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auchmill

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About auchmill

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  • Birthday 29/11/1946

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  1. You will also need a Crit'Air Certificate. It only costs a few Euros and you'll avoid the possibility of a fine. There's also an app which will tell you when the zones are enforced. Info here: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/law-change-for-uk-drivers-in-french-cities/ Avoid Scam sites by going to the official one: https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en
  2. I've never been anything other than impressed by the standards maintained by BF staff, whether it's making an enquiry at Information, parking up on the car deck, being waited on in the restaurant, or just a friendly greeting while passing a crew member in the corridor. Their Twitter and Live Chat people have always been very helpful.
  3. We sail only twice a year, i.e. out in December, back end of February, in the "more basic" cabins, usually the (whisper it) Pet Friendly ones on the Cap Finistere. Never had a problem, olfactory or otherwise. The only negative is they are usually too warm, even with the heating down/off. I'd quite like an opening window for better ventilation.
  4. We came back on the Pont Aven last Thursday night. No complaints about the cabin or the price. The buffet in Le Flora was superb, as usual. The main course was served on cold plates and the meat was warm enough but not piping. I had lamb which was good, nice and pink in the middle, not the most tender I've ever tasted but good enough. A couple behind us sent there's back because it was pink. When it returned they still weren't happy. They didn't have to pay for the main course. Personally, I thought they were stupid. They were frequent travellers to France so they should have known how the French cook their lamb, indeed, how any decent restaurant cooks it. But Britons seem to prefer their meat cremated. (We had to come back via France because there wasn't a boat available from Spain which would take both the motorhome and the dog. I wasn't too happy about that.)
  5. Yes, it is a Fiat, afaik the only variation that has the Comformatic, but it doesn't have Hill Hold. The button I have above the gearstick is for something else, to allow "eco" driving of a laden vehicle on hills, but I've never really worked out how it operates. It has a picture of a van going up hill with a large weight on it.
  6. This is the fifth year we have used this sailing and although it can seem a bit of a drag at times it works for us as we get an early start Tuesday morning out of Bilbao. We leave the Scottish Borders on the Friday and find a caravan site or Britstop 3 or 4 hours down the road. Saturday we make for somewhere convenient for Sunday which will allow us to have a good walk before driving to Port Solent where we have something to eat in the motorhome and make for the port around 8 pm. This year it was the New Forest again, and a walk from Brockenhurst. But I think we've "done" the New Forest and will go somewhere else next year. I study the Sailing Updates regularly at this time and see she is a couple of hours behind schedule but makes up time on the return from Santander. We have a dog so we're usually amongst the last on and this year was no exception. The dreaded ramp holds no horrors now. I put the automatic gearbox into manual and first gear and leave plenty of room from the vehicle in front, as people have been known to stall. One of the helpful crew always reminds us which deck we're on and which stair to use. And leave the dog in the van until called down. Handbrake on, fridge and gas off. Up to the pet friendly cabins, and look, there's someone with their dog already. "Have they called for dogs to come up?" "No, one of the crew said just to take it up," she lied. Not too busy tonight so we set sail early. And so to bed. Breakfast in the restaurant. Orange juice. Swap the toasties for Muesli - still get the unwanted sugar though. I have the full English Brexit of sausage, bacon, scrambled egg and toast, while F has the Contintental. Lovely rolls and some croissants will do our lunch too. £1.10 after our CV discount. Arrive at Roscoff around 9. "Ding dong." "Outside deck 7 will be closed while we do maintenance" or something. "We'll leave at 1pm but still arrive at Bilbao at 6:45 British Time." Sitting about in port we seem to be going nowhere fast. We have a walk around, nothing much has changed, but it's sooo quiet. Only 300 aboard. It's never been busy but this is the quietest ever. Every cloud....well, the free internet is the fastest it's ever been. We read the paper, do some knitting, hear the singer from the deck below, old favourites from the 60' & 70's - he's not bad - catch the quiz, the crew have a safety drill, a rescue boat comes close(ish) matching our speed and then veers off - the excitement is palpable - we need another coffee, which is pretty good, take the dog up to Deck 10 and coax her to do something, she hates it. A treat falls onto the deck, she won't touch it. And before you know it it's time for a shower and down to the restaurant for dinner. This is always a highlight. Ironically, this is also the time when the sea is most lively, nothing serious but enough that a woman in the next table exits left in a great hurry and doesn't come back. We start with crab and F has organic salmon and I have seared sea bream - beautifully presented and delicious. And so to bed. (last year's waiter was an entertainer. "Can we have some tap water please?" "No". "What do you mean 'No', you must have tap water." "It's sea water" "What do you mean it's sea water?" "It's from the sea." "Doesn't matter, we want some tap water, we're not paying for bottled water" "OK, you can have it, but don't blame me if you're ill" He brings a carafe of water and it's fine. A few minutes later he draws something on some paper and sticks on the carafe - 2 fishes swimming.) Tuesday morning up at 5:15 and on the road at 8:00 CET with the sun rising. It was a quiet voyage, but no complaints. We ate well, we showered well and slept quite well too.
  7. You may well be right. I agree that the comfort of the passengers must be a priority and perhaps also that of the cargo. But it is a great inconvenience to many passengers - I see the Cork sailing was also cancelled and there aren't many other options there - and can't do the reputation any good. At least from Portsmouth there are plenty of sailings to France if the Spain crossing is cancelled. As a motorhomer I read that a lot of those travelling in motorhomes or towing caravans much prefer the reliability of the Tunnel and the "supposed" cheapness even counting driving down through France, (although others have disproved that advantage) - apart from the chance of a uncomfortable crossing over the "dreaded" Bay of Biscay.
  8. Thanks. Just had a look. Fingers crossed.
  9. As I get a bit twitchy around this time - we're booked on the 2 nighter to Bilbao on Sunday - I was pondering 2 questions. How do the Captains decide it's not appropriate to sail, what factors do they look at, other than generalisations like "the safety of the vessel....etc"? And given that the "economie" vessels are the first to be cancelled are they really fit for purpose? And what about Barfleur, also cancelled?
  10. auchmill

