Things have become clearer in my mind as to what happens next in my life. I am not half the man I used to be – I had thought that for a while. Mary was in very many ways my ‘better half’ and over the many wonderful years we were together she ‘improved’ me. Not overtly with arguments but subtly by example, opening up to me, showing me her ‘weaknesses’.
I was forty-seven when I met her, with two failed marriages behind me. Yet she saw something she liked and was prepared to take on.
Now that is not what I intended to say when I sat down – and it got more difficult as I went on (it’s hard to write with tears in your eyes.)
Anyway what I wanted to say is that even as just me I am going to continue to use the social media handle of ‘YokellCouple’ on this Blog, and on Instagram, YouTube and a Facebook page. Mary had her individual FB account that I did a few posts on, but that just didn’t seem right, so I’ve created my own (thankfully all Mary’s FB friends have added me as well).
Mary passed away on 23rd May, my birthday is 22nd June, but she had the foresight to order my birthday present early from Amazon. She told me she had, but when it arrived made me promise not to open it until the day. I was pretty sure I knew what it was – you know the way couples hint at things they see with a ‘that looks nice/interesting’ sounding out their partner for potential gifts.
I was good and didn’t open it until my birthday – to be honest I almost forgot about it, busying myself with the memorials I wanted to produce for her as well as all the official stuff that needed to be done.
Anyway it turned out to be the book ‘Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds’ which describes ninety plus idyllic village cricket grounds around mainland UK.
For those that don’t know cricket is the only sport that both Mary and I enjoyed watching – both on TV and in person.
So after flicking through the pages, getting a feel for it, I started to wonder if Mary had other ideas in mind when she picked it for me. Now I can’t be sure but I think she had in mind that I could travel around in Voyager and visit all of the grounds for myself. So that is what I will do, not all of the time of course but it will ensure I get to see more of our lovely island than I ever would have.
To that end I did the nearest one to home recently, a pub with its own cricket ground attached – with a team made up of locals.
I had a delicious ‘Covid safe’ meal on an outdoor picnic table near the boundary.
Instead of chatting as I would have had Mary been with me I posted a couple of photos on Facebook and ‘chatted’ with friends who commented.
The title of this Blog is the first comment I received – from Mary’s sister Lynn.
A lot of plans of a lot of people have had to change in the last few months.
Our plan to attend an Easter Rally at Weymouth was cancelled and I had to be content with video chats with the family – all very nice but definitely not as good. Such a shame as the weather was fantastic.
Camp sites were closed down for an unspecified time and the country has been locked down.
For most of the time the weather has been fine – a few not so good days but for England it was a good spring.
The most we have managed are trips around the house to our sun trap patio where we spent several quiet afternoons relaxing on the reclining garden chairs.
Through March and April my health was declining but not too quickly. Into May and I can feel things are changing.
Mary started really struggling towards mid-May and very sadly she passed away on the 23rd.
After it became clear that the Radiotherapy treatment she underwent had not cured her Cancer she has been under the care of Dorothy House Hospice. They promised her she could pass at home and in no pain.
On that Saturday evening she passed peacefully in her sleep. I was holding her hand.
A few days before she was pleased we reached our 15th Wedding Anniversary – telling me they were her happiest adult years.
Over our years together we have done a lot of things and visited a lot of places. We have holidayed abroad in the early years, finding a joint love of the country of Portugal which we visited many times. As things became harder health wise we stayed in this country but still managed many holidays. Recently our motorhome has provided the needed facilities as we travelled to many lovely places. We made the most of it.
She really enjoyed writing hardcopy diaries of our adventures – allowing me to transpose them into our Blog (she never was enamoured with typing). So I have many full A4 note books with her entries as well as postcards and entry tickets stuck in.
Things for me are still very raw – I’m not sure what I will be doing on here yet. I believe she would want me to continue posting but it is one thing typing in her words and totally another starting with a blank sheet.
The one thing she did make me promise was to attend Hermanfest whenever that is now – so if nothing else happens before you should get a post about that.
Firstly I must apologize for my delayed posting of this update Blog – as you read on you will understand why.
Friday 6th December 2019
After our usual preparations we set off for our first Christmas Rally. We decided that we would leave Betty behind this time and take Dobby instead.
Nigel drove ahead in Voyager while I followed behind in our little WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) – we used our Bluetooth communicators during the 20 mile journey which worked well as we were rarely more than a few car lengths apart.
Now you may ask why not take the trailer – well the highlight of the rally was a visit to the Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum which is a few miles from the rally field location in Didmartin village. The distance would not have been a problem for the 2G’s but the lack of pavement would mean driving on the road in the dark and cold – not ideal at all.
We arrived at the Village Hall about 3.30 and were pitched up in the car park area (caravans were on the adjacent playing field). We were surprised at the number who were attending – a total of 32 units. After getting setup (levelled, silver screen on and everything put in its place inside) Nigel went to the Marshall’s van to pay the dues and get our envelope. Our quiz this time was to decode 20 or so Christmas Carol anagrams – very appropriate.
After our meal and a first crack at the quiz (not as easy as we had thought) we set off to the hall for our social – nothing exceptional but I do like to have a good chinwag with people.
We chatted to some new faces as well as some we have met before. There are of course still some cliques that are not as receptive but I guess that’s just usual in a big crowd.
Back to our cosy van for a good night’s sleep.
Saturday 7th December 2019
We are off to Chipping Sodbury this morning to check out the Victorian Market. It does mean Nigel had to do a bit of walking but his knees can cope pretty well on the flat – enough for our exploration. We arrived just after opening at midday and spent the best part of a couple of hours having a good look around.
We bought a couple of large sausages from one of the street vendors which we took back to Voyager and enjoyed with a few baked beans for our late lunch.
A bit of a siesta after that before we got back in Dobby to go to Westonbirt. It didn’t take long and the que for the disabled car park was minimal so we were there in plenty of time for our 5.20 ticketed start.
Enough time to explore the craft tents and other attractions before setting off on the Enchanted Christmas trail.
A nice hot chocolate drink (with all the trimmings) before we set off – just to keep out the cold.
The trail itself was very good but we were a little disappointed that even with timed entry there were so many people entering at the same time that we were mostly surrounded as we walked. It makes seeing anything a bit tricky from my seated position on my Little Rascal scooter.
We did enjoy it though and managed to get a few nice pics to remind us of our visit.
At the end of our walk we decided to share a foot long hot dog between us – very nice it was to – before returning to Voyager and then back to the hall for our second evening chatting and drinking.
Unexpectedly they also laid on a pigs in blanket ‘hot dog’ super which we partook of – I don’t think we will be having any more sausages for a while though.
Sunday 8th December 2019
Flag at 11.00 along with the raffle and Christmas card hand out (our first Xmas rally so hadn’t thought to bring any – but received eleven from other folks) along with a couple of chocolate oranges.
Then it just remained to get everything packed away and our return journey home.
