NFOL Weekend

Wednesday 22nd August 2018

We are off on our travels again today but first it was a visit to Boots the Optician for an eye test. That took longer than we had thought so we were somewhat later setting off than we had planned.

We have booked four nights at the National Feast of Lanterns – a Camping and Caravanning Club annual event this year being held in Cheshire.

It is a bit of a long journey for one day and because we can we decided to spend a night on a small campsite about half way. One that has no facilities except water and a chemical toilet disposal point. Dayhouse Farm & Fishery site turned out to be a field. It was all we needed though so we picked a side that was pretty flat and settled in for the night. We got out the 2G’s and went for a bit of an explore – thought we might be able to find someone to pay – no one about anywhere but some lovely views though.

Dayhouse view

 

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Back at Voyager (who is now sporting some new decals)

I set about making our meal of meatballs with SW friendly tomato sauce – while doing this a neighbouring camper came over for a chat – told me about his day. I think I have one of those faces that people want to confide in as within a few seconds he was telling me that his sister had just died – she was only 67.

A few minutes later the farmer arrived in his 4X4 and Nigel handed over the £7 fee for the night.

After tea we just watched TV and played on our computers – it got very dark tonight (no site lights at all) it was just a shame that the clouds prevented seeing any stars.

Thursday 23rd August 2018

We left Dayhouse just after ten finding little traffic on the few miles back to the M5 but more on the motorway itself. There were no bad delays it was just slow in places where roadworks had 50 or for one section 30 mph restrictions. Apparently the upgrading to a ‘Smart Motorway’ is a long winded process as one yellow sign suggested there would be delays until autumn 2023.

We arrived at the NFOL site about noon and were directed across one field to another labelled ‘Hyperspace’ and on to our pitch.

 

NFOL plan a
Pitched on Hyperspace – marked by the V

It was on a bit of a slope which meant that even with a couple of extra blocks we couldn’t quite get level. We accepted it as ‘good enough’ though and made a mental note to add a few more blocks for future use.

After a bit of lunch we headed off to the Admin tent to register and collect our goody bag – which was mostly adverts but did have the program of events for the weekend. Then back to Voyager to shelter from the first of many showers.

Later, when the showers had passed, we had a trundle around more of the site – finding where to dump rubbish & the CDP for the loo. They weren’t very well marked but we found them.

Back again to Voyager for our meal of Sweet chilli prawns – didn’t get anything out of the freezer again!

Later we trundled off again – In the main area there was a large marquee well set out with chairs in front of a large stage upon which there would be several live acts during our stay. One side was set aside with no chairs – we parked ourselves in there and watched the comedienne and a solo singer for a while. After a few minutes they took a break – so we checked out the other marquee. This one was smaller – one end had a bar – the middle had benches with seats along – the other end had a small slightly raised stage area. When we arrived a brass band was just starting up. There appeared to be an entrance by the stage but Security informed us that this was an exit only – we watched through the opening until our view was blocked by people standing in front of us. The bar area was packed with others, queing for the bar or just standing and drinking – we couldn’t get in. So we moved on – had a look around the food area (burger vans of different varieties) and then on through the trade area – most of which was shut.

We decided to call it a night – but on the way back to Voyager we tried the last marquee – away from the rest and described as the ‘Quiet Bar’. It was too about a dozen people and a small bar

– we had a couple of drinks but it started to get colder and Voyager is warm.

There has been quite a bit of rain in the last few days and I’m worried about getting stuck in the field.

Friday 24th August 2018

Another day of mostly showers a little bit of sunshine – basically a washout.

Nigel did put out the awning and fit our new fairy lights (part of the ‘lanterns’ thing is to decorate the vans – so everyone was doing the same) but even with the guy ropes tying it down the wind was still getting under it and making it flap.

We became increasingly concerned that it would tear and that would be expensive to put right – so in a dry spell it was wound back in and the fairy lights wrapped around Betty instead.

We did go out in the early evening for a look around but nothing much was happening so we just came back and continued to laze around.

Saturday 25th August 2018

We had decided that if the weather was as forecast we would get out and explore beyond the camp site – so after breakfast and the usual chores we set forth to Arley Hall and Gardens – there was a brief shower on route but we sheltered under a big oak tree until it passed.

Arley clk twr

The entrance is through the small gift shop – but the doorway was too narrow for our scooters. Nigel walked in and chatted with the staff. They were very helpful as they said they could let us in another way and provided a map of the gardens – and they do not charge mobility scooter users so that saved us straight away. The house itself was not open today – but we could only access a small part of it anyway so we wouldn’t have bothered even if it was.

We had a look at around the house (took a few pics)

before heading into the gardens just as the sky was turning blue and the sun making an appearance.

They were lovely – the late summer flowers still going strong – wonderful colours in the long borders.

Arley Gdn lng brdr

Quiet hidden places for a tête-à-tête and even an 18th century tea cottage were all explored. There were a few steps here and there but not enough to spoil the couple of hours we spent.

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It was cooler under the trees of the wooded area but there were a number of sculptures hidden around corners to keep your interest.

 

We even had a look inside the Chapel which had some beautiful stained glass windows.

 

All in all well worth a visit.

 

Back at Voyager we had a warming lunch of soup with ham sandwich for dunking.

We went up to the Arena to see the Sci-Fi themed Mardi Gras parade – but as usual we couldn’t see much as it was four deep all around the barriers. So we just had a quick look around and then back to Voyager.

The forecast for tomorrow was for a lot of heavy rain – so we have decided not to stay – the further risk of getting stuck in a muddy field and the fact that we have both been disappointed in the lack of thought with regard to disabled people’s needs.

So we packed the lights away and prepped for the off.

After our meal of Turkey steaks we went to see the Lantern parade – but it looked like they started early and we missed all but the very end. We did have a look around the themed decorated units about the site though – a lot of effort by some folks I must admit.

I bought a balloon with pretty lights on it – which complimented the whirling LED lights we mounted on the front of the 2G’s

Mary lights

– some seemed to like our efforts as they were taking photos of us. We had a trundle around the marquees – the bar was as full as ever and there was no other entertainment scheduled for the evening so we made our way back to Voyager and watched TV until bedtime.

Sunday 26th August 2018

As predicted the rain arrived in the early hours and got progressively heavier so a quick breakfast – then finish the packing away inside while Nigel got Betty positioned for a quick hook-up and un-levelled us.

The field proved hard enough on the unused parts but the main tracks were getting very soft and muddy even at just after ten when we left – so glad we decided not to stay the extra night.

First stop was a visit to the Anderton Boat Lift about 5 miles from the site but nearer 10 as we have to take roads wide enough for us.

We found a large car park and very easy to park as it was almost empty. Even though the rain was still hammering down we decided to get the 2G’s out and give our wet weather gear the first real test. So as well as my coat I put on the cape which covers the scooter tiller to keep the electrics dry.

Nigel got out the scooters covering them with emergency poncho’s until we were ready to go. Everything seemed to work well so we set off to the visitors centre – well laid out on two floors – the top one has the café and gift shop and is where you pay your entrance fee – then a lift to the ground floor which has a large and detailed exhibition about the lift. Our scooters were too big for the lift though but we were directed to the staff entrance outside which one of the staff unlocked for us. It’s really nice when that little extra effort is made to accommodate our needs – so even though the rain continued to poor down we went down to the viewing area and watched the Boat Lift doing its thing – amazing bit of engineering and lovely that it has been restored.

Boat lift

Nigel went into the exhibition area while I sheltered out of the rain – decided I would get more from reading the guide book later. So back up to the gift shop for postcards, fridge magnet and said guide book.

By the time we had got everything packed away and changed into dry cloths (wet gear only protects the top half – both our jeans got a good soaking around the knees) it was gone noon.

We thought about having an early lunch but as it’s a long journey home opted instead to stop at the first sevices on the M5 so as to break up the driving.

The traffic southbound was pretty good – glad we weren’t going north as we passed many long stationary ques as we sped happily onward. Even so it was gone five before we eventually got home.

Well that’s another trip done – plans are being talked about though – North Wales for a while in mid-September and then France for a few weeks when the weather gets colder sometime in October probably.

