Monthly Archives: July 2014

#LeGrandeTour2014 – Day 1: Le Crossing

Whatever possessed me to book a 0720hrs crossing on the Euro Tunnel? At 0400hrs this morning the alarm went off and we spent the next half hour glumly in a field somewhere in Kent packing the van away. Even the Mutt showed a complete lack of interest and slept through.

An hour later we were parked up at Euro Tunnel, feeling much happier, we even spoke! Tea?… yes please! The book-in procedure at the tunnel was simple and swift…A quick pensioners nap in the back of the Chucklebus, as we crossed and 30mins later we were there, emerging into a bright sunny morning at Calais. (keep right, keep right…)

The Train!

We have decided to stay off the toll roads and motorways as much as possible, so that we get to see more of the country. So leaving the port we picked up the D940 and started threading our way south along the coast. The road was fairly quiet and offered great views as we trundled along. The biggest difference between the countryside here in Northern France and the Kent Countryside we’d just left? Both stunning, but France wins hands down, because of the complete lack of electricity pylons dominating and ruining the landscape. The French place them below ground here, perhaps that something we should be pushing in our own country. It makes such a difference to the outlook, it also means a more reliable power supply during bad weather!

We stopped at Cap Gris Nez for an hour. This headland that juts out into the English Channel, is the closest point to Dover at just over 21 Miles. The German fortifications from WW2 clearly evident, an interesting place to visit. It was a beautifully clear day and we could easily see the white cliffs of Dover.




By now, some 5 hours since reveille, the dog was now finally communicating us, deciding to forgive us for the early start, so he happily posed for a picture with “L’autre moitié”

"L'autre moitié" and Muttley

“L’autre moitié” and Muttley

We then drove a few further miles along the coast until we reached the small seaside town of Wimereux. A pleasant place, it reminds me a little of the English seaside resorts, along the east coast.


Worth a stop over. The town has a vets, so we may stop here on the return, to get the dog paperwork sorted before travelling back through the tunnel

We are currently pitched up over night at the municipal camping site called Municipal L’Olympic. The site filled up quickly and by this afternoon was full. We will need to bear that in mind as we move day to day.

Staying here allows us to play catch up with our admin having spent five days in the van already, shower/laundry etc. This afternoon we popped down to the local plage…(No Dogs allowed…Mutts not impressed)

"Le autre moitié" on Wimereux Plage giving someone on the Kent Coast the "Your Dead" look!

“Le autre moitié” on Wimereux Plage giving someone on the Kent Coast the “Your Dead” look!

Writing to her Mother, telling her all about me!!!

Writing to her Mother, telling her all about me!!!

Oh Yes, we also ate cakes! Freshly baked at a nearby boulangerie.

The Cake!

The Cake!

C’est tout


Filed under #LeGrandeTour2014

#LeGrandeTour2014 – Preparatory Moves – The English Bit.

Currently we’re holed up in deepest coastal Kent, having suffered the 300 mile drive from N Wales. The journey topped off with a stop/start tour of the M25 orbital in 30 degree heat and no air-con, even the dog stopped smiling! If I had to travel that road to work every day, I seriously think I would crack up…F$$%ing HOR-REN-DOUS.


This is a beautiful part of the country, steeped in history, its easy to forget that 74yrs ago, the country expected an invasion to arrive via this coastline. We are on a CL called Spinneys, near the village of Aldington, not far from Ashford. The site, which offers great views of the Romney Marsh is basic, but well maintained and is ideally placed for walking, as just behind the location is the Royal Military Canal.


The Royal Military Canal

This was built as part of the countries defences against Napoleon in the early 1800’s. Excellent dog-walking country, the canal cuts past long-forgotten villages, interspersed with small churches and the occasion pillar box from WW2.


St Rumwold’s at Bonnington




Wiki Him!

Yesterday,  I met with an old mate I’d not seen for 27yrs. Our friendship was built on adversity and as we spoke, the years rolled by,  I could see him in my mind as a 21yr old with occasional flashes of his past character, still today very much a driven individual, a fitness nutter, bolshie, outspoken, uber-confident, but great company. Me, more level headed, ponderous, less of a risk-taker, a better No2. Perhaps thats why we clicked, a great friend and sounding board back in the day. One thing that we both now have in common as middle-aged men apart from the “Moobs” is total reliance on our “Other Half’s” to keep us in check and save us from ourselves!  I can live with that.  We had a great day, the years just melted away.

On Wed morning we cross to France, with an early intention to head towards the area of Crotoy for 24hrs, maybe stopping off on route to get a feel for the place. I’m hopeful we will get a look at “Stella Plage”, which is where my friend Mr Ted Jones MM stepped ashore in the first ever commando style raid of WW2 during Operation Collar (see “The Quiet Man” blog). I’m going to try and avoid the tolls and motorways, so we maximise on seeing the country.

By the way, we have a new camera!! the Other Half currently fancies herself as some sort of roving photo journalist, so stand by for arty meaningful shots of trees and wheat-fields. I’ll just concentrate on shots of the Mutts licking his butt and carrying his toy.


C’est Tout



Filed under #LeGrandeTour2014

#Legrandetour2014 (or turn right at Calais)

After a tough few weeks, with some welcome news at the end of it, we are finally getting ready to start this years chucklebus tour. Originally planned as a “Spritze” across Germany, this has had to be re-thought due to a family illness. Instead, this year we’re going to hit the Channel Tunnel and shag a right at Calais, as we embark on #LeGrandeTour2014.


We have no idea where we are bound for, the only planning thus far is:

  1. Travel to Romney Marsh, Kent tomorrow morning Sat 26th Jul. Staying close to the tunnel on a CL called “The Spinney” near Aldington, Ashford, before making the crossing on Wed 30th!
  2. We need to be at Calais for Sat  16 Aug….With the Mutts fully wormed up, ready to travel back that morning.

Thats it…We’re going to make the rest of it up as we go along! Fun fun FUN.

C’est tout


Filed under #LeGrandeTour2014, Trips - 2014

Goodbye to All That and Cambrin Churchyard

Not my article. But I know the book and the regiment very well. Well worth a read in this centenary year.

Tommy at War

Robert Graves’ “Goodbye to All That” was published in 1929. Its appearance aroused considerable controversy, not least because parts of its content are undoubtedly a mix of Graves’ best recollections and fiction. A number of men who served with Graves took exception to certain aspects of the book. However, there are passages which give a vivid account of events from World War 1. On the opening day of the Battle of Loos, 25 September 1915, Graves’ battalion, the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, were in support of the Middlesex Regiment and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who were leading waves in the attack. This was the first occasion on which the British Army had used poison gas and in Graves’ sector its use caused considerable casualties to British soldiers due to the lack of wind. We visited Cambrin and Cambrin Churchyard Extension cemetery on a recent World War 1 tour…

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