Fridge Repair

You may remember that while we were away at Shell Island Voyagers fridge stopped working on Gas.

Big Disclaimer–   This is what I did to get it working again – it is not a recommendation that anyone else tries the same thing – in fact I suggest that any repairs to gas appliances be carried out by professionals.

As I spent my entire working life fixing things I did it myself.

The first thing I did was turn off the gas supply to the fridge which I found under the oven.

Then it was working out how the fridge was fixed. I found that there were four fixing screws through the side walls near the front.

Frdg Frnt screws

With these removed (and that wasn’t easy – I don’t think that they have been removed since assembly ten years ago) and the gas pipe disconnected at the only accessible junction at the rear it was possible to start moving the fridge forward a bit.

I then had to free up the electrical cables that looped into the service area below the oven so there was enough slack to allow full removal from the cavity.

Conveniently both harnesses (one mains, one 12volt) had molar plugs I could disconnect so the fridge was totally free standing.

I had done a bit of research on the web (mostly YouTube) so had an idea what I would find under the covers. Basically there is a solenoid that allows gas through to the burner which is ignited electronically. Above the flame is a flue that passes through the heat exchanger and is vented at the top of the rear by the grill to the outside world.

The workings labeled

Anyway when I got the cover off the burner box it was very apparent that a good de-coke was needed.

In fact I found that the flue was all but completely blocked. Two of the four burner slots were also blocked.

When I removed the burner it also looked bent so we decided to invest in a new one. Also a bottle brush from Wilcos to give the flue a good cleanout.

Burner old new

Bottle Brushing

Initial Soot

So a good clean out of all the soot and with a new burner fitted I reconnected the cables and connected the gas pipe with the fridge turned sideways. In this position I could see what was going on.

Reassembled

With the gas turned on I expected the burner to ignite when the gas got through. Unfortunately it didn’t.

Mary had had a Facebook chat with a work colleague of mine who mentioned he had previously had issues with corrosion on the solenoid contacts so I stripped down the control box and cleaned up all the contacts I found as well as replacing the fuses with new ones (they all appeared good but why not while there).

Controller wires

When I reassembled everything it burst into life – so thanks Pete for the info.

All Done

It was then just a case of reassembly. The foam used to cut down drafts around the fridge had seen better days so I replaced with new.

External View lbld

So hopefully (with annual cleaning of the flue) we will get many more years of reliable service for our now fully serviced fridge. Fingers crossed.

Our ‘Indian Summer’

Wednesday 10th October 2018

The forecast for today was being hailed as our Indian Summer ‘day’ – so Nigel and I decided not to waste it – a Day Trip to Weston-Super-Mare.

Now we know some residents of W-S-M are enjoying themselves further south – like Benidorm, Spain – but for today at least it looks like the weather is pretty similar.

I packed up a bit of lunch in the hopefully now repaired Fridge (today is its test run on gas) and we set off about 10.30.

A quick stop for fuel, then onto the motorway. The M5 southbound was a bit slow at times but at least it was moving today. We made it to our usual car park at noon. In fact the car park on the Beach is the only one which will accommodate us with Betty. We are too long for anywhere else. Today there was a sign saying that due to a high tide we must leave by 6pm and they had reduced by half the size of the parking area. We didn’t have any trouble finding a space big enough for us though.

Car Park

Now a lot of people (including us in the past) have commented on the price of parking in seaside resorts. If you only want to stop for half an hour to look at the sea or get an ice cream then parking on the front looks expensive because its minimum is for 4 hours. With my Blue Badge I get an extra hour so for us now we are happy to pay £6 for 5 hours on a nice day.

Nigel got our ticket from the machine and then got the 2G’s out – he has that down to a fine art now.

So sun hats on we set off for a trundle to the Pier. Preparations for this year’s Hydrogarden Beach Race were underway (weekend of 19-21 October) – big sand moving machines and the construction of the temporary officials building was well under way. From the preview video on Youtube it looks like a lot of fun and I would have loved to have ago myself – if only I was forty years younger.

We headed back to Voyager for lunch. They were right about the weather (temp in the low 20’s) so we sat on our scooters on the beach, trays on the front and tucked into our olives and sandwiches. Nigel had an alcohol free lager while I had my special ‘lemonade’ – very civilized. We got a few glances but that’s OK – when you get to our age we put it down to others ‘jealousy’ even if it isn’t.

We had spotted a sign to Clarence Park earlier so as we went and checked it out.