Long term plan is for a couple of months in Spain and Portugal but that’s for January, February time 2019.

Oxford

Sunday 5th August 2018

Today we are off to Oxford – Nigel was up early getting things ready – he made a video of him cleaning the windscreen using time lapse on the GoPro. He had done that and was in the process of editing it before I even woke up as I had another bad night.

We arrived at the campsite a little after one o‘clock as we had stopped for lunch in a lay bye as usual. We were offered the choice of a few pitches and chose 29 as it was mid-way between the Reception and the Facilities block.

voyager pitched

The site isn’t large but it is well situated and there were lots of Motorhomes, Caravans and tents making the most of this glorious weather. Mostly English but a few Dutch and Germans as well.

It didn’t take us long to get pitched (we mostly have it down to a fine art now) so out came the 2G’s and we were off to explore. We found the Cycle Route sign post just outside the entrance and so headed toward the Town Centre.

We didn’t intend to go far – just enough to get our bearings really. Found Hinksey Park after a few hundred yards which was very nice –

Lakelake mary

it had a large lake which looked very peaceful – except for the group of youngsters playing in it (all good fun though). There was also an outdoor swimming pool and water play area for the younger ones – I might have been tempted but you can have too much of a good thing and I wanted to remember the times I had swimming with the family recently as special so we just looked at the families enjoying themselves.

So onward on the National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 5 – and just around the corner near another entrance to the same park was a red ice cream van. Well we had to try one (vanilla whippy tub) and very nice it was to.

Then on further across a ramped bridge over the River Thames

Thames town

through a housing estate and we found ourselves at the Westgate Shopping Mall (good time to visit as it was just after 4pm on a Sunday). A little bit of window shopping and checking out a bit of the art work and history of the place by way of notices about the walls.

westgt art

The recently built Mall was built on the original site of a Franciscan Abbey where the well-known? Philosopher Roger Bacon did a lot of his experiments and planned a scheme to drain Oxford. Its surprising what we learn in the back streets of a town.

We didn’t go further but made our way back to Voyager because as usual we hadn’t got anything out of the freezer – but just for a change (because it was so warm) we had a prawn salad for our meal. Eaten al fresco in the evening sunshine with a cool glass of spritzer for me and a lager for Nigel. We sat outside until the sun went down chatting about what we wanted to see tomorrow and generally putting the world to rights.

voyager sunset

Monday 6th August 2018

Another bright sunny warm day and we are off to explore Oxford and to see some of the things we missed the last time we were here but of course chores to be done before we go and breakfast to be had.

Took the NCN trail to town again and did the tourist thing – photo taking, buying a postcard and fridge magnet (avoiding being ripped off by the souvenir shopkeeper – insisting on only paying the displayed price) well at £1 for a postcard we were being ripped off anyway.

Oxford is on the world tourist map so there were coach loads of American Spanish and Japanese tourists but even more Chinese all chatting and standing about blocking the pavements with many guided tours in many different languages.

We made slow progress but did get through them and having decided to go to Christchurch Meadow for our lunch we made our way there. Getting in proved harder than we thought – a kissing gate by the Botanical Garden entrance – a steep step at the gate in Merton Street. Finally we asked a porter at the Cathedral who directed us to the main gate in St Aldate’s . We trundled passed the Medieval Dining Hall with its long line of tourists queuing to take a look at it and on

medw selfie

to a shady part near the river where we sat for our picnic while watching people punting, paddling and rowing along.

The most funny was the guy who got his pole stuck on a tree branch and had to paddle back to get it – I have to admit I fell about laughing but I did clap when he eventually retrieved it (he bowed).

We had another trundle around the town,

sighs selfie

found the Castle (and Prison) but thought we would leave the exploring of that for another day so we worked our way back retracing our route on the cycle way. Checked out a fig tree (some overhanging the pavement but not ripe yet) and a mellor as well – (very unusual) while we progressed back to Voyager.

Mellor

We decided on chicken salad for our meal (way too hot to cook much) – al fresco again and another evening sitting outside until late – isn’t it nice to be able to do this in good old England.

Tuesday 7th August 2018

Another beautiful day and both of us up with the lark. Had a big fry up today (SW style of course) because I think it may be a heavy day.

First a quick trip to ‘Go Outdoors’ which is only 50yards from Reception – we needed a bucket and  a collapsible bowl. Then we are off down the Thames Path to Iffley Lock – a lovely trip and the lock was smashing – a stone bridge that didn’t want to go anywhere,

iffley brg

old lock keepers cottage with well tended flower garden.

iffley lock

Getting over the lock gates was ‘interesting’ – the lock keeper fitted the necessary ramps for us –

iff lk ramp

getting on was fine but because of the angles getting off on the other side we really needed a ramp 2 inches wider. We managed it – just sort of slid down the ramp – we are used to taking the odd risk but almost scared the lock keeper to death bless her.

Anyway on we went through Iffley village

iffley vill

to Doddington and then back onto the Thames path to Oxford town – a lovely route with lots of activity on the river with Kayaks, skulls, row boats and one of those enormous  trip boats (again lots of Chinese faces).

thames cruiser

We progressed through the main tourist routes

observ area

and on to Jerrico (as featured in many an Inspector Morse episode). Had a good look at the eateries in Little Clarendon Street – Italian, French and Spanish almost next door to each other as well as more English Cafes make for somewhere for everyone.

I had hoped that we would be able to get to see the canal which is on the edge of Jerico but alas it all appeared to be blocked off – shame as we had thought it would be a good place to have our picnic lunch. Oh well we settled for our second choice by returning to the Castle court yard in town and spent a lovely hour there eating and drinking my special ‘lemonade’.

prison

Suitably refreshed we set forth toward TOAD. That’s ‘The Oxford Artisan Distillery’ where we spent half an hour sampling a couple of their Gins (Nigel enjoys – I don’t – bad experience),

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buying a bottle of Ashmolean which is best enjoyed with a slice Jara Lemon (from Bangladeshi shops apparently). Also a couple of TOAD shot classes.

They do tours of the distillery but we were a bit late for that so just had a quick peep at the stills and a good chat with the workers about the place and the setup.

toad still

We set off back to Voyager through South Park (large open park on a hill with trees and open areas) then onward through the town. We had gotten to the High St when Grace started to feel lumpy – looked down and the nearside rear tyre was flat – what do you do when you get a puncture on a mobility scooter.

To start with we swapped scooters and Nigel walked beside Grace – the idea being to find a garage or tyre place – maybe it just needed a bit of air we thought.

After a couple of hundred yards Nigel’s knees were starting to give out so he decided to try riding side saddle – keeping as much weight as possible on the good tyre. This seemed to work and so we made good progress along Abingdon Rd – we knew we had to stop at Tesco and get a few things – and just before we got to the shop we saw a National Tyres place on the right. They pumped some air in and we set off – flat again within a minute or so.

We did the shopping and then continued with the side saddle procedure until we got back to Voyager.

Then it was out with the tools and Nigel removed the wheel,

punct 1

got a bowl of water and did the old look for bubbles thing – there were loads. So the wheel was dismantled the inner tube removed and the bubble test done again.

punct 2

A pin prick size hole was the source.

Quick trip to Go Outdoors for a puncture repair kit – they were out of stock. Nigel thought he would check at Reception (thinking they may know where else he could try) and they had a kit – lucky or what?

The instructions where in Polish? but Nigel remembered how it used to be done in the old days (he reckons it was probably 50 years since he last fixed one) so went with that and had it patched, tested and reassembled in half an hour or so.

punt fx

Another chicken salad tonight and again we sat out until it got dark and a bit chilly before turning in.

Wednesday 8th August 2018

After a good night’s sleep I had a shower using the site facilities. No disabled wet room on this site so had to manage on my own while Nigel waited outside. Had to have a couple of sprays to help but managed it OK. Nigel used the van shower – he’s got it off to a fine art quick spray then soap then rinse off – I doubt if the water is running for more than 45 seconds in total.