Between the end of this rally and Christmas I suffered with an infection in my neck that meant a week of anti-biotics followed by a visit, on Christmas Eve, to Bath RUH Hospital when that didn’t completely solve the problem. I was suffering with increasing pain not directly in the area that had been radiated but more muscular pain between my shoulder blades. The doctor I saw recommended pain killers and suggested a glass or two of medicinal sherry to help relax my muscles.
Christmas itself was quiet and more enjoyable than I had expected – maybe due to the sherry!
Then it was time to get ready for the next rally – I had been looking forward to it since we first booked it back in September.
Sunday 29th December 2019
After a sedate morning packing up we were on our way to Clarendon Junior School in Tidworth – a journey of just over forty miles and which took us about an hour. Again we took Dobby instead of Betty because our research had shown nothing of great interest close by but a couple of places to visit about ten miles away.
We were greeted by the cheerful and very friendly Marshalls – probably because we arrived in a short break between showers. We were happy that after all the rain of the previous couple of weeks that we were pitched with the other motorhomes on the tarmac of the kids playground. The caravans were on the playing field on the other side of the school buildings.
After the usual setting up was done we relaxed for a while until it was time to get ready for our evening social.
Now this rally was different to any other we had attended – not only were we staying for double the number of nights but it would be catered as well – obviously it cost more as well and we had brought some food in case we didn’t like something – but it did make a change not having to think of food preparation.
At 6.00 pm we made our way to the School hall which we found decorated with fairy lights and seasonal displays on the tables. We picked our table and took our seats as our fellow campers all started to arrive. We were joined by Mark and Sue who we met on our first rally with this group back in June, Geoff and Linda from the Halloween rally at Corsham as well as others we had not met before. Music was playing from the sound system in the corner – and after folks had imbibed a little of their bring your own tipples some even braved a bit of a dance.
Jacket potatoes with a selection of fillings were served – I had the cheese and onion while Nigel tried the Chilli – both were excellent.
The highlight of the evening was a good rousing performance by ‘David Essex’ – well a tribute artist who was once a finalist on TV’s ‘Stars in their Eyes’ program.
It was a very good evening (if a lot louder than we are comfortable with) – even Nigel and I managed a bit of a smooch to a couple of the slow songs.
Monday 30th December 2019
As we had the day to ourselves we decided to visit Stonehenge. It is somewhere we have wanted to go to since they completed the new Visitors Centre back in 2013 – but you know how it is – the most local attractions get left as you plan visits and explore those further away.
I was a little perturbed as we drove through small villages on the way there as Nigel seemed to be ignoring all the signs to Stonehenge heading instead a totally different way. He had already told me he had grown up in the area so I bowed to his local knowledge. Grateful in fact as a travel report on local radio told us of 15-20 minute delays on the A303 near Stonehenge. His route through the Army town of Larkhill had no delays – in fact we were only slowed so he could show me the house he grew up in as a young boy.
So when we arrived at the Centre we were disappointed to see a que for the car park, loads of coaches and masses of people. Luckily there were a few Disabled spaces left so we were OK in that respect but as we got closer to the entrance the length of the snake of people queuing for tickets was prohibitively long.
We decided to skirt around that and had a look around the free to enter displays at the rear of building where we had a chat to one of the volunteers. She told us that even though we are members of both the Nation Trust and English Heritage we still needed to get tickets (at no cost) for audit and Health & Safety reasons. We decided not to bother queuing but did nip into the shop for a fridge magnet and postcard. A proper visit would have to be scheduled for a time when less tourists where visiting – if we can find one.
We retraced our route to Larkhill and used the back road to Woodhenge – a less impressive smaller ancient circle – where the original wooden poles have been replaced by concrete bollards. It was worth a quick look but wasn’t really accessible on my wheelchair so just a view through the car window.
Nigel regaled me with further stories of his childhood as we made our way back to Voyager via Tesco’s for a top up of wine and goodies.
I’ve drunk more in the last few days than for a long time (doctor’s orders) and decided that any weight I gain during this break can be shed again next year.
There was another social event in the hall this evening but before it a Ploughman’s supper. Unfortunately not in the hall as that was already booked for a ‘Slimming World’ meeting – so we all squeezed into a pretty small classroom with child size chairs and tables where we ‘made the most of it’ – food was good though.
After ‘Fat Club’ had finished we adjourned back to the hall for a quiz and silly games – it was fun to watch people making an arse of themselves. Didn’t do at all well in the quiz though.
Tuesday 31st December 2019 (New Year’s Eve)
A bit of a lie in followed by chores – Nigel did the outside stuff – filling water, emptying grey waste and the toilet cassette. I did the inside stuff washing up breakfast dishes and tidying up.
Then Nigel took our plates, cutlery and wine glasses to the hall in preparation for the first social event of the day – a three course lunch with wine – that beats a bring your own BBQ for sure.
After getting dressed up (smart but not OTT) we joined everyone else queuing at the school door waiting to be let in – many comments made about how long it had been since we last queued for ‘school diners’.
The organisers of the lunch excelled themselves – everyone was impressed with the quality and speed of the serving of the meal as well as the availability of wine. I had enough on my plate to feed a small army – and all well cooked and delicious.
Well stuffed we returned to Voyager for a bit of a siesta before preparing for the main event – what I had been really looking forward to – the Masquerade Ball. I haven’t had a chance to get dressed up for ages so had gone a bit mad – buying a ball gown and even a fancy mask.
Again we were impressed with the effort everyone made to dress for the occasion. All the ladies dresses were beautiful with many of the men in evening suits or tuxedo’s. We were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and the five piece covers band ‘Duke Box’ were soon setup and ready to get the party swinging.
They played a wide spread of tunes but were a bit young and loud for us – they went down a storm though.
There was what was described as a finger buffet between the bands sets with enough food to feed double those present so we again felt a bit stuffed.
We spent most of the evening watching and waiting for a slow song we could have a little smooch to – it didn’t come so in the end we just got up and had a slow smooch to a fast 80’s number that the fitter ones around us were having a good jig to.
Much tooting of horns, popping of party poppers and a good round of ‘Old Lang Syne’ as the new decade arrived. The younger ones had a bit of a conga about while we had a bit more of a smoochy cuddle in the corner.
This was the best New Year we have had in a long time – in fact last year we only just managed to stay awake to see the fireworks on the TV.
Wednesday 1st January 2020
A good lie in followed by a lazy day – just the usual chores, then reading and relaxing, bit of Kindle game play etc.
Flag was at 1.00pm where we won a few odd things in the Raffle (Nigel did get some cans of lager so he was happy).
We skipped the family film at 2.30 in favour of a relaxing siesta in Voyager.
In the evening the final social in the school hall – a bit of music and more silly games for us to laugh at. An odd theme of ‘Wedding Day number one’s’ showed that most people weren’t aware of what theirs was – mind you we don’t know ours.
Neither of us were drinking tonight – you can’t be too careful when driving the next day can you? – So we left early and watched an hour of TV before bed. The only TV for this trip!
Thursday 2nd January 2020
The end of our New Year rally and we have really enjoyed it. Hopefully we will have a few more good rallies in the coming year.
