The land grab by the caravanner from the bikes on the left to the tree near us for the washing line. The car was out at the time.

Peace at last

TUESDAY 5-6-18

Well thankfully it wasn't too noisy last night. Most of the Dutch invaders went up to the restaurant for a meal and didn't hang around too long upon their return before turning in. All was quiet by 23:45, so Henry Horn was not required to give them (and everybody else!) an early morning call.

We could hear the old gits next door making a noise as if they were packing up to leave. I told the Chef I was worried that he'd try and back out and catch our vehicle. Being a true sport she hung back and kept an eye on proceedings whilst I went for a shower.

I was very difficult for them to get out of their pitch, complicated by the fact that a typically land-grabbing caravanner had created his empire on the other side of them yesterday blocking his way out. After what seemed ages he was forced to drive forward instead, turn sharp right across the front of our pitch, give the roof of his motorhome a really good brushing with the low branches on the tree, before doing a couple more right turns further down then he was away. I felt a bit sorry for him, but hopefully he will learn a lesson from it and park properly in future.

Within a very short space of time the land-grabbing caravanner had strung a washing line right across the area where the old gits had been parked, creating for himself an even larger empire. I'm sure this is one of the reasons caravanners are not allowed to use most Camperstops and no French Aires. They want to pay for just one pitch but fill two up. In the pitch they pay for they put their caravan and awning, then because they're out of space they park their tow cars in a vacant pitch, ideally next door, because if they can get away with it they'd also like to put their table and chairs for outside dining, and of course the washing line. I have to say, motorhomers and caravanners don't have much to do with each other really.

The nicest thing of all was that the Tulip-Growers motorhome invasion came to an end this morning. All that hassle yesterday just for a one night stay, but before they left, so had a number of others, probably fed up with the invasion. By mid-day things were looking pretty empty around us.

I saw on the BBC News website this morning that fuel prices in the UK took a leap during May. This is unfortunately one of the painful side effects of Brexit and the subsequent loss in the value of Sterling. We used to be able to buy diesel fuel over on this side of the Channel for under one pound a litre, but now it's considerably more. Looking at the statistics and costs for this trip so far it works out as follows:

Current average fuel cost in UK: Diesel £1.32 per litre, petrol £1.29 per litre.

Fuel costs in Greece at current exchange rate: Diesel £1.26 per litre, petrol £1.40.

Our mileage so far is 4782 km or 2971 miles. Fuel costs are 650.40 or £570, giving us an average cost of 22p a mile, which I suppose isn't too bad really, unless of course you factor in the toll fees, another €235, two-thirds of which have been incurred here in Greece.

Another news item I spotted was that over 160,000 British pensioners and disabled people are 'trapped' in debt because they cannot afford to pay bills for their social care either in their homes or Residential Care, and this from a nation which, if you believe the politicians, is something like the fifth largest economy in the world. We're so wealthy, we can afford to borrow £15,000,000,000 a year to give to a Government department, staffed by shed-loads of people on inflated salaries, who in turn pass it on to the Charity Industry, for that is what it has become, to squander on our behalf. To say nothing of the sex scandals that have hit most of the 'big boys' we offload money on to. Imagine being pulled from the rubble of a disaster area to be greeted by 'Seedy Cedric', proudly wearing his 'Oxfam' tabbard, holding a food parcel in one hand and his willie in the other.

If we can afford to squander money that we don't have, and which will have to be repaid by future generations, then we can afford to use it to bolster our deplorably weak Armed Forces, our NHS and the care of our old people.

Speaking of aging, you get to a point in life were you have to start thinking about arrangements for your own demise. Having seen a news article recently that a Government Quango was going to investigate the spiralling cost of funerals. The article as I recall said that the gas costs for a cremation were something like £400. Well I think I may have found a cheaper way around it - Viking funerals. For me being laid out on a raft made from wood and plastic barrels tied together, with a little sail, then doused in a few litres of 'Pussers Rum, Gunpowder Strength' before being ignited and pushed out to sea I reckon would be a pretty good way to go, though I wouldn't want to bump in to an offshore wind farm and cause millions of pounds worth of damage.

Late this afternoon we were joined by a young family, mum, dad and a couple of little kids with their caravan. The campsite down this end is almost empty, there's only us and the German flasher and his bike rack down here yet they've come and parked right next to us. There's a strange mentality with a lot of people. Me, I'd have wanted to be away from everybody else for my own privacy and where I'd have space to kick a ball about etc without it bothering anybody else. But I have to say they are a very nice family indeed. The Chef wondered what nationality they were, I said  I thought they were too nice and polite to be German, and guessed they were Dutch - and on peeking at their number plate while they were all down the pool - Dutch they are.

