1048-1087: Enjoying Extracts of England

 1048 -1051:  MAS Walking from Urchfont

Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd July 2018

We left N Devon to join the MAS Wessex (Mountain Activity Section of the Camping and Caravan Club) in Urchfont Wiltshire.  Our good friends Frances and Edward were stewarding the meet.  The other walkers and non walkers were a lovely bunch of people, all getting together mid afternoon for coffee and cakes.  Many of which were home baked … one of our donations was Fondant Fancies baked by hand by Mr Kippling … remember those?  I can and do cook, but I am not a baker, I leave that to my sister who is a Baker by marriage.  I did 3 walks, 2 of which were on the Ridgeway.  Last time I walked the Ridgeway some years ago with James and our former Welsh Springer Spaniel, Will the Wuss, J took a photo of me peeing en plain air on the Ridgeway!  Pretty rolling country, nothing too challenging with lots of thatch cottages.  A very good pub lunch on Sunday, with left overs from my plate to make a casserole the following supper.

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Real hay bales.

1052 -1056:  Drawn Back to Devon

Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th July

We had a window before we were due back to Farnham so we left the walking group a day early and bolted back to N Devon.  A Caravan and Motorhome Club CL farm, near Bideford this time. Bikes out along Tarka Trail twice.

We pushed the boat out, or peddled the wheels out, with lunches, one in Bideford – Thai then supper after a few glasses back in Instow.  It was a bit of a gastro trip, as we sampled a lot of the locally produced ice creams too.

We really liked Instow and its view across to Appledore.  Bideford is worth a wander around too.

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Supper made with left over roast chicken from yeterday’s Sunday lunch.  Awning and dog run up.

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Instow across to Appledore.

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J’s flashing dangly balls.

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Just chilling before we decided supper here would be in order too.  And that is a glass of water, as well as the wine!

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Along the Torridge River on the Tarka Trail.

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1057 -1064:  Farnham

Friday 27th July to Friday 3rd August

Friday – arrived, our Palace erected at our usual CL in Farnham.  Maddy rang – bored and can she come over?  We fed her and then tried to watch Mama Mia 1 until Corrie launched herself at M and knocked a glass of wine over the MacBook.  Upended, dried and left to dry out.  Miraculously it worked 2 days later. 

Sunday – cinema with Maddy – Mama Mia – Here We Come Again.  We enjoyed it, but it did lack the zest and spontaneous feel of the first one.  We missed the real Donna and would have liked more of her.  Lunch was roast chicken in the slow cooker – M’s request.  She brought cake, which J finished the next day.  She’s no baker either … Betty Crocker.

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We finally met the oncologist.  She was, I guess most untypical of any medic.  Slim, youngish, blond and charming … altogether a stunner.  Even I wouldn’t have minded her tending to me.  She reiterated what we’ve been told before that J will have a cure and said that she was now putting him forward for the radiotherapy.  All good news and again we know how lucky we are.

The Aged P’s came to supper … they just been burying Gladys’s urn in her parents grave on the Wirral.  They chatted to her in the car on the way up.  Before the trip, she had been sat on their mantle piece.  

Lynn and Ian, who we met 3 yrs ago in Slovenia, also came to supper.  We’ve kept in touch all this time, but our paths had not yet crossed.  

A day trip to Polesden Lacey National Trust.  Home of the society hostess Mrs Greville.  She was the heiress to the McKewan fortune and married nobility.  A social climber who people loved or hated, but she hosted all, from  royalty, to politicians, writers and artists etc. The Queen Mum had part of her honeymoon here.  She left her fabulous jewellery collection to the Royal Family and it is still worn on special occasions.  Camila often wears one of the tiaras; this is somewhat ironic as it was her grandmother Alice Kepple, mistress to the Prince Regent, who was a regular guest of Mrs Greville.

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1065 -1066:  Flying Visit to Our New House

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th August

The local estate agent rang us to say the owners of the house we are buying were in residence there and had offered to do a tour to explain how things worked.  Too good an offer to refuse.  Our actual destination was to slowly wend our way to a meet in Northumberland, but N Devon was now our not insignificant detour!

We left car in Rothbury and drove the loooong slow drive through Bristol back to Combe Martin.  We’ve decided that where we can, we need to do this drive either very early in the day or late at night during holiday periods … the M5 just S of Bristol and the alternative of the A303 by Stonehenge are to be avoided.  We had booked a CL farm nearest our new house.  Discovered when we paid, the the CL owner is a builder – does work for National Trust … not saying our new house is special, but it was built a long time ago!

With no car, we free wheeled down to the the new house.  We met the owners, who were very generous with coffee, their time and information. The house is a C16 Devon long house with a Victorian extension.  We walked a bit along the coastal path and then fell into a pub for a late lunch.  An Anglo/Dutch couple supplied us with live music and the pub owner supplied CO2 with a massive plate of left over turkey.  We liked this pub a lot … can see it becoming a local.  Thank goodness for batteries … we were in full ‘pleasure mode’ to climb the hill back to our pitch.

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Our CL just out of Combe Martin.

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Looking down onto Combe Martin from the coastal path.

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1067 -1069:  Carsington Water

Monday 6th to Wednesday 8th August

Drove to a small £7 water and chemical toilet only site overlooking Carsington Water.  We had planned to stay on a C&CC Temporary Holiday site, but accidentally pulled into the normal camping field.  Given it was cheaper, less busy and with better views, we stayed put.  

We had an easy day, blogging, and chilling.  In fact, I only got off the camp ground to walk the dogs and grab an ice cream!  

