Monday 7th October – Wisbech to Wellington (285 miles)
Having indulged ourselves with an extra day in our ‘Secret Garden’ we had left ourselves with quite a lengthy journey to our last scheduled and pre-booked campsite at The Caravan Cub site at Looe. We decided to break the back of the journey but agreed that when we had had enough we would look for a place to park up, whether that be a lay-by, a CS or a campsite. The Autumn weather had been so good to us since we took to the road and our journey started in the same wonderful sunshine. ‘Snoopy’ was programmed to take us South via the quickest route so this meant leaving Wisbech and getting on to the A47 to the A14 and heading West to get on to the M6, M42 and then South on the M5.
During such long journeys Shazza and I will engage in general chatter but there are also periods when we are left mulling over our own inner thoughts. I cannot tell you what Shazza was thinking about but I was still trying to come to terms with this being our ‘new life’. Officially I was just on Annual Leave as I didn’t technically ‘retire’ until the 25th October, in reality though I had finished work. However, I still felt as if I was just on another one of our Motorhome holidays and having left one campsite we were now on our way to another, when would reality hit me I wonder ?
It was an easy and relaxing journey and with the Cruise Control set at 55mph we were returning a good fuel consumption of 24mpg which is by my reckoning a good return for a fully laden 5 tonne vehicle. Once we got to the M6 it would be all Motorway until we decided to make our overnight stop, so with just 2 miles of the A14 to go we elected to pull over, take a break and have lunch. Shazza had saved us some of her Carrot and Ginger soup and heated this, and a couple of baguette’s. Unfortunately this batch was just a little too spicy for me so I elected to have a nice wedge of cheddar cheese in my nice warm baguette. Fed and watered we set off again with the aim to get South of the M5/M4 interchange which, due to recent major road works and volume of traffic could cause lengthy delays. It was a strange feeling when we got onto the M5 at Junction 4A as I knew this stretch of Motorway quite well and had spent many hours travelling both North and South with work related commitments. What felt even stranger was when we sailed straight past Junction 11A, this was the exit I would normally take and within 35 minutes would have been parking up on my drive !!
There were no anticipated delays and we passed Bristol and crossed the Avonmouth bridge and Devon and Cornwall was now in our sights. Our thoughts had turned to a suitable night stop, I also had a few items on my ‘To Do List’ such as stocking up on ‘soluble’ toilet rolls for the chemical toilet, some extra ‘organic non-toxic’ chemical toilet fluid and I had to get some ‘Beam Benders’ for the headlights for when we crossed to Spain, although the latter I could get at Plymouth ferry terminal as a last resort. I knew that Chelston Motorhomes was just a little bit further down the Motorway, this is where I had purchased ‘Big Momma’ three and a half years ago so I knew that they had a well stocked accessory shop. However, although I had never used it I also knew that just around the corner was a small Caravan Club campsite and as an additional bonus just seconds away from Chelston’s there was a 24 hour Countrywide Farmers LPG tank. I had an account with Countrywide and this enabled me to use any one of their LPG stations, the advantage being that I only had to pay 5% VAT and not the 20% that has to be paid at fuel stations. So, this seemed to be the logical overnight stopover, if there was a space at such short notice at the Campsite as it only had around 16 pitches !! Sharon made the all important phone call and luckily enough they had a pitch for us, bonus !! We only had 35 miles to go to get to the site, the fuel warning light came on and the instrument gauge showed that we had a range of 70 miles. In theory we should have been able to make it, however, I never felt comfortable with so little a margin and when Shazza used her immortal phrase of “Don’t worry we will be alright” that made my mind up, at the next service station I would re-fuel !! As I pulled off onto the exit slip road for the ‘services’ I saw the price if Diesel advertised at £1.50 Ltr !! So my apologies to all those Northerners who I verbally abused in my last post for high fuel prices. I decided that I did need fuel to feel a little more comfortable but no way was I going to fill up at these prices so I just put £10 worth of fuel in, enough to get me to our overnight destination as there would surely be a local fuel station with much cheaper prices ?