Thankfully we're back on the road again tomorrow. It's overdue. We've only been parked up here to kill a bit of time waiting to cross in to Albania. If we had arrived at the border and passed through it too quickly we'd have a problem finding a campsite on the other side. First stop when leaving here will be the supermarket not far away, then an ATM machine in Arta before heading further north to a Camperstop in Ionnina.

The invasion

The pool

,MONDAY 4-6-18

Lying in bed this morning we heard one or two vehicles start up and leave first thing. On stepping out bound for the shower block I was delighted to see that one of those vehicles was the one with the yapping dog. What a result, maybe we'll have a nice quiet day. After scrubbing up and forgetting to have my breakfast, I popped up to the laundry area and washed the last few bits I needed to do before we leave here, hopefully all up to date with everything.

On the way back I noticed that in fact quite a few vehicles had left, there were now lots of spare pitches.

After lazing around the pitch for a while we decided to take a wander up to the swimming pool area, since at nineteen euro's a night we're paying towards its upkeep. We had it all to ourselves for quite a while but were then joined by a young Greek family who parked themselves on the opposite side and began to enjoy the pleasures of the pool.

When we tired of all that nothingness we returned 'home' for lunch. Today it was to be toast, the best way to use up some of the bread. Fine dining indeed.

This afternoon I wanted to get a few jobs done ready for our trip across Albania. First I had to struggle in to the hidden safe compartment to fish out the vehicle ownership documents, the hard copy of my driving license, some cash for The Chef's spending spree's an d the spare satnav. The reason being I have no idea if the 'Snooper' has Albanian mapping loaded in to it. I did send them an email asking that question but never received the courtesy of a reply, so I suppose that answered  my question. I don't even know if the spare satnav has them loaded in, and I don't suppose I'll know the answer until we cross in to the country. If all else fails I will turn on, and leave on, my Mi-Fi so that The Chef can access Google Maps online and guide me as we go along.

That done I had all the contents of the garage area out and reorganised and repacked it. My intension is to have the two heaviest boxes of food at the front so that as we cross in to Albania I can get to them easily, remove them and place them up front with us so that more of the weight is moved forwards. Once we've done our days travelling the boxes can be moved back to the garage for the night.

Heavy boxes of food? I can hear you cry. Here then Your Honour is the pitiful case for the defence:

I don't do seafood, other than a bit of whitefish like cod or haddock, just to look at some of it makes me feel ill. Take Octopus. How much pleasure can there be in eating something so tough and rubbery? You may just as well chew a packet of elastic bands. They're cheaper and are a healthy vegetarian option. Add to that my darling Chef has developed an allergy to shellfish, and who's to know what meals may contain some part of a poor old crustacean. She even has to keep a shot of adrenalin with her just in case she has an allergic reaction.

Add to that the fact that we had no idea how easy it would be for us to source food during, particularly the visit to Greece, bearing in mind that when we visited briefly on our way back from Istanbul three years ago we had a hell of a job to buy food - so rather than risk it we have dried foods and instant meals in boxes within the garage. Fortunately we have been very pleased to find that we can source just about everything we've needed during our visit here, which means we have not needed to call upon the stash of meals in the back, probably three or four weeks worth of main meals. This means of course that when we cross in to Albania, and the days and weeks that follow, we shall be munching our way through the contents of the boxes.

That done I sat down and read the final section of my book 'Air Force Blue' The RAF In World War Two, by Patrick Bishop, as always bought from good old Amazon. It's been an interesting read but I think they could have sold more copies if they'd given away a free tub of 'Brylcreem' with every copy.

Now to practical matters. We have to carry a supply of toilet chemical with us. The first three-litre container was from good old Aldi back home, cheap, but to be honest not terribly cheerful. It struggled to stay on top of things in this heat if you get my drift, or whiff.

That gone we are on to our five- litre container of chemical so good it smells like bubblegum, and you could be tempted to have a tot of it to toast The Queen. However, concerned it may not last for the rest of the trip I have fallen back on to tips from old lags and am now using, when on campsites, automatic washing machine liquid. We've used it before without any  harm.

Later in the afternoon the German couple in the small campervan across from us returned from the beach, and rather than go inside and changed they opened the vehicle door as a shield to those at the bottom of the campsite, but to us across the way behind them, no shield at all.He then proceeds to drop his swimming trunks and then find a pair of shorts to change in to whilst she takes off her swimming costume and I get a huge bare arse as she bends down, big enough to park a mountian bike in. These people have no sense of decency or discretion.

And then it happened.................................... first there were two chaps walking around dropping little red cones with numbers on them around various pitches.

Next we had an invasion of Dutch motorhomers, probably about fifteen of them. Watching them trying to park up in their allocated pitches between the trees was an afternoons entertainment in itself. How some of them ever managed to arrive here in one piece I do not know. It was like something out of Dad's Army. We were privileged to witness the only invasion the Dutch have ever managed to accomplish and it went... well.... not well.