I’ve always had a fancy to have a go a Stand Up Paddle boarding.  So we did.  We tried to book a lesson, but all the instructors were doing other things, and to be honest, there is very little to it.  Well, I can say that as I watched YouTube videos the night before and mastered the ‘skill’ straight away.  Not saying, I didn’t come off, I did.  The videos had not told me how to turn and I soon discovered, it is not the same way as in canoe … the SUP went sharply one way and I dived the other!  Now, J should have watched the videos with me … he managed to stand up for an instant, but then back to kneeling.  When he came off, he up ended the board and had to be rescued Hawii 5 O style by a family of 5!  I think that this is the only time I have EVER been better than J at a sport!  I think my core is stronger due to Pilates.  Loved it, but quickly worked out that we can not carry a standard board in the van and inflatables seem to be really expensive.  

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The YouTube expert!

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1070 -1075:  WildCamping Meet Druridge Bay

Thursday 9th to Tuesday 14th August

The meet was held in a Country Park next to the coast.  A lovely long sandy beach, when the tide was out, and adjacent to a lake.  We knew a few bods from previous meets and I got to play crib with Oldish Hippy (Barrie) and we did a lovely cycle ride with Meg, who we bought the awning from.  We cycled through Amble to Warkworth, where there is a massive medieval castle once the home of the Percy family, Earl of Northumberland and Harry Hotspur.  We also walked along the river to the Hermitage, carved out of the local soft stone.  At lunch we were entertained by the squealing pack of young ladies who had an aversion to wasps!  Pudding was an ice cream stop in Amble, where we bought fish and local cheese.  We had a wet day and didn’t move much.  The awning stopped being a living space as it was too cold to sit out an became a garage for the bikes and the Os-car.  Our final full day was also looking damp and grey, so we drove to the National Mining Museum.  This was fascinating as it explained about mining conditions, pit accidents and showed some old footage of the 80’s mining strike … Scargill and Thatcher both standing firm for their beliefs.

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Park Run around the lake … not his best time, but he was full of the head cold I’d shared!

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 Wickworth and castle, surrounded by water on 3 sides.

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James, Meg and Blanche entering the Hermitage.  Meg stuffs Blanche into her back pack for cycling … secured with the draw string.  Blanche is quite happy looking this way and that!  And the odd yawn … much to the amusement and amazement of people who spot her.  At one point we were walking in single file with a dog each … me and Oscar, J and Corrie and finally Meg and Blanche.  A young lad, coming the opposite way, announced ‘Cute, Cute and Cuter!”  CO2 you’ve been upstaged!

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Inside the Hermitage … several rooms all carved out.

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On the small boat to cross to the Hermitage.  Corrie really not happy to come aboard and had to be carried.

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Wickworth Castle.

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Ashington Mining Museum.

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It was superstition not to wash your back as dirt made you stronger!

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Some of the miners were coached in modern art by a chap from the University and most of the paintings depict life in mining Northumberland.  The Pitmen Painters were celebrated in the play Billy Elliot.

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Watching for our return 🙂

1076 -1084:  Farnham Again

Wednesday 15th August to Thursday 23rd August

Back ‘home again’.  We had to do the journey down from Northumberland in one day as J had another hormone injection on 15th  It was a fairly quiet time with lots of admin jobs completed, not the Blog though!  This is being caught up with in Ireland!  

I went to see Incredibles 2 with Maddy. She stated she’d had to wait 13 years since the 1st one, and it was worth the wait … good fun.  We caught up with Michelle and Craig.  Simon, one of J’s sons, was back in London for a few days so he joined us for lunch … it was cold enough for us to move out of the awning and into Jez with the heating on!  My best nephew, Louis did really well in his A levels and has his place as an IT Management apprentice with Deloittes.  Niece Zozo did well with her GCSEs too and we surprised her at her celebration breakfast in Farnham with the Aged P’s.  Mum said afterwards that both J and I were wrapped up for winter … how will we cope?  

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We spotted a small poster advertising the Farnham VE day celebration and as we had time, we sat and listened to a fab Glen Miller band.  One of those unexpected moments in time.

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Aah … snuggle time.

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I had a great meal out with the Girls … mothers and daughters.  Well, the company was great, the food was not!  Having raised various issues with the manager, who was having to sort out issues with most tables, we got a bottle of wine free, 10% off etc.  Maddy and Dayna are besties since age 4 and D has been on quite a few camping trips with us.

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J had two trips to the radiotherapy unit in Guildford … not sure why radiotherapy is an Experience.  Isn’t that something that is considered fun?  Anyway, he is now tattooed already for radiotherapy on 26th September.


1085 -1086:  Henley-in-Arden Wildcamping Meet

Friday 24th August to Monday 27th August

Having had such a good time in Druridge Bay with the wildcamping crowd we made a quick decision to join them in Henley-in-Arden.  Only a few hours up the M40 and we could get there between hospital appointments on the Friday and the Tuesday … literally, as we left after one and arrived back in time for the other!  We met up with a couple who live in Mychett, the next village to my parents and where I grew up and played Splodge, a fun version of contract whist.  I did an 8+ km walk with Hippy – registered disabled and on crutches … I could watch as he hoiked himself over high styles … nearly over balancing as Corrie shot between his legs!  Not sure how much morphine he had to take after … A curry night.  And J was delighted to listen to a Stones tribute band.  Really good to meet more people, who I only knew as avatars.  


1087: Farnham Overnight

Tuesday 28th August

We had one night back in Farnham to turn ourselves around … washing at Rothbury, collecting fridge and bags of food I’d shopped for before Henley and left there.  Hospital appointment, a small shop and cooked supper for Maddy.  Busy Then! 

Tomorrow … off to Ireland.


A few bonus pix

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J’s grandchildren Jade and Cian … just how gorgeous are they!  Scrummy.

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I sent this pic to Maddy with the suggestion I revise my funeral plan.  Her response was “I refuse to have to water you”.

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