ClarencePk

It wasn’t hard to find – it is more green space than flower beds but there is a massive hanging basket display (past its best now but it would have been beautiful a few weeks back).

Park 5

There were good paths, a childs play area, a fountain and pond.

 

 

 

An old Victorian looking café – tempting but we had just eaten. There is a park lodge at one corner (now boarded up) upon which a Heron was perched looking down at the fish

 

 

 

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in the pond – waiting for all the humans to move away so he could get his dinner no doubt.

We proceeded into town on side roads we had never used before – you never know what you will find – often nothing special but today I found a plaque on a house commemorating Arthur Eddington

Plaq

(Wikipedia describe him as ‘an English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician of the early 20th century who did his greatest work in astrophysics.). I’m not sure how long that will stick in my brain but it peeked my interest for a while – hopefully things like this will hold off any slow slide into senility for a bit longer.

On through to the town from a different direction – found some street art we’d not seen before

 

 

 

– and a Costa we had seen before but our different approach raised the question of what it was before it became a coffee shop – very art deco in design.

Costa

Nigel did have a quick google about it but couldn’t find anything. Anyone know?

Further on, back onto the prom to our favourite ice cream parlour – a vanilla strawberry mix whippy tub each – up to our expected standard – yummy.

Moving on we did notice that a team of young men were demolishing the sand sculptures – shame but we did get to see a few without having to pay. I did wonder if one of the lads was Alfie Two-Buckets but quickly realised he was too young – maybe his grandson? (You need to be a fan of Jean and Lionel to get that one!)

 

 

 

I suggested we go back to Voyager by way of the beach, but we weren’t sure so stayed on the prom for a bit. Then we saw a guy on a mobility scooter on the sand with no problems – so we got on at the next ramp.

This gave us a different view of the Tropicana

Beach pano

– it looks more like a fortress from the sea side, and a lovely view back to the pier as we trundled on the compacted sand. We got a big wave from the builders as we past them – I think they were quite surprised to see two old fogies trundling on the beach – we smiled and waved back.

Back at Voyager it was all too soon time to make tracks – we’d had a lovely day but were both tired out by the time we got home.

Oh and the fridge ran fine on gas for the few hours we were there so Nigel is going to complete its refit ready for our next little expedition – to Devon for a few days next week.

 

OOh Betty – Castles and Gardens

Friday 28th September 2018

Another fine day, a bit more cloud – but that just made it a bit warmer overnight. After the usual chores and breakfast Nigel started to tackle the bearing.

Bearing Repair 4

He made good progress to start with but found the inside race was seized onto the stub axle. He didn’t have tools man enough to shift it, just a screwdriver and claw hammer.

Bearing Repair 5
Nigel’s tool is not big enough!!

We needed a mobile Mechanic.

A quick visit to Reception – I cannot praise them highly enough – they recommended Simon and gave us his card. We gave him a ring at 11.30 and he said he would be able to come about 5 o’clock – and I was expecting days (maybe even having to extend our stay).

We decided not to go out today (in case he was early) as the wind has got up and it feels very chilly. I did a bit of sewing, Nigel finished off the outside jobs and then had a bit of a read for a while.

After lunch we were getting a bit stir crazy so thought we would get some air and go over to the beach and along to our local Martello Tower – one that has been done up. Took a few photos, as you do.

Local Martell Twr

Simon came at 5 o’clock and got right to it. Didn’t take him long to get that pesky race off mind you he did have a good chisel and a big lump hammer.

Bearing Repair 6

He fitted the new hub and as we had bought a set we got him to do the other one as well (although it looked OK it’s better to be safe I think – we’ll keep the old one for any future emergencies).

Bearing Repair 8

Nigel is going to check how may miles we have done and make sure we change the hubs routinely to avoid it happening again (well as much as you can).

The Fish & Chip van was around tonight, and I was tempted but resisted and we had gammon and chips (SW style of course) for our meal. The ice-cream van did a tour of the site but we resisted that as well – well we had had a little tub from the site shop earlier.

There have been a lot of campers arriving for the weekend all of the hardstanding pitches around us are full and a lot of the grass ones as well – not too many children though thankfully.

We settled down for the night – watched a bit of TV did a bit of Blog work.

Saturday 29th September 2018

We awoke today to find the sun shining again – not a cloud free sky but pretty good and the wind has dropped so it feels a lot warmer. The usual chores and breakfast sorted I made another picnic lunch as we are off again for the day.

