I'm on the road again. First, click
here http://dbarker.perso.neuf/Mytravels/EEC2/On The Road Again.mp3
Then I'll mention, I reassembled my camper van. I uninstalled the
balloon stuff and reinstalled my camper van stuff. Such thing as 3
chests of drawers, my bed, all sorts of
boxes to hold stuff, a cupboard, and a smaller cupboard for my cooking
stove, my fridge, my portable toilet. I'll not forget my laptop with
fairly newly acquired GPS system, so that I have a moving map as I
drive, and cooking things.
I bought the fridge at the end of last year. It will run on 12v van
electric, 220 v mains electric, or gas.
Brilliant I thought. It runs on everything. I've been testing it, and
works. But I didn't think about CO, carbon monoxide,
My RV (camper van) in the US would happily run on gas all the time,
but I now realise, of course, that it had been designed so that all the
exited from the van. Oh-oh. I had been thinking, run it on
12v van electric during the day
then gas at night but it seems that's a no no.
So I'm on to plan B. My first call when I left on this trip was to buy
a carbon monoxide alarm. When stopped I now plan to run the fridge on
gas only when
I can keep the back door partially open together with one of the
windows, with the alarm to warn me.
I found a good view, with a picnic table, when I stopped for lunch.
Like many big views, it looks nothing on the photo.
Only problem, it was very windy, everything kept blowing off the
table. Maps, the alarm instructions, even plastic plates.
Forgot to mention before, I went to an old fashioned war re-enactment.
Here are the Brits, French behind. I think I got that the right way
I suppose dressing up like this and pretending to be a soldier of the
past is no dafter than liking flying balloons. Except our hobby costs
I think the Brits won. We had a bigger gun. I think the numbers were
equal, 6 on each side. Somewhat less than you would find on the real
Going back to the present, I saw a church.
After lunch I called in to visit a cave. They claim it is the third
something or other in Europe but to me it was pretty ordinary.
Stalactites and stalagmites a plenty, but as far as quality stalactites
stalagmites go, pretty ordinary. Best bit was coming back to base on a
boat on an underground river.
A few years ago the next village, Campan, made a lot of life size dolls
to go alongside the village fete. This went down so well they made it
an annual event. They are all over the place. Climbing posts, sitting
at tables in pavement cafes, here on a balcony
and here are 2 groups, the lower lot obviously firemen.
There were some nice views too.
I forgot to say were I was going. Last year I headed south and
explored the Pyrenees eastwards. This year I am doing the same thing
but going the other way, to the west. I decided to park up for the
night where I did last year. Unfortunately someone had beaten me to my
spot, but no problem, we said hi, he seemed a nice enough guy, he comes
here regularly on the weekends, and I parked around the corner.
I tested my plans with the fridge and the CO alarm. Back door open a
touch, window open in front. All went great - including my survival -
for I guess 2 hours at least then this bloody
alarm went off. Four screaming beeps, then a pause, then four more
screaming beeps, and so on. Wonder I didn't crack my skull on the van
roof when it first went off. I exited the van rapidly and fully opened
all the doors. The beeps continued. I got my fly swatter and wafted
air over the alarm. Finally it stopped.
I realised what had happened. When I stopped it was blowing half a
gale, as night fell the wind dropped and the airflow through the van
dropped. But at least I know the alarm works, and I can survive its
Oh, another thing I forgot. You will remember the swallows nesting in
my garage. Well their babies have flown and I thought that was the
end. But just before I left I noticed she was back sitting on the
nest. Planning another brood I thought. Oops. I'm about to go away
for a few days, really I should close my garage door. I phoned my Aunt
Lucy to ask what should I do. Would they be bothered if I closed the
door? Aunt Lucy is a bird lover, a twitcher maybe. She's 87 and only
last year discovered the internet, emails, and Google and gets on great
with all. She said she wouldn't speak to me again if I went away and
shut the garage.
Well, I'm away so the garage door is still open. I'd like to keep
talking to Aunt Lucy. Amongst loads of other stuff in there are 3
balloons and a nearly new lawn mower. But beware any potential
thieves, ALL my neighbours are keeping a watch on the place!
Today I've not been on top form, nothing serious. I don't know why. I
think it's just
like that sometimes. Anyway I'm OK now. The photos seem to reflect my
state, not really very good. My whole state was not helped when I
decided to visit a mine museum. I parked and started heading down to
the entrance about 100 yards below, then remembered I hadn't locked the
side door, so headed back to the van. A woman came up and said you
can't park there, she said it's reserved for museum visitors. She said
isn't open until 2 pm so you can't park there. By then it will be
packed full of people
wanting to visit the museum so you can''t park there. But I said, now
getting a word in, I
want to visit the museum and the brochure says it's open from 10 am to
noon. The last tour is 11 am and you've missed it she says. Now, do
you want to come on
the 2 pm tour? Because otherwise you can't park there. As you can
guess, I said no, thank you. Actually I put
it a bit stronger than that. There are people like that all over the
world, somewhat lacking in charm.
And the 11 am tour? I saw them leaving. 2 adults and 3 children.
Wow, I'm sure they will be packed out at 2 pm. I don't think.
There was one good thing happened today, by chance. But the photos
were all rubbish, so I'll come on to that until later.
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