Thursday, 11th October 2018
Having carefully selected a campsite, based largely on Matilda’s requirement for a pool in which she could swim for exercise, we set off from Brugge heading towards Bladel at 10:00. We were due to arrive at 12:50: this was a longer journey than Robert usually plans to undertake but in the interests of a healthier lifestyle he was prepared to extend his driving time. Unfortunately Matilda had been so focused on the pool that she failed to notice the site was effectively closed. We could have stayed but as all the facilities – pool, restaurants and shops – were out of action for the winter we decided to move on to another site. We arrived at campsite number two, also with a pool, approximately 30 minutes later to be told they were open but dogs were not allowed. It is just as well that Ralf always protests loudly to be let out whenever we stop otherwise we might not have taken him into reception and found out this crucial piece of information.
Consequently, Robert looked up the relevant symbol in the key for future reference before he identified a third option which had a pool AND allowed dogs. We arrived only to be told by a very helpful, apologetic and polite young Dutchman that the whole site had recently been block-booked and there were literally no spaces left. Matilda took a rather frantic Ralf for a brief walk round the car park whilst Robert identified a fourth option and we arrived to find that, like the first choice of campsite, the facilities were closed but we were welcome to stay.
The receptionist very kindly allocated us a pitch close to a shower block. We started to set up by activating the levelling system and plugging in the electricity. However, the sound of acorns landing loudly on the roof and sometimes gently rolling off was disconcerting. Matilda went to see if we could relocate and move one pitch to the right so we were still close to the showers but away from the raining acorns.
Away from the oak tree, the site is very peaceful. Hopefully unrelated to the arrival of us English, two couples packed up and left while we were setting up. It is certainly getting to be the end of the season and hopefully as we head south to warmer weather the facilities will still be open for us to use.
When we were in Southwold over the summer, Robert spotted that other campers had put up a windbreak to define and protect their seating areas. So on our return he invested in one that had a hedge pattern on it. When we returned to the same campsite, in Southwold in September, we tried it out. It proved to be useless. It was impossible to hammer the short poles deep enough into the ground and it relied on flimsy guy ropes. Robert then noticed that the bloke on the pitch next-door was spending a lot of time putting up a complicated affair. However once it was created it looked great and was especially designed to keep his dogs penned in. [This was the day after Ralf had some how slipped his extended lead and escaped into the evening darkness, after frantic searching he was returned by another camper]. Robert was hooked and duly bought a few items off the internet on our return [www.jormaxwindbreaks.co.uk]. Not having a grassy area at home to try out the new acquisition today was the first time that Robert had the opportunity to ‘play’ with it. Five hours later… we now have a nice little patio/terrace. Matilda is hoping that having invested the time once, it will take considerably less time to set up in future.
Walked today: 2.3 miles [plus no miles run by Robert and no lengths swum by Matilda]
Driving distance today: 135.43 miles
The current tour map:
Overnight location: n51’400º e5’675º
De Somerense Vennen [Lierop, nr Eindoven]: