The last pub before France

As we have previously stayed with friends or somewhere which provides breakfast, today was our first experience of catering on Alan. Robert had invested in a number of compact ground coffee making options and a cunning device to make toast.

Overnight, we had flattened the leisure batteries as the generator had not automatically switched on. Manual over-ride did the trick but we need to make sure this is functioning properly when Alan goes for the next enhancements.

There were issues with the first coffee making option as this tripped a fuse on the leisure battery as it was drawing too much power. Despite this, even when using the engine battery, the coffee was not exactly hot, and took some time to produce.  The second option relied on elbow grease and the kettle, but this was also luke warm. Matilda is considering reverting to instant coffee. The toasting device – a frame which rests on the gas ring and funnels the heat upwards – was more successful although Robert complained about the healthy brown bread. Today’s task will be to buy some white bread.

Wanting to be environmentally-friendly we also tried the eco setting for the hot water, but this did not seem to be quite warm enough: the hot setting we used first time had been fine so we will be using this from now on.

Rain and storms were still predicted today, but undeterred we drove to Newhaven. We had called ahead and been advised to park at the beach car park, rather than at the pub, but on arrival we found the public car park was not manned until the next day and the height barriers were down so although cars could gain access, we could not take Alan through. We asked in The Hope Inn and were told we could park at the end of their car park. There are obviously parking issues here as the pub will reimburse your parking if you spend over a certain amount in the bar.

With waterproofs at the ready in the rucksack we walked into town to have a hot coffee and to look round.  We also went in search of an Italian delicatessen, which Matilda had read about. Surprisingly this turned out to be in the middle of an industrial estate and not in the picturesque high street which Matilda had been imagining.

Matilda was determined to include some culture and suggested a visit to Newhaven Fort. Robert was resistant as there is very little of the fort visible from the town and did not want to visit another ruined castle. However, Robert was very pleasantly surprised. Newhaven Fort was designed by military engineer, John Charles Ardagh who blended the fort into the contours of the land. It was the largest defence work ever built in Sussex and was particularly useful during WWII when the Royal Observation Corps, which had a base there, was able to track enemy aircraft overland when radar could no longer detect them. It was still used as a military base up until 1962. The views from the top are worth the walk.

After we visited the Fort we walked out towards the breakwater outside Newhaven Port. If you have never been to Newhaven you won’t know that the car ferry to Dieppe travels down the River Ouse for a short distance to the docks. Having looked at the river it was difficult for Robert to imagine that a ship the size of a cross channel ferry and then turn around to allow passengers to disembark from the car decks. Just after 15:00 we had the delight of seeing the massive, yellow Transmanche ferry moving slowly down the river. After watching for twenty minutes it was still unclear how it could possibly be turned round.

A couple of hours and a couple of drinks later, we watched through the pub window as the same ferry reversed back up the river to the open sea.

Lesson for the day: re-set the generator everytime time after driving [not sure if this a fault or a feature yet].

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