Week 1 - Getting Started.

28th May – 3rd June 2017


Well the car has been checked over, I prefer to let you think that was simply prudence but the reality was that I got distracted when checking the oil, left the filler cap off and pumped four litres of oil out onto the engine compartment and everywhere we went. Fortunately it was discovered before any permanent damage was done and needed only an engine bay and underside steam clean after replacing the four litres of oil, the oil pressure switch and the filler cap.

The caravan has been serviced, just a few items of concern. There is a small area with very high damp readings either side of the loo, Steve the engineer said he hoped we could identify an external source for the ingress of moisture as if not that would mean he would be forced to look for evidence of little boys with uncontrolled equipment while standing in front of the throne, as the only little boy in residence I like to think my equipment is controlled and well aimed. Fortunately the source of the ingress was traced to our method of filling the toilet flush tank that resulted in water running down the side of the van and wicking onto the floor via a hatchway. Steve sealed the hatchway frame with silicon and has instructed us to get a cheap moisture meter so that over the coming months we can check that the diagnosis and cure were correct by (hopefully) witnessing a very slow but steady decrease in the moisture readings.

The other problem discovered was that the solar panel we had paid a small fortune for last year had failed, the supplier has agreed to replace it under guarantee but was unable to get it to us for fitting before our departure so it will have to wait until the autumn.

Sadly we have not been able to visit anywhere the number of friends and family as we wanted to, we have simply run out of time. It could be said that as we are not running to a strict timetable, that we could have stopped in UK a week or so longer but, the truth is, it is so expensive we have to get going or start living on stale bread and water. How you "stop-at-homes" manage with the prices here we can't begin to imagine!! We recently had a fish and chip supper, a great British tradition you can't get abroad, it cost £22.00 for the two of us -unbelievable, no wonder many chippies are reported to be struggling.

We have now left Little Henham Hall CS and moved 50 miles or so east to Brookcroft CL at Great Oakley just a few miles from Harwich where our next stage of the journey will begin.


Up at the "crack of sparrow" this morning - 6.30am. The ferry, Stena Britannica, was not scheduled to leave until 9.00am but we have always been the sort that prefer to be an hour early than a minute late and we arrived in plenty of time to a virtually empty check-in.

Stena Britannica at Nieuwe Waterweg, 16.11.2016

Stena Britannica

There was so little to load on the ferry that all was complete and the Stena Britannica was under way a good 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Our cabin on deck 10 was pleasant and spacious, the window overlooks the bow so we could see where we are going. The fridge contains a couple of small bottles of red wine, ditto white wine, a couple of cans each of beer, water, coke etc., I couldn't drink any alcohol during the passage (driving at the end) but it will not get wasted as we took it all with us

Meals on board ferry's are, we find a, very hit and miss affair, evening dinner is often uninspiring and expensive so we normally take cheese, pate, biscuits and a good bottle of port with us and eat in our cabin, however we like breakfast because with the cabins we usually book when making overnight passages a continental breakfast, served in your cabin, is included in the price and can be upgraded to a full English with unlimited extras (cereal, fruit, yogurt, croissants, Danish pastries etc., etc., for a £2.00 supplement in the posh restaurant - fabulous value served by smart attentive staff. The continental breakfast will often turn up despite cancelling in favour of the full restaurant meal in which case we take it with us and eat it for lunch.

Sadly on daytime crossings the breakfast don't seem to be regarded by the ferry companies as unimportant other than as a cash cow. It seems a case of giving the customer a plate full of cheap ingredients served on a cold plate taking your money, before you, eat via a queue so long any vestige of heat has gone from the now greasy "stuff" on your plate.

The ferry crossing was smooth as silk, Sue slept for virtually all of it and I for a good part. We arrived fresh and rested and were driving away from the port a good half hour before we were scheduled to dock - Happy Days!

Happy until we got into the Rotterdam rush hour traffic. Of all the countries we have driven in Holland has to be the closest to UK in terms of shear volumes of traffic however the aggression levels are far, far lower in The Netherlands.

Despite all the traffic we arrived at the campsite, Vakantiepark Delftse Hout, just a half hour after the boat's scheduled arrival time.


Had a day out in Delft, it's only two kilometres from the site so a fifteen minute stroll gets you right to the centre of the small and attractive city. We booked a canal tour and a walking tour but a bit of a misunderstanding on our part caused us to miss the walking tour, still the canal boat tour was good and we had a pleasant wander round both the Old  Church and the New Church on our own.

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Canal boat trip round Delft

The New Church is currently being restored, a job scheduled to be completed in 2015 but still not!! The church is where, in the crypt, is located a mausoleum in which almost all the members of the House of Orange are buried. William of Orange's family crypt was in the city of Breda which was, when William was murdered in 1584, occupied by the Spanish which is why he was laid in an improvised mausoleum in the New Church and since when most members of the Dutch royal Family have been interred, sometimes years after their deaths.

The city of Deft was build on drained swamp land and when the Old Church was built it immediately started to subside on one side so the builders used a number of techniques that make the spire and it's tower look upright, for example the clock is off centre.

Delft is one of the smallest cities in the Netherlands, a university city where 20% of the (approx) 100,000 population are students.


Moving day today. We did not have very far to go (after all nowhere is very far in The Netherlands), just 230km, around 143 miles, unfortunately some poor soul was having a very bad day as a recovery crew untangled his car and caravan from the central Armco barrier, it held us up for around 3/4 of an hour but I bet it held him up a great deal longer. Strangely neither the car nor caravan appeared badly damaged but of course we only saw one side of each.

We have been to this site "Vakantiepark Witterzomer" before it is a huge sprawling site with 1245 pitches but the whole is split into hundreds of small areas giving it the feel of a small intimate site.


They say that when in Holland do as the Dutch do, so we had a Dutch breakfast, lovely multi-grain bread with various meats and "Auld Amsterdam" cheese - super!

We did what we came to Netherland to do this afternoon and went to see Dirkje, she seemed fit and well, it was nice to see her again.

The new railway station (opposite her apartment) has been built now and is in use but is not due for completion until 2020. Much of the road chaos that was Assen on our first visit is still here, I bet it will be great when it's all complete. We wandered into town to get some superglue, my "hip hop fab and trendy" Fitbit watch workings had parted company with the strap which appears to have been stuck on with glue, well impressed - not!!.

I bought some super glue and stuck it back, we will see how long it lasts.


Got up a bit late this morning as I sat up with my brother, Richard, last night drinking G & T's. OK I know he was in Tel Aviv while I was in Assen in The Netherlands but we were texting Cheers and having a slurp, texting Cheers and having another slurp, so it was almost the same as being together .

We went out with Dirkje for dinner tonight, to a Chinese restaurant opposite where she lives. They have an "all you can eat" buffet on weekend evenings, it was very good indeed.

© S W Ghost 2017