here before circumnavigation of the world.


Enjoying the moment!

Interestingly also to learn about the many rules on the channel, there are more than 500 ships a day traversing the channel this excludes ferries and fishing vessels, it is the world’s busiest international seaway and in order for this body of water to be safe the rule is that ships travel in one of the two corridors which travel through the channel in the middle of the strait, those leading towards the North sea ports e.g. Dunkirk, Rotterdam etc pass near the French coast and those travelling towards the Atlantic travel along the English coast, known as the traffic separation scheme.

P1080906Walking on to the lighthouse we saw parts of the Atlantic wall, remains of a wall which was a defense system built by the 3rd Reich during WW2 along the western coast of Europe to prevent the allies landing from Great Britain. It extended over 6000kms from the Spanish border to the north of Norway between the two capes Gris Nez & Gris Blanc it was both defensive and offensive as the Germans installed 73 heavy canons located in the area of Calais and Boulogne, 4 batteries could hit targets in England! As we look over to blighty maybe 33kms away it was hard to imagine.




How big is this beach?

Walking back along the beach as the tide went out we paddled in the warm waters and Dave was keen to see the row of mussels growing and now visible as the tide was out, earlier we could see them from high above but just black lines under the water and we couldn’t work out what they were?



young mussels



We could see these when they were covered by the clear, clean water earlier


Horse and riders enjoying the sea breeze and the huge expansive beach

Back at Pogo we get a chilli on and I decide to give myself a pedicure with a nice hot bowl of water and some posh shower gel, a birthday gift from my sister, if I have to have grey hair at the moment then at least I can have nice toes, Dave decides he likes the look of it, so he joins me, his pinkies are all lovely now too!

We sit and enjoy the views again, eating outside and admiring the setting sun a bit of cloud obscuring most of it, so just a few pink streaks showing, we decided to try the cheap wine in the plastic bottle and it was quite good, wished we had bough more now!

Dave drags me out of my reclining position to go and play Swingolf, the Aire has an impressive large pitch and putt more like a 9 hole, unfortunately the clubs are plastic heads and foam rubber balls, but we had a great laugh as we landed our balls into the hedges and I cheated a few times whilst Mr Emms wasn’t looking.


Poetry in motion!


Dave’s golf ball is nearest to the hole!

Good night

Cathy x

A leaking toilet and a massive……….. beach!

Sunday 5th & Monday 6th August 2018

Cathy posting,

There’s a leak on the loo! Its leaked in to the cassette area and it stinks. Dave had taken it apart, but he can’t empty it here and a blue job becomes a pink job once he’s donned my pink rubber gloves! after several minutes of discussing the workings of the contraption we realise the seal is leaking from the loo bowl Continue reading

Cisterian Abbey and a Picardy rose – France

Saturday 4th August 2018

Cathy posting,


Last night we watched a film called The Monuments Men with George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett, at least 12 men mostly art critics and historians braved the front lines and 345 more were to rescue art from the hands of the third Reich once it was known that Hitler had ordered that if the Third Reich fell then it was all to be burned it’s a movie about the true story of the greatest treasure Continue reading

Welcome on board – St Valery – France

Thursday 2nd August 2018

Dave posting,

Yesterday we wanted to visit Khal Burg but it was closed, we had read that it is now a monument to the local and Ukrainian prisoners who worked for 10 to 14 hours a day tunnelling and building this observation post for the German army, dozens of them died in their endeavours, built during 1942 following the Canadian landings in Dieppe during operation jubilee, Treport was considered Continue reading

A birthday to remember – Le Treport – France

Friday 31st July 2018

Cathy posting,

Its Dave’s birthday today, he’s finally caught up with me and is the grand old age of 57, one of the reasons I picked this place was for the sunsets, he just loves sunsets.

We have picked a walk along the cliff top to Criel Sur Mer, and set off quite early before the heat sets in, disappointingly we had to walk on the road quite a bit because unlike the UK where we seem to be able to get close to the edge of the coast be it beach or cliffs most of the land near the edges was Continue reading

Somme bay sunrise and a Normandy sunset – France

Monday 30th July 2018

Cathy posting,

I was wide awake at 5.20am this morning and could see the light peeping through the open blind, Dave woke too and was out of bed in a jiffy when I suggested we go to the beach to see the sunrise, once on the beach we decided we needed to walk further down to the village, we were a bit early! Watching the locals going on to the salty grassy low sand dunes to gather some sort of crustaceans, we had a bench to ourselves, no sound Continue reading

Bobbing along the coast in Northern France

Sunday 29th July 2018

Cathy posting,

We are just bobbing around at a bit at the moment and loving every minute of it, this morning Pogo is parked at Cayeux Sur Mer (GPS N50.21500, E001.55325), we are still in Somme region, we moved just 22kms south a bit from Le Crotoy, it was raining a little and nice and cool which is good as the air con is not working, we’ve not switched it on since our flat battery and when we have a longer drive we’ll test it out, it’s a free Aire behind the sand dunes, we’ve come here as we’ve heard that if we are lucky we might see basking seals at low tide.

Dave spotted a parking spot in a largish bay of hedges with 3 other motorhomes, I said there’s room for 2 don’t you think? but he said no I’ll park in the middle in case we want to get our chairs out, well one thing we have learnt on this trip is if you haven’t already used the space with chairs or something then someone will park extremely close and guess what, yep, 10 minutes later a French guy literally launches his motorhome with a very fast reversing manoeuvre into the space between us and the next van, I was sitting typing and I thought he was going to hit us! our step is down and when we get out later there is only just room for our bodies between the step and his van, it’s our own fault for leaving a space with literally van only width on both sides, we have not done that before and lesson learned park moderately and do what others do and get your chairs out immediately, unless of course it says no camping behaviour which this Aire did not.

P1080453Once the rain had subsided we went to see what was on the other side of the hedge, we found a few trails to walk along and a path over the dunes, we saw immediately that there must be seals on the sandy flats as there were little groups of people stood around with cameras, we managed to see them with our binoculars even they were not too close, later we saw a couple of them bobbing their heads up and down in the water, we took a long walk along the beach as it was a lovely cool evening until a huge dark cloud decided to lighten its load on top of us!



Used the zoom on the camera from a distance

The whole area is being regenerated with walking and biking trails and dedicated Aires, another is in the process of being built, there were bill boards explaining the plans and €639,000 is being spent, however it still feels au-naturale, it’s great now but it will be even better, we will be back here again that’s for sure.

We walked back at a bit of a pace and dried off and after tea watched a DVD “The Field” it was a good film starring Richard Harris about an Irish land owner whose life changes dramatically when he tries to save his patch of Emerald field to the jeopardy of all else, it reminded me again of the reason we are renting our house out, it’s bricks and mortar and it’s been a great family home but we don’t need it more than we need to have fun and adventures.

Cathy x