The rest of January has been never ending medical appointments both at our local surgery as well as Chippenham and Bath Hospitals.
Nigel is now waiting for an MRI scan which appears to be delayed by a new scanner being fitted at Bath.
I have had a PET scan and seen my Oncology Consultant – the results weren’t conclusive (which is worrying) but we are ever hopeful. I will be having an Ultrasound scan in February for further checks.
I have seen a Physiotherapist about my neck pain and we have ordered a soft neck support that may help.
The pain killers I am taking (Co-Codamol and OraMorph) are keeping me mostly comfortable though I’m sleepy most of the time – but I’m still here so for that I’m grateful.
Oh and we have booked a few days away at Easter on the Weymouth CMH rally with Roy so we have something to look forward to as well.
After our dry run last weekend at Sharpness we are off to another Halloween Rally today. Last time I wasn’t feeling so well but we both made the effort and it was fun if a little small.
This weeks is at Corsham Primary School which is only around ten miles from home and organised by the Wiltshire Centre of the CMH club. We arrived just after 2.30 and were pitched up in the corner of the tarmacked netball court which had been assigned for motorhomes and the very disabled. We unhitched Betty and put her next to us. Other caravans (about a dozen in the end) went on the games field behind us.
My brother Roy was booked to come as well – he had to abort the Devizes one a while ago – so when we were setup I texted him to let him know we had arrived. He is now full-timing in his Eldis motorhome (although he works away weeknights) so it’s only weekends for the most part. He is really enjoying the freedom of being able to change his weekend location when he wants to.
He replied saying he would be with us about 6.00 so we went across to the Marshals van, paid our dues and had a bit of a chat – this is now the forth Wiltshire rally we have attended so are getting to know people and beginning to feel at ease with them.
Roy called just after 6.00 and Nigel helped guide him in the last few yards beyond the help of his satnav, got him pitched up next to us. He had a bit of a sort out of his van (having only chucked everything in when transferring from his lorry after work) and then joined us in Voyager for a coffee.
We gave him the low down on how rallies work and took him over to the Marshal’s van to pay and get his rally pack. He is a very outgoing person and I think he will get into this easily.
We had our evening meal together in Voyager – I was chef, making Nigel my infamous sweet chilli prawns while Roy joined me having poached eggs with tinned spaghetti.
Roy retired to his van after the washing up was done and we chilled for most of the evening only putting the TV on for an hour to watch Gogglebox. Then bed.
Saturday 2nd November 2019
It rained most of the night but it cleared by about 10.00 so after breakfast Nigel got out the 2G’s and we headed off with Roy walking for a quick explore of Corsham – another old Wiltshire market town – not quite as popular as Lacock or Castle Combe but which has still featured on the small screen in episodes of Poldark and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.
We visited the local Co-op to top up on a few essentials (hadn’t considered we would be feeding three instead of our usual two) before trundling up and down the high street taking photos of some lovely architecture.
I had a good look in the window of The Table Gallery but I’m afraid none of Paul Martin’s antiques would look at home in Voyager (and all were well out of my price range).
We trundled on doing more window shopping and just as Roy was popping into a picture framing shop I spotted the famous Flog It presenter strolling along eating a pie – although I didn’t want to disturb his lunch I did say hello and mentioned how we really enjoyed his shows. He gave me a cheery thankyou between mouthfuls.
Autumn has well and truly arrived now so even with a blue sky and little wind it was still pretty cold so when we got back to the van we had soup for lunch. Roy returned to his van – apparently he had some sandwiches and nibbles he didn’t want to waste.
I’m still getting very tired so a couple of hours siesta for me while Nigel had a read and made a bit of a start on the ‘rally quiz’.
When Roy joined us later we all had a good go at answering all the questions (with a little help from Mr Google) and I think I managed to volunteer to make Roy new curtains for his van. Apparently as well as not liking the colour of the ones he has they are too short and let the light in under them.
After our not very exciting tea we all got dressed up in our costumes. I had made slight alterations to Nigel’s so he could access his trouser pockets without hitching it up. That had been a bit awkward last week.
The Evil Sorceress trundled to the party on Grace accompanied by The Grim Reaper and The Evil Jester.
The school gym had been transformed into a very scary coven like setup with light displays and video’s playing at each end of the room. We were placed per a seating plan (which I wasn’t too happy about at first) but everyone was very friendly so all was OK.
There was only a very short welcome speech before it was down to dancing and enjoying ourselves – the bring your own booze was imbibed by most but I’m still on some pretty strong pills so had to be good.
Though along with everyone else I did have a good time – even having a short dance (although only slowly) with both my husband and my brother. I even managed a couple of minute’s livestream on Facebook which brought some lovely comments from family and friends around the world.
A really great night – this rallying is just what I need – it’s just a shame there aren’t as many in the winter months.
Sunday 3rd November 2019
Nigel was up early checking the quiz sheet which needed to be handed in before 10.00. He found the answers to the last couple of questions while drinking his coffee then headed off to hand it in.
I nipped into Roy’s van to get the measurements for the curtains and then work out how much material would be needed. Onto Ebay for the price to scare Roy with – he wasn’t – just handed me the cash. Looks like I’m going to be busy with my sewing machine – good job I enjoy it.
It was back down to the hall at 11.00 for Flag. Everything had been transformed back to a school gymnasium again. The Marshals and many helpers had done a magnificent job.
After all the Thankyou’s etc – Roy had to go up to the front and collect his ‘First Rally’ plaque – which he enjoyed. Then the result of the quiz – our collaborative efforts were rewarded – Nigel collected our prize of chocolates. Next the raffle – we had bought a few tickets and won a couple of things – Beer for Roy and a dehumidifying egg? for us.
I think Roy will be coming to more – he seemed to really enjoy himself and even bought a couple of pennants from the club table before we all headed back to our vans.
An early finish (presumably because it’s a school day tomorrow) so we were soon homeward bound.
Now we have a bit of a break – my next hospital appointment is on 13th (hopefully lucky for me) and our next rally is in early December.
Nigel has a bit of repair work on Betty’s motor mover again as well as checking out the Truma heater in Voyager – it’s working fine on gas but doesn’t seem to be on electric – so that will keep him busy and may produce a techy blog as well.
Yesterday I was feeling so good but when I woke this morning my throat hurt and the constant sickness feeling was back. I didn’t take much pain killer overnight and after I had some things did improve a little.
Although feeling nauseous all day I did manage to have some more soup and lollies for lunch.
I also got some sewing done – thought it might take my mind of my problems – and still had a fair bit of sleep as well.
I have decided to keep off the OraMorph and revert to Paracetamol – hoping it will be gentler on my stomach.
More soup for tea – it seems the only thing I can get down without gagging.
Sunday 20th October 2019
I woke Nigel up at 05.00 this morning – I needed some pain relief and I get so confused as to what to take these days – we decided on OraMorph because it’s only a small amount and easy to swallow – even if it does upset my tummy a bit.
Ate all my breakfast of ReadyBrek today – another small step in the right direction. Then more steps in the form of a short walk down the lane – it shows autumn is really here – I could feel it in the air.
