We drove (well Maurice drove and I navigated with Tammy Tom Tom’s help) from Lubeck to our camping place in Germany near the Dutch border.
It bucketed down with rain for most of the way so much so that you could hardly see the car in front of you. We bedded down for the night in a campsite near the port and in the morning it was a nice sunny day although only 16degrees.

At some of the laybys on the way to the Autobahns the prostitutes are well set up in their own campervans with a red light dangling
from the rear vision mirror – novel!   In Italy they just sit on a chair on a street corner with an umbrella to shade themselves.

We were amazed at the sea of hot houses near Hook von Holland growing tomatoes and beans and all kinds of vegetables. The Germans won’t buy tomatoes from Holland as they say that they have no taste and are just full of water.No wonder when they are grown hydroponically.
There were a lot of people on the ship and a lot of children. They had a wonderful chap on the ship dressed in a red top coat and fez leading a painted wooden crocodile around. He would stop and amuse the children and they had a special show for the kids on board. Such a good idea as they were otherwise screaming around the ship.  We discovered that you can pay 16 euros extra and be in a quiet zone which we will consider next time.  I was going to eat from their salad bar for dinner but after we had seen a few children (who were with their parents) picking things out and putting them back we decided against it.

We got through border control in Hook von Holland without a fine or worse for overstaying our allowed 3months as per the Schengen agreement for most of Europe.   The immigration official was a young guy and I think he got sick of flicking through all our stamps and visas looking for the inbound French stamp and in the end just stamped both passports. There was also a queue behind us so I think that helped.
It will make it so much easier if I can get a British passport. Maurice said he will still talk to me! He will get an Irish passport in Ireland.
We went the next day to the registratin office in Colchester to find out if I can get my passport back so that I can get an Indian visa in the meantime. The information on obtaining British citizenship in order to get a passport states that it normally takes up to 3months before I would get my Australian passport back before I even apply for a British passport. Also we have to find out if I need my passport to get to Ireland in the meantime.
One good thing is that with this Schengen agreement I can at least get back to Italy to fly out mid November to Dubai and then India as the 3months that we have to be out of the Europe will be up.
It has dashed our plans for Morocco for this year but we will just have to put it on next year’s list. Hurdle one over anyway!

It felt strange after a couple of months to change back to driving on the left again and Maurice only frightened me once until he switched to the left side. It doesn’t help that the sat.nav. says turn right on the roundabouts instead of left.
Day two in England was beautiful and sunny and 24degrees – would have been lovely if it stayed like that.
Maurice is enjoying being able to communicate with people again without either having to speak very slowly to those that speak some English or staying mute a lot of the time.  At the Felixstowe caravan park a cockney greeted him with “allo sunshine, where you from then?”
We still can’t get over how quiet the camping grounds are all over Europe and England. A quiet street has more noise. The parents must drug the children and they are mostly in bed earlier than we are but they are also very quiet in the morning.  You don’t seem to get any noise of any kind before about 8 o’clock.
We spent the next day in Colchester (England oldest recorded town) trapesing between the borough office and the registration office gaining a bit more information on the acquisition of a British passport by descent. The hours of reading on the internet left us still confused. They suggested we go to the Chelmsford office as they examine the applications more often as we could have to wait until mid September in Colchester.
We had excellent cod and chips at the “George hotel” which dates from the 1700’s. Back on the diet tomorrow.
We also managed to get a sim card from “EE” company so that we can easily?? access the computer and tablet and phone. This of course depends on the area we are in at the time as far as access goes!
The O2 sim card apparently has better coverage but they only take a debit card from the UK and you can’t pay cash. They just don’t want to pay the percentage to visa or mastercard I guess.
It rained overnight and most of the next day which was in contrast to the sunny and warm weather the previous day.
The advise from Colchester was a dud as when we got to the office in Chelmsford (after driving around not able to find parking and having to drive down a one way street the wrong way before someone advised us where we could park the camper) was that we would have to go to London to obtain my mother’s and her parents birth certificates!   As luck would have it Maura and Tony in Perth managed to find certified copies.

I also need my birth certificate and my parent’s marriage certificate so Maurice and I went into the library and downloaded, printed and filled out the application forms and the authority form so that Tony could collect these in Perth to send to us.  We also had to scan my driver’s licence and a credit card and together with a current bank statement that our accountant will supply so that Tony will be able to get the necessary documents……deep breath…..our parking had expired so we walked back to the car and put more pounds in the meter (had to go and get change from the leisure centre nearby) and then we went back to the post office and sent all the documents global express at the cost of 66pounds.  It will be worth it in the long run as extended visas for Europe are not cheap either and still only allow certain lengths of stay.

We decided to have a cup of coffee in M & S.  The cups of coffee here are enormous.  A medium cup is like a soup bowl.  Will have to remember that.

We now have the waiting game until we have all the relevant documents and then can lodge them to be checked with a local council. This costs 88pounds and if there are any mistakes the application is returned but of course not the money. That is before it is sent into the UK Border Agency for approval with a fee of 568 pounds.
It is a bank holiday long weekend so we have decided to go down to the seaside to Broadstairs and Margate for a couple of days. My mother used to go down there for Summer holidays in the nineteen twenties and I have wonderful pictures of her and her parents and other relatives  sitting (the men in their suits and the ladies in their finery) in large dugouts in the sand!

Every campsite we have tried is full at the moment but it is due to rain tomorrow so we still may have some luck. It is a lovely sunny, warm day today the 23rd of August.

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