Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Back from Brittany!

I felt that I should let my reader know that we have arrived home and I will post details of our trip to Brittany shortly.

However, today I have been extremely busy in the garden, mowing two lawns, picking broad beans, runner beans, blackcurrants and stringing shallots.

The Morgan will receive my undivided attention in the course of the next few days, but it should be said that it behaved impeccably on our trip, apart from the usual eccentricities that you will hear about soon.

Just to whet your appetite, the old sod and his steed overlooking the River Rance, Brittany

....and now for a welcome gin and tonic!!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Very excited indeed!!

Two days to go and we're off, with the mounting excitement giving me the 'colly-wobbles'!

Every time we are planning a trip in the Mog I get the same sort of feeling, a mixture of excitement, expectation, apprehension perhaps, feelings that will not diminish until I lock the damn thing away at the end of the drive.

Our cluttered dining table!
Viewing the weather forecast for Wednesday, it seems clear that we shall be driving in very heavy rain, so the bits of towelling we keep in the Morgan will be needed to block up any leaking orifices, as was graphically illustrated in the video, on the Company website, of the new Plus 8 being delivered to Geneva for its launch, although they used sections of the 'Guardian' newspaper for the purpose of catching the deluge!

The trouble with living in the north of England is the long drive, 270 miles in this instance, to reach the Channel ports, but then again, what the hell! Morgans are for driving and as I've said many times before, I get heartily sick of seeing all those for sale with ludicrously small mileages!

...and equally cluttered guest bedroom!

Final preparations are still underway, the automatic watering system for the garden is on, which is a bit of a laugh given the likely weather, reading material has been selected (one book each), luggage has been reduced to a minimum, the camera batteries charged along with my electric razor, maps and itineries have been checked, euros have been bought and distributed, one for me and six for 'er indoors' ( the usual division of assets!) and we're nearly ready.

The sooner I can start loading the Morgan the better and oh, the joy of that moment when we set off on our journey to Brittany and hopefully at least a few sun-kissed days with the top down, soaking up the atmosphere of France once again.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


In the recently published monthly magazine 'MOG', I note that there is a regular feature called, 'One Man and his Mog, the diary of a Mog nut'.

It is NOT me!.....just an unfortunate clash of titles.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Brittany calls!

While we were away in Dorset, we had a call on our mobile from Brittany Ferries to let us know that our crossing from Poole to Cherbourg, on the Saturday High Speed Ferry service,  had been cancelled for technical reasons. I immediately pulled in to a lay-by, contacted them and our sailing has now been arranged for the Thursday, saving us £124 and giving us a further two days in France...shame!!

However, as there always are, there were ramifications, the main one being that the RNLI College where we had intended to stay on the Friday evening could not accommodate us on the Wednesday and we are now on a waiting list if there is a cancellation. This has been a disappointment particularly as they offer relatively secure parking for cars, but we live in hope that someone will cancel, in the meantime we have reserved a room at the nearby Premier Inn.

Wheels off ready for cleaning and greasing
The extra two nights we are going to spend at the Hotel Rigourdaine, http://www.hotel-rigourdaine.fr/ overlooking the Rance Estuary, just north of Dinan. This is a place we spotted a couple of years ago and kept its details for future use. It has excellent Trip Advisor reviews and we think it will be a cracker.

From Dinan it is a 170 mile drive to Fouesnant, near Benodet, where we are staying in an apartment for the week, close to the Holiday Park where our youngest daughter is staying with her family.

So preparations for our next adventure in the Morgan are gathering pace, presenting, as they always do,  interesting logistical questions. How can we reduce the amount of clothes we can fit in without the risk of smelling by the end of the week, will the G&T fit in the picnic bag and will that go at my wife's feet in the passenger footwell? Could we possibly take two bottles of gin? etc.,etc. It's a very worrying time!

Not only that, but in typically French fashion the French Government have decided that we now need to carry two breathalisers on our visit this time, they must have known that we were returning!

It's just a question of trying to make sure that everything you should have is on board, indeed as I write this I have just remembered that I haven't put my minimal tool kit in the car. Everything else is there, luggage straps, reflective vests, spare bulbs, warning triangle, spare spectacles, first-aid kit, headlight deflectors and so on.

Sparkling again!
Yesterday, it was dry so I decided to get the wheels off to clean them, using a cleaning solution that I bought locally from an industrial cleaning and valeting company, using it instead of the expensive 'Wonder Wheels' or cleaning kit recommended by the stainless wheel manufacturer. It has worked extremely well and at £12 for 5 litres I think it is a snip!

Needless to say, while the wheels were off I topped up the grease in the sliding axles, checked tyre pressures and then, on replacing the wheels, gave the car a polish.

 It's looking good and I am getting just a teeny bit excited....stupid boy!!!  

Dorset Drowning!

I know that my world-wide audience will have missed my ramblings over the last few days but I have been otherwise engaged, tramping around Dorset in my wellies!

What is the man talking about, I hear you say? Well, in a nutshell, my wife and I have just endured the wettest holiday we have ever experienced, joining my eldest daughter and her family for a welcome break in the aforesaid county.

They had booked a pitch for four nights on a truly delightful and highly recommended campsite http://www.riverside-lakes.co.uk/ and we had been invited along, but, due to our great antiquity, it had been decided that we should try to get fixed up with more conventional accommodation close by.

Before the rain came!
The Sunday following our arrival, was forecast by the Met.Office to be reasonable so we leapt at the opportunity to get down to the beach at Studland so that Max, our grandson and his grandfather (me) could do some sandcastle building and paddling.

Then the rains came, again, in what is proving to be a thoroughly ghastly Summer. As we snuggled up in our lovely apartment our thoughts were with our loved ones, pitched under a spreading oak tree, on top of a hill in a screaming gale and torrential rain. Our worries were soon allayed by an early text informing us that they had survived the night.

Studland Beach

It was a question of just ignoring the rain and the two further days we spent with them were delightful. At one point it was a definite possibility that they would 'chuck the towel in' and strike camp, but they stuck it out showing true British spirit!

The remainder of the week we spent on our own visiting, amongst other places, Kingston Lacy House, http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy/ a wonderful property with fantastic grounds. Fortunately the weather was very good during the time we were there.

Kingston Lacy House

On our final day we drove to Corfe Castle and then on to a truly fascinating property, Clouds Hill, the former cottage/retreat of T.E.Lawrence, 'Lawrence of Arabia' http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clouds-hill/ , just up the road from the 'Tank Museum'. The nearby church at Moreton is well worth a visit as is the grave of the great man himself, just up the road from the church.

Corfe Castle

T.E.Lawrence's cottage

Throughout the whole period, I pondered on the position of the 'jet stream', the system that controls our weather, wondering whether or not it is going to remain too far south, thus threatening our forthcoming drive to Brittany in the Morgan with more bad weather....and for those of you who have never driven a Morgan in really wet weather, I suggest that you have a look at the video on the Morgan Company website, describing the on board experiences of two chaps who drove the new Plus 8 for its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show!!