Le Cock-Up on the Côte d’Émeraude

P1040541

On the Maladroit Mastery of Multiple Moves, the Perilous Pitfalls of Polarity & the Liabilities of Loss & Levelling!

Our final stop, St Coulomb is on a peninsula; we have a Left Beach and a Right Beach to choose from. We took our first evening stroll on Right Beach. It is unbelievably beautiful!

It was a golden autumn evening, with a deep blue sea rolling in and crashing on the sand. The jagged rocks of two small islands punctuated the bay, with white waves and spray swirling around them. Paragliders added colour to the skyline. For our 17th anniversary, there was even a lighthouse in the distance! (We were married in a lighthouse!)

We walked to both ends of the beach – the second end proving to have the most points of interest. We had, yet again, stumbled into a naturist area. On my 17th wedding anniversary, I had not expected to see another man’s penis!

P1040579.JPG
Le Right Beach. Camping les Chevrets is just visible on the right hand side.

You will remember that we had some difficulty getting settled on our pitch here (see St Coulomb – Back Home to Mr Cock Up!) I warned you then about the dangers of finding yourself at home to Mr Cock Up; before you know it, he has moved in, eaten all your porridge and has first dibs on your bed… before even the pit-pinching pups have got there!

Well, we had some overnight rain and by Tuesday, we seemed to have developed a significant list to starboard. I experienced a slight wobble while walking around the caravan on Sunday night. I commented to Mark that Kismet is like one of those fairground attractions with wonky rooms. Mark blamed the Anniversary Wine. However, when our coffees slid down the worktop this morning, I put forward to the Prosecution my case for having new and empirical evidence that it was not the wine!

We also fused the electrics three times. Luckily, being the end of the season, our neighbours have all moved, but we’re now on the fourth – and final – electrical spur!

P1040515.JPG
Le Left Beach, looking towards Rothéneuf.

With Kismet leaning like the Tower of Pisa and a free pitch next door with four brand new electrical spurs to fuse, we decided to move house. This would seem like a straightforward procedure. I took the doggies for a walk on a drizzly, deserted but beautiful Right Beach, while Mark disconnected everything and made ready to relocate. On my return, everything looked good. He was hitched and ready to roll.

P1040523
Le Puppy Pose amid Pierres

An hour of manoeuvering later, our German neighbour had already been over twice to see if we were OK and whether we were finally in position. The answer, unfortunately, was “No! We were going backwards and forwards like Austin Powers in the movie where he got his car stuck sideways on in a corridor. (Click here to enjoy that classic moment!)

IMG_2114
L’Alko wheel lock. When lining up the hole for the bolt with the gap in the alloy wheel, an inaccuracy of 1mm is unacceptable!

Then, levelling and lining up of the Alko lock seemed to pose more of a problem than ever. We levelled the caravan and the Alko was out of line. We lined up the Alko, then we weren’t level. We lined everything up then the caravan fell off the levelling ramps. We lined everything up again and found that we had forgotten to remove the chocks, so poor Big Blue, who was supposed to be on bed rest with a poorly clutch, was pulling even harder than ever! The German couple, who had by now been out for the day, were incredulous when they came back and found our jump to the right was still incomplete!

IMG_1012.JPG
Le Level!

Anyway. After all that, we are still speaking to each other; Big Blue still has a clutch; and we are so level that we could be parked on a particularly level part of the Somerset Levels – after it had been carefully levelled by an obsessive leveller with a top-of-the-range levelling machine. I asked Mark if I could take a photo of him next to his handiwork but he declined, albeit politely. Perhaps after wine-o’clock ! (Note, we had foolishly agreed to StopTober this morning!!!!)

DSCN1481
Still speaking. Le Anniversary Selfie.

Wednesday – We did the most beautiful walk along the La Côte d’Émeraud – the Emerald Coast. The path from the campsite along the cliffs forms part of the emblematic GR34 (GR stands for Grande Randonnée – a series of long distance walking paths.) Mark asked me where the camera was and I told him that I hadn’t brought it to stop him being grumpy about my constantly taking photos! It is a shame; the views were stupendous and you could really see the emerald colours in the sea.

P1040577.JPG
La Côte d’Émeraud.

In France, we have seen children having skiing lessons as part of the school curriculum. On Monday, the harbour at Left Beach was full of children in sailing boats and kayaks. On Tuesday, children were out beachcombing and today, they were on the beach doing races. I really like the French scholastic system!

We also saw the Pompiers (Firemen) on exercises. Their Fire Engines were in the car park, their boats on the beach – and they were all in the Beach Bar!

P1040549.JPG
Le View #2.

Thursday – The weather changed. It had become much more autumnal, but it didn’t matter. Today was a day of jobs. The doggies needed to go the vet for their mandatory tapeworm treatment; required before they can re-enter the UK.

