Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Big Shop.

My reader might remember that on the way down to Spain by road at the end of last September, our windscreen was damaged by an errant pebble that was thrown up accidentally by a passing BMW. At that time I endured somewhat of a pantomime involving my insurer, who initially fed me incorrect information relating to their "approved repairers" in Spain, before finally admitting, after several time consuming and expensive 'phone calls, that they didn't actually have any approved repairers here in Spain, even though I hold fully comprehensive international insurance with them, which includes glass damage, as well as their premium breakdown and recovery cover. They then went on to inform me that they would only pay me £100 towards replacement as I wasn't going to use one of their approved repairers! Huh? The solution in the end , after a complaint to their customer services department was that I could arrange and pay for a repair or replacement myself and then reclaim the whole cost once back home, but what I hadn't bargained for was that we are in Spain, and could I find an auto glass repairer who would take the job on by 'phone - NO! At that time I left it, having tried my best.

Now I am back in Spain, and because the van hadn't been run on the road for a couple of months, this morning I packed things away to go for my "big shop" at a nearby supermarket. There are small local ones, where I bought a few things to see me over the weekend, but they are much more expensive than the major supermarkets. Today I chose Mercadona at San Isidro de Nijar. It is a similar distance away to the one in Almeria, but without the traffic.

I also knew, due to last year's failed attempts at gaining a Spanish glass repair - due mainly to my own poor grasp of the Spanish language, that one of the main repair companies is located on the way there. So, I took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, calling to assess the screen damage first.

Well there is both good and bad news. The technician was willing to attempt a repair, but warned me that it was on the borderline of being too large an area of damage to be fully successful. I didn't fancy the idea of having to source a new screen and then pay the up to €3000 myself to have it fitted, so with the usual warning that the screen might break anyway during the repair, I agreed to let him try.

The end result was that the damage was stabilised, and should not now deteriorate any further, such as a crack right across the screen, but it is still visible, although much less than previously.

That will now be sufficient until we arrive back in the UK, where a decision will be made about replacement, depending of course on how my Motorhome insurance and their UK contractor perform there.

Below is a 2 minute video clip taken from the van's Blaupunkt dash cam of part of my trip today. As can be seen, the weather here remains warm and sunny.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Back To Spain!

I have now started part 3 of our UK winter escape by flying back to Spain, and our motorhome which we left in the safe care of friends who spend their whole winter here.

I flew in alone, yesterday courtesy of Monarch Airlines who have conveniently maintained their direct flights from Manchester to Almeria all through the winter months this year. The flight departed Manchester at 6.25am, and I was making myself a cuppa, back on site by 10.30am. This flight was a little more expensive than our December one home, at £53, but that included my extra legroom choice of seat at extra cost. I had no check in hold luggage, which would also have been extra. Margaret has pre-arranged child minding duties, at our son and daughter-in-law's home, so will join me here in three weeks time.

The weather was a little different to that I left at Manchester, today has been superb. 19 degrees and fine sunshine. The forecast is also set fair for the foreseeable future here. My friends here tell me that they haven't really seen any significant rain all the time we have been away. I am now back in T shirt and shorts.

So, bright and early this morning (not in shorts I might add) I decided I would do a bit of a solo sight seeing tour on the bike, something Margaret never fancied, as the roads are steep and mountainous coastal routes, and she dislikes being a pillion passenger at the best of times. I intend to hire a car for four weeks from just before Margaret arrives back, so I can collect her from the airport. Car hire is so cheap here during the winter months, and I have been told by friends here that one particular well known company, Gold Car, has provided them with a car for the whole month of February at a negotiated weekly deal rate that equates to not much more than my one way taxi fare from the airport to here yesterday. However I intend to stick with the company who is linked with the camp site for convenience, Kisacar. They will also deliver and collect the car to and from here.

My first call today was to the village of Cabo de Gata, (which holds a farmer's market every Saturday) before heading off up the coast road, first to Rodalquilar where there is an interesting (to me anyway) abandoned gold mine together with a brilliant visitor centre which describes its history. There is also a completely abandoned, and now derelict village here, that used to house the mine's workforce. When it closed, there was nothing left in the area for them, so they left en-mass.

I then continued on to the coastal village of Las Negras, before coming back to explore San Jose once again, a small coastal village which we love. All of this is contained within the Cabo de Gata Nijar Parc Natural, and as far as I am concerned, even with the desert landscape, is one of the best (undiscovered) places in Spain.

A brilliant start to the next two months we have here before motoring back to the UK via Santander and Portsmouth.