I have had to conclude that these bloody people are to motorhomers the equivalent of large groups off tour coaches and cruise ships - too many people arriving all at once in a space that struggles to cope with them. At the moment they are all pleased to see each other and are sat around being a bit noisy which is perfectly understandable, but if the noise continues in to the early hours they'll be getting an early morning wakeup call from Henry Horn - More of our European cousins tomorrow night.

I must add that I did suggest to the Chef that she go over and put our names down for the Knobbly Knees Contest and the Sack Race.

Next I needed to bang about 20 litres of fresh water in to the tank, which meant I had to encroach on to my pitch on the other side of the vehicle, even though it had been grabbed by the elderly Dutch couple next door due to his having parked like a prick.

He had gone up to lie by the pool leaving his wife, who I'm quite sure is suffering from dementia, in her chair in our/their pitch. I was able to approach the filling point of the vehicle with the keys to open the cap and the first ten litres of water. We were only feet apart, and the side of our vehicle was so close to their land-grab that as I removed the filler cap I placed it on their camping table. In  went the water, she said nothing, in went the second ten litres and she again said nothing. I was pretty happy about that because if I had tried to engage her in any kind of conversation I could inadvertently have mentioned a trigger word which would have sent her to the knife drawer and the meat cleaver.

Later on I walked over to the German couple across from us and said "This is what happens when they have only one satnav between them  -  they have to follow one another". He laughed - a German laughed, begger me.

A lovely evening here in good 'ol Greece potentially spoilt by a gang of bloody tulip-growers

Even the sea here slopes!

The Dutch couple next door. Note the 'washing machine' close to the habitation door.

SUNDAY 3-6-18

It was wash day today. Before having my shower I went over to the laundry area and washed the bedding while there was still plenty of hot water in the taps. It's quite a big job as it is done by hand, we don't like using campsite washing machines, and besides we can have the job done by hand long before a machine has completed the same task. There is a communal drying area down there as well, so I bagged our bit of space before anybody else.

There were an awful lot of ants about first thing, they were crawling all over the large folding table we had out, as well as my folding chair. While I was having my shower The Chef carried out the first attack using the fly and insect spray, while on my return, I simply poured boiling water over them. This was followed by a diversionary tactic. I poured some runny jam in to a small used Greek yoghurt tub and placed it to the side of the pitch allowing them to have a feed away from us if they wished. Plan 'B' if that doesn't work will be to pour a small amount of jam on to half a sheet of the very sticky fly paper with the backing sheet removed from only one side. We should then be able to place it on the ground and hope that insects fancying a treat will step on to the paper to reach the jam and GOTCHA!

On one side of us as neighbours we have an elderly Dutch couple. They've parked their vehicle incorrectly requiring them to use the remaining space available to them right up close to our vehicle. I don't think she's quite the ticket, probably dementia. She was confused last night and wandered on to our pitch and this morning after she'd been to the shower block we nearly had a guest for breakfast.

On the other side of us is an Austrian couple with a fairly large Class A motorhome. They keep themselves to themselves, though I think she likes classical music and is probably in to religion, because this morning he was outside soaking up the sun and she was indoors presumably watching a church service on TV via their satellite dish, and we got to listen to it as well. Being Austrian I'm wondering if they reincarnations of the Von Trapp family, only in her case she's now probably Maria Van Driver.

Whilst listening to the church service on the other side of us we had the Dutch couple using one of these absolutely ridiculous camping washing machines. Some people take the twin tub versions down to Spain with them for the winter. They hold almost nothing, and I had my hand washing done and hung on the line long before their silly toy had done its cycle. A cycle I might add, that irritates immensely as it runs for quite a long time with a seven second whirring noise followed by a two-second pause, then seven second whirring followed by two second pause, and so it goes on. So the mixture of a church service and a washing machine in our ears was not very restful.

Now an advertisement for Duck Tape  www.duckbrand.com For kicking about and driving, I tend to wear a pair of swimming shorts because they are comfortable and keep at me bits nice and cool. Well a few days ago I tore them on a drawer lock (I think the drawer was partly open), ripping one side of them wide open. They were beggered - until...... light bulb moment. I turned them inside out and while The Chef held them firmly in place I taped them together. This morning having done the bedding I fetch a bucket of warm water and soaked the shorts and a couple of other bits for a few hours. Then it was back down to the laundry room where I gave them a good washing, before returning to the pitch and hanging them on our short length of washing line we've erected for the towels. When they were dry (it doesn't take too long in this heat) I inspected them and hey-ho - the tape was still in place and holding the tear together, and I took a photograph to prove it. The stuff must be waterproof or something. So if you need cool 'bits' in difficult circumstances - buy Duck tape.

