Several changes for this year's trip to France, we were going in May instead of September (as we had the last couple of years) and we were not going with Siblu.
We found an offer on Croupon for a week in a mobile home with Thompson Al Fresco, only £129 but the holiday had to be taken between the 15 April and the 17 May. We had been with with Thompson Al Fresco last May using a Tesco £50 voucher offer, but to Holland.
We bought the coupon and booked from the 11th to the 18th of May in Charente Maritime (close to where we were last year)and while I was booking I enquired about a second week paying with Tesco vouchers (as we had usually booked our holidays with Siblu). The second week would cost £225 or £75 of Tesco vouchers, we had enough Tesco vouchers, so we booked that week as well. All we needed to do next was book a ferry, the crossing we had used in September looked like the best bet but Thompson Al Fresco's quote seemed very expensive, a lot more than Siblu had got us crossings for last year. So we left it while we weighed up our options.
Then a week or two later, we found a Tesco £50 voucher offer, for another week with Thompson Al Fresco. I contacted Al Fresco and booked a week in Normandy, also after making more enquiries about ferries (including telling them that Siblu had much better offers that they did), we got the deal we needed.
So now the holiday was looking a lot like the one we had just had in September, ferries Portsmouth - Caen, a week in Normandy followed by two weeks in Charente Maritime. Total cost, around £435 for three weeks in a three bedroom mobile home, including the ferry and extras like equipment damage waver and linen packs.
The booking also included Ralph and Amber but unfortunately due to various reasons they could not make it this time.
One other change was made before we travelled, we booked a hotel in Bayeux for the last night, or we would have had to have driven overnight to be in time to catch the ferry home.
Day one, Sat May 4th
As we had done this trip before, we did not have to be up as early for the drive down to Portsmouth for the 14:45 ferry to Caen (the ferry terminal is actually in Ouistreham) as we did last year but were still on our way before seven..
We arrived at the Brittany Ferries terminal in Portsmouth, still very early after an uneventful 300 mile journey and were about fourth in the queue again. By now it was lunch time so we had the food we had prepared the previous night as we waited for the check-in to open.
Once on the ferry and out on deck in the sun, there were lots of sights to see as the ferry was leaving port but we had taken all of the photos last year. It is worth mentioning that the Ark Royal was there when we left but gone when we returned, scrapped in Turkey.
It was very dark when we arrived in Ouistreham but the drive to the campsite was only eight miles this time, not the forty we had to do last year.
At the site we parked at reception, and phoned the Al Fresco rep who came straight over and showed us to our mobile.
We unpacked made the bed and watched a film on DVD with a couple of beers, to relax before bed. It was around one before we got to bed, when we both noticed a loud humming noise, Dot assumed it was the fridge, as had happened before and we had had to turn the fridge off over night. It wasn't the fridge, it was coming from outside. I got dressed and went to look.
We were next to the pool, the bar, the shop and the laundry, we had had bother with pumps in a pool complex before but is wasn't that. It wasn't the laundry or the bar either. it was the air con for the shop. In the end we had to move into a different smaller bedroom at the other end of the van to get a good night's sleep.