A quiet morning with me doing my cross stitch while Nigel did the van clean – whizzing round with the Flash and the Dyson. Looks great – sparkling.

We are eating lunch out today so I don’t need to make a picnic.  After yesterday we had narrowed the choice down to Italian, French or Spanish. We set off taking a jumper each in case it gets colder (not as warm at all today) and made good time to the food area (not as many tourists today).

I didn’t really fancy the Italian (too much pasta) and the French Restaurant seemed to be more heavy meals so Spanish it would be.

Al-Andalus Tapas Bar had only a couple of steps and loads of tables so in we went.

tap br 1

We had the lunch time Tapas special (2 dishes each with bread).

tap br 2

The only real disappointment was the Croquettes – said to be chicken and ham but hardly any taste at all. The others were fine and we did enjoy Dates wrapped with bacon and filled with blue cheese – something I would not have even considered a few years ago but now my palette has changed (and my experience) and I’ll try more exotic things.

After lunch we thought we would just go back to Voyager – we had seen all we wanted for this visit and it was definitely getting cooler with the clouds filling in. Had to have one last ice cream a flavoured one (scoop type) – I had Hazelnut Nigel Tiramisu – asked for large tubs – that’s about 5 good scoops (a lot) not cheap at £9 the pair but value for money (remember to ask for small tub next time).

As we neared the site we started to feel a few spits of rain – so we put the scooters in Betty straight away and Nigel sat under the awning doing a bit of blog work while I had a little siesta – this holiday lark sure can take it out of you.

The threatening rain came about half an hour later – heavens opened for about five minutes then it petered out – few more odd spits but the tarmac was starting to look dry before we had our ham, egg and chips meal (salads are off until it warms up again).

The first evening we have spent inside this trip. Bit of TV – and Nigel is still typing – only with 2 fingers though.

Thursday 9th August 2018

Time to go home – so while I slave over making breakfast and getting everything inside stowed away Nigel does all the outside stuff and finishes off the Blog.

 

Weymouth with Family

Friday 13th July 2018

We are off again – back to Weymouth.

We have been home for a few days to catch up on the post and of course the piles of washing – and then the ironing. All done and dusted – feeling happy that all is tidy for when we return.

The journey down was mostly uneventful – we parked in a lay-by at lunchtime – a biker was waiting, on his phone most of the time – for breakdown recovery it turned out – puncture I think.

Anyway our only slow bit was on the Dorchester bypass where two lanes reduce to one – I do hate the way some drivers try to overtake while everyone else is waiting patiently – mind you Voyager is quite wide so straddling the white line tends to discourage all but the worst.

We arrived at the Haven Seaview site at about two o’clock, did all the booking in stuff and received our info pack (not sure how much use of the ‘fun passes’ we will make). Our pitch was in the corner and despite the name we had no sea view at all.

After getting pitched

Voyager pitched

– a fully serviced 7m square so we won’t be moving Voyager until we leave – we went for our usual trundle to find our bearings and check out the facilities. They provided a site map which as well as the normal stuff showed paths to the sister site ‘Weymouth Bay‘ and ‘buggy able’ ones to the beach (I think referring to pushchair type buggies – not our scooters) but we tried them and succeeded in getting to Bowleaze Cove.

There was a choice of route – over the hill which was a bit bumpy but afforded some excellent views

Wey Horse

view fm hl

or around the hill on a hardcore path. We opted for the hill going – deciding that the path would be for returning. Took some good photos from the top.

Bowleaze from hill pano

We had a rather large ice cream which we ate watching the sea lap against the shore and I started to wish I had bought the swimming costume I saw the other day.

We returned to Voyager for our goto evening meal of sweet chilli prawns (forgot to get anything out of the freezer again).

Saturday 14th July 2018

Wow another lovely day and forecast to be very warm. We had both slept very well – I seem to sleep better in Voyager than at home.

Today Roy and his family arrived to stay at Weymouth Bay for the week. His kids Russell, Michelle and Sophie along with grandkids Jake and Harry are all staying in a holiday caravan.

We weren’t sure what time they would arrive so we trundled into Weymouth to have a look at the Seafood Festival going on at the harbour. There were loads of people with the same idea so it was packed out and difficult to see anything between them. We didn’t stay very long before getting out and going through the town centre streets (which were very quiet) and on to the promenade again. We found ourselves very close to our favourite ice cream parlour (how did that happen) so had to check they were still up to scratch – Love the chocolate whippy!

We returned to site and found Roy’s caravan (he had texted the ‘address’) with no difficulty. We spent a lovely couple of hours with them

 

before returning to Voyager for a short siesta, some food and to get spruced up for a night out with the ‘gang’.

Nigel wore his seaside outfit – very smart.

 

 

We had a brilliant night out with the family

Gs boys

at the complex bar – we sat outside until it started to cool

Soph dkchrBar 1

before moving inside – had so many laughs and a few spritzers – got a bit squiffy.

Sunday 15th July 2018

I know it’s getting repetitive but another sunny warm day – the gardeners may not like it but we do – more family is visiting today and the beach is beckoning.

My sister Dot came by train and Roy’s other son Danial with his young family also arrived during the morning.

 

So after the getting together chats we got everything together and set off on the path we found the other day to Bowleaze Cove.

Mary beach G 2

A lovely day with the younger ones swimming and playing.

Beach rus

We more mature ones having a paddle – which was still very refreshing.

Beach m dBeach ls

I had prepared our packed lunch so we ate while the others did their own thing (some fish and chips and some just liquid lunch).

The only loo was in the Café/Bar and designated for customers only – well we bought an ice cream the other day so I reckon that counts. The que was way too long so nothing today though.

Late in the afternoon we came back to camp– Nigel took Dot back to the train station (using Roy’s car) and we then returned to Voyager for our meal of Prawn salad – too hot for anything else really.

The gang came to us about 8 o’clock, we had a few beers and they all had a good look around our setup with many questions about how things work – it seems obvious to us now but we remember when we were as in the dark as they were.

On our trundles we had spotted a pub with good advertising on the roadside so went there for a few drinks – thought it would be cheaper than on campus which it was but that was the only thing going for it really. It was definitely on the decline – many of the machines were broken and the garden area had a covered decking area where we sat but some of the balustrade was broken and some of the boards were very ‘spongy’ – oh well must remember to check things out beforehand next time. We made the most of it though and had a good laugh – stayed until chucking out time so a good night overall.

Monday 16th July 2018

We have run out of a few things so our first duty (after the normal morning chores) is a trundle to Weymouth ASDA to restock.

Mary beach G

I also decided that I would buy that swimming costume I saw in Bonne Marche Chippenham in their branch in town here – if available in my size.

The journey was uneventful and everything went according to plan – I got the costume and a matching dress. Nigel said I looked really good in it and I must admit I am proud of myself for getting into it.

We managed to get all we needed from Asda and then headed to the front where we ate our Tapas style lunch (from Asda) followed up with – yes you guessed, it a chocolate whippy ice cream.

We were just preparing to make our way back when we got a call from the family – we arranged to meet them at the outdoor swimming pool when we got back.

So after putting the shopping away and changing into my new kit we made our way there. I did say that if anyone laughed I would go home – but they all said I looked really good in it. I even went into the pool a couple of times with Shelly and the kids and I loved it.

Mary swim pose

We stayed until the pool closed at five, then went back to Voyager for our roast chicken meal, meeting up with the family again later for yet another visit to the club house bar. Again we had a good laugh and joke around. Stayed until closing time again – I could get used to this but I’ve drunk way too much in the last few days – need to get back on plan.

Tuesday 17th July 2018

Today the family are going to Bournemouth with Danial and his young family. We decided to have a chill day to recover from the last few lovely but hectic ones.

So after showers and a late breakfast we just chilled – I did a bit of sewing while Nigel was having a go at some video editing – that’s a slow business though.

Lunch was a simple affair (Mediterranean again) out in the sun – there was bit of a breeze but it was still warm. We made the most of the quiet day as we have to leave tomorrow – I really don’t want to go as it has been such fun with the family and the weather has been fabulous.

