My word what a day it has been, but we expected it. Firstly on checking my phone, I saw that we had lost an hour. It must have happened yesterday as we crossed Bulgaria. So now we're two hours ahead of UK time.

Firstly it took us one and a half hours to get out of the Turkish border area. We were in by far the slowest queue for Customs. I think the young lady was a trainee, though she was well supported by three colleagues who sat in the kiosk with their feet up rather than open other kiosks. When we finally reached the front  the paperwork was checked and I told them that we needed to buy vehicle insurance for Turkey. That did it. The process was stopped and we were sent right over the complex to buy some. A slow and painful process.

We were stunned to be told that motorhomes require specialist insurance and the minimum cover was for three months. Costing a whopping €167 CASH, about one hundred and forty pounds. If the office had been located outside the complex we'd have told him to shove it, gone back in to Bulgaria and then dropped down in to Greece. But we were stuck in the system.

Back to the young lady we went, pushing in front of the next vehicle moving towards the kiosk. After it was checked she told us we needed to have it verified by somebody or other, and having already been waved through by the guys who search the vehicles I made my way right across the complex to the 'Baggage Check'. Then I remembered we had the same problem before, being sent back to where we started to have the baggage verified. So back I drove to talk to the guy who had waved us through first time. He had a look at the insurance, checked inside the vehicle and ok'd the vehicle to go to the Baggage Check area. Last time we did this eight years ago it was done on bits of paper, now they were doing it all on hand held electronic devices. Back to Baggage Check to be waved through. Talk about job creation.

After leaving the border complex the roads were appalling but eventually we ended up on a toll road. More expense, as we required a vignette. The Chef came back with one from a local filling station costing eleven euros, but we think that is only valid for the journey to Istanbul, but we're not buying any more.

I was watching the distance to Istanbul on the satnav, hoping to pull over for lunch before we tackled the journey through the city. That didn't quite work out and before we knew it we were on the outskirts, enduring one long traffic hold up after another.

As we got closer to our destination the traffic was horrendous. In the built up city, cars in the nearside lane just stopped, put their hazard lights on and went shopping, leaving everybody behind them to find a way round. Then there were the continual scooter riders coming down our nearside and cutting across in front of us. When we came in 2015 we travelled in the middle of the night to miss the traffic, and after today's experience we'll be leaving here at the same time of day.

Getting to the football club parking area was a nightmare. The new satnav has been really good all the way here, but it wasn't very helpful in the town. The screen was far too busy and it didn't zoom in far enough at junctions etc. This resulted in us going round in circles for quite some time, but we made it.

We are parked in almost exactly the same position as we were last time, except now it's far busier here. Last time there was just three of us. As small car and caravan belonging to an elderly couple from who knows where, and Reece and his wife in their motorhome, who were, or had been, South African farmers.

The good news is that the football field (I think they play five or seven-a-side) is having its artificial turf replaced, a five day job I'm told. Such a shame, it means we won't have the floodlights on all night and the sound of them playing footie. It's quite amazing that they play football all night. I think it is because it is the coolest part of the day, though they'll have no problem at the moment as it's only about fourteen or fifteen degrees during the day, and right now it's pouring with rain.

So that's it. We're here for our final visit to Istanbul, and in fact one of our last motorhome tours. We're staying in the UK for our September tour, and our final one will be next spring, possibly even blog-free.

Tomorrow should be decent weather and so we'll hit the street and soak up the ambiance of the place.


This morning we had the luxury of a lovely hot shower and hair wash. Having the means close by to dispose of all our waste was an opportunity too good to miss.

After breakfast it was back on the road for another day at the office. The weather this morning was pretty much as it was yesterday, bitterly cold with snow showers. I was continually getting alarms on the dashboard telling me the temperature was either freezing or minus one Celsius.

I have to say, I was surprised how far from the border with Bulgaria we had been last night. I had hoped to have reached there by the end of yesterday, but with so many delays we didn't make it. Never mind, it's not a race. We approached that border crossing late this  morning. The young lady on the Serbian side was very pleasant and having stamped our passports came out of her kiosk to take a peep inside the habitation area. We could have invited her in for coffee, but there really wasn't time.

Then it was across 'no man's land' to the Bulgarian border. He was a different kettle of fish. Very brusque, and made it clear what documentation he wanted to see (vehicle registration document, insurance, passports and my international driving permit). What a charmer. He was probably a failed traffic warden.

