Continuing Somewhere

Monday 14th September 2020

Reasonably early start (for me) – left the site just after 10.30. Bit of a slow drive to Morrisons Kings Lynne (lots of tractors) but once there I stocked up. My supply of lager seemed to have evaporated – along with the usual fresh things like bread and milk. Filled up Voyagers diesel tank – and that hurt a bit, but I’m enjoying myself and everything costs I suppose.

Two cricket grounds today – the first at Snettisham (pg184) hadn’t seen any play this year or been prepared for any in the near future. But it’s crossed off and the view from the boundary of St Marys Church was pretty good.

Onward, via some pretty, narrow in places, roads to Holkham Hall estate (pg98). Payed only for parking and found a shady bit of the parking area. I prepared and ate my sandwich lunch (a bit late at gone 2 o’clock) and studied Google Maps to find where the pitch was in relation to me.

I had thought here might be the maiden trip with the e-bike, but no, the pitch was within 100 meters of where I was parked so an easy walk even with my knees.

Photos taken – back to Voyager and on the five or so miles to Fallowfield Farm CS. Another lovely field but much busier than most I have used – a dozen or so pitches with electric and more without. All the electric ones were in use but that’s fine with me. The forecast is good for the next few days so I opted for two nights (£12/nght) as I’m in no hurry and a whole day chilling sounded good.

I sat out in the late afternoon sun, with a cup of tea, while I updated my social media again – got to keep my friends aware of what I’m up to. Now I haven’t really been in a hurry since I retired but not moving on every day is so much more leisurely and I like it.

Love a country View

I flash fried a thin steak with new potatoes and mixed veg for my meal, followed by plain yoghurt with fresh raspberries for afters. A very good SW friendly meal. Only I had three small lagers while preparing and eating it and half a bottle of red wine later in the evening – so syns through the roof.

Tuesday 15th September 2020

As I said a chill day. Obviously did all the chores after breakfast – emptying grey and black plus filling fresh – dumping the rubbish and sorting the recycling.

I also repositioned Voyager for more sun during the afternoon. I even put out the awning. Had my lunch alfresco, only a sandwich with a few olives washed down with more lager – it’s evaporating fast.

A siesta in the afternoon- well why not.

Then more blog work – got caught up at last. Plans for the next few days. Only four more cricket grounds this trip, but I will have completed all the Norfolk and Bedfordshire ones and one in Oxfordshire as well.

Wednesday 16th September 2020

All the normal chores completed I left Fallowfield about 11o’clock and meandered my way to the only cricket ground of the day.

It was at Aldborough (pg18) the last Norfolk ground featured in the book.

There was evidence of recent matches but nothing on today. I strolled, took some snaps did my social media posts then prepared and ate my lunch while looking out over the green.

Next it was onto my campsite for the night. I had to travel nearly 60 miles as the grounds for tomorrow are in Bedfordshire (about 130 miles total). I had decided to split that journey with a stopover near Thetford. I did a quick supermarket shop on the way – just the usual fresh stuff and more of those evaporating lagers.

Grove Farm CL was pretty quiet (bit of traffic noise around rush hour) and run by a very friendly couple. Again £10 for the night with only essentials provided.

I cranked up Skygo and watched the last England Cricket ODI while preparing my chicken supreme pasta meal. Then the washing up, all while Australia managed to scrape a series win with two balls to spare. It was a nail biting game but ‘we was robbed’.

Thursday 17th September 2020

Usual stuff – left field at 11 o’clock with a 75 mile journey to Southill Park (pg188).

Satnav got confused around Huntington because I followed the A14 on its new section which isn’t on its map (prompting me to consider an upgrade). She found me again eventually but I went North instead of South for a bit.

Anyway I eventually arrived at the gatehouse of the estate where the cricket ground is located. It was my first true FAIL – it’s only open to the public on match days. Initially I was going to give it a half tick but on mentioning it on social media one of the comments was to score it as a bye – brilliant idea, after all I did drive by. So following the same logic Ullenwood is getting classed as one as well. I may schedule another visit on a match day possibly combining it with a visit to the Shuttleworth Collection Museum which is very nearby.