After our evening meal we went around to Roy’s – they had not been back long and were tired – we went to the bar but got bored with nothing going on so returned to Voyager early. A bit of a disappointing end but we will remember this break for the many laughs we had with our extended family.

Wednesday 18th July 2018

Home today – early start as the departure time at this site is 10 o’clock (normally 11 at most sites). No problems packing up – on the road by 09.55 and the trip home was uneventful.

Another load of washing, then ironing, giving Voyager a good clean inside and out – oh and fitting some more vinyl’s we have had made.

Nigel has to do a bit of renovation work (bit more than touch up paint required on his ‘pilot error’ on the front. A botched repair (prior to our buying it I must stress) on the bonnet also needs to be sorted. Not sure whether Nigel will do it himself or take it to a body shop yet – but it’s high on the to-do list.

August is a month we don’t do much travelling (too many kids I’m afraid) apart from odd days out – mostly Weston beach when the need for ice cream can’t be supressed any longer – so maintenance, MOT and other boring but essential things get done.

We will update you when they are finished (or during if they appear interesting).

Hopefully we will find something to go to for August Bank Holiday weekend – that’s likely the next time we will be away.

Until then thanks for reading our Blog.

Would he hide in Corfe Castle

Thursday 5th July 2018

On the move again – now we were intending to return home today but the weather was so good we decided to move on to another site instead.

Nigel searched for a site near to Corfe Castle which is only about 30 miles down the coast. The CCC site was full so he continued looking and found Woodyhyde (thats the real name of the site not my word play title) which showed as only about a mile outside the village. He booked us a four night stay with electric – and very near the end of the process saw the note saying access was under a low narrow bridge. It did say it was suitable for tents and campervans only – no caravans – didn’t mention motorhomes at all. The size stated looked OK for Voyager but only if in a straight line – a skew bridge wouldn’t work.

Anyway the first thing on the agenda was a big shop – we had an almost empty fridge freezer. So off to Morrisons for a full shop – it took an hour but at the end of it we had crammed everything in and had enough for another week.

Then on we went – the closer we got to the site the more Nigel was fretting – would we fit– the bridge was 10ft6in high by 9ft wide – Voyager is 10ft high so that was OK but is 9ft3in wide with mirrors out but luckily is only 8ft6in with them folded in so 3in clear each side –

piece of cake.

We pitched up on the left on Field 1

Woodyhyde site map

for no other reason than we could see a couple of other Motorhomes and there was a sign saying the hardstanding was for Motorhomes only.

Voyager Pitched

It turned out to be a good decision as shortly after we had levelled and got the electric connected a steam train chuffed by no more than few feet from our kitchen window.  It’s the first site we have stayed on with a heritage rail line running alongside it – we didn’t know it when we booked but for us lovers of steam it was ideal.

Voyager drone

The rest of the site facilities were OK as well although the disabled shower was not separate from the rest and there was no onsite laundry – both are not ideal but we adapt as necessary.

I made a pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce for our evening meal – so back on plan (SW). We watched a bit of TV and as we were both very tired after our exertions today we had an early night.

Friday 6th July 2018

We awoke to another bright sunny day – by 8.30 it was warming up nicely. Nigel cooked breakfast of Bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs. I had my orange for speed.

We decided we would have a peaceful relaxing day just chilling so I did some cross-stitch and Nigel did a few chores and some blog/video work (he can’t sit still for more than a few minutes at a time).

We had a Mediterranean lunch – tapas like.

Med lunch

At about half three we thought we would have a look at the Bridle path to Worth Matravers but we didn’t get very far as it narrowed and got very bumpy – usefully we did find a discarded map (laminated photocopy of local ordinance survey one – no doubt lost by one of the school kids we saw orienteering earlier). We ventured the other way to the A351 road. We noticed a Blue Arrow pathway just over from our entranceway so thought we would try following it. The map indicated we could get to Corfe Castle without using the main A road.

We passed through a couple of fields and through gates with notices to close them after use (we always do) and then through a Farm yard. We spoke to a women (Farmers wife?) about her Angora goats

Angoras

she seemed friendly enough, even told us the way to continue on the route.

We tried the hill that the path took after the Farm but it was too steep so we left the path and went on past a couple of houses to a B road that would lead to Corfe. It was too late to go then – we were just checking for tomorrow really. We thought we would just retrace our steps for now.

As we went through the farmyard again the farmer was just parking up his tractor. He stopped us and said it was illegal to use our scooters on the byeway – he said they had a motor and were therefore vehicles and as such couldn’t use it, like quad bikes he said.

I was all for having a go but Nigel was calm. I did say that he was discriminating against me because I  can’t walk – which is illegal. I said we would go back and around the road way at which he relented and said we could use it this time but not to come back again.

When we got back to Voyager I looked it up on the web and found that Mobility Scooters (and powered wheelchairs) are allowed on bye ways but quad bikes are not.

I must say that it took the shine off being here for a while.

Had a lovely meal of Gammon and chips and spent the evening outside chatting until it got late and a little chilly but with a gorgeous sunset.

Sunset

Saturday 7th July 2018

Another bright sunny day with high temperatures forecast – what has happened to the weather – not that I’m complaining.

After showers (separately – first time for that in ages – and not easy for me) luckily Nigel was waiting outside for me as I really needed my nitro spray afterwards. Then breakfast (Nigel made it again) I made up our packed lunch and we set forth.

We decided after yesterday’s incident that we would just use the A351 into Corfe (only about ¾ mile to the edge of the village and the start of pavements). There wasn’t too much traffic and we had no incidents.

We had no set plan at that point but thought we would check out the Railway Station first – check access and see if we could take the scooters on the Train. As we were about to ask the lady enquired if we wanted to go on the train leaving in 2 minutes. Of course we did – so a bit of a rush to pay and then we were escorted to the guard van where a ramp was positioned for us. In a matter of moments we were inside, the doors were shut and we were on our way.

It is only a 20min journey from Corfe to Swanage but we took the opportunity to shoot some video and take some photos – even a couple of Voyager as we passed Woodyhyde.

 

 

 

Alighting the train was just as simple as boarding – they have a very professional procedure.

So there we were In Swanage for a couple of hours or so.

Swanage station sign

Nigel remembered the road layout from his many childhood holidays there so led the way from the station to the seafront – it was beautiful the sea was green and blue shimmering in the hot sunshine – very like the med. We trundled along the promenade looking at all the holiday makers having fun on the beach, others in their yachts moored just off the beach still more just sitting on the many benches watching like us.

Swanage beech 2

Swanage Beach

We found a green garden up a bit of an incline where we parked ourselves to have our lunch

Swanage lunch

– and continue to look down on the happy scenes below us. As we ate I said to Nigel ‘it’s not too far to the sea from that jetty. I could walk that short distance with your help and have a paddle’.

He, of course, was not too keen (water’s for washing in not swimming in he says) but he is always happy to help me in anything I want to do. So we parked on the slip way and with his help I walked to the sea

Paddling

we have a photo and a short video to preserve the event that I did in fact paddle and Nigel didn’t even get his feet wet. (Bless him).

After that we slowly made our way back to the train via the ice cream kiosk – nice one from a beach hut (surprise) and the young chap made a positive comment about our headsets.

 

 

 

The train ride back to Corfe was less hurried but uneventful – we checked out the museum at the station

 

 

 

before going for a look around the village itself. Nigel spotted a gift shop with postcards so popped in – I commented on some glass scent bottles in the window – and he bought them for me.

We thought about visiting the Castle but as I hadn’t brought my National Trust card with me we decided to leave that for tomorrow. Instead we checked out the model village.

C model 2

The lady in the attached gift shop said we would get around with the 2G’s so we paid our money and went in.

C model 3

It was a pretty and I think fairly accurate model of the village with the castle as it would have looked before the civil war.

 

 

 

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Dsc00674
Even the Model village had its own Model village

Good to see and many pics taken as well as a bit of video. It’s not that big so didn’t take too long to explore.

We trundled back to Voyager where I cooked our  meal of Pork escallops with wilted greens followed by ice cream – really must stop having all this ice cream – I’ll be putting on pounds.