We went into town, got some ingredients for homemade soup (tomato) which I made when we got back. It was lovely and made a change from the chicken noodle tinned one I had been living on. Still only eating small amounts but regularly now so on the up.
Got a bit more sewing done (completed alterations to Nigel’s New Year suit and my Halloween outfit).
Monday 21st October 2019
I slept well last night – got through with only 5ml of OraMorph (doing well) and woke with a really positive attitude today. My wound itched a bit but at least it wasn’t hurting so much this morning when I stretch it (when turning) – more progress.
Lunch was a couple of spoons of soup which I enjoyed. I still have the sticky throat and try as I might I can’t shift it – every drink I try doesn’t help at all.
Tonight I thought I was going to be sick but all I did was retching on an empty stomach. As I haven’t eaten much I thought, grab the bull by the horns and try some scrambled egg made with butter (suggested by Nigel) with a bit of tinned tomato left over from his breakfast. I did eat a bit of the egg but have to say the tomatoes tasted better – enjoyed them.
Tuesday 22nd October 2019
A reasonable night’s sleep – woke up thirsty – still can’t find a drink to cut through the sticky stuff. I know it seems all I do is complain about it but at the moment it is a major part of what this is about.
I had a good shower today and my wound is now scabbed up so the water didn’t hurt – still putting plenty of Epimax cream on the new skin as it appears so it stays moist and doesn’t crack or get crusty.
I lost another 4lb this week on the scales at Slimming World which gave me my 6stone award – I think I will be happy to stay at this so am aiming to eat at bit more if I can to stop the losses. I chatted with my friends, all were very supportive, and Kathy suggested I try Lemon & Lime sparkling water (she even nipped out to her car for one). I put it in the fridge for later.
Hospital check-up this afternoon – they were very happy with my progress both the wound and my general demeanour. I don’t have to see them again until mid-November when I get to see my consultant again. We did our last YouTube Vlog for a while on our way home – me for a well-deserved siesta (long tiring day) while Nigel edited and uploaded the vlog.
I did try the L&L water and it’s helping cut through the sticky stuff better than anything else I’ve tried – result.
Wednesday 23rd October 2019
After yesterday I was very tired so slept most of today away. I did eat some ReadyBrek and more soup but not up to normal portions yet.
Thursday 24th October 2019
I thought I would feel better after sleeping most of yesterday but still not good.
I was due to have my hair done this afternoon but just wasn’t up to it. Emma came but we just chatted for a bit – me a bit emotional, but she is a good friend and was super reassuring. We have rescheduled for next week.
Friday 25th October 2019
A bit of an improvement this morning – still not as good as earlier in the week though. I had a good hot shower which made me feel better too.
Nigel went shopping for the last few things we needed before we headed off for our first weekend away since way back in early September – not really feeling up to it but I didn’t want to disappoint him. He says we don’t have to join in if we don’t want to but you never know.
It was a bit of a journey to Sharpness the M4 M5 junction was particularly busy (something to do with half term I believe) but even so we got to our rally field about 15.30 – it rained most of the way there but did stop for a short while after we had got set up. Our fellow campers were all in caravans and parked on the grass – we were on hard standing near the edge – our 5 tonne unit doesn’t do well on grass this time of year.
Saturday 26th October 2019
It rained almost continuously overnight (we could see puddles on the grass between the vans) and hadn’t stopped by lunch time.
Nigel had been regularly checking his rainfall radar app and predicted it would stop between 2 & 3 pm – I had my doubts. Still we were warm in Voyager so it was a restful day for both of us.
At about 3.30 it had mostly stopped – just a bit of drizzle – so we went out for a few minutes fresh air. Just 50 yards or so to a monument we could just see from our window.
Terry our Marshall popped his head in and told us the ‘party’ would start about 7pm in the Dockers Club.
We decided to go for it – got dressed up – me as the ‘Evil Sorceress’ and Nigel as the ‘Grim Reaper’ – if nothing else it would give others a good laugh.
I’m glad we did – it was only a small party (five couples with a few grandchildren) but everyone was very friendly. The Grim Reaper had to judge the children’s fancy dress – he was very diplomatic, after a bit of hamming it up with my ‘Staff of Interrogation’ he declared them all winners.
Then the adults were judged and against all odds we were named the winning couple – and presented with a bottle of fizz as a prize.
We stayed a couple of hours, but I was not up to any more so we returned to Voyager and had an early night.
Sunday 27th October 2019
What a difference a day makes! A chilly morning but not a breath of wind and clear blue sky.
After breakfast (earlier than normal with the clocks having gone back) we did all the usual chores then set off for a good trundle on the 2G’s.
Never having visited Sharpness before we didn’t have very high expectations but we found a lovely old docks the start of the Canal to Gloucester with many narrowboats and cruisers in the marina as well as good recreational areas with views of both the seven bridges.
We did one side of the docks in the morning where I collected some bits for a collage (just something I like to do)
returned for a warming bowl of soup for lunch and then the other side of the docks and the marina in the afternoon.
We were the last to leave at about 3.30 and were home by 5.00.
Although I was reluctant to come I’m really glad we did – it was a really good weekend and just what we needed.
Feeling a lot better and my wound is almost healed now.
After a couple of days with my Radiotherapy sessions in the late afternoon today it was earlier at 12.45 so we were able to get home by two o’clock. We had already got pretty much everything we needed for a weekend away packed into Voyager and Betty. Just a quick lunch before we set off to our chosen Rally.
Nigel had booked just after we got the schedule for my treatments and wasn’t sure if I was going to be fit enough to go – but I was – and I’m really glad we did.
It was a local C&MH Rally located, as the crow flies, only 6.5 miles from home – but by road double that – even so we arrived at the rally field of the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum, Calne by 3.30.
We pitched up on the edge of the nicely mown field and although it was on rather a slope Nigel did his thing with the levelling rams and very quickly Voyager was, like her Star Trek namesake, flying high.
This became a bit of a discussion point around the camp – the general opinion being that most liked them but not their price. Beats having to use those wedge things anyway.
We do have a lovely view of the Cherhill White Horse and the Lansdowne Monument (known in my family as the Yatesbury Rocket – don’t know why).
After setup Nigel went to the Rally Caravan and paid our £23 dues for two nights and brought back our Rally pack. Info about the local area and social stuff and another quiz – this time appropriately about car manufacturers.
Our meal was a simple BBQ chicken rice dish – quickly assembled although it wasn’t as easy to swallow as I had hoped.
We made a start on the quiz – doing the ones we knew from memory first before watching a little TV before bed.
Saturday 7th September 2019
Today we awoke to a fine day – a bit of mist and a bit chilly but it looked good out the window – the hot air balloon in the mist made for a nice photo.
We had a leisurely breakfast and did the chores before setting off on the 2G’s for a trundle into Calne Town. You may remember we had motor issues with Gordon on our visit to Devizes – Nigel did a strip down clean-up of his motor and it appeared to work OK on a quick wiz around our village. However on a longer trundle over the Bank Holiday weekend he again failed (the motor got very hot and eventually seized up completely). The only answer was to buy a new one – expensive but for the miles we do on our scooters definitely worth it.
