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The Travels & Adventures of Flog-It Removals.

Welcome to the Flog-It blog. Here we will post comments and details of our travels hopefully before, during and after we are on the road as well as general observations from while we are just out and about locally.

Removals and Bed & Breakfast.
25 December 2009

As I finally get myself together to update you it is now Christmas night, Doctor Who has confused me a little and blow football is being played in a caravan at the Pearl of Prestatyn. Oh yes, and there are a few empty wine bottles on the borrowed coffee table in front of us. Yes we are still here and it's been a busy summer, loads of work locally with the tourists, a couple of runs back to the UK and above all the final coming together of our move to Murcia. We will finally be relocating to Murcia on January 4th but we already took one van load down a few weeks ago and then last weekend we drove the lorry down - overloaded - and parked it up securely for later unloading. All of our furniture was on board apart from the bed, a sofa. the TV and the entire office so this is a very minimalist Christmas. Anyway that's it for now, watch out in the new year for our new blog about Molino Charrara and to keep up to date with everything else we do. We are on Twitter @flog_it  and also  @molinocharrara  and we are slowly building a website for the B&B which can be found at www.molino-charrara.com. If you ever find yourself in Murcia needing a room for the night, give us a shout.



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Girona - Murcia - Malaga
04 September 2009

Yes I know this is taking things out of sequence but it is summer, we are busy and I will forget what to write if I don’t do it now. Having only blogged day 1 of the collection trip so far here I am telling you about another subsequent delivery, never mind I am sure you will forgive me!! So we have had quite a store of boxes since our trip back to the UK at the end of July and the time has finally come to deliver the lot down to Murcia and Malaga. Saturday night we loaded the van with all the goods to go and planned an early night – Gone midnight we hit the sack which blew the 6:00am start and we finally hit the road at around 09:30am (predictable or what?) Another thing we were doing on this trip was testing mobile internet so that hopefully we could update Twitter, Facebook and check email whilst actually on the road and then hopefully this would mean that on a future trip we can test the webcam view through the windscreen. If you are a follower of us on Twitter or Facebook you will know that the internet worked perfectly well so we will be trying the webcam on the next trip. We hit the AP-7 at Lloret de Mar and headed south beyond Valencia before heading inland slightly to our first delivery in Roldan in Murcia.
 

Everything was going smoothly except for a niggling problem with starting the van in the almost 40 degree heat – Once the engine was cut there was no way on earth it would start again unless left to cool for about 30 minutes. I think a full service is needed, after all it has lived out here for four years now and although plenty of work has been carried out, basic checking for things that may be about to happen has been overlooked and whilst it has never let us down we could do more to make sure that it never does. After unloading at Roldan we carried on south another couple of hours before finally stopping for food at a service station and then making up the bed in the back of the van and opening a bottle of red wine (and drinking a little of course) and reading for a while we crashed out around 11pm for a nights shuteye. 07:00am and we were up again having breakfast and then back on the road to complete the southbound leg of the journey, arriving in Alameda near Antequera at 10:30 to unload, have a cup of tea (thank you Peter) and then turn straight around and head back north to Murcia where we had a hotel waiting for us.

 

Arriving back up in Murcia at about 3:00pm we checked into the hotel, had showers & got changed ready to go out and view a property we have had an eye on for a while, but more of that later if it all happens. Monday & Tuesday nights were spent in the hotel with a nice relaxing day in between only ruined by shopping in Nueva Condomina which is totally WiFi friendly so if only I had my laptop with me. Wednesday morning was a little more shopping and then we hit the road about 13:30 to head back up to Girona, arriving home at 21:30 giving us time to wind down and relax before going to bed. I must say that on this trip we saw more accidents than usual, a head on incident on the A-7 on the way south at Valencia where a car had obviously spun and been hit by another held us up which was where we first noticed the problem with starting in the heat, then at almost the same point but on the northbound carriageway on the way back home we had a car greasy side up in the central reservation causing delays. Later in the evening at Barcelona there was a car at the side of the road with 4 fire engines, an ambulance and loads of police so it must actually have been more than it looked but I could not actually figure out the problem. This coming weekend we are back down to Murcia again and then next week another local delivery of items collected on the previous UK trip. And you never know, maybe more about that property we went to view!!