Sunday 8th July 2018

We awoke this morning and again (not wishing to jinx it) bright sunshine and getting really warm by 8.00 with not a hint of breeze. Insight tells me that the wind will get up later, as it has done for the last few days – I reckon it is like a funnel here – coming from the sea with the Purbeck hills on both sides of the valley – but it brings welcome relief from the heat.

So after a large Sunday breakfast we just chilled a bit doing the normal chores – Nigel flitting around with his duster – me sitting outside out of the way.

Later after lunch we trundled into Corfe again (this time with my National Trust cards) for a good look around the Castle. It is very impressive but because of steps we were not able to visit beyond the Outer Bailey although this did give us some great photo opportunities,

CC entrnce

 

 

 

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as well as allowing me to dress up in an old costume

Mary robe

and watch the ‘chef’ at the ‘Time Travelers Kitchen’ –

Dsc00723

make 17th Century beans on toast – they added onion, herbs and nutmeg apparently.

When we left we had a last trundle around the old streets of the village

 

 

 

before returning to Voyager for our last evening meal as we are definitely going home tomorrow – we have loads of washing to do and a couple of appointments during the week before we are off again on Friday – that’s 13th – good job I’m not superstitious.

 

Our Weymouth Break

Saturday 30th June 2018

When we set off from home it was cloudy but the sun was beginning to burn through. It promised to be another fine day – that will be five days in a row without rain (can’t be England right!)

The trip down to Weymouth was brilliant – we thought we may be held up in Westbury or Shaftesbury but we didn’t meet much traffic until we got to Blandford bypass. Even that wasn’t too bad as even with stopping in a lay bye for lunch we still arrived at the Pebble Bank Caravan site about one thirty. We entered by the touring entrance (as instructed by their Website) and Nigel walked to Reception to book us in – not too far thankfully.

Our pitch is on the edge of the site and looks out on Chesil beach and Portland – idyllic.

pitch view 1

We got settled then went for a short explore of the site and the local area. There is an Army camp just over the road but it looks very run down (rusty Nissan huts with broken windows) with no soldiers or action of any kind evident. At one of the gates there appeared, from a distance, to be a couple of soldiers at the guard house. When we got closer they turned out to be manikins.

Dummies

Nearer the water is another area surrounded by a high fence with razor wire – there may be submarines – ooh young muscular bearded submariners – Nigel says that’s just my fantasy though.

Dinner tonight was sweet chilli prawns with rice – our go to meal when we haven’t planned too well and not got anything out of the freezer.

It was a lovely evening so we sat outside looking at the beautiful view and chatting with our neighbours until it started to cool down at sunset.

pitch view sunset 2

Sunday 1st July 2018

Waking up today it was warm if a tad on the windy side. There had been a little shower about 6.00 but by 9.30 the sun was trying hard to break through.

After breakfast (scrambled eggs and bacon) I packed a picnic lunch and we set forth on the 2G’s into Weymouth town. It was a nice trip of about 3 miles and we spent the rest of the morning trundling along the seafront looking at the other holiday makers enjoying the beach, some swimming or paddling others cooking on a towel – that’s themselves not food : there will be a lot of sore bodies later.

Beach 2Beach 1

Wey prom

We found a nice spot on the beach for our lunch – then we had the first ice cream of our trip – and what a disappointment it was – overpriced and very watery – note to self – avoid the beach front parlours.

Then back through the town and over the bridge

Wey Twn

(had to wait a few minutes as it was raised as we approached – for a couple of yachts) to the west side. We went past Brewers Quay

Brewers quay 2

and on towards the Nothe Fort (following the signposts) – I stopped to ask a local how the name was pronounced – lucky I did as he not only told me but also let me know the signposted route to the fort entailed a lot of steps – he advised a route that would work for our scooters.

Ten minutes later we were in Nothe Gardens – lovely green area with lots of trees for shade, lots of grass and many paths. The only thing missing was flowers – but I guess just grass is cheaper to maintain. The fort itself was impressive but not easily accessible so we just looked through the gate and at the outside

(the £7 entrance fee would be worth it for fully mobile people I think).

On our return to Voyager we found the Rodwell Trail which is a 3 km pedestrian/cycle route that was a railway line up until the1960’s (Beeching cut). Some of the station platforms remain as well as the tunnels and bridges.

Rodwell 1

Rodwell 2

We only used a couple of hundred yards before leaving and continuing through a couple of estates – saving the full thing for tomorrow.

Monday 2nd July 2018

The early morning cloud burned off very quickly this morning so after breakfast and chores (plus making our packed lunch) we set forth again to the town but this time going through the village of Wyke Regis (nothing remarkable) and used the full length of the Rodwell Trail. It’s a lovely level and well tarmacked path and very warm in the sun.

We stopped at Sandsfoot Castle and Gardens

Sandsfoot Castle 1

 

another of Henry 8ths fortifications which had some steelwork added with lottery funds in 2012 making it accessible

Sandsfoot Castle 2

– worth a visit for the views it affords.

Sandsfoot Castle view

The gardens are more recent but are very well maintained with lots of flowers.

Sandsfoot Gdns

We continued into town and found Stuart Wiltshire’s workshop – to watch him blowing glass – he had some of his work displayed in cases

Glass 1

and we ordered a piece we saw. He will make one in a different colour for us to collect on Wednesday – I do like a bit of glass work.

Then onward to Greenhill Gardens on the seafront for our lunch.

Gardens 2

We had a small bottle of white wine but I managed to knock mine onto the ground (luckily in a plastic tumbler) so I wasn’t meant to have it. Nigel enjoyed his ‘lemonade’ as he called it (Alcohol free area) – I wasn’t at all jealous.

On the way back along the promenade we bumped (not literally) into my sister Lyn with her husband Steve. She had decided to have the day in Weymouth with some friends – we chatted for a while then went our separate ways.

We spotted a few people eating chocolate whippy ice creams – they looked to be enjoying them – so we tracked down the vendor (a café) and had a tub each. Twice as much and half the price of the ones on Saturday – and very tasty.

Headed back to Voyager stopping on the way for a few groceries in Asda – but managed to forget the olives we should have got.

Back at camp I had a short nap (siesta) while Nigel polished the scooters and added some more vinyl’s – just so we know which is which.

Tuesday 3rd July 2018

Today we awoke to a very windy day but it is still fairly warm. After a shower and a large breakfast Nigel did a lot of cleaning – I sat outside out of the way – he is like a whirlwind, flying around with the Dyson and Flash. I have to admit it was all very neat and smelling lovely when he had finished.

After lunch, which was later than normal due to the late breakfast, Nigel worked on the Blog and some video which will appear on our new YouTube channel soon. I did a little sewing and had a short nap (this holidaying is very tiring).

We decided to just go for a short trundle (it was about 4 o’clock) to the bay we can see from our pitch.

pitch view 2

After a couple of consultations with Google maps we found Pirates Lane next to Wyke Castle and utilised the footpath to get to Pirates Cove which is now a nature reserve. I imagine this was used by pirates to smuggle goods past the excise man but that might just be my imagination working overtime again. Anyway it is a lovely little tidal cove with a compacted sand beach so we could go on it with the scooters. We saw a campervan parked above the shoreline – wild camping I guess.

Pirates Cove 2

After a good look around the lagoon we headed back as Nigel had promised me a meal in the ‘Fat Badger’ the on-site pub this evening.

When we arrived at the restaurant it was showing a football match (England apparently) so we sat on the balcony after ordering our food – the view is terrific – similar but subtly different to our pitch. We chatted, took a selfie and posted it and a couple of other pics on Facebook while waiting for our order.

I must say the food was nothing exceptional but OK – better for not having to cook it or do the washing up afterwards.

We returned to Voyager and watched a bit of TV – even stayed up to watch the highlights of England losing the first T20 match against India – Oh well.

Wednesday 4th July 2018

This is our last full day here – we have had rain overnight and there were still showers through the morning up to about 11.30 when we set forth for the town. I have to collect my glass piece from Stuart (first names already) – nice to be a patron and commission a bespoke piece hehe.