After he'd finished with us, Customs waived us through, which was a wise decision on their part as if they wanted to take a close look at everything we had onboard they'd have been at it all day with no tea breaks.

There were major roadworks immediately after crossing the border. There was a bit of confusion by moi. I was following the white arrow on the road which was wrong. Those approaching from the other direction had been given that lane and their own, thus two lanes, and we were being (confusingly) ushered in to the narrow hard shoulder lane. Having been helped out by a member of staff, we were back on track and enjoying going through their roadworks as we climbed in to the mountains while dodging potholes.

Soon we were on the outskirts of the capital Sofia. Ah, Sofia, how I shall long remember you. There were so many traffic jams due to  motorway closures that I feared we would never escape the place and be parked up there this evening. It was just more delays.

We needed fuel as I was getting low. We only had a quarter of a tank which is low for us as I don't like to drop below half before looking to top up, but I'd done my homework and knew that Bulgaria sold cheap fuel. Imagine our horror when we saw the prices displayed at the filling stations. All about 2.80 to 3.10 a litre. Jeeeesus! We moaned about the rip-off prices in Germany, but these people made them look cheap. I said to The Chef, that Bulgaria were in the EU, therefore they must be quoting euros.

Luckily I had a brainwave and asked my travelling companion to check on my 'XE' app to see if Bulgaria still had its own currency, and thankfully it did which meant the price we paid was about half of what we thought it would be. The filling station we ended up using was just after the first major traffic jam, but before the second, and where we parked up and had lunch.

I told The Chef that we had made very little headway thus far, and would need to put some miles in this afternoon. We did so, dodging lumps and bumps as we went, though the road surface this time was nothing like as bad as it was the first time we came this way when I spent much of the time driving on the hard shoulder as it was the best surface. Today I sat in the outside lane as much as I could to miss the lumps, bumps, and holes whilst watching my mirrors and giving way to anybody coming up behind me in good time.

Fortunately having crossed in to Bulgaria we were reconnected to our phones and Wi-Fi. It's surprising in today's modern world, how much we come to rely on having such resources.

I asked The Chef to check the road atlas to see what town was close to the  Bulgaria/Turkey border so that we could judge it regarding a cheap top up with fuel and a parking space for the night. Svilengrad came the answer, and so before arrived there will topped the tank up with cheap fuel, as Turkey is supposed to have high fuel prices, and then set off to find somewhere to park for the night. Only the next thing we knew we were at the Bulgaria/Turkey border. Ooops! Luckily there was a parking area just before we cross and that's where we're spending tonight before doing battle with the Turkish authorities. I already know we have to buy additional vehicle insurance to cover us for Turkey. Our last insurance company AXA covered Turkey, but having changed companies at the suggestion of the broker I now find that they don't cover us. So there's a lesson learned.

Whilst sat here I have tried to phone the contact I have at the sports stadium where we are eading in Istanbul. Unfortunately the phone doesn't seem to operate any longer. It was eight years ago after all. So we'll have to just take a leap of faith and make our way there tomorrow and hope that they can take us. Access to the site is trickier than it was as there have been major roadworks right outside, building the Avrasya road tunnel which goes under the Bospherous.

Tonight my darling Chef is preparing Thai Green Curry, which I shall enjoy with a glass of grapes.

Last night I mentioned about measures we take to keep the vehicle warm. These include not only the outside thermal cover for the cab windows, but also, and this is an new one for us, a thin plastic dust sheet and a fleece blanket draped over the dashboard. It works really well with the plastic keeping the damp out of the living space which creeps in through all the air vents and the fleece keeping the warmth in.

God willing tomorrow's post will be from our parking space in Istanbul.

TUESDAY 4-4-23

We had a lovely quiet peaceful night parked up at our Truckstop last night. Normally we're bothered by the sound of HGV's coming and going or drivers running their engines to try and keep warm, but last night...nothing.

It had been a very cold night, hovering around freezing. There was a very cold wind blowing to greet us as we stepped out of the vehicle. We went without a shower again because, although the Truckstop displayed a motorhome dump station I simply couldn't find it, and I wanted to conserve our water as much as possible because I couldn't replenish it.

After scrubbing up and breakfast we were on the road just after 09:00.

It was a busy day at the office as I had to cope with strong gusting winds which was a bit 'white knuckle' at times and the authorities had put reduced speed limits in place because of it.... safer, but not helpful. Then it was yet more roadworks, though, unlike the UK they didn't result in major holdups, just a bit of slowing down, careful driving and a bit of zigzagging.

