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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
– 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.
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.