A couple of miles away in Pevensey village is an English Heritage site ‘Pevensey Castle’. As we thought (from looking at Google maps) there is a good footpath all the way there and it’s easy to find as the village is not large.

Pevensey Castle 1

The Roman Walls of the castle were huge (high and thick) built about AD 290.

Pevensey Castle a

In 1066 the ruins where refortified by William the Conqueror and a castle built within them about a third of the size.

Pevensey Castle 2

The towers within this Norman Castle were used for billets and a machine gun post during the Second World War.

After looking around the Castle and having our picnic lunch within the Roman enclosure we continued on to the next village of Westham. Nigel had seen what looked like an unusual weather vane on top of the church he wanted a closer look at.

Westham sign

We found a pretty little village with a wedding taking place in the church. We watched as the bride and a good group of bridesmaids and flower girls arranged themselves on the path before proceeding down the aisle.

A couple of old Tudor buildings added to the interest so we took a few photo’s before retracing our steps back into Pevensey for a look at its church (St Nicolas – built 1216).

Nigel took photo’s outside and in while I checked out the gravestones.

st Nicolas pic
In the Church artwork showing the shoreline upto 16th Century

There is also a Museum in the village but its entrance is on the first floor – so we didn’t bother.

By 3.30 at this time of year it starts to get cooler, even on a nice day like today, so we headed back to Voyager which took about 45 minutes.

A warming cup of coffee hit the spot. Then food cooking which really warmed us up.

Nice sunset tonight.

Sunset Thur 2

Usual TV and relax before another good night.

Sunday 30th September 2018

We have decided to go out in Voyager today to give Betty’s bearings a little test run before we head home tomorrow.

Exploring TripAdvisor we settled on Michelham Priory, House and Gardens. Its only about 10 miles from the campsite so we set off about 10.30 – stopping briefly at ASDA for some fresh fruit and bread.

The Priory is a really lovely place to visit with a large car park (and Coach Park which we used) and easy access to all of the grounds with ramps placed where required.

Michel hs

It is, in fact, the only house we have been to that I managed to tour the entire ground floor on Grace – only one door way was a bit tight.

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Loads to see – I loved the kitchen where I had a good chat with one of the guides about how some of the kitchen gadgets worked. Great the way the spit was turned by a falling stone!

The gardens are extensive and still had a fair amount of colour (mostly roses and dahlias) but I suspect that July would have the best displays.

But with more things dyeing back the sculpture has come more to the fore.

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And when you find a big wooden chair what else can you do!

We had lunch in Voyager before going back to complete our exploration, finding the Bronze Age Roundhouse (circa 2016) – but well-made and a good example of how it was done.

The Forge, Great Barn and the Mill were the last things to visit.

Unfortunately the mill is under repair – the teeth of the pit wheel need to be replaced (the 1997 ones having worn out) and are being made of English oak – costing £25 each. They need 84. When they have them each will take 1.5hrs to fit and adjust. The miller hopes all will be done by next March. We wish them luck.

All in all a very enjoyable day.

The journey back was uneventful – Betty’s new bearings working perfectly.

Pitched up 2

Pitched up again there was time for a little rest before cooking our roast chicken dinner. Followed by a naughty little ice cream tub, nice though.

Monday 1st October 2019

Home today – using the A27 to Southampton then north to Newbury and onto the M4 – we didn’t like the long lumpy concrete section of the M25 when coming. Nigel thinks it may have weakened the bearing that failed on us.

As it was it only added six miles to our journey – took a bit longer but the scenery was much better. I think we will be staying somewhere closer to Chichester maybe Arundel on a future trip. There are some lovely looking Castles and Churches that need visiting – I’ll start planning.

Well that’s the end of planned trips – but we will be off again before long and will keep you updated on plans and how the fridge repair goes.

Eastbourne and Bust

Tuesday 25th September 2018

After our experience last week in North Wales our next adventure will be to the south coast – a much better chance of some late season sun and warmth.

We got Voyager loaded with all the necessary yesterday, with the last minute stuff this morning. So after attending Slimming World for a quick weighing and chat we set forth at about 1 o’clock.

The weather was glorious – the sun shining so the going was good. We decided to go between the M4 and M3 via Bracknell so we could stop for a bite of lunch in a lay bye. This all went well and we made good progress on the M25, M23, A23 and were happily going around Brighton on the A27 when suddenly a van past us tooting at us and pointing at Betty – a quick look in the rear view camera showed she had a bit of a wobble (understatement) so we pulled over to the side of the road (luckily there were a few chevrons so avoided blocking a lane). On with the Hi Viz and venture out to find the problem.