It wasn't too long before we were clear of Slovenia. I know The Chef wasn't too happy with me paying the cheaper fifteen euro vignette price for smaller vehicles, but as we left Slovenia I asked her, given the short time we had been on their roads did she think it warranted spending thirty euros for the privilege, and she had to agree thirty euros was a rip off.

In to Croatia, we enjoyed the nicest scenery on the western side of the country, the best so far, ignoring Austria which we saw little of. There we spent half the time in tunnels and much of the other half, up in the mountains amongst the low cloud and snow showers.

Some may ask why on earth we are subjecting ourselves to such weather. The fact is, we would normally leave on such a trip in about three weeks time. But The Chef's eldest granddaughter, Charlotte, is having her Open University graduation day at Ely Cathedral in early June, and she's rather like to be there for it. Which means we make the trip short or leave earlier that we'd like and endure whatever comes along.

Onward, ever onward, on roads which would put Broken Britain's roads to shame. Thus far I can't believe the difference between this trip and the last one we made to Istanbul  in 2015. The roads are just so much better, though to be fair, last time we were using out of date maps on a memory card in the satnav we bought to tour America (it's all covered in that trip right at the beginning).

We had lunch at a scruffy garage with a parking area, having topped the tank up at something like €1.70 a litre. We've seen cheaper, but we've sure as hell paid less than back in der Fatherland.

After lunch it was back on the road. As we headed eastwards the roads weren't quite as good, but a million miles better than the last trip. The frustration is that we're paying through the nose for toll fees, so you'd expect them to sort the road surfaces. Having said that, potholes for the whole journey have been minimal, but I did spend quite a lot of time this afternoon travelling in the outside lane because that was by far the better road surface, giving way of course to vehicle approaching me from behind and wishing to overtake.

It was up to the border with Serbia, again nothing like last time. Then the staff were concerned about what we had onboard, and as I recall, whether we had mopeds onboard. Today, just a few questions about where we were going and where we were from then we were on our way, no searches, nothing. Gosh, how civilised. Our hearts did go out though to the poor HGV drivers who, in both directions at the border were stuck in very long queues to go through the border procedures.

Further down the road the snow showers began, and as time passed they became more persistent.  By the time we arrived at Belgrade it was beginning to settle. My word how that place has changed (except the traffic jams), as I recall, last time I was joking about many of the cars being cut-&-shuts, and families crammed in to clapped out Fiat Panda's. Well no more, things have improved greatly, whether that is due to EU investment, I have no idea.

Due to the very heavy traffic (it was 15:30 but it looked liked the rush hour) it took a while to pass right through the city, but at least we stayed on the same dual carriageway to do so.

More heavy snow showers, oh dear. Never mind, it was all manageable, and I had already decided that if I felt we were at risk I would have pulled us off the road and we'd have parked up for the night, and to hell with our needing to make progress.

I had hoped to clear Serbia today, but what with strong gusts of wind, roadwork's and snow showers we failed to achieve that objective. But we're now parked up and warm and cosy. The problem at the moment is we have no phone or wifi access which means I can't upload today's nonsense, nor contact family members to let them know we're safe and fine. We have just found ourselves in a black hole as far as communication is concerned.

The little parking area we're holed up in for the night has Portaloo's, which means I can get rid of the black waste in the morning , and a nearby drain to get rid of the grey, so both of us are very much looking forward to a nice hot shower in the morning.

Tomorrow I am hoping to enter and cross Bulgaria and put us in a strong position to arrive in Istanbul on Thursday morning.

MONDAY 3-4-23

It was cold last night, down to about one degree Celsius the whole night, but with our preparations in place and a couple of hours of gas central heating yesterday evening, we enjoyed a very comfortable night, with just a couple more hours of heating and hot water this morning to finish the job off.

After scrubbing up and breakfast we were back on the road for another day at the office around 09:10, which was about the same time as yesterday. Our aim was to pass the half-way mark as far as kilometres to Istanbul is concerned, though I fear the second half will take longer given the potential for bad road surfaces.

Having been ripped off for the price of diesel bought on a motorway rest area, we touched lucky whilst on our way towards the border with der Fatherland and Austria. I spotted a fuel sign on a tall pole just off one of the slip roads, and so we slowed briskly and slipped down to the nearby garage where we paid something like €1.76 a litre, as opposed to about €2.20 yesterday. That's the difference between paying €176 for a full tank and €220. If we had carried on paying yesterdays prices it would have added about one hundred and fifty Pounds to the cost of getting to Istanbul.