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Another week on the road with Flog It... Day 1.
10 August 2009

It was decided that the best time to leave home this time would be as early as possible on the Tuesday morning because we had to get from Girona up the Motorway to Avignon then across country to Roussillon to deliver those blasted chairs which if you have been keeping up with us you will know have been in store here since before they learned how to slice bread. Then we had to cross from the east side of France to the western middle around the Vichy / Moulins area to deliver the main part of the upward load hopefully before it got dark as the client was to be away back to Holland the following morning plus we had no idea where the delivery was other than on a private unmarked road in the middle of nowhere. And we were hoping for a sleepover of course followed by an early Wednesday start for the run up to the port of Dieppe.
So that was it, at the crack of 1pm we left Spain, crossing at La Jonquera into France and headed for the first toll booths at Le Boulou… Where we were immediately pulled over by customs to be searched!! Nicky must have been pretending to be asleep again as we cruised through the border area, she always looks suspicious when pretending to be asleep!! So that was us off to a good start as usual, somebody somewhere does not smile on us too often. Anyway they were happy and friendly chappies and were very careful not to put their bovver boots where they would break anything. Instead they used a certain few chairs as stepping stones to make their way around the truck, which is something I would not be telling the client when (or if) we ever get as far as Roussillon today. Clearing customs we headed north towards Avignon and then cross country towards delivery number 1. For a change I cannot fault Gertrude, since we traded her in for an upgrade last time we were in England this younger model has done us proud and took us right up the dirt track, past the wild dogs, horses and locals with knives in one hand and tomatoes in the other, straight to the hotel at the end… Luckily not called the Hotel California. The hotel car park served as a somewhat tight turning area and then we stopped to unload the four chairs at last and were we glad to see the back of them. Ever since we put them in store they have travelled with us here, there and everywhere except to where they were supposed to go and have been nothing but bad luck. They are gone, good riddance, hopefully the person that must have died whilst sitting on one of them will now haunt someone else for a while. Actually the house was next door to the hotel but did not have an address of its own, the whole row just used the same address as the hotel – Which was in fact very nice, out in the countryside with chairs out in the garden etc. I wouldn’t have minded staying there for the night but those chairs were still just too close for comfort so we headed off towards Lyon, then Clermont Ferrand and then out into the wilderness and up into the hills along narrow winding roads with deer jumping around and rabbits turning tail and racing away in front of us like being chased by greyhounds at a night out at the dogs.
Arrival at the old mill was actually quite uneventful, Gertrude knew exactly where to send us, along a private track owned by the local electric company to the only house on the road, by the side of the river. It was even a tarmac road, admittedly it was narrower than the track of the truck and our wheels were in the dirt on either side, but what the hell, we made it. This old Lynx truck has had a sheltered life until now, it has seen nothing yet. On arrival at around 1am, yes we missed our E.T.A. somewhat, as we do, our Dutch friends were sitting out by the river around an open fire, chilling the beers and wine in the river and generally enjoying the simple life.
As it turns out, they could not get into the house due to a cock-up so that is why they were all outside and why we could not unload and why we all sat around drinking until 3am before finally retiring to…… The barn!! One light bulb which we could not turn off, a door we could not close, an airbed with no covers and spiders hanging from the ceiling in cobwebs the size of fishing nets. I think tonight my mouth will stay tightly closed while I sleep. Up there in the Massif the days are warm at the moment, but mid summer or not that was one freezing cold night in that barn, and it lasted a damned long time. I can’t wait to see the house properly tomorrow and the plans are to turn it into a B&B and it is perfectly situated to be an overnight stop for us on future runs. But for now I am glad that for some reason I packed a fleece for this trip and that we always keep a couple of thin blankets in the cab just in case we need to spend a night high in the mountains in winter with snow all around us, which we do on most trips actually, but not for much longer if this B&B gets up and running.



