Sunday, May 21, 2017


British Airways did an outstanding job getting us from Orlando to London Gatwick, It was so nice to be treated as welcome guests instead of cattle. The bags were free, so was the food. The in-flight entertainment I though was excellent and the seats were both roomy and comfortable. Who knew that flying could be enjoyable again?

We left Orlando at 5.00pm and arrived in Gatwick at 7.00am. We had snatches of sleep here and there but we were very jet lagged on arrival. customs and immigration were a breeze and we were soon walking from the air terminal to the rail terminal in the same building. a 40 minute wait went by quickly as we people watched and drank in the sounds of several different European languages being spoken by our fellow travelers.

The train took 90 minutes to reach Portsmouth on the South Coast of England, taking us through the rich green countryside. We were delighted to see all the sheep, something rarely seen in the parts of the US that we've been to. The spring lambs were running around having lots of fun.

In Portsmouth we took a cab to the rental car company. We have had many bad experiences with rental cars from London's airports and were determined to avoid another, plus taking the train was so much easier than driving the 100 or so miles when jet lagged.

My Aunt Sheila lives in Portsmouth and had kindly offered us the use of her spare bedroom. The Sat Nav (GPS) built into the rental car got us there without a hitch. Me driving the car on the left side of the road with the steering on the right and the stick shift on the left was slightly less straightforward, but I started to get the hang of it before long.
The Renault Cleo Rental Car
We spent the rest of the day recovering and eating Sheila's delicious food! 

Friday we all went for a walk along the sea front. Portsmouth was Britain's main Naval base from ancient times and the fortifications that protected the port are still there. Lord Nelson, the Royal Navy's most famous Admiral walked these very walls, and his flagship HMS Victory is preserved just across the harbor together with the Mary Rose, Henry the Eighth's warship that capsized and sank on its during a battle in the harbor. It was raised and preserved in one of the earliest underwater archaeological digs.

The harbor defenses at "The Point"

The harbor is a busy one, with many car ferries going to Spain and France and a nearby island named the Isle of Wight which sits in the entrance to the Solent river. Cruise ships, dredgers, survey ships and pleasure boats all wove their way out to sea too.

Even a hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight
We had been researching the purchase of an RV in the UK and a town named Weston Super Mare seemed to have several dealers, so on Saturday we drove the rental car there and started shopping. After a disappointing start at a dealer that looked good in their adverts we found another dealer close by that had several RV's in our price range. One in particular caught our eye. A Fiat Riviera. 

Not a good picture, more later!
This would be called a "C" class in the US, and a very small C Class too! But in the UK it's called a Motor Home and considered quite large, We liked it because it was fairly roomy, has a built in shower and bathroom, was diesel powered and most importantly was just a little over our nominal budget. 

Cab over bed of course
When we started talking with the salesman we mentioned that we would be selling it again in about 4 months and he immediately made us a written buy back offer that would mean the whole 4 months would only cost us 3,000 pounds. MUCH cheaper than renting one. The rig would also come safety inspected, road taxed, tested and certified as safe for habitation and for the gas system and have 3 month parts and labor warranty on the entire vehicle. SOLD!!

Easy come easy go they say, and after spending the night on the way back in Salisbury we spent Sunday morning exploring that city before driving back to Portsmouth and dinner out with Sheila and my cousins John, Liz and Helen plus their spouses.
I even fitted in a little drawing and painting too!!

Salisbury Cathedral


The City Gates

Half timbered buildings everywhere
So now we have to wait until Thursday to pick up the rig before we spend our first 5 nights camping in it while we buy all the things like crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, chairs, bedding that never come with a rig from a dealer. A reminder of how lucky we were when we bought the Rexhall from De 3 years ago and found that she was leaving all that stuff in it for us.

For a map of our travels so far see:


  1. What an adventure! Thanks for the update. Have a blast !


  2. Glad you liked it Lynn, there's more to come!