We were both surprised at how much we didn’t know about Calne (especially as Nigel had lived in the town for a couple of years in the early 90’s) but found the Heritage Quarter notice boards very helpful.
Industrially it began as a Wool town progressing on and now remembered most for the Harris’s Bacon Factory which produced pork products up until the 1980’s. I’m not sure I would have liked to live there then with the constant smell of bacon in the air.
There was a branch off the Wilts and Berks Canal from Chippenham which helped with the distribution and although it is un-navigable now a short section has been restored. The end lock has been fitted with an information area looking like a Narrowboat. They couldn’t restore it completely as a large pipe was laid across it to help with flood prevention.
A little higher, back from the tow path, we found that Calne had a Castle – not a big imposing one but enough to protect the little town perched as it was on the highest point. There is nothing left above ground but an archaeological dig back in 2010 found the foundations as well as many small items that are now displayed in Devizes Museum. This gleaned from another of the very useful notice boards.
Since the demolition of the factory the centre has been gradually rebuilt with a very modern bright Library and retail units as well as the usual coffee and Charity shops. A very nice community area by the river looked inviting and well maintained.
These new areas didn’t look out of place with the old Town Hall and the even older Lansdowne Strand Hotel just over the road.
We enjoyed our morning trundle about the town but we also like to stick to our SW friendly eating regime – having managed to resist all of the offerings at the Food Festival in Phelps Parade we set off back to Voyager for lunch. We did pop into the News Agent on London Road for a little tub of Marshfield Farms ice-cream – only a little ‘sinny’ and in my case ‘medicinal’ (helps with my throat).
After the washing up we went and explored the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum at a discounted price for us ralleyers. It’s small and has a quirky but friendly feel.
Had a good look around – trying to find the answers to more of the quiz questions – not totally successfully unfortunately.
Then back to Voyager – me for my siesta and Nigel for more online research for the damnable quiz.
After our meal – a pesto mince pasta concoction lovingly created by Nigel – we joined a few of our neighbours in the Museum Tea Room for a social chat. It was the normal ‘bring your own’ evening of stories and banter which we are really enjoying. As this is now our third Rally with this group we are starting to feel at home with them.
Sunday 8th September 2019
During breakfast we were still pondering over the 4 or 5 answers we hadn’t found – quiz sheets had to be handed in by 10.00 so we made a few guesses and Nigel headed to the Rally Van with it. He came back with some raffle tickets – well we have to be lucky sometime.
Flag was at 11.00 so I went up on Grace with our mugs the sweeteners and some water. Nigel brought his chair. He went and made our coffee while I chatted.
We were brought to order by our Chairman Mark using his PA system and he did the usual Thankyou’s etc.
John our Marshal and quiz setter spoke without the aid of amplifier and told us the winner – it wasn’t us (no surprise) but when we got our sheet back we were only 1 point short of the winner which made us feel a lot better.
We did manage to win a couple of things in the raffle which was welcome (a bottle of red always is) and ‘Chip Buckets’ may come in useful.
Formalities completed we chatted for a bit longer before returning to Voyager. As others started the packing up process I had a snooze while Nigel loaded all the video and photos we have taken onto the laptop.
We didn’t rush – the official end time was 3.00pm so a leisurely lunch and a slow packing away of the outside stuff for Nigel – the same for me on the inside stuff.
The last thing was getting the levelling rams up before setting off for home at just after 2.30pm. The journey was fine and we were back before 3.00pm.
Not too much washing for a weekend so just chucked it in the laundry basket – bit slovenly but hey ho.
We had been looking forward to the ‘Cream Tea at the Locks’ C&MH rally since we booked it. Doing the last minute packing in the morning and then a leisurely drive the 15 miles or so to arrive about 3.00pm. It would have been a relaxing start to the weekend.
We should have known better.
We have spent most of today at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Appointments with my Clinical Oncologist- getting the low down on what is involved with the Radio Therapy I will be undergoing and the effect it will have on me. Then a pre-op assessment with an ECG and blood for many tests (must have been half an arm full). Then a bit of a wait to see an Anaesthetist to see if there would be a problem with having a quite a long operation – luckily that was very positive – he suggested they might want to give me an Echo Cardiogram before but that would only be as a check. So when all the results are in all the teams can have a discussion and decide the best course of action to recommend. I’m still waiting for that – but it should be soon.
We came away just before 4.00pm feeling more positive than before – so it was worth it.
Back home – then couple up Voyager and Betty and we were off to our Rally.
We arrived just before 6.00pm to find a nice flat, well mown field with a good selection of Caravans and Motorhomes already sited.
Quick chat with the Marshals, manoeuvred to where they wanted us and then the bit of work getting setup.
Nigel did the outside stuff – getting the levelling rams down – although we were all but level they do add stability and stop any rocking! Then the silver screen. I had ignited the oven and when it was up to temp put the dinner in. While it was cooking we strolled over and did the financial stuff & got our Rally pack – quite expensive (relatively) at £30 for 2 nights but worth it for the location.
After our meal (homemade cottage pie – prepared yesterday) we put up the gazebo (Nigel didn’t try to put it up inside out this time – he’s learning). Then the awning. We have changed to orientation this time – the gazebo next to Betty with the door facing forward – I can look out at people not just a hedge – much better.
We met Helen walking her dogs past us – there with hubby Keith, they are from South Wales and had a Swift RIO Motorhome. We took a stroll to see it a little later – different with a flip up back – for more ventilation?
Then feet up, bit of TV and bed.
Saturday 3rd August 2019
A rather cloudy morning with a little mist but still warm. Nigel got out the pole and windsock – he couldn’t get the lights to work though (something to keep him busy when we get home) – while I made our packed lunch.
So with the 2G’s prepped and packed we set of for our trundle into the town by way of the tow path.
It was good to see the locks being used – with many narrowboats going down and a few going up the long flight.
Some with many helpers and others just a couple – it is wonderful to watch but you need to be pretty fit to do it – we are well past that.
We have been to Devizes many times before but not with Voyager – she is too big for the small car parks – so it was good to check out the shops together doing all the little side alleys as we trundled through.
It made a change to see so many independent shops although like most towns these days the Coffee chains and Charity shops seem to be spreading everywhere. There were a few traders set up in the Market Place – I bought a scented candle at one and Nigel was intrigued by a vendor selling smoked things – he bought a pack of smoked walnuts. We tried them later – very odd taste we decided (half went in the bin – still you never know unless you try).
On through the shopping area using Little Brittox, The Brittox, Maryport street and Sidmouth street (love these names) – where a street singer was giving a lovely performance.
We had lunch by the ‘Crammer’, people watching and chatting, before a quick trip to Morrisons for a pressure break (Pee) and to buy a few things we needed.
Then on our way back we checked out the indoor market – I found some lovely fabric stalls – bought a few yards to add to my stash.