We wrapped up well as it has turned a bit chilly – so no delays on our trip today – quickest route in didn’t take too long so got to the workshop where we found the furnace burning brightly and lovely and warm too.

Glass 3

My piece was waiting for me – Stuart wrapped it and we left –

Glass 4

– heading for the little Tapas bar we saw the other day. Had a lovely meal – olives meats and cheese starter – I had chicken with garlic aioli while Nigel had a seafood Cazuela with a couple of Fino’s to wash it down. Finished off with an espresso. Very Mediterranean.

Then a quick dash up the prom to our nice whippy ice cream café for another chocolate tub – good job we are moving on tomorrow as they could be very addictive.

Quickly back to Voyager where I had a nice siesta while Nigel did more photo/video/Blog work. When I awoke at 5.30 the sky was blue the sun was out and the wind had dropped.

So lounge chairs out for a bit before I got the light evening meal prepared.

Our ‘Hermanfest’ Weekend in the New Forest

Friday 22nd June 2018

Well we are off again. At the moment I think our experience last year on our four week tour has encouraged us to take shorter more frequent trips – it’s working at the moment.

This weekend we are staying at the Camping & Caravanning club site at Roundhill in the New Forest. It is for a social meetup with campers who enjoy ‘YouTube’ videos – organised by ‘Herman the Hymer’ aka Ads & Zoe. Their YouTube channel is :-

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6puIl9U_iC4Z7jz0yaWSrQ

When we arrived (delayed unfortunately by Nigel’s Hospital appointment which was protracted but worth it as all is well) there were four vans in the area the friendly guy at Reception had told us to go to. By the time we had got ourselves pitched and levelled a couple more had arrived.

siteview

We spent a pleasant afternoon chatting about our adventures and swapping hints and tips. All dispersing to our own vans about 6pm to complete our setup and have some food. After a short trundle around the site (checking out the amenities and getting a Cycle Route map from Reception) we re-joined our new friends for drinks (mostly alcoholic – but I was good – having only 1 spritzer) and more story telling with much laughter and good will.

Saturday 23rd June 2018

We awoke today to a lovely sunrise and clear blue skies. Nigel had a go at flying the drone at 6.30 thinking it was a good time with there being few people around. Although his one is marketed as the quietist model available he still had a women come out of her tent and tell him to fly it at a ‘reasonable hour’. I’m not sure when that would be but hey ho – it takes all sorts.

site high

I dozed in bed while he did that – didn’t get up until gone eight when as he was still outside talking with Ads about video (file sizes and the like) – I put all the bedding away and prepped breakfast.

We couldn’t decide between Lyndhurst and Lymington for our day trip so thought we would ask at Reception for guidance on the quality of paths for both routes and go from there.

After a chatt about our respective plans for the day with the others we set forth – Reception were not able to give us a definitive answer so we decided we would go to Lymington (mostly because I like the sea) using the cycle ways where we could

Frst walk1

 

 

 

 

 

Nig phone
Have to check email & Facebook when we get a signal – the site is dark

 

 

 

and the tracks where we had to. In fact we ran out of both after a while (slight map reading errors) and used the B3054 from Beaulieu to Lymington for a few miles. It was quite a busy road but we found when we got to town that it was market day so that must have been why.

Train

We found a lot of people wandering through the stalls in the High Street (we went up one side, crossed the road and came down the other) decided not to buy any locally made Cup-cakes (for the afternoon ‘Tea & Cake’ session) as Nigel balked at the price of £5 for four.

At the bottom of the High Street we followed the throng of tourists across the road and down the cobbled street to the Town Quay.

 

 

 

Twn Quay

We sussed out where we might be able to get post cards and fridge magnet later and on the wall of the loos we found a free street map showing 3 ‘Town Walks’.

We used it to get to Grove Gardens where we ate the lunch I had prepared earlier before following one of the walks around the Yacht Haven (some lovely, very expensive ones)

 

 

 

the Sea water baths and saw the Isle of Wight Car Ferry dock. We stopped by the quayside for an ice cream (the only whippy one we had found) and then on past an old street gas lamp and the Bandstand.

Gas Light

Bandstand

Soon we were back to the Town Quay where we bought our souvenirs before progressing back to Voyager. We decided to return via lanes (not the busy road) and a ‘path’ shown on our map. The lanes were lovely

Pilley Donkeys

but the path was two miles of very rough track which did leave us a bit bone shaken by the time we had completed it. The warden had mentioned it earlier and he wasn’t kidding. Along it though we found this notice on a farm gate

Gate Adv

– funny folk down here in Hampshire.

When we got back it was just in time for Tea and Cakes at Bob and Jenny’s van (we took a few cakes we had brought from home – but there were so many they didn’t get touched). Their YouTube channel is :-

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZQ5DSOjFao4NcpDgyvX_3Q

Tea Cakes

Later Richard got out his new BBQ.     His YouTube channel is :-

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHYLukUFvPMJQL1yH0Frcw

I was hoping to see that things had improved but alas it still seems that black burgers and sausages are the norm. We slunk off and had our own food back at Voyager, returning later for drinks and a lovely evening sitting in a circle swapping more stories. Bill and Jill were very entertaining with their stories of over 20 years of travelling holidays. There was a gorgeous sunset as well.

Sunset

 

Sunday 24th June 2018

We awoke to another beautiful day but our little group is breaking up today, some have work tomorrow others the next site on their tour is booked. Our neighbours Bill & Jill had booked another night as they too don’t like to travel on a busy Sunday like us preferring a Monday afternoon.

We stayed around until those leaving had departed, had a light lunch and then set forth to Brockenhurst. Only a couple of miles away it is a lovely small village with a few shops

Brockenhurst 1

and a number of nice looking Pub/Restaurants.

Huntsman

Cottage

 

 

 

Apparently England are playing football somewhere (World Cup I think!) and one of the pubs had a lot of people in supporting the team very loudly. Nice to see but we left them to it. Passing by and heading further into the village centre we found a souvenir shop (postcards and fridge magnet) before finding a ford at the end of the road. I had to have a go and Nigel of course had to video it.

 

 

 

We spent a while looking around, had an ice cream before heading back to the camp site. A really nice afternoon.

 

 

 

When we were nearly back to Voyager a passing cyclist stopped to chatt. He was from Holland and his English was not too good. He told us he was a physiotherapist and that he was impressed that I didn’t let my physical restrictions stop me from doing and going where I wanted too – he was very nice – gave me a high five.

We had our evening meal and spent the rest of the evening with Bill & Jill. I must admit that the new bottle of Strawberries and Cream Baileys tasted lovely (the whole bottle) and by the end of the evening I was very merry.

Monday 25th June 2018

Home today and I’m feeling a bit fragile this morning – maybe it was something I ate?

Anyway the sun is shining again so after breakfast (just coffee for me) we did the usual emptying and packing away before saying a last goodbye to Bill & Jill and set forth for home.

Off again at the end of the week but got to get Dobby MOT’d first – most important.

Curtains for Voyager – Oh heck!

The last time we were away (Churchill weekend) we were pitched very close to the site Reception. This would not usually be a problem but this site has a very bright Security light that was on all night (usually these are movement sensor controlled) and it shone right into my window.

I have noticed before that light shines through the little holes in the window blinds

Blind holes

which can be a little irksome during the summer with dawn arriving about 4.30 – an all-night security light was even worse.

So it kicked me into making curtains that would cover the whole window. Sewing machine out and this is the result.

I still need to sort the tie backs though.


 

Nigel has also been busy. When away on a tour we have found that Laundrette driers are not very efficient (well for the money/time we want to use them for anyway). We have used the Truma heater area beneath the bench seat as our ‘airing cupboard’ which works well but there are a lot of other bits you need to be careful of in there.

So now we have an adaption of four Wilko’s ‘Baking Cooling Rack’s’ fitted so the clothes we put in there can’t get where they shouldn’t.

Airing

Just a few more things to do before we are off again – ‘Hermanfest’ meetup this coming weekend.

 

Churchill Classic Car Weekend

AKA ‘Dicing with death on the A361’

Saturday 9th June 2018

We are off on our travels again – this time to deepest Oxfordshire to a small place named Chipping Norton. We are staying at the Caravan & Camping site a couple of miles south of the town.