    BF Refits 2018-19

    Re the vid. How do they do that? Must have parking sensors and virtual reality birds-eye-view from the cameras, just like my Leaf.
  11. I can only speak for the Cap Finistere and the Pont Aven "proper" restaurants. They seem to me reasonably priced for the quality, which I've always found to be excellent. The Pont Aven buffet is truly marvellous, although it is tempting to over-eat.
  12. We bring back Euros from Spain, just enough to get started, so we don't need to buy any. Of course if it's the first ever trip then maybe the BF deal for Club Voyage members is ok. Like others we use the Halifax Clarity card; for ATM withdrawals we use pre-loaded cards from Caxton (no charges or monthly withdrawal limits) and Revolut, (best rate but free withdrawals limited to €200 per month). You can also use these pre-paid cards as normal debit cards for any payments. I load them throughout the year, trying to get good rates, but it's something of a gamble. Sorry if I'm telling you what you already know, but never accept the option to pay in Sterling at the check out - it's a rip-off. Always pay in Euros.
  13. There was a similar discussion on one of the motorhome forums I frequent from time to time. I would make 2 points. The most likely solution is that the UK would be a Part 1 country, in which case things would continue much as before. The worst case would be a Part 2 country, in which case there would be additional hoops to jump through (agility training would be useful). I cannot see how we would become an Unlisted country given our animal health record. Therefore, anyone proposing to travel with a pet after March 29th 2019 would be wise to start making preparations in the event that the UK is a Listed: Part 2 country. The document in the link provided by Halfcrown explains what is likely to be required.
  14. I hope the new ferries will make a difference for the PF cabin availability for the Spanish routes, although it helps to book an unpopular crossing - there's still PF Cabins available on the 2 nighter I booked yesterday. Last year's voyage wasn't very busy. I suppose first come first served is the only way but I like Cabin-boy's idea of a CV variant. We are their "most regular and loyal customers" after all, as they said in a recent email. But FCFS does lead to an unholy stramash and is unfair on those who can't get to a phone or computer at the right time. Re comparison between Tunnel and BF most who do the sums properly work out there's not much in it cost wise, and how much is avoiding the trail through France worth - though some make it part of the holiday. As mentioned there are those who take a (perverse?) pride in not spending anything on tolls, campsite fees etc if they can help it, so it's the tunnel for them and camping on the beach until they get kicked off by the Guardia Civil.
  15. When I was trying to book yesterday the sailing to Spain in Feb early March showed only Etretat and all the PF cabins were sold by the time I got through to book a return. Then later last night the Baie de Seine suddenly appeared on the timetable and has PF cabins available. But because of the layout of the ship only vehicles less than 1.83 metres in height and not towing caravans can be accommodated for pets and of course there are no kennels. For most of February and almost half of March it's Economie only. So if you've got a pet and want to travel at that time and haven't already booked, then forget it. (or get it put down) Looks like the anti-pet brigade have scored a victory here as I think many pet owners will travel by the tunnel and BF may have shot themselves in the paw. The topic of the best way to get to Spain is one that comes up from time to time on motorhome/caravan forums and the overwhelming feeling I get from these discussions is that BF to Spain is too dear and the tunnel is the best option.
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