Thursday afternoon between about 2 and 3pm is social dancing time it seems. We’re parked up in an unusually busy car park watching the locals in their finery descend on the adjacent community centre and music is blaring out of it. Interesting! James is ill and is sleeping in an attempt to banish germs from his head, and the kids are trying to be quiet so I think it’s as good a time as any to try and form some reflections from our first week in the van, our first week on the road, our first week in another country.
I think so far it’s been a success overall. There is quite a lot of shaking down and getting used to ourselves as a foursome, little things are getting to us, and we’re having to learn to accept each others foibles. Marcus has struggled a lot to fit in, which I think is due in part to his over use of games consoles at home. he’s actually not always that connected to us all, so he’s having to work hard to forge his place, and not always without irritation! Our kids are not each others best friends it has to be said and there is a fair bit of squabbling going on, but also lots of laughter too (I should concentrate on the good).
The van has lots of niggles and we’ve had to adjust our route to take care of that. She doesn’t like motorways At All and was struggling after about 70 miles or so. This was due to us running her low on fuel and we think she got some gunk in her fuel filter, we tried some additive to help out which did for a day before she played up again. Her gears are being awkward as well. But, for a 25 year old van I think she’s doing ok, just needs a little love and attention. I’d planned to drive her, but due to these problems and then my ankle playing up, I haven’t managed to give it a go, so poor old James has been stuck driving. I’ve been navigator, and have only got us lost, oh, um, a handful of times!!
We’ve really loved the small towns we’ve been able to explore thanks to the aire network. France has lots of car parks with service points and where you can stay overnight and apart from one night we’ve used these all the time. We haven’t paid a penny in overnight charges, they’ve all been free so far. We’ve eaten fresh bread every day from the boulongerie and had fun looking at the patisseries and trying some of their wares too. Food is what the french are known for and we’re enjoying it all as much as we can!
Our plans after Toulouse were to go to Italy and I hope that we can still see this through, although we may just touch there, and not go too far, it will all depend on how Gloria is feeling! We’re certainly enjoying campervan life and keen to do some more exploring.