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It's all Golf.
21 June 2009

After our delivery a couple of weeks ago down to Polaris World we were yet again called upon this weekend to do a collection from a golf resort, this time in France, Golf Saint Thomas near to Beziers. I must admit that the surroundings were beautiful and the restaurant at the golf club was suitably expensive but with good reason. The food was to die for and luckily we were not paying so it all tasted even better. There were a lot of unfinished properties on the course which are still for sale so if you are looking for a golf property in France then believe me you cannot do much better. Anyway, the job was to collect a motorbike, a couple of bicycles and a few other bits and bobs from Golf Saint Thomas and bring them back down to Tamariu for the new owners of a property which we manage here. The collection was completed without incident and then we had a fantastic lunch and then drove back home with all the goods and will take them around to the house probably tomorrow. My schoolboy French is very rapidly returning to me now and I am sure I will be fluent if we have to keep on going to France so often. In fact we have spent more time in France this month than we have here in Spain. Actaully I think between myself and Nicky we can converse better in French, Dutch & German than we can in Spanish!!  Anyway that's it for now, for the rest of the week we have the "day job" to do and then I have gardening every day so the vans will all be parked up and ignored for at least a week. About time too as my bum bone is really starting to suffer from being on my derriere too long.



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Polaris World, Condado de Alhama.
15 June 2009

Friday 5th June (yes I know it was a while back but I only just got time to do this) we set out from home with a van load of goods heading for Polaris World, Condado de Alhama in Murcia. All the goods were already loaded from a couple of weeks earlier in Tamworth so we just jumped on board and headed south for a steady drive, arriving about midnight. It took some finding the way in to the resort as Gertrude had no idea of the streets as it was all new but we finally found a well guarded gate with a very helpful security guard who pointed us in the right direction. We pulled up outside the apartment, grabbed our bags, let ourselves in and then settled down for a night on a hard marble floor. Lovely!! Early next morning we awoke to a wonderful sunny day and by 07:00am we were already unloading the van into the apartment and chatting with the locals, all English. We did learn one thing though, you know the Polaris World adverts in TV where you get that Spanish guy called Juan telling you all about it? Well he is real and he is called Juan and he is moving into Condado very soon and everyone said what a nice guy he is. Seems to me we need to speak to Juan about getting some more work down there, especially if we end up moving our base down there later this year. Anyway, within a couple of hours we were done so we locked up and left the keys where we were told and then after a quick breakfast in the van we headed for Los Pinos house hunting. Quite a few nice suitable properties down in that area, you never know we may end up down in the area. After three viewings it was up to Denia and our usual hotel for the night but not the usual staff, we did not know anybody - Or more to the point they did not know us and it cost a fortune, nearly twice what we normally pay. But none the less we had a good stay and cannot complain and after breakfast the following morning we were just getting into the van as we were approached by an English man enquiring about the cost of a removal from there in Denia down to Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol. We tried our best to negotiate our way into the deal but the problem was that it was Sunday and he was not, and could not move until Tuesday so unfortunately there was nothing we could do to help so once more we set off home towards Tamariu. The van should be able to do this journey on its own by now, and it virtually did. Whilst over in England a couple of weeks earlier I went into Halfords in Tamworth and finally had Gertrude cremated, what a total waste of space that GPS was. I was very worried about leaving the store with a replacement Garmin, I really wanted a TomTom because Gertrude had really destroyed my faith in the make but the very nice man in the shop insisted in an upgrade to a slightly better model and I have to admit that since then she has not let us down and we have been pretty much on time at all destrinations since. Time will tell. This coming week we have another long journey ahead of us so it will get a good test through France, Luxembourg, Germany, Holland, Belgium and back. We collected goods in Lloret de Mar today ready to go and we know our way so if she plays silly buggers we will know. The photos are already on Picasa and in the slide show on the Blogger blog at http://blog.flog-it.net/ in case you are not already there.

Coming up after this trip we have Roussillon and Beziers next weekend and then around the end of the month another trip to Holland and beyond which could yet turn into another Marathon and end down in the Costa del Sol. More next time, hasta luego.



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Plan B it is then.
26 May 2009

