Thursday, May 12, 2016

Keeping Left

We have been in the UK of GB for more than a week now, undergoing vehicle repairs, dealing with foul wet weather and less in bloom than we had hoped for, pondering where to go and what to do--here and in Ireland--in the next 2 and a half months. Also keeping left and enjoying being among the Britons once more. We've camped at Canterbury, on the beach at Seaford, at a lay-by north of Robertsbridge, and at Wealden Forest Park, near Herne, and we have seen old favorites Canterbury, Sissinghurst, Scotney, and Petworth. As I write, May 11th, we're holed up in the municipal carpark at beautiful Midhurst, near Chichester, awaiting fairer weather for some garden walks. The crossing from Calais to Dover was unremarkable, fortunately, and my Mal de Debarquement Syndrome seems no worse for the short voyage.
Squealing began as we approached Calais; when we drove off
the boat in Dover, it became a clattering and then a grinding;
we limped to a Fiat dealer in Canterbury, and by the time we got
to an independent mechanic 3 miles away, we'd lost the brakes;
when they put the vehicle on a lift, the rear driver's wheel
careened and nearly fell; that's brake fluid all over

Stub axle, remains of brakes, bearings and brace mutilated;
interestingly, the shop in Amsterdam had just replaced the rear/
driver bearings, they said, and charged us a good bit, and then
certified the vehicles a "fit"; 400L later, we are lucky but not
happy campers; the matter is under review

Colin and his team at Brambles, at Wealden Forest Park, fixed
us up; since our vehicle was undrivable, he let us stay on the
premises two nights, while parts were ordered, delivered, installed

And thus, staying on the premises, we learned about Bang
Racing; two of the team, Lewis and Jordan, are avid Bang
Racers, and work on their vehicles after hours

Lewis' girlfriend watches as they lift the Bang Racer up via
the tow truck

And Lewis deftly removes superfluous parts, like mufflers, etc.
Check out Bang Racing at

Wealden Forest Park had many other businesses of interest, not
least this British tent store

Here we are inside one of the tents, a colossal one that has, count
'em, four sleeping chambers; the Brits are really into this
style of camping, together with their caravans (trailers)

We generally stop in Canterbury both coming and going to the UK
--it has the only Continental-style aire de camping-cars in the UK,
it is a small and manageable city that yet has everything, it is only
a dozen free-way miles from Dover; we like it; consequently we
regard it as a haven, not a touristy spot, since we've already seen
(and blogged) it all, there are few pix; here is the (Christopher)
Marlowe Theater (he was from Canterbury); reminds me we
have to watch Shakespeare in Love again; also Elizabeth

In the cathedral gift shoppe, one of the better ones

While the RV was being worked on, we visited
the "Super Stores" to re-acquaint ourselves with
British cuisine

Marmite crisps...taste like crunchy shoe polish


Royal road-kill

Actually, British cuisine, judging from the restaurants and supermarkets,
is getting increasingly international--far more so than the US--

At a Lidl, Jambon Serrano, 29.99L a leg; does
Trader Joe carry this?!

Vicki admires the ingenuity that goes into European campers...
oven, microwave, 3-burner range, bath with shower, sleeps 3, 22
feet long, diesel, all the usual amenities,86k USD,  including all 

At one of the better RV/camping stores we've encountered (open
on Sunday with free grilled hot dogs and drinks...just like See Grins
in Gilroy)

When a Lotus 7 parked next to us outside the
Halford's in Newhaven, I knew we were back
among the Britons...


Mel u said...

I will look forward to following your experiences in Ireland.

Rebecca said...

I've had those Thai sweet chili peanuts! They are very tasty.

Tawana said...

I never think British cuisine is very good, but we just had two weeks of excellent meals while we were there...and I didn't have to prepare any of them!