This Caravan Club site had no toilet block but that was not an issue, after all we would be using our ‘On Board’ facilities once we were on the road proper, so better get used to doing it now, and we had emptied the ‘Chemical Toilet’ and the ‘Grey’ waste tanks before leaving the Wisbech site and had enough fresh water to last us. The site wardens greeted us with a warm smile and were really friendly and welcoming. They informed us that once they had checked our vehicle details on their computer and realised just how long it was that they had reserved us their biggest pitch. It was more than big enough, most Caravan Club sites that we have stayed on always have very generous pitches. It didn’t take too long to set up and once I had connected to the EHU Shazza made me a nice cuppa. It had been a Five and a half hour journey and I was now ready to rest my weary eye’s. Shazza had offered to take her turn at driving but I knew that she much preferred being in the ‘Navigators’ seat and I quite enjoyed being at the wheel. Although it was around the time to eat our evening meal, after being sat down for so long we needed to stretch our legs first so we decided to walk into the small town of ‘Wellington’ which the site warden had informed us was a mere fifteen minutes walk from the site. It was still a beautiful evening, it is hard to believe that it is an Autumn evening in October, it was still so warm. We strolled into the town along a nice tree-lined footpath and as we approached the outskirts we could hear the church bells ringing out their merry tune. But it was a Monday evening, a bit odd for the peal of bells calling worshippers to church ? As we got to the church entrance we could see quite a throng of people entering the church and we looked on the church notice board and saw that it was a special service to welcome the new ‘Parish Vicar’ into the local community. It reminded me of a reality TV programme we had watched many months before, ‘An Island Parish’ where the parish priest was the hub of the community, it was nice to see that some traditions still exist and are not just confined to outlying remote islands. We continued our walk and found that this was a rather pleasant and quaint little town even though the modern world had already invaded with its retail supermarkets. We peered in shop windows, looked at menu’s in windows of restaurants even though we had no intention of frequenting any of them, we stopped and looked at the local house prices in the Estate Agents windows, which seemed a bit odd as we had just sold up with no immediate intention of purchasing brick and mortar again, at least not in the foreseeable future ! But this is a habit we have always had, price comparisons to see what your money will buy you in different areas of the country and this even extended to property prices overseas. We happened to see a small local ASDA supermarket up a side street and decided that we did need to buy some more Bread and Milk, so in we went and exited with a few more items than intended, it was a good job I had brought the rucksack. This was a habit I had now got into, we had often wandered into places with no intention of purchasing anything and then ended up carrying back heavy thin plastic carrier bags that would cut into your fingers. I wanted to get into the habit of taking a rucksack out with us, not only to hold any un-scheduled shopping but also to take the iPad so that we could avail ourselves of any ‘free’ WiFi opportunities that we may happen across. Legs well and truly stretched, shopping done, shop windows looked in, it was time to head back to the van, eat our evening meal, shower and then get a good night’s sleep.
Tuesday 8th October – Wellington to Looe (87 miles)
We awoke to yet another beautiful morning, everyday I was still utterly amazed and thankful of our good fortune with the weather. We were not in any rush, the Caravan Club confirmation of booking form that we had for our next site stated “No Arrivals Before 1pm” and ‘Snoopy’ indicated that it was only a two-hour drive so plenty of time. Shazza had already pre-prepared some sandwiches for us to eat en route so after the usual morning ritual, yes you know the one by now, I then got washed, dressed and made us a flask of coffee. In our general chit-chat the previous evening Shazza had mentioned that ideally she could have done with an extra shelf in the oven. We had tried on previous visits to Chelston’s to acquire one but to no avail but decided we would add this to the list for our visit to them later this morning. The first port of call would be to top up the LPG, although we had used very little we had used some when we were wild camping to power the fridge and freezer and to heat the water and boil the kettle. So although we were not talking of needing a large quantity I wanted to make sure that when we hit foreign shores in a weeks time that we would be starting with a full supply of gas.