We ended up having a late start on Thursday due to a string of phone calls that I will not go into here, needless to say it was an unwanted start to the trip and also created a diversion for the way back home which meant we had to head south via Limoges instead of the preferred eastern route which instantly meant that the Roussillon delivery was out of the question due to time constraints. That aside, the weather north through France was awful as usual but amazingly we actually hit Oostende on time as the journey through the Massif was not too slow in a virtually empty truck. One happy customer later we departed Belgium for Calais and an afternoon crossing. This was the first time we had chance to look around the ferry for the truckers lounge and restaurant and would you believe it truck drivers get free hot drinks and soft drinks. I like it. We also get quite a good exchange rate on board – Higher then the published rates and to be honest they were worth having, saving the problem of sorting out cash on the other side. On the journey up to Tamworth we had yet more telephone calls from the same source to pile on the pressure and delay us so it was almost midnight when we finally made base camp which did not please our UK team too much as they had a 4:00am start to get up to Morpeth for a collection. We on the other hand had a little lie in before heading out to make a collection locally that is heading down to Murcia and then across to Derby to collect some computer stuff. Saturday afternoon saw the arrival of Frank & Rose back from Morpeth and a quick change over of vehicles before dinner and a night in front of the Eurovision Song Contest. And the winner was, Norway Nil Points – Pity because I liked the Swedish “Popera” style entry and also Azerbaijan. For me Norway was just what it used to be, “Nil points”. Sunday morning we went shopping because a delivery that was supposed to be at base camp for us to collect had not arrived so another delay there as we had really wanted to be on the road early today, but there ya go!! Now that we were working to plan B we headed towards Limoges, got there bang on time and sorted things out, then headed to Le Vallee Heureuse not far from Perpignan, unfortunately having to miss out Roussillon as stated earlier as it would have put us too late. That delivery out of the way we headed down to Spain and amazingly arrived home pretty much on time. Not like us at all, despite the problems everything was on time, Arnie ran like a dream and we got home on the same day we planned. That’s it for a while now, we will head down to Murcia after bank holiday week to make the final delivery and then we need to make ready for the June run up to Holland. If you have anything heading up that way or coming back please give us a shout.  It is pretty certain now that the Holland trip will continue over to England with Arnie and then maybe even go back down as far as the Costa del Sol - Open to ideas. I want to get Arnie signwritten by then too if I can, may even name him like Eddie Stobart does. Sad aren't I?



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Quick update.
13 May 2009

It's been a while since I last tickled the keyboard to update you all with a blog rather than a tweet so I will just say a few words to keep you informed. The load for Oostende is packed into Arnie and tomorrow morning we will hit the road via which ever route takes our fancy and head for Belgium. Plan "A" is to work two drivers on 4.5 hour alternate shifts + an hour each at the end to give us twenty hours on the road hopefully to hit Belgium in one go and then take the mandatory 9 hours rest. We will instead probably work to plan "B", but we don't know what that will be until it happens - You know us too well!! Then hopefully a quick delivery in Oostende followed by a blast down to Calais and a crossing as early as we can because believe it or not we really need to be in Derby by Friday early evening. I believe "Cutting it fine" is the technical term. In Derby we need to pick up some IBM bits and bobs then head for a stopover and a collection in Tamworth the next day. Hopefully our man Frank has pulled everything into storage there so we now only have the one collection instead of two so we can have an early night (Oh look, there's a pig flying past) followed by an early start to hit Dover in time to get us to Calais around 10pm (HGV watershed) so we can have another marathon blast down to Roussillon and some place near Le Boulou and then home on Monday night. No don't laugh, seriously that's the plan. Can't see it, can you? No thought not.



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Flog It Air Transport.
28 April 2009

As the Easter weekend is now well and truly past I will just gloss over the rest of it very briefly. Very late Tuesday our friends arrived (Hi Judith, Mark & Cam), Wednesday we all went out, Thursday we stayed in and then they went home at night. How’s that? Easter finished. Well almost anyway. Some time back (it’s in a blog somewhere) our man on the ground in England got a flying lesson as a birthday gift and this Easter it was time for him to become our man in the air. It would seem he enjoyed it very much and lived to tell the story, so did the instructor and the Cessna. The photos are somewhere in our online albums so all that is needed now is for him to get more lessons over the years ahead, buy himself a jumbo jet and Bob’s yer Uncle Flog It Air Transport will take to the skies. In your dreams!!

The following weekend saw a quick jaunt up to Port Leucate and half a dozen oysters with a glass of wine for 7 Euros. Delicious!! Then in the evening we visited a Hippopotamus Grill near Perpignan and had one of the best steaks in years, but if you want a better one get yourself up to Cuxhaven on the German north sea coast.

Anyway now it’s back to work and the next trip is rapidly becoming one of our round Europe epics looking like it will probably cross France, Luxembourg, Germany, Holland & Belgium as well as Spain and England. All that in Arnie at 12mpg!! I have updated the map accordingly and will also keep the mini updates coming via Twitter.

