Friday, 17 February 2012


15th Feb
Stayed overnight outside Joanna’s house; yes, she did offer us a bed inside but as we wanted to leave early in the morning (and she had a sofa blocking the hallway, but that’s another story!) we decided it would be easier to sleep in the van.

Our ferry departed at 11.00 a.m. and we had to be at the harbour at least 45 minutes prior to this. So we decided to leave Joanna’s at 6.00 a.m.; it’s a 40 minute drive from Southampton to Portsmouth but we were determined not to miss the ferry, we arrived by 7.00 a.m. and we weren’t the first in the queue! In fact the ferry left 45 minutes late as there was an accident on the A34 and several of the passengers hadn’t arrived by 11.00. We overheard one man saying that because of the delay he had had to drive at 85 miles/hour (bet he wished he’d left at 6.00!!).
The ferry was HUGE, 9 storeys with several restaurants, a cinema, swimming pool, and shop etc.
In one of the restaurants there was a rather interesting glass screen – a light box made from 2 sheets of glass about 8” apart; both sheets had very deep sand blasted roses, on both sides of the glass (float glass about ½“ thick), quite simple but effective.
In the corridor there was more glass art; three pieces in a row, all very similar, consisting of a large fused and slumped glass sheet, about 15” square, sandwiched between this and the top layer was a ceramic layer that looked a bit like wood bark (9 – 10” square, I couldn’t get at this layer to have a feel!), and the top layer was again fused glass (like the first layer, it appeared to have sandblasting internally, but there was no bubbling on the outside – the top and back was smooth); it was very simple but again quite effective. I appreciated that both pieces were made from float glass.[Image]
It was quite calm on the boat, at first ....................... so we promenaded around the decks several times, had breakfast and lunch, had a shower (which was remarkably good considering it was on a boat), read our kindles (thank you Steph!), I did some sketching (as we were passing Isle of Wight) ..................... and then, as we left the shelter of Britain the sea got a little bit rougher, and then a lot rougher; as you walked you looked drunk! Then Brett started to feel sick; so we went to the shop to buy something to help him; we asked the lady, in the shop, if she had anything for seasickness and she directed us to these bracelets, so Brett says “Do they work?” and she says “Of course not Sir!!” whoops! In the end he got a pill from the information desk, but the only thing that helped was lying down, which was a bummer as I wanted my dinner!
Thursday 16th: By morning the sea had calmed and Brett was better. We decided that once we landed we wouldn’t drive too far, as we needed to get used to driving on the right. We chose an aire (free/cheap camp site) that was about 20 minutes from the harbour, keyed the coordinates into the Sat Nav and started driving (Brett was driving), we went on motorways, through towns and villages and finally we were driving towards the mountains with Brett muttering “I was sure it was nearer than this” in the end the road started to get really narrow and we stopped to look at the map – we were about 50 miles from where we wanted to be! In the end we realised it was because the Sat Nav wasn’t formatted the same as the book we were using!!! Talk about a ‘baptism of fire’, Brett drove very competently there and back! And now he’s quite confident, I haven’t had a go yet.
The aire was in a very strange place; there was a safari park with elephants, buffalo, antelopes all roaming free – it looked like something out of Jurassic Park, and the elephants were all red as they’d been rolling in the mud. Unfortunately the village was more or less shut up for the winter, everything looked very unkempt and sorry for itself.[Image]
So we moved on to another aire that was in a slightly busier village. So far we haven’t found any shops to buy milk or groceries (stupid Sat Nav said the nearest place was, 40 miles away, in the opposite direction to where we want to go tomorrow – hope she’s wrong!).

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