It’s a smallish site but well maintained and very clean.

There is no Motorhome service point on the site so filling and emptying is not as easy as usual – but we have had a chance to test the ‘wild camping’ solution Nigel has come up with. Two collapsible 20 litre water carriers and an electric pump to get the contents into Voyager’s filling hole. He’s hopeful that 40 litres per day should be sufficient for our needs most days.

The journey was uneventful other than Nigel ignoring the Sat Nav and taking us the wrong way. He’s not confident in it anymore – but this time it was right and he was wrong. A quick detour on a B road and we were back on track and arrived onsite only half an hour after our original guestimate of 1 PM.

After a quick spot of lunch we got out the 2 G’s and set forth for a trundle around the site – checking the facilities and points we can exit.

There is a pedestrian gate onto the main road with a sign indicating a Bridleway to Churchill (our destination tomorrow) so that looks promising. We checked out the rest of the site, stopping to chat with some of the other campers as we do – they mostly comment on the size of our scooters and the headsets we chat to each other with – breaks the ice nicely.

Nigel thought that would be it but as it was still pretty early (about 4ish) I decided that after the ice-cream from the Reception shop (expensive)

Icecream

we needed to explore more so we headed off in the direction of a Café & Shop sign that was just over from the site entrance.

To Chad

To Chad View

A couple of miles down the road we found the village of Chadlington – not the most picturesque we ever seen but nice and friendly. We did manage to find the Café which seemed to double as a general store as well – bit Arkwright like – where although we couldn’t get a post card we did find a locally produced greeting card – with village views.

The 2 G’s were very good as there were some taxing hills to go up and down on the route and both our Power meters where down a little by the time we got back to site – evening meal of Sweet chilli rice and prawns then a good relax in front of the TV.

Sunday 10th June 2018

Today is the Classic car Show – the reason for our weekend here. Our first look out of the window showed a cloudy start with quite a wind – oh well – but at least it’s not too cold.

The show started at noon so we left site just after 11.00 crossed the main road and through the gate onto the Bridleway.

Bridleway L

The path was OK at the start – just a little lumpy with tree roots – but as we progressed deeper into the woods we encountered a few very muddy patches. Most we could pass with a little forethought and positioning but one required Nigel to clear some tree debris from the edge and get through on virgin ground.

Shortly after that we emerged from the woodland as the path progressed alongside a farm field – and the sun had managed to burn through the cloud – so the rest of the path was much better – still lumpy though.

We only met one couple walking their dogs and a couple of chaps riding horses. Apparently they had never met Mobility Scooters before and were a bit spooked – we just sat quietly and let them pass in their own time.

Now onto a road we descended a bit of a hill before starting the climb up to Churchill. The 2 G’s did there thing and got us to the village admirably. It was starting to get busy with cars heading for the marked parking and folk making their way to the entrances.

We negotiated the former and queued with the latter to get into the show ground.

It was well worth the entrance fee (£7 each) and we spent a good few hours looking around the vehicles and exhibits.

We bought sandwiches for lunch which we ate sitting under a large tree on the edge of the show ground – idyllic (although a glass of white would have made it perfect). Sadly the ice-cream we had later was not so good – small scoop of ‘Supermarket Value’ product – Oh well they can’t get everything right.

It seemed to be getting more crowded by the time we decided we had seen enough (all of it).

We found that there were still loads of people coming in as we left the site and that the roads of the village were gridlocked with even more trying to get into the full car park. All possible parking places on the roadside were taken (and a few people had made bad decisions as usual). It’s the only time we have been in a traffic jam on our scooters with both the road and any pavements blocked.

Eventually we progressed although it did take a women passenger of one car getting out and turning into a traffic cop. We decided to return to Voyager using the main road (avoiding the bridleway mud). I told Nigel we should rename this blog as ‘Dicing with death on the A361’ as it was busy – but not as bad as yesterday.

Back at the campsite we got out the leisure chairs & I sat sewing while Nigel did his camera stuff.

We had a Tapas style alfresco meal with a glass of vino as the early evening sun shone down on us – very Mediterranean. After which I had a late siesta.

Monday 11th June 2018

Well today we were meant to be going home but the weather was glorious and we didn’t want to leave. Over breakfast we decided to stay another day and go for a trundle into Chipping Norton. Nigel went and sorted it with Reception and I made a packed lunch (so avoiding the need to buy shop sandwiches) although we would need to get a few things we had run out of.

We expected to have to stay on the A361 road all the way

 

but after a couple of hundred yards we found a roadside path

it was a bit overgrown with grass and nettles which because we were wearing shorts led to us being stung a few times – but overall it was safer than the road.

Chipping Norton is a small town with a few shops (mostly independents) and Antique centres. The Town Hall, Museum and Theatre are notable buildings but other than that there was nothing remarkable.

We did our bit of shopping in a small Sainsbury’s and found the local Recreation ground where we had our luncheon.

After making use of the disabled facilities in the car park Nigel spotted a local map which showed an outdoor swimming pool – I quite fancied having a bit of a paddle –

Lido Closed

but it was closed for maintenance. I did get chatted up by one of the workmen though so it was worth a visit.

The trip back was uneventful and we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the sun.

For tea I fried up chicken bits with spices and made a Mary Salad (that’s with anything I’ve got thrown in) – Lovely.

Tuesday 12th June 2018

We are definitely going home today as the weather is on the turn – Cloudy and cool with a touch of drizzle in the air.

Looking forward to next time – only a couple of weeks away!!

Wedding Anniversary Weekend

Friday 18th May 2018

We left home later than normal as it wasn’t too far to the site in Hurley. The weather was perfect – lots of sunshine with just a light breeze.

The journey was uneventful for the most part – motorway for most of the way with only a few miles of 50 mph narrow lane roadworks – no delays there. A few more roadworks on the A road towards Henley but no queuing. We got to the right turn off the main road – less than half a mile to site – but a few hundred yards down the narrow lane, just around a bend, we met a tractor with trailer coming towards us. There was no way we were going to pass each other but as luck would have it he wanted to turn into a yard we had pulled in at – so Nigel had to put his reversing skills to the test again – luckily he’s pretty good now.

We arrived at 3.00 finding the site very clean and tidy. We had booked a fully serviced RV pitch which turned out to be long enough but a little narrow. As we had already decided we would only be using the scooters for exploring we put Voyager in first with Betty blocking her in.

Voyager Hurley

Before continuing I need to bring you up to date. You will remember (probably) that my scooter ‘Dolly’ died while we were away at Easter. Nigel did patch her up a bit but we decided to just replace her with a new one and have already sold her (for spares only) on EBAY. We bought another Shoprider Cordoba (like Nigel’s) for me, again in Red. What’s she called I hear you ask – well on her first test drive I found her so graceful – she sort of named herself. So Nigel’s is Gordon and mine is Grace and from now on we will be using the ‘2 G’s’ to ‘trundle’ about as we explore.

After getting levelled and connecting up the electric and water we got the scooters out and went for an exploration of the site and the riverside park which is part of the ‘Thames Pathway’.

The only problem with the route is ‘kissing gates’ in odd places – great for walkers – but a no go with our scooters. Some have full gates next to them though so we are hopeful we can use them.

Saturday 19th May 2018

Today is Royal Wedding day. The weather is beautiful full sun but at 9.30 still a little chilly – I’m sure it will warm up later.

After breakfast we went for a trundle – along beside the river towards Windsor but only going as far as the village of Hurley. It is a nice place with a lot of large houses that must cost a bob or two. It got warmer as we progressed past the church – stopped briefly at the one local shop and then went up and down the high street checking out the old buildings and Hostelries.

We returned to Voyager for lunch and a short siesta (mustn’t overdo it) then we went out again on the 2 G’s – we used the lane to the village this time – stopped for a few minutes to watch the Hurley cricket club playing. Had a nice chat with a friendly chap about the virtues of village cricket. Moving on Nigel popped into The Olde Bell pub, checked accessibility and reserved a table for tomorrow evening.

