Myrtle The Motorhome

Days 21 to 22
Orleans,
Boulogne sur Mer
& Home.

Day 21:

Friday 19th October
Jargeau Nr. Orleans to Boulogne sur Mer
Miles: 263

Site: Campsite L’Ete Indien
Cost: €14.00 per night. (Plus Tourism Tax)

Having consumed no alcohol the evening before and with a route planned and scribbled all over our map and with Tom Tom as back up we paid a said cheerio to the mardy Frenchman at about 9.30am.

This was the first time we had planned our route having left Tom Tom in charge the rest of the time and frankly we proved much better at it than him. We went down no narrow tracks or did any 100 mile detours just to stay on the motorway network. We did end up for a while on single carriage main road but only once needed to overtake, thankfully, as this is a scary operation. With a right hand drive vehicle it’s up to your co-pilot to determine when it’s safe to carryout the manoeuvre. Even though I had total faith in H, pulling out to overtake when you haven’t judged the distance or speed of any on coming traffic yourself is a strange sensation.

Our destination for the day was Boulogne sur Mer and our last evening in France. H had selected Boulogne has she’d heard some unsavoury reports about staying in Calais and this seemed a safer option.

After a steady drive and a stop for lunch we arrived at Boulogne sur Mer at about 3.30pm and the first thing we noticed on the approach road to the campsite was that the road was absolutely caked in wet mud. I don’t mean a little muddy I mean lathered in mud and we could hear it flicking up and hitting Myrtles under carriage, it even got onto the window screen and we weren’t following any other vehicles.

Then about 100 yards from the campsite we passed the entrance to a very large gypsy encampment on what we thought was an Aires De Camping Car but were later to find was actually an official gypsy site, our second in two nights.

We reached reception in a mud splattered Myrtle and were allocated a pitch and, we were told as if to say lucky us, had a sea view.

Whoopee-do we could see the sea, about a mile away and to be fair it would have been pretty hard to get a pitch without a sea view. The pitch it’s self was part grass, part gravel, part mud, which to be fair had been the case at most sites we’d stayed on, but here they’d obviously had a lot more rain and our pitch was quite muddy.

Most of the French sites we’d stayed on were close to railway lines but like at La Rochelle, which seemed an age ago, this pitch was right next to a main high speed train line and when a train went passed you couldn’t here yourself think. Fortunately as I said it was a high speed line so the noise didn’t last long but on a downside it did seem to appear from nowhere and could scare the bejesus out of you when you were least expecting it.

After setting up, Max included, we took a walk around the site, there were about 7 other units , a mixture of caravans and motorhomes, on the site and various statics and chalets. The site ‘L’Ete Indien’ had a western Cowboy and Indian theme going on and you could even stay in a wigwam if you’d wanted.

There was a bar/restaurant, games and swimming pool areas too but none of these were open.

As we roamed the site we were surprised at just how close the boundary of the tourist camp was to the gypsy camp and they almost joined.

When we signed in I’d also got an uneasy feeling when the receptionist told us that if we needed security during the evening it was located, and they pointed to a hut near reception which was marked on the a map of the site we were issued. However when we’d had our walk and reception was shut we did find what we thought was the security hut but like the bar, restaurant, swimming pool etc it also looked pretty redundant and didn't look like it had been occupied for quite some time.

I couldn’t help thinking why would we need security in the middle of the night, no other site had given this warning! Not even Les Sables at La Rochelle!

As darkness fell the site was drenched in total darkness, just to walk to the loo block some 25 yards away you needed a torch. There was a security light at the toilet block but this was right around the back of the biulding and the light didn’t come on until you’d walked and found your way right around to the entrance at the rear and in a space between the loos and a wall. Then when you left the loos you stepped back out into total darkness and had to jig about a bit to make the security light come back on.

At about 11.00pm for a bit of fresh air before bedtime I decided to take a walk to the loos but even with me to protect her H was too scared to go.
 
When I got back the unease continued to grow and such were my suspicions I decided to pack Max away because I didn’t think it was safe to leave him out all night though we had at other sites.
Whenever we go to bed in Myrtle I always pack away the valuables and put my mobile and wallet on the shelf next to me in bed and on this night I even put not one but two torches should I need them in the night such was the unease that continued to build.

Day 22:
Saturday 20th October
Boulogne sur Mer to Calais and then home.
Miles: 266

Site: Chez Our House
Cost:

I slept very little on that last night which may have been our saving grace. I do remember putting an ‘In Betweeners’ DVD on as I went to bed and falling asleep with it still playing. Later, at about 1.30am-ish I woke up to the repeat music playing at the end of one episode at which point I turned the telly off. Later at about 3.30am-ish something disturbed me and when after not being able to find the light switch immediately I eventually found one of the torches I used that to find the light switch. I sat listening for a while but after lying there for a while thinking I’d heard something I eventually drifted off to sleep with the light still on. Then at just after 6 am I woke up startled but this time a high speed train was going pass and I put this awakening down to that. After this I never really dropped off to sleep again and eventually got up at about 7.45am and made a brew.

As I sat drinking my morning coffee with the blinds still drawn there seemed to be a bit of a group discussion going on just outside the van. I got dressed and under the pretence of going to the loos I ventured out. The first reaction to me from the group I could here talking was ‘have you been done as well?’

It transpired that during the evening, of the 7 units on site 5 had been broken into. One poor couple had their car as well as their caravan broken into and on the pitch next to us a car that belonged to the chalet next door but one had also been broken into.

Panic set in for a moment and I circled Myrtle for any signs of a break-in and then for signs of tampering but nothing, not a scratch or muddy handprint anywhere. We’d been lucky but I also wonder how much of our good luck was because of my sleepless paranoia and initially leaving the telly on and then later switching the light on before falling asleep again, who knows.