 


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Spain’s El Bulli voted best restaurant in world again.
21 April 2009

Reproduced with kind permission of Chris Marshall (almerimarlife.com) due to the fact that the restaurant is fairly local to us. No we have not been to it yet!!

Spanish restaurant El Bulli was named the world’s best restaurant for the fourth year in a row at a ceremony in London Monday, but its head chef dedicated the prize to his British runner-up.
The restaurant in Catalonia came top of the S Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2009 following a poll of more than 800 chefs, restaurant critics and industry insiders for Restaurant Magazine.
Accepting the highly prestigious award, El Bulli head chef Ferran Adria said it had been “a very important night for Spain”, with Spanish restaurants occupying three of the top five spots.
He also praised Heston Blumenthal, the chef at Britain’s The Fat Duck restaurant, who was forced to temporarily close his establishment earlier this year after a health scare and who came second in Monday’s list.
“I dedicate this prize to Heston Blumenthal. He has shown me what honesty means in this business…. This prize is for you,” Adria said.
In third place after The Fat Duck was Denmark’s Noma, followed by Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, Per Se in the United States, Bras in France, Arzak in Spain, Pierre Gagnaire in France and Alinea in the US.
Blumenthal – whose signature dishes include snail porridge, and egg and bacon ice cream – repaid the complement, referring to Adria as “my teacher”.
He added: “If you had told me 10 or 15 years ago that I would be in the top 200 restaurants in the world I would have been delighted.



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A quiet Easter weekend away.
21 April 2009

Easter Saturday morning was an early start, we had to get a villa cleaned before we could depart on our weekend trip. By early lunchtime we were done, we picked up or friends and headed for our Santa Susanna hotel. Arriving luckily before lunch was over we threw the bags into our rooms and shot down for some grub to make the most of the all inclusive package. At this stage all was well and good, little did we know what was to follow – Nicky has updated our review forum about the hotel and anyone else can review hotels, restaurants etc there if you wish to warn others of impending doom or of great places to go. I will say no more here about H.Top Royal Sun. After lunch we all hopped on the fantastic train link to Calella to take our friends to Jordi’s bar where I have spent many a happy hour over roughly the last 10 years. It was cerrado until 8pm, well we would be back in the hotel by then stuffing our faces again so no hanging about, off to Groucho’s for a pint – Closed!! Sold up to become a local produce shop. All is not going well. A quick trip to Luna (luckily still there) the ethnic shop where I got my didgeridoo, to buy another bird feeder and a couple of other wooden bits. At last someone who remembers who we are and is glad to see us. So we ended up watering ourselves down at Corleone’s, round the corner, friendly staff and not expensive. After that it was back to the hotel (4 star!! What a joke) for dinner and then down to the bar for a fight.. Er I mean drink, sorry. Next day it was absolutely persisting it down so the best we could do was amble around locally and sit outside La Maduixa watching the world go by over a jug of Sangria, boy was it cold!! After lunch the best we could do was retire to our rooms for a siesta and to get ready for dinner followed by another altercation in the bar. Monday on the Costa can only mean one thing... Blanes market!! One of the best in the area and one of only two I have ever been to on my own - Pineda being the other. It always takes a long time to get from one end of the market to the other, especially with all the punctuation stops at various watering holes. One idea was to visit one of our favourite Chinese restaurants for lunch but, guess what? It had closed down. All our old haunts from back living in Lloret when all these places were local are now closed, how things change in just a few years. Most of the damage caused by the winter storms in Blanes has now been repaired just as it has here in Tamariu and also in Tossa de Mar as an afternoon drive over confirmed. We jumped onto the local tourist train there for a trip through the narrow streets to see some places never visited before. No more cafes full of sand or bars with boats through the windows, all was well and looking good. The driver of the "Bimble Train" as Nicky calls it for reasons known only to herself was obviously a dog lover - Every time we drove past one of our four legged friends he dipped into a bag of doggy biscuits and fed one or two to the aforementioned beast, must be to break the boredom of "Bimbling around" all day. Next morning saw us checking out of the hotel, jumping on the train to Barcelona, ambling up and down La Rambla, menu del dia in our favourite Italian (Marzano's - There's one in Sitges too if you can't get to Barcelona) followed by C&A and a train back to the car and an hours drive home. Home about 8:30pm, was that the end of it? Oh no... At around midnight we had friends arriving for a couple of days... The story is far from over yet.


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