Betty’s offside wheel bearing had collapsed leaving it precariously balanced metal to metal.

Betty wheel

We had thought the bad weather last week was our third bit of bad luck – apparently not – This was definitely it.

What to do? We couldn’t stay where we had stopped for very long and luckily there was an off ramp about 200m ahead. So we proceeded at 20mph, got off the dual carriageway took the first exit off the roundabout and stopped in a lay bye after 100m.

Brken Down1

There was a sign saying waiting was restricted to 5 mins. We ignored that one. We were just outside the campus of the University of Sussex.

Out with the laptop – get the detail for the Breakdown Recovery – phone them up. They were extremely helpful (and I was extremely grateful I had specifically added trailer cover) so they arranged for a local Recovery firm to load Betty on the back of a Lorry and take her to our Campsite.

Recovery 2

We had less than 25 miles to follow the truck.

We had called the Norman’s Bay CCC site while we were waiting for the lorry so they were aware we would be late – they were very understanding – and helped by letting us skip the usual booking in process when we eventually got there at 7.15.

Betty was unloaded off the lorry straight onto our pitch (exactly as Nigel would have positioned her had she not had a problem), Voyager next to her, levelled and electric connected all within half an hour.

What a relief – I rustled up some food – you guessed it ‘sweet chilli prawns’ – we are here for six nights so time enough to get Betty repaired.

So we started our relaxing break watching the TV and talking about what to do tomorrow.

Wednesday 26th September 2018

Surprisingly we both had a good night’s sleep so it was a bit of a late start. The weather is as forecast, blue sky, sunny and warming nicely.

Nigel went off to explore the site and do the full booking in process with Reception while I made breakfast.

Then it was down to phone calls to find some wheel bearings for Betty. This turned out to be easier than we imagined. A call to Tickners Trailers provided a phone number for Rob at ‘1 Stop Trailers’ who could send us a complete hub set (both wheels) by next day courier.

So after the other chores we trundled off to look at the sea from the top of the shingle bank

Pitched from dune

and then on to explore the local village of Pevensey Bay. Quite small with just a few shops, takeaways and pubs – I drooled over the motorcycle I will be buying when we win the lottery.

Dream Machine

We returned after a couple of hours for lunch before venturing out in the other direction to a recommended pub to investigate if it was worth going there for a meal. Unfortunately it was a meal deal place with mostly pies and burgers – not our thing at all so we decided not to have that – instead returning to Voyager for a nap before our home produced evening meal. Trouble is I’m too good a cook – maybe if I fluff a few meals it will encourage Nigel to look harder for a nice restaurant to take me out to.

TV and relax before bed.

Thursday 27th September 2018

The forecast said that today will be the warmest of our trip (a nice 22deg with only a light breeze) so despite the bearings being delivered today we didn’t want to hang around waiting. We thought it was best to have a word with the Wardens – check they were OK to accept delivery for us – but as it turned out when Nigel popped into Reception to chat with them the package had already arrived. We quickly put them away in Voyager and then set off for Eastbourne.

Its nearly 6 miles to the Pier but there is pavement or cycle way for the entire length so it was a lovely little trundle (all flat too).

 

We spent a lovely day by the sea,

Pier

 

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there were still a lot of people around looking at the sights and resting on the many benches – that’s one benefit of the 2G’s, we don’t have to look for seats we have our own. Another is we don’t have to pay the inflated café prices for lunch

Posh Cafe
Lovely setting – not cheap though

– I had prepared our picnic earlier and had it all packed in a cool bag within my back pack.

Eastbourne pstcrd

We ate it on a boardwalk in the exact place that the Bandstand was (per old photo on a postcard shows).

 

Watching the folks on the shingle beach, some throwing pebbles into the sea, others laughing and chatting and a few brave ones sunbathing as we ate our olives, sandwiches and fruit with yoghurt, washed down by our special ‘lemonade’ (small sherry).

Vw wst frm Pier ls

We trundled about on the promenade and had a nice whippy ice cream before slowly making our way back via Martello Tower #66 – couldn’t get too close due to construction work but did get a good photo.

 

Mar Twr 66

It was a really lovely day – exactly what we had been hoping for when we booked this little trip.

We picked up a menu from one of the Chinese takeaways in Pevensey Bay. They did free delivery to our site so we phoned our order through when we got back and the food was there within half an hour. Nice not to have to cook and not too off plan (saved syns should cover it).

