The next stage of our trip around Europe has begun- exploring the Balkans. Much is off limits for us, being outside the pet travel scheme, so our route from Greece will take us north along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, into Romania and northwest to southern Hungary, southwards again in Croatia before making a U-turn to head north again along the Adriatic Coast. This will take us to the beginning of May.
As soon as we docked in Igoumenitsa we had a warm feeling about Greece. Despite appalling weather over the last 24 hours, the warm feeling has continued. English is more widely spoken than in Italy, France, Portugal and Spain and the people we have met have been genuinely welcoming. Reading signs in the Greek script is proving difficult – I couldn’t recognise the toilet door in Lidl when Ben needed a pee, and I still don’t know if we used the men’s or women’s cubicle. At least in China they use unambiguous pictures to aid confused foreigners.
Once again we have had fun with the electric hookup. Instead of using the usual external power socket they use on this campsite the European socket. When we started hooking up in San Marino, as well as a hook-up lead, I bought an adaptor for large Italian 3 pin to external. That doesn’t work in a European socket. The only adaptor we have for the European socket is to an English socket. So, with the various adaptors and leads we have, this is how we have hooked up the van to the electricity supply:
1. European to UK adaptor
2. UK to small Italian extension lead
3. Small Italian to large Italian extension lead
4. Large Italian to external adaptor
5. External hookup extension lead
We are only using the hookup to charge a laptop and toothbrushes.
We have had another bizarre twist in the saga over our application for a reception class place for Ben. On Friday we had a phone call from Lewisham school admissions. They have two applications for Ben for the same school, one with the address of our flat in Lewisham next to the school on which we pay council tax, and one from our home 1/2 mile down the road in Greenwich where our tenants pay the council tax. I explained the situation to Lewisham admissions fully, adding that wherever Benjamin’s “principal home address” is, it cannot possibly be our campsite in Greece, or any other place where we have camped throughout Europe. Greenwich have so far denied that it is our home as we have tenants, and we don’t think our home is our flat as we have never lived there and have no intention of ever doing so. However, we made the application using our flat’s address just in case Greenwich were right and our home in Greenwich is not Benjamin’s “principal home address”. Lewisham’ view is that if we pay the council tax it is our home.
So, in summary, Lewisham consider our home to be a place that we do not consider to be our home. Greenwich do not consider the place we consider home to be our home.
The difficulty with accepting Lewisham’s view is that when we return to our home in Greenwich in June we will need to inform Lewisham that we are no longer “living” at the address on the application and lose any school place and have to re-apply as an in-year admission and hope they give us the place we have just made available
To be continued…