It was going to be a diary as I drove my Smart car with my cycle on the back from England south thru France, Spain , and then round back up thru Portugal and Spain again. Escaping the Winter in England, and investigating parts of France, Spain and Portugal, where I have never been before.
I experience, Snow, Robbery, Love of a Spanish woman, and amazing roads and Scenery. What a wonderful start to my first year of my retirement.
It all started way back on 28th November 2017.
Thursday 1st March - Smarty gets fixed and a bit of snow The next day I get up early and drive back up to Prestbury there is a bit of snow about. Drop my car of with Giles , from 4Smarts If anybody will fix if Giles will. He is a great Smart Mechanic.
I love the way he keeps his 2nd hand cars parked.
Get to work Giles.
It snows a bit over night
Breakfast and coffee In England not quite the same as in Seville, Spain
I go and collect Smarty from Giles all fixed and ready for the snow. Smarty's love the snow. the traction control is great , just floor it and it wiggles a little and just goes.
On the way back I stop off at The Royal Union.
I love the Pump Taps. And the beer inside them.
I hear that since I have been away Robin, the landlord's dogs have been busy and are going to be mum and dad in about three weeks time. How many will be black and how many white?
Not more Himalayan Pigeon retrievers in Cheltenham?
Smarty Home at my dads place, resting before taking me home back to Cambridgeshire when the snows melt.
Wednesday 28th February - Portsmouth to Cheltenham
I wake up early and go and get some breakfast , looking out of the window I see a very cloudy sky and the temperature is minus 2 , I hope the snow keeps off and there is not too much over the Cotswold hills. I message one of my friends who works up on the hills , he said no snow as yet but it does keep trying.
Cloudy but it does look brighter over there.
We are not allowed outside as the desk are covered in ice.
My room , and after my show the whole floor is swimming. Good job I had my towel on when I took that photo .
When we actually dock at Portsmouth there is blue sky no clouds huraaa
Car survived the journey, so chocks away, I hope it starts OK!
Yes it is minus -2 but it is sunny so the top is off the car.
The hill out of Portsmouth.
Looking back down to Portsmouth. I stop for a cup of coffee in a layby at the top.
As I drive back I see what looks like loads of very shallow swimming pools so I pull over nea pub to ask what they are. .... honest.
The George and Falcon in Warnford
My goodness they are open, and I get my very first pint of English real ale for 3 months.
Very nice it is too.
Mmm sipping a warm beer in front of and open real fire. England I am in England
Oh dear that is snow on the side of the roads
I decide to have some lunch before I drop down into Cheltenham.
I stop off at the Green Dragon in Cockleford just off the Cirencester road.
Another warm beer in front of a real fire, with some Gloucester Old Spot Sausages n mash.
After lunch I drive up to Ian Coleys Shooting ground to see my friend Simon Darch, and to buy a new winter shooting coat to replace the Browning one, some nice Spanish person is wearing.
While I was in the shop it had started snowing, I had better get off this hill.
The driveway from Ian Coleys shooting ground.
This is a photo of the same drive, the next morning.. Apparently Simon could not work that weekend!
I drive from the shooting ground straight to Prestbury to see Giles the owners of 4Smart one of the best Smart car garages in England.
Giles puts his computer onto my Smart and says its the dump value actuator that has failed and he turns it off so my car works fine so long as I do not race it, so I can drive back home unload it and bring it back tomorrow for a full service and the valve replaced.
My final mileage reading . 146002 miles
My start mileage way back at the end of November was 140848 miles , so my total trip journey was 5,154 miles
I emptied my car onto my dads lounge floor to take an after picture.
Woke up nice and early and had a nice simple breakfast at the B&B , with another Englishman (Richard) staying at the B&B loaded SMARTY up, who started ok. paid the B&B and drove to the Ferry following the B&Bs owners son advice to go to the beach on the lower road.
I took the wrong road, as I was navigating on my phone, but it did not matter as I was very early.
I arrived in the queue, with the Richard having left after me two cars in front of me in the queue.
We started to chat, and the queue started to move.
We were parked nearly at the bottom of the boat deck 5 and right at the back.
I was parked next to the wheelchairs!
Richard and I went straight to the bar, is 10.00 am to early to red wine?
No was the answer.
The view from my room tonight! I have a 4 berth cabin right in the centre of the boat deck 8 cabin no 8238
We are off, it was a bit wobbly early on.
Which toy will I buy for Bobby?
I had to unclip the ladder as the rocking to and fro was making a tapping noise which was annoying me.
I go upstairs and buy a meat stew with chips for dinner, I eat it and lay down for a while and wake up again hours later.
So I get undressed and go to bed. The rocking seems to have subsided a bit I choose a bunk lying cross ways to the ship and fall asleep.