Olde Bell

We went back to Voyager reversing the river route we had used earlier.

We stopped by the weir and Nigel had a brief fly of the drone to get some shots from on high. He’s getting more confident with it but is still not happy with taking it too far away.

 

Hurley wst 2Hurley weir2

Lots of nature around us – as well as the normal ducks, geese and swans around the river in the sky above are many Red Kite raptors. They glide and soar above us on the site in large numbers – it’s a wonder to see.

kite1

 

Sunday 20th May 2018

Today, thirteen years ago we got married – which means this is our lace anniversary. I bought Nigel a sundial for the garden and had a nice card made for him. He got me a card with a fridge magnet and keyring all saying 13 years – very nice (I was thinking it would be lacy knickers).

Anyway the weather is again bright and sunny so after the morning routine we set forth on the 2 G’s aiming to use the main road footpath and hopefully get to Henley-on-Thames (the next town west).

Unfortunately the pavement stopped at the ‘Black Boys Inn’ and we decided that the A4130 was too busy to trundle along. Instead we followed Black Boy Lane back to the Thames Pathway at Frogmill where we went west hoping we could make it to Henley that way. We managed to get a further mile closer passing through a couple of unlocked gates next to kissing gates on the way. Then after crossing a large field we approached the edge of a deer park. The usual kissing gate with a large five bar gate next to it – with an enormous padlock on it.

Kissing gate

Our only option was to turn around and retrace our route. A good five mile trundle but we couldn’t do the last 3 miles because of that locked gate.

Our campsite had a sign near the entrance about a ‘Nature Trail’ – we picked up a leaflet from Reception and decided to give it a go in the afternoon. I think it was designed to educate youngsters about the local wildlife but we found the trail to be very narrow in places – in fact we escaped from it through a patch of cow parsley because it got too awkward to trundle through.

So it had to be a little siesta before we set forth again to the pub for our anniversary meal. The Olde Bell dates from 1135 and has many claims to fame over the years. One modern one is that it starred as the Magna Hotel in the Midsomer Murders episode ‘They Seek him Here’ in 2007.

olde bell din

We enjoyed our meal – an Italian inspired ‘Roast Vegetable Sharing Platter’ starter followed by Sea Bass fillet main – we skipped sweet just having coffee (so mostly Slimming World friendly).

meal s

After trundling back to Voyager we watched a bit of TV before retiring to bed – all in all a relaxing happy day – and I’m sure we will have many more.

 

Monday 21st May 2018

After a late breakfast we were off on another explore. We intended to explore the eastern side of the village using more footpaths but again we came across a kissing gate at the junction of two paths. We couldn’t go the way we had planned so just kept going on the path we were on – no idea where to but at least we got through what gates we found. We went past some very big houses, through the hamlets of Temple and Bisham and ended up in the very pretty town of Marlow.

We bought a few things in a small Sainsbury’s and enjoyed our lunch in a small park – we also sneaked a cheeky ice-cream treat for afters.

Unfortunately the weather started to cloud over and we suspected there might be a shower so we headed back the three and half miles or so. By the time we were back in Hurley it had brightened up so we detoured to the lock where we watched a couple of boats pass through on their way upstream.

hurley lock

We eventually got back to Voyager in time for a nap before it was time for our last evening meal onsite.

Tomorrow we head home – it has been a lovely long weekend – and unusually for us the weather was kind.

Now we’re looking forward to our next trip.

mary

The Devon and Cornwall Tour – W3P2

Sunday 1st April 2018

We had a late start today – I slept in and felt better for it. We had checked out the shower yesterday and it looked fine. So this morning we tried it out – the water wasn’t the hottest but had a good spray and the wet room wasn’t heated so we didn’t want to hang about too long.

After breakfast we worked out a round trip from the site to Bridport then onto Barnstaple leaving Betty and just taking the wheelchair.

Our journey to Bridport was on a main road so although there were a few hairpins and long drops to look down nervously there was always room for two way traffic. Seeing the river running through the woods at the bottom was really lovely – it is in flood and moving fast.

We found Bridport a nice sprawling small town, with some steep hills that prevented Nigel pushing me in the wheelchair more than a little way up. It was far enough to get to one of the shopping streets though. It was window shopping only as everything was closed on Easter Sunday. Did get some pics of the architecture though.

We returned to Voyager

Bideford Voy

and had lunch looking over the estuary – unfortunately the tide was out so the view was just a sea of mud with ships and boats stuck in it. Nigel did nip out and got us ice creams from the van just over the road from us – so we did get a small treat.

At the end of our tour we returned to site as the rain started again – still we are cozy inside and have comfort food of sausage and mash for our meal – lovely.

 

Monday 2nd April 2018

We had a choice today between shopping and visiting the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway – the narrow gauge steam train won.

It was quite a long drive to get there and some of the roads were narrow and twisting up hills and down again with hairpins of varying degrees of scariness – I think we will be buying a new SatNav before much longer.

When we got there we were between trains so we had lunch before Nigel went and checked things out. He then pushed me to the platform before popping into the ticket office for a few postcards and fridge magnets.

They only have a couple of miles of track at the moment but have planning permission for a further four and plans for more after that.

So it should be worth a re-visit in a few years. Based at the Woody Bay station they have one engine at the moment with another nearing complete restoration. We didn’t go on it this time as they can only carry one wheelchair user and that space had already been taken. I think we learned more about it from talking to the driver – I learned that the small engine was originally for freight and his explanation of how the regulator worked in conjunction with stroke of the piston was very interesting (it all went straight over my head really) – he was a very knowledgeable man.

We then had a look at the map and opted for a longer route on better roads to go back – it took longer but was not as white knuckle – in fact I dozed a bit on the way so didn’t notice right away that Nigel had opted to detour via Appledore which is a small port.

It was a place Mum really liked – a sweet little village with narrow roads. We parked in the Car Park (using a bay marked for Coaches only) took a few photos and had the daily ice cream.

Then onward back towards our site. We did a quick stop in Bridport and while Nigel nipped to a shop for postcards I kept an eye on a couple of shady guys coming and going at the pub over the road.

Back and set up for another night of TV but with no rain accompaniment tonight.

 

Tuesday 3rd April 2018

Weighing day – we are both the same (within half a pound anyway) as when we started the holiday – which surprised me considering the extra treats we have both had.

It seems that everything is back to normal today – most of the other Motorhomes and Caravans moved out yesterday – presumably most had to get back for work. Love it that we don’t have to think about that anymore.

The weather today was predicted to be sunny intervals with odd showers so we decided that shopping in Barnstaple could not be put off any longer (well it is our last day anyway).

So after all the usual chores we hitched up Betty and set forth. We have done this route a few times now so we went straight to the coach park with no problems. Nigel had just got the scooter out when one of those predicted showers hit – so he quickly put it back in Betty and we waited for ten minutes until it abated.

Then off to the town centre. This town seems to be on the ‘Coach Tours’ visit list as there were several holiday Coaches in the car park and when we got to the shopping area there were dozens of ‘holiday makers’ walking the streets looking in shops and filling the cafes.

We looked in various shops (I’m looking for a new coat as I’ve shrunk out of the one I have) but they were mostly filled with summer wear – which isn’t surprising I suppose.

Barnstp stat

We gave up – did find a few things – oranges, bin bags and a cake for Nigel – so it wasn’t a complete waste.

We had lunch in Voyager – usual fare – then head back. I was determined to visit Dartington Crystal – I had been persuading Nigel for the last few days that we needed to so he followed the sign just outside Bridport  and found it did what a lot of the signs do around here – send you in a direction and tell you no more. We did a big loop around the East side of Bridport because we were too heavy to cross the week bridge and got back to where we had started. I had given up hope of finding it but when we got back to Torrington (only a couple of miles from site) we saw another small sign – followed it and found the factory behind a housing estate.

I could spend a fortune in this place – as it was £120 went in so quickly. I will have to find the factory shop online.

We got back to site at 4.30 and I got cracking making the SW sauce for our meatballs and pasta meal.

Then TV and final Blog work for this tour. Home tomorrow.