Soon afterwards we pulled in for lunch. We were doing fairly well regarding our progress despite our spending most of the morning in contra-flows, one of them was so long. First we deviated to the left, and then we deviated to the right, and so on. I swear it was forty miles long.

Onward and upward, quite literally, as we crossed in to Austria, famous only for being the former home of Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and their brat kids who wouldn't stop singing, and that they always beat us in The Eurovision Song Contest, but then everybody does.

Up in them there mountains we were enduring snow flurries, which was a bit disconcerting. But never mind, it all came good in the end and we eventually plunged down to something like tera firma.

This may, or may not be the appropriate time to share with you the fact that our toilet cassette has a button to push to equalise the barometric between the environment and that in the cassette. The trouble is the cassette is under the floor of the bathroom, and the equalising button is easily forgotten about and tricky to get to. So imagine my surprise when I went to the loo, up in them there mountains, did the biz, opened the trap to the cassette and WOW!, a 'water' feature leaped up. Thank goodness I emptied the cassette this morning, thus minimising the 'impact'.

Onward we ventured, expecting some lovely scenery, but no, we were obviously taking a different route from the last time we made this journey. It was all very.......boring, though up in the mountains was nice but not breathtaking. But we are only passing through these countries, not stopping to admire the view.

For me the most annoying thing was that we had a prepaid Austrian vignette which gave us access to the Austrian motorway system for seven days..... but oh no! On top of the €9.90 we pre-paid for the vignette we had to pay twice more to go through tunnels on that system, a total of about seventeen euro's extra. I did say to the lady in the toll booth that we had already bought a vignette, but she delighted in telling me that this additional charge was for a tunnel, yet another tunnel. Back in the UK that would be the equivalent of charging Johnny Foreigner a toll fee to use the M25, and then screw him yet again to use the Dartford Crossing.

Onward, ever onward and eventually we reached the border with Slovenia pronounced 'gimeemoremoney'. We pulled in to pay for a vignette to use their motorways. I had previously gone on line at home to buy one in advance, to find out that there are two fees. One is for cars and small vans costing €15 to use the motorways for seven days, and the other is for bigger vehicle like ourselves costing €30. I was not amused and suggested via the internet that they should have a special vignette for vehicles that merely wish to transit through their country. Needless to say I received no reply. With that in mind I suggested to The Chef that she should buy a lower grade vignette for a smaller vehicle, and this we have done. It will cost us fifteen euros to pass through Slovenia rather than thirty euros and if they don't like it... spin on it.

We are now parked up for the night at a rest area (N46.53107 E15.69875). Annoyingly five HGV's have taken up the spaces reserved for ten motorhomes, leaving us to park across a number of car spaces.

My darling Chef prepared a delicious chicken curry whilst I went in to the wine cellar and bought out a bottle of Tesco Finest Stelllenbosch (if in doubt about wine just buy a Tesco 'Finest', you won't go far wrong).

In the news, we have the story  that blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, a reporter for the Russian media, who regularly reports Putin's propaganda from the front line in the Ukraine war, has been assassinated by a bomb planted in a statue given to him by somebody who clearly disagrees with his view on things. Whilst it's sad that innocent people around him would have been injured, at least they now know what life is like in Ukraine at the moment.

We also find Eddie Izzard complaining that since coming out as a Transgender male he/they/it is finding it difficult to date other minority members of society. Well Eddie, I find that hard to understand quite frankly. I'm sure in the eyes of many you're real eye candy. The only thing I can suggest to improve matters is to maybe change the colour of your lipstick or dab something different behind your ears. Anyhow best of luck with that one.

Tomorrow we hope to crack Slovenia ,Croatia and Bosnia landing somewhere in  Bulgaria by tomorrow night.

SUNDAY 2-4-23

We were up in good time, scrubbed, fed, tidied up and on the road at 09:15, to begin our 1,500 mile journey to Istanbul.

The Belgian motorways were in very good condition, hardly a pothole anywhere which is more than can be said for back home. What we failed to do this morning was fill up with fuel before crossing in to Germany, resulting in us having to pay an eye-watering €2.20 a litre to top up our tank. We should have known better.