We disconnected the EHU and everything was stowed away for the next leg of the journey. As we pulled away the site warden gave us a cheery wave and off we went, he had also told us of the location of a fuel station where we could fill up with some ‘cheap’ diesel. All the Wardens we have encountered so far have been really friendly, extremely helpful and passed on any local knowledge we requested. First stop was the LPG pump and ‘Snoopy’ got us right to the spot, I must say that a lot of Sat Navs get a lot of bad reviews about their lack of reliability and accuracy but so far, in the three and a half years that we have had ‘Snoopy’ we have never encountered any problems, either here in UK or on our frequent trips travelling through Europe on holiday. I connected the pump to the outlet on ‘Big Momma’ in the usual way, put my coded digital key in the machine and entered my PIN number, the display correctly showed my vehicle registration number and then displayed the message “Pump Locked Out” !! Thinking I had perhaps done something wrong I went through the correct sequence again but to no avail, same message. Then we were offered some assistance by I presumed staff who were charged with overseeing the maintenance of the pump. They told me that the LPG tank had been filled up just half an hour ago so they knew that it wasn’t because there was no gas. After a quick phone call to Countrywide it was established that as a safety measure, whilst refilling the tank, the driver locks the pump dispenser, however, he had driven off and forgotten to ‘unlock’ it again !! Oh well, we were not desperate but it would have been a comfort knowing that we had full cylinders, no matter these things happen I will just have to pay normal pump prices at a roadside fuel station. So two minutes up the road and we arrived at Chelston’s Motorhomes where we managed to get everything on our shopping list and to Shazza’s joy, even her new additional oven shelf. Next stop a few minutes drive to a fuel station to fill up ‘Big Momma’ with Diesel. The warden was right about it being cheap, at only £1.36 Ltr I filled her up !! Then a few minutes later and were back on the Motorway and heading for Cornwall.
I don’t know how many of you have watched the TV programmes called ‘Motorway Cops’. I have seen lots of these programmes, the ones from the USA but just recently the one’s about our own British motorway police. You often see the motorway chase as the ‘villains’ try to evade capture by swerving across all three lanes of the motorway to stop the police vehicles overtaking them whilst another police vehicle slows down the following traffic by creating a ‘rolling road block’. Well today I actually witnessed this before my very own eyes, we were travelling on the Southbound carriageway and I saw a silver Audi swerving across all three lanes with a police vehicle in hot pursuit, a mile or so further back and we came across the rolling road block. Amazing or what to see this actually happening for real !! It gave Shazza and I something else to talk about whilst we munched on our sandwiches and drank our coffee, the sun still shining and the outside temperature still showing a very respectable 18 degrees (Celsius). About 11 miles from our destination eagle-eyed Shazza spotted a fuel station on a roundabout, nothing special about that I hear you say, but says I, she also notes that it sells LPG at only £0.70 pence per litre !! We noted the location for when we returned on our way to the Plymouth ferry terminal on Sunday as we would be able to fill up and have no need to use any gas until we reached Spain. And the good news kept rolling in, Sonia phoned to tell us that we had received our Council Tax refund. It irritates me when organisations and agencies cannot follow simple instructions. I had specifically requested that they simply credit the refund straight into our bank account and I provided them with the necessary details to enable them to do this. They had the technology to be able to take my payment electronically so that should not have been a problem to use the same technology to make the refund. But No ! They either cannot process simple instruction or they just want to keep hold of my money for another week or so, because they had made the refund payment by ‘cheque’ !! This means that when Sonia does manage to go to a bank to pay it in on our behalf it will take another five working days to clear !! We do not need the money for our trip but we wanted to move it from an account that pays low-interest to our Capital account that earns a higher rate of interest, we will now have to wait until the funds are credited and then hope that we can get a WiFi connection somewhere along our travels. The other bit of news was that our mortgage over payment had now been credited back to our account so another nice sum to be transferred to swell our ‘Capital’ savings fund. That was it, all the finances are now sorted, we have got all our refunds and rebates, we have paid all of our debts now we can just go and enjoy ourselves………
The final leg of our journey was a little bit like grip the steering wheel and hope nothing comes the other way !! These Cornish country roads were very ‘bendy’ and although wide enough for two vehicles, passing one coming in the other direction was quite intimate with wing mirrors sometimes a little too close for comfort, I was beginning to wish that I had worn my brown trousers !! I am glad that I invested in a set of wing mirror protectors as I had a brush with a tree branch and it certainly left its mark so that I would remember the experience ! We made it to the Caravan Club site an hour earlier than we should for new arrivals, however, it is off-peak and Gary and Sarah were more than welcoming, they were in their 4th year as Assistant Wardens and next year will be their first year as fully fledged ‘Wardens’ at the club’s Exeter Racecourse site. As we were here for the duration, well five nights, we had opted for a fully serviced pitch, more for the fact that we would not have to keep moving the van every time we needed to top up with water, and would have the convenience of ensuring that we could depart on Sunday with a full tank of ‘English’ water. Additionally, as we had our ‘Grey’ waste facility on the pitch we would not have to empty it before we left. So all in all it would mean that we would leave for the ferry port with all the respective tanks empty, and full, as appropriate. As we have become accustomed to on Caravan Club sites the pitches were very spacious, with only about twenty of the available one hundred pitches occupied we had no immediate neighbours so our late night ‘raves’ didn’t create any complaints !! As the site was due to close on 4th November they only had one of the two utilities buildings open, the one furthest away, all of a three-minute walk !! As usual it was immaculately clean, very warm and lashings of hot water available for our daily ablutions. Even the laundry facilities were reasonably priced at £3 per wash and Tumble Dryer £0.70 for 15 minutes, not as cheap as the ‘Secret Garden’ but that was a very rare and special sort of place.
