We took a day trip to Romans-sur-Isrere, the town where Clare worked as an au-pair 32 years ago, and where she met Barbera, another au-pair, who we had dinner with in Unna on Day 3 of our tour.
In Romans, Ben, Jack and I all had a hair cut before lunch then a walk by the river with Meg. She still limps from time to time after hurting herself while chasing a feral cat in El Puerto. Clare’s concerned, me less so. I still feel pain from time to time in my ring finger knuckle after Jack closed the van door on it in Navarette some 5 or 6 weeks ago. Bashed joints take time to fully recover. The endearing thing about Meg is that when hurt, she limps up to me and sits down holding her hurt paw up for attention.
I feel that I’m now becoming quite an expert at driving away from and returning to our tent awning. It attaches to and detaches from the van’s wind out awning via a kador strip and figure of eight.
To detach the kador stip needs to be pulled out. OK, so that’s easy enough, but it’s not quite that simple. Before driving away:
1. The upper berth needs preparing for the roof to be lowered.
2. The lower berth needs to be converted to a bench.
3. Child seats need to be removed from the tent awning and placed in the van.
4. External 12 volt lighting electrics need to be detached and stowed.
5. The tent awning needs to be detached and pegged so it will stand without the support of the van.
6. The wind out awning needs leaves removed from the top and then wound in.
7. The roof topper needs to be removed and stowed.
8. The roof needs lowering and securing.
9. A market needs to be left showing wheel positions for returning. (The tent awning is very forgiving if the van is not positioned correctly on return, but it helps to be close to the original position.)
It is all a bit of a faff – but I reckon we can drive away within fifteen minutes, or return and set the van up for bed within 20 minutes (putting on the roof topper takes longer than taking it off, and attaching to tent awning to the wind out awning is slightly more fiddly than detaching it.)