Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Locked Out

Ever since I have acquired my motorohome I have spent a considerable amount of time perusing campsite guides looking for ones that are particularly suitable for dogs.  It was the “Alan Rogers” guides that provide the most comprehensive information as there was a detailed description of each place.  This allowed me to make a more informed decision.
Tanner Farm Campsite veritably leapt off the page. Not only did it have several large fields where dogs could be exercised but also the description oozed efficiency, orderliness, comfort and serenity.
I duly set off with the dogs.
The entrance to Tanner Farm was imposing with the magnificent Ousts houses on the left. I was quite excited. Would the campsite fulfill my expectations?
I went into reception to register. What a disappointment: the welcome was cool and rather frosty. Perhaps this was due to the pressures of the farm..
I settled in and began exploring.
It was all that I could have wanted; fantastic walks for the dogs even if the plethora of rabbits was a temptation for them; clean modern toilet block; spacious well-cared for site. Wonderful.
The next day disaster struck.
I was enjoying a cup of tea in the van after a long pleasant outing with the dogs. Rather than use the toilet in the van I went off to the toilet block. On my return I pulled on the habitation door to open it and promptly fell back. I tried again. It would not open. I checked the cab doors.
They too were locked and the keys were inside. I checked the windows. All of them were firmly closed. The dogs realizing that something was amiss came up close to the window and peered out. Oh how I wished that they could knock the catches and open a window.
What to do?
Contact the AA.
I patted my pockets looking for my mobile. That too was inside the van.
By this time I was in rather a panic. How was I going to get in? It was too far for my husband to bring the spare set of keys.
I rushed to reception, gabbled out my story. The response was offhand but I finally managed to persuade them to loan me a phone book. 
The AA, in contrast, were most helpful but unfortunately it would be at least 2 hours before they could get anyone to me. I asked if I could wait in reception out of the wind and cold. I was told this was not possible as they were closing shortly.
I did not know what to do but leave.
I had to wait by the entrance in order to open the barrier and let the AA van in. Fortunately there was a bench so I sat on that and gradually got colder and colder. At no time did anyone from the campsite enquire as to how I was getting on.
I was invited by another couple to sit in the warmth of their caravan. Unfortunately they were situated some distance from the entrance so I declined their kind offer. They did however bring me a coat to put on. That was marvelous.
There is a happy ending.
The AA man came.
I let him in.
He inspected the van.
After a short while he managed to open the passenger door of the cab.
(It was just as well he did not take my advice and force one of the motorhome windows. Unknown to me at that time replacing one of them would have been VERY expensive.)
What a relief.
Now I make sure that I always have some keys with me or the doors are unlocked.
And though Tanner Farm is a really lovely campsite and one of the best for dogs I only go there if I have no option. This is such a shame.
As this happened some time ago(I find time still rushes by) maybe I should go and check it out again.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

An Unexpected Swim

Dogs swimming

I had found a lovely campsite in Antwerp beside a canal. Fortunately for the dogs there were several places along the canal where access to the water was easy for them. They loved to go in and swim at every opportunity, especially during the particularly hot weather that we were presently experiencing. They were very good and would wait for my "swimming" command before rushing in.

One of our excursions was along the canal to the nearby town. There were footpaths either side of the canal and it was easy to go from one side to the other via the many locks that there were. This was just as well because one of the paths was wider to accommodate cyclists. It was a popular route so we had to make sure the dogs did not impede the numerous cyclists. This obviously made walking with the dogs along this route rather difficult. Nevertheless it was a lovely walk.
Canal near the Campsite

On the way back to the campsite my daughter and I were enjoying the relaxing non cycle path and soaking up the warmth from the sun. We noticed that the dogs were rather wilting in the heat. I casually remarked to her that when we got back to the campsite I would take them “swimming” in the canal and finished the statement with the remark “OK”. Upon hearing the works “swimming” and “OK” the dogs hurtled into the canal.

Catastrophically this happened to be at a section of the canal that was designed for mooring boats. The sides were vertical and smooth concrete and earth. They were happy enough swimming about but were unable to climb out. I could not see anywhere nearby where they could get out. There was nothing for it I had to pull them out somehow.

I knelt on the edge. Amber, the younger dog, came to me. She raised her front paws onto the concrete bank but the fear in her eyes clearly showed that despite her back legs working overtime she was sinking fast. I leaned in as far as I could grabbed as much skin and fur about her shoulders as possible and hauled. My daughter rushed to help, grabbing more fur and skin.  Slowly oh so slowly she inched out of the water.  Suddenly Amber found she could grip the ground and pushed. She rocketed out and we all fell in a heap.

Now for Ruby.  This was going to be more difficult. She was heavier and not so agile and flexible.  Ruby was not stupid. She realized immediately that she was going to have problems getting out. She began swimming off to find a place. I had to call her and persuade her that it was ok and we could get her out. She was not sure and kept swimming off. Eventually with some leaning in and manhandling (or is it doghandling?) we got her to the side.  She too put her front paws on the concrete edge but most reluctantly and her eyes too showed that she was frightened. Both my daughter and I stretched down into the water grabbing as much of her as we could and as low down as possible and pulled and pulled. Oh the relief for all of us humans and dogs when she eventually managed to scramble out.

I looked at my clothes. From the waist down I was soaked as was my daughter. No need now to take them for a swim!!  There was nothing for it but to continue on our way. By the time we reached the motorhome we were both dry. That was not because it was a long way but because it was so hot.

What an adventure but not one that any of the participants wish to repeat.

Monday, 10 September 2012

I was unable to post another entry whilst away as finding a strong enough internet connection was not easy and definitley was not quick.
I have now been back a week. It has taken me all this time to recover and get back to some kind of routine. This is not surprising considering how quickly we made the long journey from Poland to Dunkirk.
The trip was fantastic. My head is buzzing with a plethora of ideas.
Now that I am back and my life has resumed a modicum of normality, whatever that is, I will resume this blog. I still have to decide the purpose and format of this blog. Posting a daily entry is not practical. I need to consider carefully the purpose of my proposed weekly one. I have a further week to decided.  This was not an idea that occupied my mind over the past weeks travelling around Poland.