As usual, once the ‘set up’ tasks had been completed we did our walk around of the site and facilities as well as the ‘noseying’ around at all the other units. As we were just about at the end of our ‘being nosey’ walk we came upon an elderly couple who appeared to be struggling with their hose reel after filling their Motorhome water tank. Translate ‘struggling’ into full-scale ‘domestic’ !! Now any ‘normal’ person would have saved their embarrassment, looked the other way, walked past and pretended not to have noticed them having a ‘spat’ but not me ! I simply asked if I could help in any way and the elderly explained that she had somehow got the hose all twisted and they were having problems rewinding it back onto the hose reel. It was one of those flat type hoses rather than the rigid circular one’s, I do not know how she had got it into such a mess but I soon had it unravelled again and between myself and the elderly chap we got the hose neatly back into its housing. Domestic harmony restored we engaged in general chit-chat for a few minutes and then we bid them farewell and returned to ‘Big Momma’. Shazza then prepared a lovely Roast Lamb dinner using ‘all’ the free herbs she had picked from the ‘Herb Bank’ at Wisbech, absolutely wonderful ! The plan had been to wash and dry the pots and then take an early evening walk to a small cove not far from the site. However, after extolling the praises of the very good warm and sunny weather for the last couple of weeks it chose now to change ! At first it was just light drizzle but then it turned into proper wet stuff and the evening exercise to work off the sumptuous dinner was thwarted so we sat in, I caught up with my blog notes and Shazza watched ‘Emmerdale’ then ‘Coronation Street’ then ‘Eastenders’ then ‘Emmerdale’ again and then ‘Coronation Street’ again, we not only had plenty of shower gel but also enough ‘Soap’ to keep us going !!! I am praying that the wet stuff stops during the day tomorrow otherwise it will be a morning and afternoon of bloody ‘Jeremy Kyle’ !! I did not sleep very well during the night and so got up in the early hours and stood at the door having a cigarette, we have a handy slide down window in the habitation door, I have been banned from smoking in the van so have to stand at the door and stick my head through the window. Once I had finished my ‘anti-social habit’ I sat in the lounge and had my first ‘wobble’. It was not a ‘wobble’ about selling up or living fulltime in the van, no this ‘wobble’ was about not having a plan of where we would be going when we get off the ferry in Spain !! Since leaving Swindon we have known where we were headed and what we would be doing virtually right up to getting on the ferry. For years, and I mean years, I have had ‘To do Lists’, I have booked holiday sites and made route plans well in advance but in a few days time I will not have a route to follow or a camping pitch pre-booked !!
Fortunately we awoke to another warm and sunny morning. Today we were meeting up with Chris and Sarah, remember them, our son and his partner whom we had already had a couple of farewells with before we left Swindon. Well, purely by coincidence, they were also near Looe on holiday this week so we arranged to meet them for a ‘final’ farewell ! Actually I think that they have been paid to make sure that we get on the boat and leave the country, I knew my jokes were bad but come on, bad enough to be exiled to Europe ? Okay, good question, well presented but please do not feel the need to answer it !!
We walked the two miles from the site into the most beautiful small seaside resort that I have ever visited. We had arranged to meet them at 11am but when we phoned to see how far away they were they informed us that they had been in town since nine-thirty and were currently in the pub ! Shazza suggested that they may have been having a coffee, I asked her if she would like to put money on whether it was coffee or alcohol, she refused !! It was good to see them again, especially as Chris had suffered a major burn to his hand which required hospital treatment and we were more than a little concerned about him. He was sporting a well bandaged hand and after several return visits to the hospital he now had what resembled a white boxing glove which required changing every four days. He obviously needed to intake plenty of fluids but I don’t think that alcohol was quite what the doctor had intended, like mother like son eh !! We had a walk around this lovely place and then went for Fish & Chips in a local restaurant, if they can’t do good fresh fish here then we are in trouble, but no worries they were absolutely delicious. I don’t think we will miss British Fish & Chips for a while having had them now three times in the last seven days !! A meander through the town and then a rest stop for ‘Dave’ as he needed to quench his thirst and he wanted to try something ‘Cornish’. I was thinking more ice cream but ‘Dave’ had other ideas !!