We made one more stop at the Wharf and checked out the museum and gift shop – very interesting
– couldn’t get a Devizes fridge magnet though (all sold out) but did buy a few postcards. I will add it to the list of magnets Nigel has promised to make.
Then all along the tow path back to Voyager.
On the last 200yds of the trip, as we were ascending the rise to the road bridge, Gordon lost power and to cut a few awkward minutes short Nigel had to knock him into neutral so I could push him back with Grace.
We only just made it for the 3.00pm ‘Cream Tea’ social. We took chairs, table, plates, knife and cups – Jenny gave us a pack of 4 scones with small tubs of jam and clotted cream. The ern was steaming away with coffee, sugar and tea-bags next to it – so it was self-assembly which all added to the fun. We sat with Helen and Keith and while I made up a scone each for us, Nigel made our coffee’s. We thought that two halves of scone with jam and cream would be enough – but it’s been so long since we’ve had any that the others couldn’t be left. Oh dear – I fear the ‘Walk of Shame’ at Slimming World next week.
After we had eaten there was the ‘Picture Quiz’ – the four of us decided to act as a team. However even working collectively we only got 22.5 out of 32 – the winner managed 26.5.
We went back to Voyager, me for a little siesta and Nigel to check what was wrong with Gordon. He had a pretty good idea – while servicing him a couple of months ago he found one of the motor brushes to be very worn. After much searching on the internet he couldn’t find the manufacturer original replacements but did find what looked like good generic ones on Ebay. This replacement had completely disintegrated – but having bought a few he replaced it with another which got him going again – but not for long. He managed two circuits of the van, a trip to the Elsan point and half a trip to the hedge to dump the grey water – when it failed again he pushed it back.
He fitted yet another brush but only so he could get him back into Betty.
So Gordon is Bust – the moral of the story being – Don’t buy inferior Motor Brushes from Ebay!
Later after our steak meal we spent the evening back with a smaller group having a few drinks and a good chat.
I found them all very friendly and happy to listen to me (some groups don’t) which made for a really good night. I enjoyed it a lot – I think we will be doing many more Rallies with this group!
Then off to bed.
Sunday 4th August 2019
Breakfast and a bit of a tidy up before Flag at 11.00.
All the usual thankyou’s etc. – then the raffle (we had bought four strips) – our usual luck was with us – so no prize again!
The official Rally end time was 3.00pm so we relaxed in the Gazebo for a bit, waving our goodbyes to our fellow campers as they left. We are so close to home and the weather so good that staying to the end was our plan.
In fact we didn’t start dismantling and packing away the outside equipment until after our Tapas lunch. Our only concession today was Nigel having a non-alcoholic lager instead of his usual 5% one.
All packed up we were the last to leave (apart from the Marshals) at about 2.30 but we were still home by 3.00.
And so the washing began.
Since getting back I have received the schedule for my Radio Therapy –it starts on Bank Holiday Monday (26th August) with sessions every weekday for six weeks. Nigel hopes we can fit in a close to home Rally on one of the first few weekends. After that I will likely be too weak, tired and poorly.
We will be back sometime after that – with a bit of luck!
You might get a techy Blog in there sometime giving updates on the few jobs around the Motorhome and Trailer that need doing.
Our journey was OK – we stuck to the major roads, which although quite a bit longer is definitely quicker. The weather was not as good with frequent showers on route but hey hoe that’s England for you in mid-July.
We arrived at the Camping in the Forest Roundhill site near Brockenhurst about 1.30 and were directed to Church Field, where the Hermanfest Rally was being held.
There were only a few other Motorhomes there and as we positioned ourselves next to a Hymer we presumed it was going to be a small intimate gathering like the inaugural meeting last year (7 units). How wrong we were – by the time everyone had arrived the field was packed with twentyone Motorhomes and one caravan.
Now I should explain that this was not our usual type of Rally but one organised by a YouTube video producer. Adam (Ads), along with his partner Zoe, star in and post video’s relating to their travels on their channel ‘Hermans RV Holidays’. We have been watching them more or less since we got Voyager – and jumped at the chance last year to meet them and a few other subscribers.
This time five of the originals attended with a lot more. So we got to see some old friends and meet a lot of new ones.
Nigel set up the Gazebo with assistance from a couple of others – but only after I had reminded him which bit to pull on first – he keeps trying to erect it inside out which just doesn’t work. We now have 2 sidewall covers and a ground sheet which also got fitted. It did leave one side open but that was toward Voyager so we thought it would be OK. During the process another YouTuber Bob Earnshaw (another of the originals) filmed the process – it is included in his video of the weekend – Bobs Hermanfest Video.
As the afternoon progressed the rain that had been showery started to set in properly – so after our meal we moved into the gazebo with Alison and Michael (from last year) and our direct neighbour Sue. We all had a smashing evening with a few drinks and lots of laughter and good stories.
The rain didn’t ease up all night but we both slept very well.
Saturday 20th July 2019
We thought we were in for a cloudy day – which after yesterday would have been welcomed – but no – the sun came out with mostly blue sky. We did get a very quick shower – though it only lasted for three minutes.
So nice and warm we got the 2G’s out and did a bit of a tour of the corral (we seemed to be arranged in a big circle with just a couple in the middle). We had a brief chat with several of the group – particularly Darren and Wendy who it turned out live only about ten miles from us. They also subscribe to and have appeared in another of our YouTube favourites ‘Kiwis on the go’.
Ads and Zoe had embarked on a walk around the campsite (which is very large – more than 500 pitches) with a few others some giving their dogs a good exercise as well. We had missed their departure but caught up with them near reception and chatted with them as we took a circular route back to the corral.
After our light lunch I was just checking the inside of my eyelids when Nigel startled me asking if I would like an ice-cream. Well when a mobile ice-cream van arrives on your campsite it would be impolite not too – so a nice big whippy tub for me.
Not long after that it was a congregation of chairs and tables – out with the cakes – and drinks,
a bit of a thank you for coming chat from Ads followed by a Quiz that we did badly at and much laughter and storytelling all around. People drifted away and back at times but it went on until about 11pm which was lovely.
Slept well again.
Sunday 21st July 2019
Another lovely day – the sun making regular appearances.
Today was the official last day of the rally and like last year we had booked an extra night – and would have spent it with Bill & Jill – but my sister Lyn had arranged a 50th Birthday Tea party for her husband Steve, with a lot of family attending. We couldn’t miss that.
As the forecast is looking good for a few days we have booked (by phone) a CL site nearby for tonight and when we have a good phone data signal we will book a few nights in Salisbury as well.
So after breakfast I did the inside chores while Nigel did the outside ones. Then we did the dismantling of the Gazebo along with all the goodbyes – it did take a while.
We arrived at the Memorial Hall in Wincanton at about 3.15, having stopped for our lunch in a lay by on route.
It was good to see the family again – we get together so rarely these days – and have a good chin wag. I took the opportunity to pass on my not so good news quietly to them all so they now all know of my health problem. For those of you that don’t know the big ‘C’ is back – now in my neck – I am trying to stay busy so I don’t think about it too much. My Oncologist says it is very treatable – so fingers crossed.
