Week 106

Friday 13th March 2020 to Thursday 19th March 2020

Spring in Priory Park … all is well with the world….

Is it fuck.

We all wondered what the 24 hour news cycle would report on once Brexit was over and now we know, it’s the Coronavirus! And it’s far worse than Brexit could ever be.

this soon went out of the window

Stoked up by Piers Morgan and other self appointed experts in the media the country has gone mad for toilet rolls and anything in a tin…

You know things are really bad when people are prepared to eat fresh fruit & veg! 

I had a gastroscopy appointment at the local hospital – they stick something that resembles a shotgun down your throat, take a few pictures and tissue samples from your oesophagus – it’s not a pleasant experience.

The nurse asked me had I recently returned from abroad. When I told her I’d just returned from Portugal, Spain & France she put on a visor and said I needed to self isolate.

Personally I think you are more likely to be infected if you’ve been brawling over bogroll in the aisles of Tesco than driving through France & Spain but commonsense seems to be in short supply nowadays.

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Week 105

Friday 6th March 2020 to Thursday 12th March 2020

I’m not the only one who thinks it’s bloody cold in England

I should be playing boules in Portugal!

To cheer myself up and because it’s British Pie Week I decided to start the week with a Pie Barm; the question was hot or cold?

there’s nowt like a cold pie for breakfast 😀

Being back home I have time on my hands so starting at the top of my To Do List I got stuck into decorating Julie’s spare room…

I spent the entire week hanging wallpaper and painting

I don’t particularly enjoy decorating but thankfully I have now officially hung my last ever piece of wallpaper and painted my last door 😀

nothing quite so energetic for Biscuit Boy

 

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Week 104

Friday 28th February 2020 to Thursday 5th March 2020

Up early and travelling north through Spain to Burgos

An Osborne Bull somewhere in the middle of Spain

The weather was fine and we made good time to Burgos

Parked up at Burgos it was cold and after Portugal’s sunshine I’m just not used to it 🙁

Saturday it was raining so we skipped the planned stopover in Biarritz and headed straight for Bordeaux; BX to the locals. It was cold & wet.

Sunday morning rainbow over Bordeaux

After a quiet night parked up at the Vignobles vinyard in Yvrac we set off for a campsite in Tours but the weather was so wet we decided to give there a miss and head for our next planned stop at Dreux.

50 or so miles before Dreux it started to snow and the forecast was for travel disruption with thunder & lightening thrown in. Brilliant.

Snow!!!!!

As the campsite near Dreux was in the middle of the French countryside and I had no idea what the site access would be like we decided to go straight to Calais.

Now you would think being on a toll road a hundred or so miles from the Paris Péripérique and heading for Calais it’d all be plain sailing but when you combine Doris with France things are never simple.

I thought we’d just go north on the Péripérique then hookup with a motorway going towards the north French coast. What could be simpler?

By the time we hit the Péripérique the weather was shocking and the jams were endless. I was a little alarmed when we started to pass through some of Paris’ less salubrious suburbs.

France has some beautiful and very well maintained roads but none of them appear to be in Paris.

When we were kids my Grandparents used to live in Blackpool and when we used to visit them my Dad use to give the first of us to see the Blackpool tower a sixpence. As we got further into Paris I joked to Julie, “First person to see the Eiffel Tower gets a sixpence”. About 10 seconds later the Eiffel Tower emerged out of the rain! Fuck me Doris :-O

Hours and hours later we finally arrived at Cite d’Europe looking forward to parking up and eating.

Fuckin’ great, they’d closed the motorhome aire in December due to agro with migrants 🙁

Then I discovered none of the 24/7 fuel pumps at Cite d’Europe were working either so running on reserve we headed for the ferry terminal. If someone had told me as we set off from Bordeaux this morning that we’d hit a snow blizzard then catch the night ferry to Dover tonight all after seeing the Eiffel Tower I would have thought them mad.

Back in England we then discovered the M20 was closed in two places and no one had bothered to keep the diversion signs up. Brilliant.

Google maps managed to guide us around the back roads of Kent but I have to say the back roads in Kent are far worse than anything you’d come across in Portugal oe Spain. What a shithole Britain has become.

We got home around 3am, about 20 hours after we set off from Bordeaux.

Nelly parked up in the rain in Church Road.

Being home until October I thought I’d keep myself busy so on Monday night I popped in to see a meeting of the local Extinction Rebellion branch. Walking into town I was a little concerned I’d be the oldest person there but no I wasn’t the oldest and I think their average age must be in the late 50s. And they are very middle class.

Various worthy topics were discussed and a lady showed a tabard she had made for when she was handing out leaflets. While they were discussing counselling for people arrest at events I realised I was probably the only person there who’d ever been arrested!

As the meeting drew on this woman kept waving her hands about and I wondered if she had some unique form of Tourettes then I twigged, she was actually doing Jazz Hands!!!

Once the meeting ended I left pretty sharpish but on the walk home I decided I’d go to their next meeting. Maybe I could teach the lady with Jazz Hands how to get arrested and they council teach me how to make a tabard 😀

Reigate’s Priory Park, frosty in the mornings then raining all day 🙁

I’ve been home 4 days now and I am sick of the wet weather. I want to go back to Portugal.

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Week 103

Friday 21st February 2020 to Thursday 27th February 2020

Our last few days in Portugal and as the weather was absolutely beautiful we visited a few of our favourite places.