To save us the two-mile ‘uphill’ walk back to the site Chris and Sarah drove us back to the campsite. We had a cup of tea and then gave them their Christmas Card with strict instructions ‘Do NOT open before Christmas’, yeah right ! They departed and we waved them off but we were still not certain whether we would see them in a car park with a set of binoculars as the ferry passed ‘Lands End’ !
It had been a lovely day, seeing Chris and Sarah again but also weather wise, I am still very surprised at the unusually warm temperatures for October, normally we would be waking up to iced up windows, white grass, trees and hedgerows so I am not complaining. However, there is a noticeable chill in the air when the sun drops in the evening although we are still managing to go through the night without any heating. The wind has also got stronger, nothing to do with Shazza’s cooking, but I am still hoping that we can get through to Sunday before normality returns to the British weather.
It was slightly chillier when we awoke on Thursday morning although the sun was already shining. In addition to the normal morning ritual was the turning on of the electric space heating. We had decided that we would take the ten-thirty train to ‘Liskeard’, it would only be a journey of half an hour but first we had the small matter of the two-mile walk to get there. We could have caught a bus but we wanted to keep up the fitness regime. We set off with plenty of time to spare thinking that we may have to queue at the ticket office. We arrived at the ‘unmanned’ station, unmanned meaning no ticket office ! And no queue ! In fact we were the only two on the very small station but no matter the sun was warm and the views from the small platform were absolutely magnificent. We had left Dave back at the van still nursing a hangover from his introduction to the Cornish Apple Juice !!
It is still difficult to not think that we are just on holiday, after all we are doing the things that we would normally be doing when on one of our numerous previous Motorhome tours. I am still finding it hard to come to terms with the reality that this ‘is’ our new life, travelling to wherever we want, whenever we wanted to and to just meander as we choose, to stay as long as we wanted or just move on when the mood takes us. I am curious however as to what stage of our ‘Big Adventure’ it will be when the realisation that this is ‘real’ and not just a holiday will hit me ? We have not really done too much comparison with our old lifestyle, the “What would we have been doing…….” syndrome as much as I thought that we would.
The one-carriage train arrived, on time, and there were only a handful of people already on board so plenty of seats to choose from. The train route ran along the estuary and river so I wanted to sit on the side that had the best views. There was an empty four sweater with a table, if you do not count the empty coke can somebody had left behind. If they had been considerate they could have left a ‘full’ unopened one, but no Shazza didn’t want to sit at that one ? Instead she chose another four-seater with a table that had an elderly lady already sat in one of the seats. We asked if it was okay to share her seat but she said that we wouldn’t both fit on her lap (not really, just my little joke !). This ‘sweet’ little old lady was called ‘Susan’ and as we were to be told later, she was the village idiot ‘character’. I made several attempts to pretend to be either engrossed in the scenery passing by the window, closing my eyes and snoring, pretending that it was difficult to hear because of the train noise, but to no avail she talked for the whole duration of the journey and it was very much one of those one-sided conversations between us and the rest of the train passengers. They knew ‘Susan’, and we should have known something was wrong when we saw them looking at us and trying unsuccessfully to contain their stifled sniggers, those sniggers that said that they were going to be entertained for the duration of their journey, thanks Shazza, next time we share our journey with the litter !!
For anyone who, like us, has not visited ‘Liskeard’, don’t bother !! We had anticipated spending a good half day here but we struggled to fill a couple of hours, half an hour of that was spent walking from and to the station, another fifteen minutes drinking a coffee and the rest of the time walking around the same shops three times !! The smell of the hot pasties wafted under my nose and it was so very close to lunchtime and ninety-nine pence would not break the budget Shazza ? Her response, “I have made you some Tuna sandwiches and we are not wasting them” !! So we checked the train timetable only to find that we had a good hour to wait, no worries, back to the rail station, find a suitable bench to sit on and eat our sandwiches. Shazza needed to ‘powder her nose’ so we went into the Station Cafe to locate the public conveniences. Whilst she was ‘powdering her nose’ I looked around and there she was……………… Susan !! I was hoping she may not have noticed or even recognised me, but with only one other couple sat in the opposite corner of the Cafe and me stood in the centre of the room with a big white arrow over my head with flashing lights that said ‘MUG’ she homed straight in……….. I was rescued when Shazza surfaced again and she grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and marched me out saying in a very loud voice “Will you give that lady some peace” and before she could say “Hello me luvvers want a bite of me pastie” we were out of there !