Relaxing evening – with a few photos of the sunset – bit of TV and blog writing.

Well thats the end of part one – join us soon for the continueing story of Betty’s Bearings and more exciting things we got up to!

 

If it can go wrong it will!

Tuesday 18th September 2018

We are off on our adventures again, this time to North Wales. A place called Shell Island (just south of Porthmadog). As it’s quite a drive from home and we couldn’t leave until after lunch we decided to do the journey in two hops having a stopover in Hereford tonight.

The weather was cloudy but dry and mild when we left and stayed that way until we reached the CCC site at Little Tarrington.

A lovely quiet site with an adjoining fishing lake surrounded by trees – idyllic but as its only overnight we didn’t get to see much. We also had to use the Freeview TV channels as the satellite signal was blocked by trees near our pitch.

Overnight the wind started to blow but it did stay dry.

Wednesday 19th September 2018

After breakfast and battening down the hatches we left Hereford. It was about 10.30 – the wind was not too bad but worse was forecast for later. We made good progress (tractors permitting)

tractor

and stopped near Welshpool for lunch about one o’clock in a lay bye beside the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway line – no trains today though.

lunch

After our break we were back on our way, the wind getting progressively stronger, and the scenery getting more spectacular.

distant hills

Large hills (mountain like),

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very steep with water cascading down in fast moving streams beside us as we climbed the edge to reach the highest pass in Wales,

near top

and then down the other side

coming down 1

using the engine and gears as well as gentle breaking so as not to go too fast.

Then down on the relative flat to Barmouth.

We arrived at the Shell Island site just after 3 o’clock and while Nigel did all the usual booking in stuff I text our friend Aileen that we had made it. She replied with directions to find her on the very large site. On the road to her we could see the sea with much white water being churned up by the wind.

Shell Island view 2

There are no marked pitches on the island just a 6m rule between vans so we selected our spot and unhitched Betty. We had a good chin wag with Aileen and then went for a bit of a tour of the whole site in Voyager (too windy and cold to use the 2G’s). If the weather was better, like earlier in the summer it would have been superb. We got back levelled up and unpacked ready for a nice quiet evening.

We then thought we would try a short walk to see the view around, only intending to be out a few minutes so left everything in the van and didn’t bother locking it as there was nobody else around.

Shell Island pano

Voyager decided to lock herself – with all our keys inside her along with wallet and cards etc we had a bit of a problem.

Our 10 minute walk turned out to be over an hour but luckily Aileen was able to assist with some tools which Nigel used to get in – and I’m not going to tell you how – but I was more than a little worried I can tell you.

Back to normal we ate and watched TV as the wind blow and the rain poured. Then to bed.

Thursday 20th September 2018

After a rather disturbed night where the fridge kept cutting out (flashing an error light). We reset it a couple of times but after a while it gave up all together.

In the morning Nigel had a good look at it and cleaned the flue – thinking maybe the wind had dislodged some soot and blocked the burner. His efforts were in vane however so more investigation is needed and in the mean time we have a defrosting load of frozen food.

We went and had a coffee with Aileen and her friend Dawn in the site cafeteria – using the 2G’s to get there. While there the rain came in heavy again so we had to use our ‘emergency poncho’s’ for the return trundle. It was only a ten minute trip but we were well soaked by the time we made it back and got the scooters away into Betty.

On checking the forecast it looked like more rain and wind for the rest of the time we were booked to stay on the island. The tail end of Hurricane Helenathen Storm Ali’ and Storm Bronagh‘ were all going to hitting North Wales and points further North.

All in all we reckoned that was enough to send us home early.

We packed up and set forth driving over the high pass in the pouring rain and the twists and turns going down the other side even in a low gear was a bit hair raising, but I’m getting braver – a few years ago I would have demanded Nigel stop so I could get out.

We drove all the way home (with a short stop for a quick sandwich) – it took about four and a half hours. So we were very tired when we got back – had a takeaway meal and an early night.

Friday 21st September 2018

After our early departure we were feeling a bit deflated so had a good chat and looked for a nice camp site on the south coast. We had a good look at the 10 day forecast which looked good for next week so booked six nights away on the CCC Normans Bay site at Eastbourne.

But we hadn’t taken into account that bad things happen in threes.

Getting Locked out.

Fridge failure.

We thought the bad weather would be the third.

We were wrong!!  

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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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’ –

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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.