This afternoon we have been invaded by a couple of Dutch motorhomes and a few Germans, all choosing to squeeze down our area despite having most of the campsite to choose from.

For us it is generally more pleasant and relaxing on a Camperstop. You tend to find more self-sufficient people who keep themselves to themselves, for us they're nicer than campsites where you can pay quite a bit and get annoying people as well as their dogs and rude behaviour. But unfortunately after a few days we need facilities. Greece isn't very motorhome friendly, unlike Italy where at every Truckstop, motorway rest area, and even some garage forecourts, there were facilities for dumping grey and black water and fresh drinking water at no charge.

We decided to take a walk down to look at the beach. Another Greek disappointment. It's not very special at all, and the path down to it runs between a small field and a bamboo plantation by the looks of it. I expected Bear Grylls to step out and jump in to the sea.

This afternoon The Chef has baked a chicken crown I suppose you'd describe it as. We bought one two or three weeks ago and it's good value and we get a few meals out of it. I think when it's cooked it's going to be carved up and frozen ready for convenient meals as we cross Albania should we need them.

This evening we had the last two steaks out of the freezer which we bought out with us. Of course they were supposed to have been barbecued, but that's not going to happen. They were serve, and very nice they were too.

The last motorhome to arrive this afternoon were a couple of Dutch with a sausage kind of dog. He parked like a prick across the pitch and against the roadway. He was then left with just about enough space to park two chairs in front of the motorhome before sending up on the roadway. This has now meant that his yappy bloody dog has a go at everybody who passes. Let's not remind ourselves that there are plenty of available pitches away from other campers where an irresponsible dog owner, knowing his dog barks at absolutely anything, could have taken themselves for the benefit of other campers. Me thinks I may fall out with him within the next 24 hours - and Henry Horn will be on standby.

Tomorrow I think we'll go and spend some time by the pool, we could have done so today but you can only handle so much excitement in one day.

I hope that tomorrow morning we aren't met at the door by our neighbours wanting to give us a copy of 'The Watchtower'.

The Rio Bridge at Patra

SATURDAY 2-6-18

It seems the Greeks come out to spend some of the money that isn't really theirs on a Friday night as the fish restaurant opposite the smart local bar was open last night and it was quite busy. Fortunately closing time was 23:40 and so they were no real trouble to us. Our biggest problem at night is if we get a fly trapped inside while we're trying to sleep. It will buzz around our heads and land on us, and no matter how many swipes you make in the dark with the fly swat, you never get it. In the end I got up and sprinkled a tiny amount of sugar on the very sticky fly paper in an attempt to draw it to the paper for a free feed, and then get stuck to it. I may actually have worked as I didn't hear it again during the night, but I forgot to check the fly paper this morning before throwing it away.

Just before bedtime the power gave up on us again. I made sure everything was unplugged and hoped that there would be enough juice left in the battery to work the flush on the loo overnight. This morning I found myself up at 07:00 seriously considering unfolding the solar panel and laying it outside from the habitation door, but then thought better of it. This was a travelling day and there wouldn't be enough time to get the power we needed in to the battery - so I went back to bed.

When we arose the sun was up and it was already very warm, they were forecasting another 33˚C today. After scrubbing up using large glorified wet-wipes as we had no hot water, and breakfast we were ready for the road. I managed to get rid of my grey water down a drain in the harbour and the black water was deposited in a roadside toilet block on the side of the toll road.

We are now slowly making our way home in that we are now heading northwards. Today was a disgracefully expensive day for toll fees, over €43, of which €13.50 was just to cross the impressive Rio Bridge spanning the beginning of the Gulf of Corinth at Patra. Such a charge makes the £2.50 charge for the Dartford Crossing on the M25 look an absolute bargain.

We were making for Camping Village Kalamitsi Beach, just outside Preveza. It's on a bit of a peninsular with a beach about 100 yards away. This is where we will spend about three days before we go to Ioannina where we'll spend the night before crossing in to Albania.

 The satnav gave us a few frights on the way, but to be fair the mapping for Greece is out of date, there have been numerous road upgrades here which do not appear on the mapping, despite me having it all updated last year.

The senery today has been quite dramatic again in places though I don't feel we've managed to capture in pictures. Some of the best views were on my side, and as we are left hand drive and we were driving on the right hand side of the motorway it was almost impossible to get a picture as the concrete central reservation was in the way.

In to a supermarket for some fresh supplies before we made our way to the campsite. It's nothing special, but it is quiet, and it does have a nice pool so maybe we'll be able to spend some time around it for a bit of sunshine, as we've deliberately picked a shady pitch, having spent the last four days out in the baking heat of the sun, and no chance of shade.

This campsite will be our farewell to Greece, when we leave here it will just be work, a few days to get ourselves up to and across Albania. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised by what we find, but for me I won't be able to drop my guard  until we arrive at Dubrovnik.