Day 124 to 126 – Benicassim

We have swapped the vegetable poly tunnels of El Ejido for orange groves of Benicassim. Much nicer.

These past few days have been dominated by our van and its needs. Some time ago, probably before we entered Portugal, a warning flashed up – oil service required in 1900Km. I decided it could wait until we reached France – it couldn’t. As we left El Ejido it flashed up Oil Service overdue (or similar).

The oil service in this car are not at regular time or distance intervals, but assessed by a microprocessor, based on driving style, in this case after 26987 Km. A service would not wait.

We booked it into VW Castellon for 9.30 on Friday, and were told that the service would take 1 hour. So on Friday morning we cleared out the van, I dropped Clare and the boys off at Carrefour, and Meg and I went to the Seat service centre. They didn’t have the booking – but could do the service that day at 16:30. “But we booked it today at 09:30 – with Eduardo”.

“Perhaps it’s next door at Peugeot?” They helpfully suggested. Baffled, I checked – they were right.

I drove the 100m next door, and around the back of the Peugeot showroom was a VW commercial vehicle service centre. I was warmly greeted by Eduardo. “30 minutes” says he, and off I trotted with Meg.

We found some waste ground behind a chicken farm, and Meg found a stick for her favourite trick. She fetched it and dropped it and fetched it and then, dropped it and fetched it and dropped it again.

At last the game was over and the 30 minutes up. I returned to the service centre to be told by Eduardo that the van was telling them to do some tests, and it wouldn’t be ready until 17:30.

Even Clare wouldn’t be able to shop until then. I explained the situation and a driver appeared in a Peugeot 106. He drove Meg and me to Carrefour, picked up Clare, Ben, Jack and the shopping, then took us to our campsite.

He promised to return with our van at 17:30. We swam, and lunched, and walked and played, returning to the campsite before 16:00 – the driver was there, with a Peugeot 3008, not our van. Apparently he was scared to drive a left hand drive vehicle.

The service cost was 192 Euros:


When I bought the van I paid in advance for four services, which I guess includes oil services – though perhaps not the oil. Unsurprisingly, this is not available in Spain. On Saturday I called VW Customer Services, said that my oil service indicator was flashing, that I was in Spain, and what should I do. Their answer surprised me somewhat. “Drive back to the UK to get it serviced”.


This campsite has a swimming pool, and we’ve been swimming daily. Ben and Jack love playing with their stacking pots in the toddler pool. Sometimes Ben swims in the big pool with his ring. On Saturday morning he jumped in, flipped over, and was trapped upside down with the ring around his waist and his legs flapping in the air. I don’t recall getting in the pool, but he was out of the pool within a few seconds. “Your t–shirt is wet” was Ben’s first remark.

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