The second ground I found with no problem not too many miles away. The small village of Ickwell Green (pg106) has a lovely ground which features an old oak tree well within the playing area. It was roped off today as one of the recent storms had caused an upper branch to split and fall – it’s still a very impressive tree though.

Like many other clubs any shot that hits the tree is signalled four.

Another van lunch while overlooking the ground then onward toward my overnight stop ‘Tile House Farm’ Little Horwood. Another 30 miles but at least I got through Milton Keynes before the rush hour.

Arrived, pitched up, paid my £8 for the night, updated social media and brought blog up to date.

I cooked chilli and rice but had forgotten to take the mince out of the freezer this morning. Luckily it’s been a warm day and although not out until after lunch it was pretty much defrosted before I started.

Friday 18th September 2020

Another lovely day, bit cool first thing but we are nearing the autumn equinox so that’s got to be expected. I have been so lucky this trip – no rain, varying temperatures but always comfortable.

After my normal morning routine I’m off on my 30 mile drive to the last cricket ground for this first road trip.

Warborough Green (pg212) is another picturesque ground surrounded by some lovely period houses. There have definitely been some matches recently but there was no preparation, when I visited, for any this weekend.

The nearby Six Bells public house was just over the road from the Pavilion. Very handy for a swift half at lunchtime.

It was well attended with many diners eating alfresco in its lovely courtyard – it did look very appealing – however if I have even a small one midday I can very easily fall asleep in the afternoon, which is not a good idea when driving on busy motorways.

So that is the last ground visited for now – a total of ten visited with an addition two extras (byes).

The 75 mile journey home, mostly on fast roads, was uneventful. So now I have to get the deferred chores done – if I had been away any longer I would have found a campsite to do my laundry but as it is my home machine will take the strain and while it does I can start to think about my next trip.

Any future pandemic lockdowns permitting it won’t be too long before I’m off again.

You have to start Somewhere

I now travel without Betty the trailer on the back of Voyager so no more trundling on Gordon the mobility scooter. My knees haven’t got any better but I decided I would try an e-bike for local transport instead.

Voyager doesn’t have a garage, in fact her only external locker (apart from the toilet cassette) contains my gas bottles, so I have removed one of the double seats of the dinette and made an internal ‘garage’ for my new folding transport.

I planned my journey – that’s just the way I am –Google Maps is my friend, he helps me check my routes and destinations, so when I left home on my first real Road Trip since lockdown I was happy I had everything covered.

However, I had forgotten the first rule of travel. Plan for the unexpected.

Wednesday 9th September 2020

The postcode of the first ‘Remarkable Village Cricket Ground’ entered in the Sat Nav and I’m on my way. The journey was fine, I had been passed the Ullenwood ground (pg 208) many times but I had to take a snap to cross it off the list. It is right next to the entrance to Crickley Hill Country Park where I knew they had a Coach Park. I would be able to park Voyager there and walk the short way to get my photo. Trouble was, as there are currently no Coach trips due to the pandemic this parking area was blocked off. Best I could do was turn around in the small Car Parking area and beat a hasty retreat. I couldn’t even pull off the road and take a snap out the window. Oh well, I’ll leave it on the list for another day.

Thankfully the other three grounds I had planned for the day were no problem. I stopped for a sandwich after doing Stanway (pg196)

and Stanton(pg194)

and then on to the third Elmley Castle (pg82). This one was down a narrow lane but I managed to park for a few minutes and get a snap.

Then on to my first campsite for the night. Hyde Farm near Pershore Worcestershire is a Certified Site that cost me £14 for the night (no electric). Their Toilet & Shower facilities where available but I prefer to use my own so only made use of fresh water & Elsan point.

It had turned into a warm late afternoon, so I had a bit of a relax with a cuppa enjoying the last rays before cooking Mary’s go to meal for day one of Road Trips – Sweet Chilli Prawns with rice (lovely). Then the washing up followed by some creative photography of the pretty weak sunset.

Thursday 10th September 2020

After a leisurely morning, apart from the chores of course, I set forth for the only ground on my plan for today. Just over 35 miles but some roadworks (aren’t there always some roadworks) meant it took nearly 90 minutes to get there.

