Leaving home: from Dartford to Dover

A frantic few weeks came to an abrupt end on Saturday 9th August when we left home.

It’s always a nervy final few moments, wandering around a ‘battened down’ house – looking for anything we may have missed before locking the door and leaving everyday life behind for three months.

Work was completed, deadlines had been met, audio had been broadcast, the house had been sold (and then not as it turned out) and we were on our way to All the Alps….via a football match in Kent!

The Caravan Club site at Halland CL – men and motors

We made the short drive to our neighbouring county and to a Caravan Club farm stopover site where we were greeted by ducks, geese and a clutch of men in boiler suits, tinkering about with vintage buses.

It was all rather charming, but they were bemused to learn that we were visiting the area to see a football match (via the local train) to Dartford. We didn’t mention that we were on our way to the Alps – just mentioning our football team’s name sparked more than half an hour of conversation!

Goooooooooaaaall Wrexham!

A 20 minute train ride took us to the impressive eco-stadium at Dartford to enjoy a resounding victory for the Mighty Wrexham, the first game of the new season. A great way to start our trip!

Back at the mini campsite, the boiler suited chaps smiled and winked as we returned to Bertha. It turned out they had been following the game on Radio Kent.

Spot the two Reds fans at the back!

The next morning’s drive to Dover, in high winds, caused panic as Bertha very nearly flipped over on top of the cliffs, swerving alarmingly on two wheels, whilst a caravan in the opposite lane jack-knifed across oncoming traffic.

We held our breath and Simon held her steady at the wheel as we descended into Dover.

Stormy weather

The seas were high, but the ferry (good old Berlioz of Seafrance days) got us safely into Calais from where we inched along the windswept A16 north to Gravelines.

The aire was full as a funfair was in town but we found shelter of sorts behind a huge Concorde van that gave us welcome protection from the violent gusts of Hurricane Bertha. How ironic, given the name of this Met Office storm…

Hiding behind a big ‘van at Gravelines windy aire