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 it works. But I didn't think about CO, carbon monoxide, issues. 
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 fumes 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 round.

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 more.

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 thing.

Going back to t
he 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 and 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 warning.

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 the museum 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.

Continue on                   Get me outa here