Ponte de Piedade

had lunch at Porto do Mos

A last walk to Praia do Luz

I had a last yomp up to the Obelisk

We’ll miss life in Portugal, miss the weather, the boules & the people 🙁

Wednesday morning all packed up and ready to go. Adeus Portugal

Hola España

1st stop in Spain El Rocio

I’m not a great fan of El Rocio’s sandy streets but it does have its charm

Sunrise at Camping La Aldea

Thursday we travelled up to Cáceres which would be in the middle of a line drawn from Lisbon to Madrid. People coming from the north say this is the first warm place they reached so I guess from tomorrow it’ll be long trousers  🙁

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Week 102

Friday 14th February 2020 to Thursday 20th February 2020

Friday we went for a walk along the coast to Burgau for lunch, It was a beautiful day and on the way back we saw some dolphins 😀

There must have been about 20 odd in 4 groups. One even came out of the water backwards and stood on it’s tail 😀 😀

This is the video I shot on my phone, it’ll probably take a few minutes to load…

 

 

This is the best still shot I got with my Samsung J5 on x4 zoom…

as you can see I won’t be winning Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020!

I’ve always been a bit sceptical of euphoria people say they experience watching dolphins and whales but I have to say even at some distance is was a magical experience 😀

I offered Julie €10 to stand on this ledge and jump up and down but she was too chicken.

Wednesday we went to Portimao to watch the start of the Volta ao Algarve. Welsh 2018 TdF winner Geraint Thomas, G to his mates, was taking part.

these days Julie self-identifies as Welsh and she met a fellow Welsh nutter while waiting for G

His bike was here…

Finally G arrives and Julie can pass on some tips.

After they set off we had a wander about the town and then Julie and her mate Sharon legged it to Lagos to watch the finish.

The finish in Lagos

I went to just outside the little town of Bensafrim to see the peloton in full flow…

I waited just over an hour for the peloton to arrive and it was gone in about 10 seconds; fanbloodytastic!

G finished the day in in 78th place.

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Week 101

Friday 7th February 2020 to Thursday 13th February 2020

Enjoying our last couple of weeks in Portugal. Played some cards, played some boules, had a few walks along the coast 😀

absolutely no sign of Ciara here 😀

 

 

 

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Week 100

Friday 31st January 2020 to Thursday 6th February 2020

Brexit came and went with absolutely no one on the camp even mentioning it. No one here thinks anything will change; just as the Germans want to keep selling us BMWs and the French want to keep selling us cheese & wine the Portuguese & Spanish want the tourist money to keep rolling in.

plus change plus ca change

But back to important things… it’s real spring now here in Portugal, all kinds of things are waking up…

Processionary caterpillars, you don’t want to be touching one of these

Tuesday was an absolutely boiling hot day, a shorts & t-shirts day on Zippy.

Almond blossom

Meanwhile back in the UK…

I don’t miss Februarys in England.

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Week 99

Friday 24th January 2020 to Thursday 30th January 2020

Weatherwise it was a very British start to the week…

Once the weather got better I had a walk up to the Marco Geodésico da Atalaia, the obelisk overlooking Luz…

the Marco Geodésico da Atalaia

While I was taking a rest at the top I took a look at a blog on walking up Ben Nevis.

It turns out the ascent from the Glen Nevis visitor centre, the most popular starting point, to the top of Ben Nevis is 1352m. Now I know, because my drone told me so, that the base of the obelisk is 104m above sea level which is exactly 1/13th the ascent of Ben Nevis!

So if I walk from the beach at Luz up to the obelisk and back down 13 times that would be the equivalent as walking up Ben Nevis 😀

I reckoned if I was dressed properly and had some water I could do it 4 times fairly easily so I decided that the next dry day I had nothing to do I’d give it a go.

I don’t think Cfor will be accompanying me

I had a sore throat and hacking cough on Monday and Tuesday but I felt better on Wednesday so I set off for the Obelisk.

It was nice and overcast when I set off from the beach car park, perfect conditions.

I’d love an old Renault 4 GTL 😀

Half way up the first ascent my chest was really aching and my legs were complaining. I wondered if I’d not fully recovered from whatever had been ailing me. I half considered turning around but I told myself not to be such a wuss; giving up 50m up a pimple in Portugal would never get me to the top of Ben Nevis.

Although I’ve never used one I’d brought along one of those walking stick things because the descent can be slippy but I couldn’t see what use it was.

the view from the top

Things got easier on ascents 2 & 3 but by the 4th walk I was slowing down and I was using the stick to help myself up the steep parts.

I ploughed on and did 6 ascents in total. I was pretty knackered and I was using the stick quite a bit bit I think I could have done another 1 or 2 if I hadn’t had to get back for boules.

So now I have a good idea how fit I really am and when I do walk up Ben Nevis I’ll have some gels.

we won at Boules 😀

The next day my legs and back were fine 😀

 

 

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Week 98

Friday 17th January 2020 to Thursday 23rd January 2020

Been a mixed week weatherwise; there was a bit of rain on 3 days but on one of the sunny days I managed to fit in a 5 hour walk to Ponta da Piedale and back. Didn’t have any leg or back problems.

The stacks at Ponta da Piedale

Other than that it’s been a nice relaxing week.

I’ve booked our ferry journey back to the UK and we’ll be home in early March when I’ll be getting my gardening and decorating head on for a few weeks.

 

 

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Week 97

Friday 10th January 2020 to Thursday 16th January 2020

Been another beautiful week on the Algarve

Porto de Mos beach

Had a few nice walks along the coast

I think it’s spring time here…

Although it’s very sunny it does get a bit windy along the coast

I believe the weather hasn’t been great in the UK

this was actually the best bit of the week!

We played some boules, played some cards, drank some rosé

Cfor’s really not getting the hang of Cat & Mouse

All in all a lovely relaxing week in the Portuguese sunshine 😀

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