We left about 6pm and drove on to the Three Oaks Farm CL site at Zeals – it only took twenty minutes or so. We pitched up on the edge of the paddock and did all the levelling before we were greeted by the owner’s wife. It’s the first time we’ve been offered a cup of coffee on arrival – which we accepted (a little dumbfounded).
When the coffee arrived the owner himself turned up too
dressed in his Pearly King outfit –first time for that as well! We paid our £13.50, had a good chat until they left us to it.
A light meal, booked 3 nights in Salisbury CCC site, a bit of TV then bed.
Monday 22nd July 2019
Usual morning procedures completed we left Zeals about 11.30am made good progress to Salisbury – arriving just after 1pm.
It’s a lovely site but our grass pitch had a bit of a slope – love our rams – we are level but flying within minutes. Nigel did need the steps to put on the silver screen though.
We put up the gazebo and the rollout awning and then went for our exploratory trundle checking out the ice-creams available at reception (nothing exceptional).
Included in our site info leaflet was details of an accessible route into the town centre so we checked out the first part of it, just to the footpath itself. Also checked the opening hours of the Stratford Social Club next to the site – it has a big sign saying Campers Welcome.
Back to Voyager for our meal then on with our glad rags and back to the Club for a couple of very cheap drinks.
Slow trundle back, it was still very warm so we sat in the gazebo for a while,
then a bit of TV and bed.
Tuesday 23rd July 2019
Nigel had planned our day – Salisbury was the local town for his teenage years – so after morning duties we set off. Now today had been hyped by the media as possibly the hottest in England ever – so as well as our sunhats and a good covering of factor 20 we made sure the emergency ponchos were with us.
We followed the route we had been given (it was fully accessible)
and quickly got into town.
A very pretty well kept central area with a mix of old and new, all the usual high street shops and a few independents. There are some well-placed designated pedestrian areas – it’s well worth a visit.
I could see the High Street Gate ahead of us and thought we would be going through it to the Cathedral
but no Nigel steered us to the right – up Crane Street, over the bridge and on through Queen Elizabeth Gardens by the river.
What a lovely park area – well-kept with flower beds and seating all around. I’d have missed it all together without the local knowledge of my hubby.
We continued on, using the Town Path across Harnham Water Meadows where we saw an artist painting his view
maybe he was trying to emulate Constable’s ‘Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows’ of 1831 although the modern view is somewhat different. We continued to the village of Harnham itself – which at this point has a few old buildings and a good green recreational area by the River Nadder.
We used the pavement next to the main A road until we could turn off again onto the Old Harnham Road passing thatched cottages and the Rose & Crown pub
over the river again (via what was originally a Toll Bridge)
and along the quaintly named De Vaux Place.
Under an old City gate and on a little further until we entered the Cathedral close from the South.
We had our packed lunch in the shade of a large tree with a view of the west side of the Cathedral – idyllic.
I wondered whether we would be able to get into the Cathedral with the 2G’s but it turned out to be no problem. Lovely wide aisles and ramps everywhere they were needed. I do so love the architecture and structure of old churches
– the skills of the masons and woodworkers always amazes me. We spent a good hour plus exploring it all.
The afternoon was passing quickly (as it does when you are enjoying yourself) so as I was still trying to find a nice short sleeved cardigan I nipped into M&S on the way back.
There’s always something isn’t there – just browsing and my phone rings – it’s the hospital – they want to bring my Friday appointment forward to tomorrow!
So back to Voyager – we did have a nice whippy ice-cream on the way (I deserved it!) and we got everything packed away again.
It’s disappointing to have to cut our break short but my health is more important than a holiday isn’t it?
We have one more weekend Rally booked which hopefully we won’t need to cancel – but after that I think there will be a bit of a gap in our trips away. We will keep you informed.
We picked this C&MH Rally because of its location – less than a mile from Winchester town centre. We had intended to arrive mid-afternoon but were delayed by a last minute Hospital appointment in Chippenham.
We didn’t encounter any holdups on our journey and arrived at the Rugby Club field at 7.30pm. Nigel had phoned earlier to check this would be OK.
We were welcomed by Audrey who showed us to our pitch marker and checked we were happy. After getting setup Nigel went to the Rally Marshall’s caravan to do the financial bit and get our Rally pack while I prepared our meal. Included were the usual tourist info, the itinerary and a quiz sheet.
After eating we went for our traditional exploratory trundle of the local area – found the path to the town centre –
and, of course, we ended up at the Rugby Clubhouse, just for a quick one you understand. We met a few of our fellow campers there so had a bit of a chat.
Now you may remember me saying that my brother Roy was thinking about getting a motorhome well he is now the proud owner of a 2010 Elddis Autoquest 130. I mention this because since buying it we have been getting the odd phone call asking questions about issues he’s had – my favourite being his first – while in a car park on Paignton seafront he enquired why his electric kettle wouldn’t boil. Everything else was fine, lights, fridge – he’d even checked all the fuses and trips. I did laugh – I don’t remember us ever being that naive, but maybe we were in other ways.
Saturday 6th July 2019
After a leisurely breakfast and the usual chores we set forth on our planned trundle into the town centre. I had made up a packed lunch as it’s so difficult to stay on SW plan when out, with all the street food available at events like the Hat Fair.
It was a lovely sunny warm day and we enjoyed making our way, along with a lot of other people, into town.
We found among the old streets many acts doing their thing – musicians, dancers, mime artists even small groups performing comic skits, all vying for the change in the pockets of the watching crowds to be put in their hats (hence the name).
As usual we couldn’t see too much as being low on our scooters, and apparently invisible, even if we found a good vantage point it was not long before a group of people would stand in front of us.
Anyway we found other things to see – the Abbey Gardens then around by the Cathedral
past Cheyney Court
past Winchester College and into the park by the old town wall
and weirs on the River Itchen.
We couldn’t visit Wolvesey Castle as a play was being performed in it at the time – we had to come back later – which we did.
A lovely English Heritage maintained ruin, worth seeing.
We had our picnic lunch in the shade of an old oak tree looking over the well-kept gardens by the weir, very peaceful, apart from all the people passing by looking at us and I’m sure envying us for thinking ahead and not relying on very overpriced food from the many stalls around.
After our extravagance of a traditional Italian ice-cream handcrafted into a cone like a soft one from a machine – great to see that skill demonstrated – we made our way slowly back to Voyager.
We stopped briefly to watch a few balls of two separate cricket matches being played on the pitches adjacent to the Rugby club but the call to siesta was too strong to stay for long.
Meal, a bit of TV and bed rounded off a very good day.
Sunday 7th July 2019
It was a bit cloudy first thing but things started to brighten up after breakfast as I looked from my dinette seat at some hunky shirtless Rugby players having a training session just over the field. Forty years ago I may well have been offering to give them a rub down afterwards. Ah, fantasy.
Unusually Flag was at 11.00 where all the usual thanks were expressed. Unusual because the rally didn’t end until the Monday but several campers had to leave today to get home for work. I remember those days. The results of the quiz surprised us – as we’d won – but only a small tin of biscuits.