Stoneleigh Abbey (pg200) is a wonderful backdrop for a game of cricket.

Originally a monastery, then a large Country House it is now owned by a trust and has been converted to flats.

I had a good explore of the gardens before enjoying a quiet lunch in Voyager.

Then a 20 mile drive to my CCC (Camping & Caravanning Club) CL site for the night.

Westmead Farm, Withybrook near Coventry has set aside a small field with water & Elsan points. Very basic but for £10 it had all I needed. I was the only camper there so only birds and the odd tractor passing kept me company.

Friday 11th September 2020

Westmead Farm – A sunrise for a change

Busy morning – breakfast, washing up, shower then fill the fresh water tank, empty the grey and toilet cassette – all by 10 oclock.

Today I had booked my first timed visit to a National Trust property – Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire for 12.30. Sat Nav said I would arrive at 11.45 after my 70 mile journey. I was a bit worried when I met the infamous roadworks but only 35 minutes delay so no problem.

I wanted to see the cricket ground featured on page 60 of the book. I saw it on the left as I got closer to the car park. Bike or walk I asked myself. I opted to walk – I will get the bike out soon but there were a lot of people visiting. In fact the car park was pretty much full – I used the Coach Parking area (they weren’t accepting Coach’s anyway).

It was only a couple of hundred metres to the ground and I’m still nervous about riding my bike. I have done it at home in the village but I’m not completely comfortable on it yet (don’t want to fall off in front of loads of people – vanity I suppose).

To fill you in I was a proficient cyclist in my early teenage  years (cycled to/from school 3 miles, all weathers for several years) but from age 17 I moved on to cars and haven’t got back  on a bike until now – at age 65.

Anyway the cricket ground was well maintained – the heavy roller was preparing the wicket for an upcoming match, so I got a few snaps before returning to Voyager.

I did divert via the NT shop (usual stuff) and other buildings, chapel, garden and views first.

A sandwich for lunch.

I got my Instagram, Facebook and Polar Steps posts ready but had to wait until I left the area and was nearly at the exit before getting a phone signal to actually upload them. Something to bear in mind if you visit.

Onward the 50 odd miles to Roy’s (Mary’s brother) place for the weekend. He had told me that motorhomes could park in the car park at the end of his road. He’d seen some there the previous weekend. I found it after a short visit to Tesco for essentials.

Car Park with a view
Voyager all secure for the night

Saturday 12th September 2020

After overnighting in the car park (I did check the sign which said it was free 6pm to 8am) I went to buy a ticket for a few hours just after 8 o’clock. It was at this point I read all of the small print – Parking for Cars, Vans and Motorhomes – Tick. But – ‘Any person sleeping, camping or cooking shall be liable to prosecution’! Oh well – at least I didn’t get caught!

Must remember to read all of the small print next time.

I walked up to Roy’s flat – he gave me a guided tour. He’s only been here a few weeks but looks pretty much settled in. We had a good chat and planned a visit to his eldest daughter Michelle at her place a few miles away. I had looked up a couple of likely CL campsites for the rest of the weekend and made several unsuccessful attempts to book one. Decided to try again later.

I followed Roy to Michelle’s where I met her partner Antony. We had coffee, some chat and I passed on Mary’s bequest. Antony very kindly made a couple of phone calls and found me a campsite not far away.

Then it was off to Boston Town centre. Roy needed to do some Bank stuff and Michelle wanted to hand in her CV for a retail position.

Sophie (Roy’s other daughter) had to work but we met up with Darren (her partner) and her boys Jacob and Harry.

Had a bit of a mooch around the market and centre in general – pretty much like any town centre these days although St Bololph’s Church is quite impressive.

Impessive Church behind the market stalls

Michelle and Antony kindly gave me a memorial Angel for Mary that I will add to those already in the arbour at home.

Then back to Michelle’s where I said my goodbyes and moved on towards my campsite for the next couple of nights. I was pointing the wrong way on the road so Sat Nav made me do a quick tour on a square of estate roads – during which I did pass a cricket ground with a game being played. Had to stop for a photo.

