On being in France with nothing to do…

(That’s where we got the fresh water)

We’re here! We docked on Friday at 4pm (thats 3pm Irish time). As I mentioned a couple of days ago I’m going to document what it’s like to arrive in France and have nothing to do but I’m not sure this is it… Maybe I’ll try again on Sunday.

This has been a lovely exercise (thank you Aileen!) and I’m thinking I’d like more mental exercise… so I’m going to turn on the comments and see if I can persuade you to help me explain what travelling by motorhome is really like. I know it’s probably a pain for you to ask a question in the comments or maybe it’s scary (like taking all your clothes off and running down the street?) but it’s just you, me and a few people who’ve been with us since the Garda check in Rosslare. What could go wrong?

(The garages with gas app…)

Back in Greystones I had a great idea (does it ever get old?) to sterilize our water tank. We have a 120 litre tank for water. Drinking water, showering water, dish washing water and flushing the toilet cassette water. I am a little concerned about drinking the water from it so I buy bottles of water at the supermarket and drink them, boil them for tea, cooking etc. Then I started to wonder about drinking so much bottled water…

(One can buy washing machines in French supermarkets… we can’t )

Anyway I thought I would take a step in the right direction and get the tank nice and clean. I looked up the internet and found motorhome people were using vinegar to clean their water tanks. I’ve been using vinegar for cleaning at home for months and for weed maintenance in the garden (it works great on brambles, powerful stuff) so I stopped searching for other solutions and bought a few litres. The process involved pouring the vinegar into a three quarters full tank of water, going for a long drive, emptying the vinegar water and refilling with clean water. On Thursday morning I filled the water and the vinegar and we drove to Rosslare. The water sloshed around doing it’s cleaning as we drove and then again while we sailed to Cherbourg.

(Or coffee machines… we use manual)

On arrival we had to find a place to empty the vinegar water and take in clean water. So we drove around the corner to the motorhome Aire at Cherbourg port. That’s when we realised all the water was still in the fresh water tank, it needed to be in the grey water tank to empty it. It took us an hour to empty from one to the other and out to the town drain and then refill but while we were waiting we met a lovely couple from New Zealand and as always happens we shared tips.

(Or amazing cakes… we didn’t)

Then we needed something for dinner – as we have to turn off the gas while parked on the ship, the fridge warms up overnight, so to guard against salmonella we stock up when we arrive. We plotted a route to a supermarket in Bayeux, about 60 minutes from Cherbourg. On the way we remembered we were low on gas. We use gas for cooking, heating the cabin and the water and for powering the fridge when we’re not plugged into land power. Last year we had a refillable bottle installed which means we don’t have to bring enough gas bottles for the whole trip – gas bottles have different connections here so we can’t swap a bottle when we buy a refill. Of course when you don’t have to bring the gas – it’s available at certain garages – you forget about it. We forgot. No problem, we have an app, found a garage, plotted a new route. Groceries and gas on board it was now 7pm. We were hoping to be further south beside a forest eating bbq steak, by now. Never mind, we’d drive for an hour and find a nice enough place and maybe cook the steak inside.

(The crêperie was in the middle of a huge garden, reminded me of Mount Usher in Ashford)

It was twilight by the time we reached the town of Cambremer. All thoughts of cooking inside or out had evaporated but we’d seen a sign for a crêperie and it was open for another hour. We parked, walked and ate the most amazing crêpes outside as night fell.

(We left early this morning after a walk through the town)

This is what it’s like when you have nothing to do, you do whatever really needs to be done in that moment, you muddle through, you make decisions in the moment and you realise there’s nothing to stress about, only decisions to make and then move on. We’ve been doing this motorhome thing for four years now and it’s still a thrill when we arrive in France and we remember there’s nothing to do… except take the next step. What if we didn’t have to wait until we arrived in France?

Sitting by the Canal d’Orleans thinking of you, Mairead.

Ps. I keep forgetting to show you the map…