The vet in St Malo was very unengaging. When we arrived, the receptionist said that we had no appointment and demanded to know if we’d come to the right practice. I showed her the number that we had called to make the appointment and confirmed the address; rue Tertre aux Nefles.

“I called on Monday and spoke to a lady who speaks good English.” I knew she spoke good English because we had conducted the whole appointment-making process in my limping French. She had then brightly concluded the conversation with “See you at 3 o’clock on Thursday!”

They made us wait for an hour before charging 120 Euros for four pills and the requisite stamps in the passports. It wasn’t just the doggies who had to swallow hard!

P1040575.JPG
L’arc-en-ciel.

Friday – started with a rainbow, but faired up again later. We decided to do the cliff walk and take the camera this time! It was just as beautiful. I don’t think that I could ever get tired of these views! It is a gorgeous area and with Big Blue on bed rest, we haven’t even explored properly. A large cloud appeared, so we paced it out to get back – we had our washing out! Unlike next door, we had hung it between two trees out of our sight line. They had set up their chairs and table looking out over the view – then hung their pants right in front of their chairs!

P1040558.JPG
Le GR34 Cliff Walk

I have seen sparrows, robins and goldfinches hopping about. We have well and truly left cicada country. Still, the Breton drizzle is an excellent acclimatisation for our return to a British October!

A rather slick teardrop caravan from Holland arrived opposite. Also, unfortunately, with it being the weekend, our little area filled up, which might make getting Kismet out again a bit of a picnic! I am pleased to say that literally everyone who has tried to get on our previous pitch has grounded out and given up. We feel vindicated!

IMG_1018.JPG
Le Pitch #3!

Sunday – we decided to move the caravan to a third pitch to make an early departure for the ferry more straightforward. Our new neighbours, Mike and June from Hayling Island, offered to help. Mike said that he would save our clutch by using his 4×4 to move Kismet. What a star! We just managed to squeeze out with a slight grounding of the back nearside corner of the caravan and an offside altercation with a hedge. I hope that Caravan Kismet didn’t mind having another man’s flange ball in her hitch.

We had a cuppa with them and got on like a house on fire, an adage that is particularly apt for the four of us. It seems that they too are somewhat prone to mishaps! Although aware of it, we have not encountered Reverse Polarity on our trip. I always check the electrics at each site, even though I didn’t think polarity was anything much to worry about. Just a precaution to stop you getting an electric shock from your kettle.

P1080405.JPG
Le Reverse Polarity…!

June and Mike soon disabused us of our complacence. Their Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm went off at 2am one night. Whatever they did, it wouldn’t stop. They turned off the gas, checked everything that they could think of and eventually, disconnected the ‘malfunctioning’ alarm.

A couple of days later, by sheer chance, they looked at their leisure battery and found that the casing was bowed, red hot and starting to melt. They had discovered the source of killer CO – and a potential source of ignition! They said that they always check polarity, but for some reason had forgotten this time. A cautionary tale!

They had also managed to book their return sailing a year late!!!! Their suspicions had been aroused when they had spoken to someone on site who said that the ferry was at 10:30. They disagreed and said that their departure was at 08:30. Then they checked their ticket and found that their return trip was in October a year hence!

social-media-1228024_640
Le Mark and les keys are not compatible.

Mark and keys are not compatible. Our trip would not have been complete without a Magic Markie Moment involving keys. Today, we had one which lasted for the whole evening. We depart tomorrow and Mark lost his keys. You know, the keys for the van / caravan / wheel lock / hitch lock.

We turned the caravan upside down twice before we went out for dinner with June and Mike. We were preoccupied throughout our whole bucket of moules, thinking that we’d return from the café to an empty pitch; caravan and all worldly possessions stolen. And we’re now in StopTober, so we couldn’t even console ourselves with a drink!

We strip- and cavity-searched the caravan twice more after dinner. I mean how many places are there to lose keys in a caravan? We had the mattress up, all the cushions off the sofas, went through the laundry several times and carefully scanned the route to the shower block… Then Mark opened the most incongruous cupboard of all – the small one above the fridge where we shove carrier bags – and I had a horrifying flash of recollection.

That was the safe place where I had hidden Mark’s keys when we went to the beach this morning…

rooster-21150_640.jpg
Le Cock Up!

We have discovered that our caravan insurance is invalid if we leave the keys in the caravan – even if they are in a place so safe that we can’t find them ourselves – so be warned!

Next time, our run of bad luck continues – join us as we become Blighted Back in Blighty! 

How to deal with Reverse Polarity, how to avoid tripping your electrics and a few other electrifying facts that we have learned along the way are all covered in my blog 10 Tips on Reverse Polarity & Issues of Electrical Safety in a Caravan.

 

2 thoughts on “Le Cock-Up on the Côte d’Émeraude

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s