A match being played!

Walnut Lake Park is an adult only site and pretty cheap for a site these days at £18 per night including electric.

Sunday 13th September 2020

We had arranged to all meet up in the afternoon so before that I had time for the chores. Gave the bathroom and kitchen a good seeing to and dusted and Dysoned the rest of Voyager. It doesn’t take long when I’ve got my cleaning head on (as Mary used to say).

My low tech approach to blog writing – previous evening

Also managed to catch up with my Blog draft and plans for the next cricket grounds to visit. There are three in Norfolk.

At about 3.30 two car loads and a scooter turned up with all the family. Roy, Michelle and Antony, Sophie, Darren and the boys – and a big surprise to me one of Roy’s sons Russell with his new girlfriend Anna. All I can say is it’s a good job we did it today as the Covid rules are changing tomorrow when this wouldn’t be allowed.

I passed on Mary’s bequest to Sophie & the boys – that’s pretty much them all done now.

As the campsite was only allowing a maximum of two visitors I jumped in Roy’s car and we all moved to The Ship Inn at Fosdyke for a social in their beer garden.

Family
Russell Anna and moi

A good chinwag, with many photos taken and much laughter. It made a change to be able to imbibe a little alcohol as I’m not driving until tomorrow.

They delivered me back to Voyager, we said our goodbyes and they were on their way. I cooked, washed up, watched some YouTube and retired early – it had been a good weekend.

To be Continued – I think thats long enough for now.

And so the Journey Begins

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.

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Anyway it turned out to be the book ‘Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds’ which describes ninety plus idyllic village cricket grounds around mainland UK.

book fnt

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.

book page

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I had a delicious ‘Covid safe’ meal on an outdoor picnic table near the boundary.

food

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.

This will be my new normal.

The End of Life as we know it!

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.

Mary 2

Through March and April my health was declining but not too quickly. Into May and I can feel things are changing.

Mary


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.

An Spon

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.

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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.

Nigel

And Dobby came too!

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.

Westbrt 1

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.

Stnhng 2
What a Queue

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.

Durr Wls 2
View from Woodhenge of Durrington Walls

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.

NYE buff

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.

Another Halloween Rally

Friday 1st November 2019

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).

PM shop

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.

Radiotherapy and the Evil Sorceress

Saturday 19th October 2019

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.

pitched up

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.

soggy field

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.

monument

Terry our Marshall popped his head in and told us the ‘party’ would start about 7pm in the Dockers Club.

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.

ES GR

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.

Party kids

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.

Trundle 1

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.

Biker Girl
As a Biker Chic it was nice to see – even if i can’t ride now

sunset 1

We did one side of the docks in the morning where I collected some bits for a collage (just something I like to do)

collage

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.

wound

Motoring Nostalgia Rally

Friday 6th September 2019

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.

Voy 3Voy 2

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.

View b

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.

hs clk
On the way into Town a sign of the people that live in Calne.

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.

Green Pano
The Green as a Panorama

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.

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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.

Devizes and Bust

Friday 2nd August 2019

Today has been long and tiring.

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.

 

Ralst 3

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.

Ralst Voy

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.

TP up2

It was good to see the locks being used – with many narrowboats going down and a few going up the long flight.

DEv mrng

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.

Dev hndnsDev sngr 2

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.

Dev indmkt

We made one more stop at the Wharf and checked out the museum and gift shop – very interesting

Dev whf

– 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.

Evn cht

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.

Ral com2

All the usual thankyou’s etc. – then the raffle (we had bought four strips) – our usual luck was with us – so no prize again!

Rall crmt

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.

Hermanfest, a party, & a Cathedral

Friday 19th July 2019

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.

Ads video of the rally is here .

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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,

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Not a bad sunset

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)

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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.

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I could see the High Street Gate ahead of us and thought we would be going through it to the Cathedral

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but no Nigel steered us to the right – up Crane Street, over the bridge and on through Queen Elizabeth Gardens by the river.

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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

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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

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over the river again (via what was originally a Toll Bridge)

 

and along the quaintly named De Vaux Place.

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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.

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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

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– 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.