The German motorways were very busy indeed. I think it must be the Easter holiday rush. Many could, I'm sure have set out yesterday, but they were probably doing the same as us - travelling on a Sunday when the HGV's with a few exceptions are banned from the road. We must have passed thousands of them today parked in Rest Areas for an enforced day of rest. It made a huge difference for us because when we're tangling with HGV's we're continually overtaking one or two and then pulling back in and then almost immediately pulling back out again. It's either that or incurring the wrath of cars behind us who are in a hurry. You wouldn't even have wanted to make this trip in an Avro Lancaster unless you really had too.

Our usual routine is to drive for about three hours before stopping for lunch and then back on the road for another three, or until we feel we've had enough. We make every effort to be parked up before 18:00 because that's when the HGV's come off the road seeking a parking space for the night. Today was no exception, and we've managed to bag a parking space behind a Rumanian van in an HGV parking space. Having checked the figures, we've travelled 380 miles. That's enough for one day as I can't throw the motorhome around like a car, especially as we well loaded and a bit top-heavy.

The Parking Area we're in has a toilet block with a tap outside, so we'll be able to top up our fresh water tank in the morning, dump the black waste and as luck would have it there is a drain right by the side  of the vehicle, so we'll be leaving here in the morning with an empty grey water tank.

The temperature here is guesstimated to drop to around one or two degrees tonight, so I may well put the exterior screen cover on the cab windows. I don't usually do that when we're parked up in places like this, just in case something crops up and I need to get away in a hurry, but it seems safe enough, and we do need to conserve our LPG until we get to Greece where it can be purchased very easily.

The Chef's fine dining experience tonight is to be stew & dumplings (which she bought along). I may well do it justice with a glass of liquid grapes. We may then watch a bit of telly. We carry a pouch of DVD's with a mixture of classic BBC comedy shows and films of all kinds, including comedy, but not the old black and white's like the Marx Brothers. What a load of rubbish they were. More irritating than funny. It just goes to show how easily pleased folk were back then.

Here in der Fatherland the Marx name is synonymous with Karl Marx, the philosopher and lover of communism. He lived his final years in London and is buried in Highgate Cemetery. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jeremy Corbin lives nearby. What few people know, is that Karl Marx had a sister, Onya, who became an engineer and invented the starting pistol used at important athletic track events. She is celebrated at the start of each event with the starter calling out her name just before the gun goes off.

Tomorrow we're back on the road to eat up more of those miles to Istanbul. Given the price of fuel on the motorways we may have to consider leaving them to refuel. We'll see how it goes.

SATURDAY 01-4-23

Today would have been my dad's ninety-sixth birthday. Sadly we lost him fifty years ago. They say the good die young, and in my dad's case that was so very true, whilst evil bastards like Gary Glitter will no doubt live to a ripe old age.................. I digress.

It took me an age, sat at the computer last night, trying to upload the little video we made of the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony. I think I went to bed at midnight having failed miserably.

This morning with the rain still bouncing off the motorhome roof and the vehicle bouncing around in the wind we decided to have a bit of a lie-in before getting sorted and heading in to town for a wander round.

Having faced defeat last night I wound the laptop up and did battle with it to try and upload the video from last night. In the end I discovered the reason it would not upload was because I had failed to create a proper file for it. That's what happens when you try and do things when you're tired.

With that sorted it was showers all round and a Wheetieflakes breakfast (those bricks of wheat are definitely getting smaller). We stayed in for lunch before venturing in to town. We had nothing in particular to get, but we needed to stretch our legs and get some fresh air.

I was interested in buying a data-only SIM card or two, having stupidly purchased the wrong kind before we left home. In the end I decided not to bother and will look again in Greece where we may get a good deal with somebody like Stavrosmobile.

Having had a wander round (I did take a few pictures but Ypres (leper) has been done to death on previous visits) we made for a couple of local supermarkets to pick up a few bits. The Chef was appalled at having to pay stupid money for a bottle of fresh cow's milk. We do have powdered milk onboard for this trip, probably about thirty pints worth, but we don't want to start drawing on that too soon. In the past we've carried some milk which claims to be 'semi-skimmed' but is tastes like white water. This time I've bought some of the 'white water' together with a brand which claims to be 'full fat', so if I combine the two, then we may have something that's palatable.

This afternoon has been spent indoors yet again. When we began this motorhome lifestyle the sound of the rain hitting the roof was quite cosy, now it's a damned irritant.

My darling Chef's offering this evening has been a pizza and chips with salad, which I washed down with a couple of glasses of liquid grapes. I do have to try and get in my five-a-day as best I can.