Another packed lunch made while Nigel did the outside chores then we are off again. Today it’s a trundle to Hockley Viaduct – another of those lovely old railway lines changed into a cycleway which we love.
First back into town where we found the start of the Viaduct Way just down the road from Wolvesey Castle. It is about 2.5 miles long, mostly flat with some great views
St. Catherine’s Hill
and lovely flowers along it.
The viaduct itself is pretty impressive as well.
Made in Chippenham by the forrunner of Westinghouse
After taking many photos we returned to town using St Cross road for a chance to see the old Hospital (now care home) as well as old cottages.
Through Kingsgate from the other side.
We had our lunch at the gardens again
(and another Italian ice-cream) before heading back to Voyager.
I was seduced by the aroma of a German sausage and couldn’t resist so Nigel & I shared a hot dog – shouldn’t have but it doesn’t hurt sometimes to be a bit naughty.
We didn’t have an evening meal (because of the sausage) as we both felt full.
So a quiet evening both of us, I suspect, thinking of things to come in the next couple of weeks – Nigel being positive and me feeling a bit low – thinking the worst.
Monday 8th July 2019
A leisurely breakfast then the chores and pack up. We left about 11.00 and were home for lunch, and so the washing begins.
On the mat was a new Hospital appointment. They are not hanging about.
Today we are going to our first Rally with the Swift Owners Club. It’s not far from home at Lacock – chosen because visiting Lacock with Voyager and Betty is not easy and we wanted to have a good look at the Abbey and gardens. That and we wanted to check out what the SOC was like – we could always run home if we didn’t like the way they did things.
David had phoned Nigel earlier in the morning to let us know about a road closure near the site – that was a good sign we felt.
When we arrived at the Rally field of Kilima Farm we were greeted by David and directed to our pitch – well pitch marker where we set up. Even in a field you have to stick to the 6m rule.
Everybody seems very friendly and as its one of the smaller clubs we have joined we hope it lives up to its blurb.
Our Rally pack was delivered to us (in exchange for the fees) – now that’s a first, normally we have to go to the Reception table/van. Included in the pack were local attraction leaflets with maps (all available in Tourist Information places) as well as our Rally plaque, which was nice. The best bit about it was the cost – we have never stayed anywhere for four nights for £28 before. Admittedly there was a £2.50 social fee and £5 Rally fee (refunded for first rally) on top of that but even so it was great value. It also contained a sheet with Names, Reg Numbers and home town on it –very useful for folks like us that forget names after a few seconds.
Had a lovely time chatting with a few other members – who we were either introduced to or introduced themselves to us. The weather got warmer during the afternoon but turned chilly again by tea time – at least there was no rain though.
In the evening (about 7pm) we all met up in the gazebos (3 fixed together) for coffee and more chatting, after a brief intro by David.
We got back to Voyager about 9.30 and relaxed with a bit of TV – we have found about 3 hours of TV is fine when we are off-grid and at this time of the year on a good day the leisure batteries are back to 100% by lunchtime.
Thursday 27th June 2019
The weather was gorgeous today if a little windy (but at least it’s a warm wind). So after breakfast and the daily chores we set off for Lacock village.
It’s only a couple of miles – down a steep hill on the way there (and up again on the way back). Luckily on the way we only met one van on the narrow lane and there was a good verge for us to get on while he passed.
We had a good wander around the village had a small tub of ice cream made by the Lacock Dairy (Nigel’s treat while getting a couple of post cards in the village shop) which was remarkably good (and the only vendor we have found with a good tangy Lemon Sorbet).
We met a couple of people from the rally who admired our setup (Bluetooth headsets etc) – they were surprised we had trundled down the main road – we are a bit blazay about that now.
Onward stopping briefly for a jar of local homemade chutney at the wall before checking out the Church and the Ford. The tythe barn wasn’t open today but we have seen it before so that was fine.
We eat our packed lunch in the Recreation ground behind the pub – with a few others doing the same before venturing on to the Abbey.
As I am a National Trust member we got in free (did buy a few things from the shop though) and had a really good look around both the Abbey and the grounds taking loads of pictures.
The 2G’s tackled the hill well on the way back (which was a relief!) although we did take a few minutes rest half way up to snap St Anne’s Church
but we got back to Voyager in good time.
Tonight the social event was described in the itinerary as a Communal BBQ – now as we don’t do BBQ we were just going to skip it but we got it wrong. It turned out that everyone takes a table and chairs – puts them in a long line and eats food they have prepared by a method of their choice in a banquet fashion. Unfortunately we had prepared and were eating our chicken rice dish by the time we were told this.
Just to be sociable we did the table and chair bit, I had a yogurt and Nigel started a bottle of wine.
This while folks around us ate their food and chatted – we’ll know next time and get it right. We did skip the coffee in the gazebo later – by which time the bottle of wine had evaporated (Nigel regretted it in the morning though).
Friday 28th June 2019
As yesterday was busy we thought a short trundle was in order today. First though Nigel decided to erect our new Quest Pop Up Gazebo.
It went up remarkably well (after I had reminded him which bit to pull on first) and was secured with a lot of tent pegs as there was still a bit of a breeze blowing.
We decided that we will buy a ground sheet and a couple of side sheets to cover the fly screens as they let a lot of the wind through. It does provide shade well though.
After lunch we went for a tour of Sandy Lane (only about a mile away). It’s a quaint village with many old houses and thatched cottages – from a bygone age.
The road through it was very busy though but there is a good pavement for most of it – just crossing it was a bit hairy. Its claim to fame is the only wooden thatched Church in England.
The small Church of St Mary & Nicholas is very pretty. It was paid for by monies collected from locals – and still in use for services, baptisms and weddings. We had a good look around and took more photos.
Back at Voyager we relaxed for a while, had our meal and then joined the others in the Gazebos to celebrate Val & John’s 35th wedding anniversary with a glass of punch. This was followed by a quiz that proved very entertaining – not that we do very well with quizzes.
A little TV and another restful night.
Saturday 29th June 2019
Today was warm (hottest this year so far apparently) – long may it last.
We had a really lovely chill out day – it is nice not to have to rush at anything – the sun is hot, 28deg or more. So we sat in the shade of the Gazebo for part of the day and then a nice cooling breeze developed so after our Tapas lunch we moved the chairs into the open, reclined them and had a snooze – happy days.
There was a cream tea social later which we skipped as we really shouldn’t be eating scones with jam and cream – I must have put on a couple of pounds at least already.
We did attend the celebration for Pat & Pete’s 250th Rally – with cheese and wine, not that we ate or drank much. We did have a good go at the quiz and managed to get a few right, but not enough to win.
Another very nice evening.
Sunday 30th June 2019
Home today but first there’s flag – and the drawing of the raffle. We had bought four strips of tickets and there were a lot of prizes so we were hopeful of winning something – but our usual luck prevailed and all the big, good ones disappeared as we waited. We did win something in the end – a Chinese embroidered glasses case – very, um, nice.
The clouds had returned although it didn’t rain so our journey home was short and uneventful.