We located a suitable bench, well out of the way from the Cafe should Susan decide to come and find us, as we ate our Tuna sandwiches we checked our phones and found that we had a decent 3G signal so we checked our Emails and Messages. Shazza was reading an Email sent to us from Brittany Ferries and telling us all about the boat we would be sailing on, the cabins, the bars, the duty-free shop and the Restaurants. My beloved suddenly declared, with a sense of excitement in her voice, that for Dinner on Sunday Evening she could have Champagne, Langoustines and Smoked Salmon !! Now, I don’t want to come across as fickle, argumentative or even awkward BUT ! all I will say is 99 pence Cornish Pastie………………….?
We returned to Looe, in a two-seater with no table and with no sign of ‘Susan’. Now just in case I have not mentioned it before ? Looe is a beautiful small seaside town, one that in later years I would even consider settling down in, as long as it was in a cottage or house at the bottom of the hill !! We had another wander around the harbour looking at all the fish traders units, that whilst now closed up, was where the daily catch would be landed each morning and bought by all the Hoteliers, Restauranteurs’ and local individuals. The boards along the quay side advertising the Mackerel Fishing trips, the small shops selling crab lines and buckets, yes, Looe had a certain something……….
We did a bit of shopping in the small but well stocked Co-operative supermarket and then purchased a packet of travel sickness tablets from a local pharmacy for Shazza. Not that she anticipated being sea-sick but the Bay of Biscay is notoriously rough at the best of times and with a weather front on its way just about the time of our crossing she was not taking any chances. Then it was time to catch our bus back up the very steep, the very very steep hill to the campsite and the comforts of ‘Big Momma’. It’s nice going out but it’s always nice coming home again and ‘Big Momma’ is home.
The weather forecast announced that tonight would be the coldest so far this year and we were expecting temperatures to drop to 4c degrees. There was a definite chill in the air as I walked to the utilities block to get my shower but once back inside the van it was as warm as freshly grilled toast.
We had still not had to sleep with the heating on overnight but we noticed a definite chill in the van when we awoke the following morning. A slight variation to this mornings ritual, as well as the kettle being switched on the electric heating went on as well and then back to bed until the temperature had climbed to a much more favourable level.
Today was ‘domestics’ day, Shazza wanted to do another batch of laundry which included Jeans and Towels so the site’s Laundry facilities were very welcome. As for me, well ‘Big Momma’ was in need of a wash to get rid of the dead insects that adorned her exterior, the windows needed a clean and there was a little matter of some marks left by tree branches on one of the wing mirror protectors !! That and the routine check of fluids under the bonnet. Shazza returned from the laundry room and then proceeded to throw together some Home-made Potato and Leek soup and some Apple and Cinnamon Muffins……
The early part of the morning had started with a strong wind with a very cold bite to it but by mid-morning the wind had all but gone, the sky was blue and the sun very warm. After all the external jobs were completed it was time move inside and clean the inside windows, check the finances and reconcile the accounts, load the Caxton FX Euro Cash Card and then start to seriously think about whether we were going to turn Right or Left when we get off the boat in just three days time. And so, before we settled down in front of the TV yo watch the England v Montenegro World Cup qualifier it was time to consult the Internet and the long-range weather forecast for Southern Europe. Now it should have been a simple choice, head West then down into Portugal or East down the Mediterranean Coast. But this choice was not going to be that simple, the forecast showed a weather front arriving over the Northern Spanish and Portuguese Coast and lasting for the days that we would have been in that area, so go East ? Well there just happened to be another weather front up along the Spanish Coast !! It was very nice in Southern Spain and even Southern Portugal but we did not want to get off the boat and just ‘run to the sun’, we wanted to meander slowly down but West or East we would encounter rain for what looked like several days. So we have decided not to go West or East but initially to travel South but to the West of Madrid so that we can, when the weather front clears the Portuguese Coast, head across into Portugal and the much warmer temperate climate around Lisbon and beyond, BUT there is still time to change our minds…………………..