Monday 22 August 2022

Bicester - en-route to the Eurotunnel

Monday 22 August 2022 

Nido's parked up on a basic but spacious CL on a farm just outside Bicester and right next to the MOD Depot. For £5 a night it's perfect for us - peaceful, quiet (just a faint background hum of the M40) and surrounded by sheep and arable fields. 
Anglesey to Folkestone is a long haul at the best of times, so we decided to break our journey here, before carrying on tomorrow to catch the 1820 crossing to Calais. It's over three years since we visited France so, despite the fact we've done this journey many times, I must admit to feeling a little nervous after such a long break. It's also the first time we've travelled to France with a dog, so the process of getting him ready to travel and the concern that his 'papers' might not be in order has made it a little more unnerving this time. Salty actually has an Irish EU Pet Passport which, in theory, should be fine but I wanted an insurance policy so also obtained an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). If his EU Passport is accepted, then I'd have lost the cost of the AHC, but if there's any problems, I won't be faced with postponing our crossing and finding a local vet to get another AHC - hope for the best but prepare for the worst is a method I've used many times in the past! 

Pet travel is not the only obstacle post-Brexit. Aside from the 90 day rule (something that won't affect us as we never travel in the EU for that long), mobile data roaming charges are something we've also had to consider. We both had GiffGaff SIMs in our phones but a couple of months ago they introduced a 5Gb per month cap on EU data roaming, charging for any usage above that level. 5Gb is now where near enough for us so we moved to a Tesco Mobile contract. For our Mifi, I bought a Smarty data-only SIM - 15Gb for £9 per month, which I can freeze at any time. This is capped at 12Gb per month in the EU but, combined with our phones, this will be plenty for our needs. Data is mainly used for checking emails, posting this blog and researching places to visit and stay. I also need some additional access for online banking (as the Treasurer of a charity) plus the odd online evening meeting and Cathy will need it later in our trip for her weekly Welsh language lesson. 

We're in France for about six weeks. Our plans are fluid and we'll probably spend some time in Normandy and Brittany before heading further south, mostly likely down the Atlantic coast before heading towards the Dordogne. We hope to only have short daily hops and this is enforced a little by the price of diesel, although this has reduced a little in the past couple of weeks. Whilst there aren't any Covid-related checks needed either way at the moment, we both have our Covid vaccination certificates printed off and saved online and the QR codes have been used to add these to the French Tous Anti-Covid app in case we need that in the future. 

So day one of our France 2022 trip and an early night after a tiring journey. Anglesey is so quiet that the heavy traffic and noise of the motorways has been a bit of a shock to the system. Hopefully we'll see you on the other side of La Manche tomorrow evening if we survive the M25 and Pet Reception!

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