The Police were already on site and busy taking statements and finger prints.

The motorhome next to us had been broken into but nothing from inside had been stolen but their step had been taken and used in the break-ins on some of the other caravans.

I was totally gobsmacked.

Not long after I'd noticed that the car on the pitch next to us had a smashed window and while I was looking at it the owners appeared and I think they thought I was complaining that it was park on a pitch when they were stopping in a chalet. They were ‘D’ Platers and the male of the family, a gent in his early thirties, appeared. He was half dressed and very apologetic thinking his car was in the way. I gestured by shaking my head, waving my hands low down and pointing at the smashed window which I decided was international semaphore for ‘no, not problem with parking but car broken into’ which it obviously was but for an awkward moment he did give me quite a nasty look when he saw his smashed window. I quickly used my international semaphore to point towards the Gendarmerie investigating the other break-ins. After a second slightly awkward moment he’d realised I hadn’t done it and there’d been a few break-ins.

CSI Myrtle launched her own enquiries to establish the MO (Modus Operandi) of the perps (perpetrators) and took me camera for a few pics (pictures).

The first person I interviewed said they’d seen someone one walking around with a torch at about 11 pm the night before. No that was me I said then thought hang on a minute I was seen at 11pm walking around with a torch and I was one of only two vans not broken into, bloody hell I thought, I’m me own prime suspect.

My further investigation did establish the perps MO which was to use a wire to slide between the window seal and the van to open the window levers. Once the window was unlocked and opened the night blind was slashed with a Stanley knife just enough to be able to reach through a feel around for something to steal. Our next door neighbours step had been used to gain height in order to be able to reach further inside. Anything that was grabbed was pulled through the window, if nothing could be reached or if more pickings were required a second or even a third window would be breached in the same way.

Can you imagine been laid in bed and saw a hand coming through a slit in your night-blind!
From one van they got a pair of men’s trousers, which had his wallet in the back pocket, and a ladies handbag which contained medicines and their passports. Fortunately once anything of immediate value had been taken the trousers, wallet, handbag, medicines and passports had been discarded close by.

You’d think that was enough excitement for one morning and on one site but no what was to happen next was even more gob smacking not to mention frightening as well as dangerous.

Not long after the police had left we started to hear shooting in the fields around the campsite which seemed to be getting closer and closer and the bangs were getting louder and louder. Moments later I was sat in Myrtle and Helen had gone to the toilet block. Then as H was walking back from the loo’s a very loud bang was immediately followed by the shower of shot gun pellets over Myrtle. I dashed outside shouting something abusive and Helen said what the hell was that as she also had also been covered in gunshot. I shouted more naughty words very loudly as I ran towards Helen and the shooting stopped. As well as Helen the motorhome next to her had also been hit.

The only consolation was that there can’t have been much velocity left in the shot and apart from 2 small marks to Helens face there was no other damage to her or either motorhome.

I rushed down to reception to tell them we’d just been shot expecting them to call the police or to do something even if it was just to direct me to the empty security hut but all I got was the following comment ‘what do you want me to do I didn’t shoot the gun did I’ and for the third or forth time that day I was again totally gob smacked.

By the time I got back to Myrtle the shooting had started again and I literally had to take cover as I went up the slope behind Myrtle to unplug the electric cable. We then drove Myrtle down a slope and took cover behind the toilet block while we packed everything away and prepared for the short trip to Calais and the journey home.

We left L’Ete Indien, which had turned out to have more of a Western Theme than we’d hoped for at about 11am and left Calais on the 1.30pm ferry.

We had intended to break up our journey home by stopping at the Motorhome show at the NEC as we’d read that the caravan club were operating a temporary site but upon further investigation we found pitches were only pre booked and booking had closed a week earlier. That was it then from Dover straight to home and we were back for about 10.30PM.

Well there you go, the write up of our 21 night Myrtle The Motorhomes Euro Tour 2012.

If you’re thinking of doing something like this yourselves then we hope that some of what we’ve written has been useful to you.

If you have already done something similar and/or if you are regular foreign travellers I hope we haven’t made you cringe too much.

We don’t tend to seek out culture but occasionally stumble across it but we’re guessing we missed loads on this trip which is fine and hopefully we’ll stumble across it some other time.

21 - Nights
3 - Countries. England, Spain & France.
11 - Stops. 1 in England, 2 in Spain & 8 in France.
10 - Campsites
1 - Aire De Camping Car
2516 - Miles In Myrtle
73 - Miles on Lizzie & Ada
1 - Shooting!

Favourite Campsite -  Illa Mateua at Cala Montgo near L'Escala. 
Favourite Place - Collioure, near Argeles sur Mer, France

We hope you've enjoyed sharing in our experience of Myrtle The Motorhomes Euro Tour 2012! As you will have read we are fairly novice tourers but if we can help anyone who has a query or wants some info, if we can help we will. Please feel free to drop us a line to myrtle@myrtlethemotorhome.co.uk .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Click On Any Picture Below To View The Photo Gallery

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2012

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Our Pitch at Campsite L'Isle aux Moulins
at Jargeau,  Nr. Orleans

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Our Pitch at Campsite L'Ete Indien
at Boulogne sur Mer.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Our Sea View from Myrtle.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Myrtille The Chalet-Home.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

The adjacent Gypsy Site.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

The high speed train, nearly missed it!

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

The Gendarmes Arrive

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

A Myrtle-Watch Re-construction with the help of one of the victims.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Our Neighbours car with smashed window.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

This shot gun splattered sign was located at the entrance to the travellers site which is adjacent to the L'Ete Indien Campsite at Boulogne sur Mer. Roughly translated it means official travellers site.

aaaaaaaaaaaaiii