On another page I wrote we had bought a motor home - Winnie and had intended to go to Poland in her to see Christopher and family and more particulary Hannah who we had never met.

Events like Marilyn's cancer and the death of my step father and having to move my mum into a care home meant we could only manage a couple of trips away "to get to learn her faults" before we went but they - to Rutland and Gloucester - worked well and after having a full service and MOT - she passed first time - the trip was booked and planned.

Channel Tunnel then down to Arras where Great Uncle's Eddie's name is on the wall.
And I had planned the route and all the stops, mainly at Camping Aires and Camping Stell Platz which are small overnight motorhome stops on the continent.

We had put the fridge on 240v overnight to cool it down as we had quite a bit of English food to take with us and when we switched to gas, it didn’t work. So we had to buy a 12v/240v cool box to try to keep things cool as we travelled.

We drove to Canterbury Park and Ride where motor homes can stay overnight

and the next day drove to Folkestone and the Chunnel.

The Chunnel is the way to travel. Being in a wheelchair I was put as the first vehicle (the last on the way back) so they know where I am - just in case!

Arriving in France we set off to Arras to visit the Memorial and discovered the Sat Nav didn't work properly. I had bought a European Map to fit the Sat Nav and been assured it would work but it got confused easily and sent us down weird routes. So we then drove  then drove onto the toll road, something I wanted to avoid. The Sat Nav also took us a strange route down the coast and I was wondering why we could see the sea! Driving up to a barrier I pressed the button and nothing happened. No matter what I did nothing happened. A car drove up behind me and I managed to wave him back and then I had to reverse back, hazard lights on, back into the motorway traffic and try another barrier. This time it worked.

Off the toll road we were then directed down very small country lanes, and into a village where we seemed to pass the same gang of workmen 6 times, much to their amusement. On the main road again I found we were 15k from Arras. Sometimes the Sat Nav  worked and so I reprogrammed and we found the memorial. Access wasn’t bad and we found my Uncle Eddie’s name. We were the first to ever visit him and it was very emotional for me. I have his letters etc and he was an apprentice cabinet maker and won the Gold medal for a china cabinet that is still in our possession. More on
http://stevecattell.com/ejcattell.html Anyway we left my poppy pin next to his name.

I had to change the route to stop only at places with electricity so we could keep the fridge and coolbox cool. The aire in Arras was full but found a nice one in Lens just up the road.

We then found that the wifi didn’t work although I had paid Virgin extra to use it abroad but we were next to McDonalds so I managed to use theirs. The electric was €3 for 30 minutes and after paying for 1 hour, Marilyn found she hadn't switched the fridge on or plugged in the cook box so another €6 was spent.

We set off the next day heading NW but when we reached Northern Belgium and stopped for petrol, the engine was totally dead when I came to start up. Marilyn went to buy some jump leads and then found two nice Belgium men who jump started us. But driving along I wasn’t happy with the way the engine was running.
We got to Duran in Germany (our next stop and the Sat Nav was working again) and were in the middle of town heading for the site when we stopped at traffic lights to turn left and the engine just stopped and was totally dead.

Hi viz jacket and triangles out by Marilyn while I phoned the RAC, who were very helpful and the breakdown truck arrived in an hour and a half. Traffic could get round us so it wasn’t too bad. The breakdown man jump started me and I was instructed to drive round the corner where there was a garage who found the alternator had given up the ghost. I think it was on the way out for a while and the leisure battery was supplementing it but we had flattened that with the 12v cool box. They allowed us to park on their forecourt and ran the 240v cable into their bay and also gave us water from their hose.

Because it’s an American Toyota they were having difficulty getting the part and it could have been Monday (this was Thursday when we broke down) but they managed to get one on the Saturday morning and after selling me a new battery as the old one wasn’t charging properly off we set again.
We made a site near Stukenbrock for the night (near Gutersloh)

 but our planned visit round Gutersloh where we used to live had to be cancelled then we went towards Berlin. Massive roadworks round Hanover slowed us down plus torrential rain and we managed to find a place at Angermude about 60 miles north of Berlin. The site was in a car park against the city walls of this medieval walled town.

Then we went off to find Christopher and his family who were staying in his father in laws holiday home at Kluczewo in the Polish Lake District. It took us about 3 hours and without the sat nav was hard work but we found it with no major problem apart from a detour round Szczecin when we turned off following signs for there instead of sticking on the main road.

We stayed there for 10 days, longer than planned but we could plug into the mains, water and the sewer so it was like a fully serviced pitch and we had a lovely time, made to feel most welcome. And Maric managed to repaired the fridge and gave us a tarpauline to stop the rain dripping in the cab.

On the Wednesday we set off towards Szczecin but just after we set off I had warning lights come up and we found I had broken the fan belt!!
We managed to make the site - the Marina in Szczecin

and that was very nice and Christopher found one of his English students who is a mechanic who arranged for it to be repaired on the Saturday afternoon and he replaced the other belt as well - just in case.

Sunday night we spend on the road outside his father in laws house and attended Natalie's birthday party

and Monday we set off home.

Monday we went to Angermunde again and spent a lovely afternoon looking round

and Tuesday was a very hot day and a long drive to Stukenbrock complete with the road works round Hanover again.

Wednesday we looked round Gutersloh and how it has changed in 34 years. We found our house and that was it.

We then drove to a site by a restaurant north of Dortmund

and ate there - very nice and Thursday we found (just) a site near Dunkirk after a few diversions due to Marilyn’s map reading skills

 and Friday caught the Chunnel early and got home at about 2 pm.

Since we got back we have had more trips to Plymouth, Gloucester and the Lake District but have developed more water leakage that I can't do anything about so we are getting a new, newer motorhome and are planning Poland again in 2017.