From The Highs Of The French Alps To The Lows Of Moriarty’s Demise.

First off, apologies for the delayed updates. Lack of a decent ‘Net signal is partly to blame, along with us having to make an earlier than scheduled return to Blighty. Bear with me….all will be revealed in due course.

Anyhow, where were we? Ah, yes, we were heading up the Col Des Aravis for a couple of days to indulge in our favourite pastime – walking. And so we did, spending a rather pleasant weekend parked-up on a motorhome park, kindly provided by a local cheesemaker, in exchange for a teensy donation of €2 and, possibly, a purchase of some of their home-produced fromage. Unfortunately, we couldn’t partake of the latter on account of Moriarty refusing to stay cold enough to guarantee it’s longevity. Yup, he’d finally given up the ghost when it came to running on gas and, with electricity hard to come by in these parts, we ‘d resigned ourselves to having to wait until the repair shops came back from annual leave later this week. Still, we DID manage to do a bit of walking -very scenic it was too, almost enough to take our minds off the pesky fridge!

On the Monday, we continued our drive through scenic alpine villages and up to Roselend Barrage where, along with a dozen other motorhomers, we parked up on the banks of the reservoir and enjoyed the sunshine. The location was pretty stunning and, along with pretty much everyone else, all of whom were French, we wound out the awning, got out the chairs and even caught up with the laundry by handwashing it and hanging it out to dry. Our bliss was marred only by the arrival of a pretty rabid little Frenchman in a huge Hymer who made a beeline for us, shouting “No Camping!” whilst waving his phone and shouting “photographs!” before jumping back into his van and driving-off in a fit of pique, presumably because there was no room for him and/or we were installed in a rather nice spot with fab views. Strange that he didn’t target anyone else though – despite one couple who’d erected their driveaway awning and many others who were also drying washing outside! Anyhow, rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly, in retrospect!) I let him get to me and, after further failed attempts to get Moriarty’s gas burner to stay lit for more than thirty seconds, despite being lovingly coaxed and then threatened AND his burner being subjected to several hard thumps with a screwdriver, Roy sensed my unease and suggested maybe we should decamp down to Albertville for the night and pitch up at the repair centre there first thing in the morning. I jumped at the chance, more’s the pity as it turned-out…..long story short – we packed-up in haste, drove down to Albertville (some 30km or so down a steep and windy road) only for Roy to discover he’d lost his iPhone! A quick check on his Find My iPhone App on the iPad revealed it was still up at our parking spot at Roselend! So, back up the steep and winding road we go – somewhat faster than we’d gone down, it has to be said, to find another van parked-up there. We’d tried ringing it, in case anyone had picked-it up but, since it was on silent, yer man in the van parked there now hadn’t heard it! Thankfully, he was a nice gent and, when I knocked on his door and explained the situation, he came out and helped us look for it under the van – in fact, it was he that finally found it lying a few inches away from his rear wheel! Phew! We just parked-up on the car park above the dam itself by that stage, vowing to tackle the steep and winding road back down to Albertville early the next morning!

So, off we go early enough on Tuesday morning to find the campervan repairer whose website said they were indeed open for business – turned-out they weren’t! In fact we couldn’t even find them at the address given and a phone call then revealed that they were a)closed for the holidays and b)relocating and not re-opening until an undisclosed date in September, possibly! Would’ve been helpful to have updated your website, Dudes! In desperation, I called a nice young fella some 86km away in St Jeoire (the far side of Taninges!) and browbeat him into seeing us at 2pm that afternoon. Up we pitched at the appointed time and, despite him doing what we’d already done i.e dismantling the burner, cleaning it out then resorting to hitting it with a blunt instrument, he pronounced it a major problem with the burner control unit or the thermocouple and he didn’t stock the parts blah blah blah. He suggested we try the dealers in Annecy. By this stage, we just wanted to know whether or not the damned thing was worth repairing, it already having outlived the average lifespan for a fridge of this type, or should we just cut our losses and invest in a new one? By the time we reached the dealer just north of Annecy (the first lot we tried flatly refused to even take a look at it!), ten minutes before closing, we got our answer – the burner control unit was, indeed, f*cked and, whilst it could be replaced -if we wanted to wait around for a week for the parts-it was gonna be hellish expensive. Decision made! We thanked the young man for his prompt attention but, no, we weren’t going to throw good money after bad on an fridge which was already past it’s sell-by-date. We’d suss out a new one instead!

Luckily, we’d spotted a motorhome aire just across the road from the dealer so we parked-up there for the night and started our research into Moriarty-replacements! It became apparent that buying one in France was a non-starter – way more expensive than in England, particularly so in view of the crap Sterling-Euro exchange rate at the moment so we’d need to head back a couple of weeks earlier than we’d intended!

Thus began our long journey home. With two nights in Villefranche-sur-Saone in the Beaujolais region, on a rather nice Pass’Etapes site (uber cheap and with electricity included!) and a night at Murat Le Quaire in The Massif Central (on another very nice Pass’Etapes site!), we finally arrived Chez Donohoe in the Limousin where we’d planned to stay for a few days. As it turned-out, we ended up staying for ten days (long story which I’m not going to go into as yet! Thanks All for making us soooooo welcome!) BUT, the good news is………the new fridge has been ordered and will be installed on Tuesday Sept 12th in Ashford, Kent! All hail the new fridge!

Le Shuttle is booked for 9.50hrs, Friday Sept 8th i.e tomorrow, and we’ve spent the last three days doing long schlepps in a Calais-wards direction, stopping at Azay-Le-Rideau (very nice Pass’Etapes site!) and Neufchatel en Bray ( paid Aire was full so ended-up on free Aire instead!) on the way up, arriving here this afternoon!

We’ve stocked-up with as much wine and gourmet food as we can carry (probably TOO much, if truth be known so here’s hoping we don’t get put on a weighbridge!), topped-off Sebo’s diesel tank and are spending our last night in France on an ACSI campsite just a short hop away from Le Shuttle’s terminal. A few weeks back home are in order to catch up with family and friends, get Sebo MOT’d etc and then we’ll be off again. Stay tuned for Sebo’s next Big Adventure!

Cheers All

Roy, Karen & Harley


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