Tomorrow we set off for Istanbul. I am a little apprehensive about the journey having made it once before, but I firmly believe that if we don't push ourselves, and take ourselves out of our comfort zone, then we achieve nothing.

So it's an early night followed by a frantic hour or so in the morning readying the vehicle for the next fifteen hundred miles or so.

FRIDAY 31-3-23

We had a nice lie in this morning as we'd had a bit of a disturbed night due to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof during the night. Unfortunately this morning was no better.

We amused ourselves with puzzles and reading until mid-day when it was time to move down the road to the campsite, Camping Jeugdstadin (N50.846952 E2.898196). It's in an ideal location and charges a very reasonable sixteen euro's a night, and that includes electricity.

We were soon set up and relaxing whilst doing ... yup more puzzles and reading.

This evening we had to brave the weather to attend the Menin Gate Memorial for the 20:00 Last Post Ceremony. I had booked a slot to lay a wreath to honour the Officers, men and Wrens who served in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. I am in fact a member of the Last Post Association who stage this event.

I can't remember how I ended up being a member. I think perhaps it was when I had to decide whether to join them or become a Mormon and donate ten per cent of my income to the church. I probably figured it out that sixty euros a year was the cheaper option, and for that I'm happy to support it.

So a bit about the Menin Gate:

The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.

The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the Salient. In the case of United Kingdom casualties, only those prior 16 August 1917 (with some exceptions). United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. New Zealand casualties that died prior to 16 August 1917 are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

The YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24 July 1927.

With myself committed to lay the wreath it fell to The Chef to record the event with the video camera, which involved her having a crash course in its use this afternoon. I have to say, given her lack of experience and the really cold wind blowing through the memorial resulting in her having cold hands, I think she did very well, though as we were leaving the words "Never again!" were ringing in my ears.

We've been to these ceremonies a number of times, and it's all a bit 'luck of the draw'. Sometimes there are military bands in attendance or Scottish pipes and drums. We've known some of them to last forty or fifty minutes. At the other end of the scale is the 'Menin Gate Mid-Week Budget Event', and sadly that's what we got tonight. Even the Master of Ceremonies failed to turn up and a member of staff had to stand in for him at short notice. There were only eight wreaths laid, which is just as well, scruffy gits. I haven't included all the wreath laying in the video.

The wreaths lying on the steps will be those laid on previous evenings and are making there way up the steps to the recycling bins. No, we didn't even get a dry sunny evening. Never mind, we have to work with what we've got.

On our return our damp clothing had to be hung in the bathroom on a rail I made, whilst our small electric fan heater busied itself with drying things out (we're saving the LPG for our onboard heating system for our journey to Istanbul and our stay there).

I feel that I need to get back in to the swing of posting on the  blog, I've got out of the routine and since having Covid a couple of months ago I've lacked a bit of motivation, but we'll get there in the end.

Tomorrow will be a rest day and getting ourselves ready to hit the road on Sunday morning heading for Istanbul.

THURSDAY 30-3-23

The day didn't get off to a good start when I received a phone call informing me that our lovely neighbour just two weeks short of her 93rd birthday had fallen and cut her leg. So round I dashed armed with a key and a first aid bag and dressed the wound.

We were on a very tight schedule and could have spent so much more time with her including taking her to the local minor injuries unit. Instead I made phone calls whilst Rosina made her a cup of tea before we had to dash.

The cunning plan for the day was to fill up with diesel and LPG on the way out of town heading for the M11. From there we would make our way round the M25 to Farnham in Hampshire to visit one of Rosina's sisters who had moved down there to a nursing home a couple of months ago. From there we would continue round the M25 before making our way south to Folkestone and a channel crossing on Le Shuttle.

Needless to say things didn't go to plan as the garage which sells the LPG had a broken down vehicle parked on the pump and we had to wait until they could get it going and moved out of the way.

The journey to Farnham was fine, if a little wet, and it was good to see Rosina's sister again, though sad to see how much more frail she had become. A reminder that we are all stood on the escalator of life making our way to the top floor, though none of us knows where we are in the queue.

We were only there about an hour before her sister became tired and so we left her to sleep. It was a long way to go for just an hour, but as we left she told us she loved us both, so that alone made the journey worthwhile.

That put us ahead of schedule and we managed to bag an earlier crossing on Le Shuttle, and after about seventy-five minutes we were parked up here in Ypres, in Belgium.

It's been a long day, and we're now parked up in a layby area for the night.

Tomorrow we move on to the local campsite for a couple of nights before setting off for Istanbul.