New Home & Treatment

So we are now back on the road, but just a quickish up date since our last travels in September … how the time flies.


James’ radiotherapy for prostate cancer started on 26.09.18 and continued for 7.5 weeks.  During this time we stayed on our much frequented CL in Farnham.  The treatment necessitated early starts for beat the Guildford traffic, J had a bacon roll and got to know the hospital cafe staff pretty well. He got a hug on his last day! I walked the dogs nearby and got back to the hospital as his treatment usually finished.  Side effects have been increased hot flushes – worse than mine were, but he now has tablets which have dealt with that.  He also gets tired which necessitates regular nanny naps.

About 3 weeks ago J had another PSA test (prostate problems blood test indicator) and a meeting with his rather glamorous (young, blonde, bright) oncologist.  As both she and the urologist had said previously  … all good and she doesn’t want to see him for 6 months.  The hormone therapy continues.  But we are super delighted and we really do know how lucky we are.



We have been thinking for some years about buying a property abroad, but J’s medical issues, made us feel more confident about staying in the UK where we both fully understand what is said to us.  Not to mention Brexit uncertainty!  So, France, Greece and Portugal all lost out!  Our tenants moved out on 12th September 2018 and we moved our motorhome onto the driveway and lived in it whilst we sorted out furniture etc. 

Our furniture that was in storage got delivered into the lounge.  One jam packed garage was disgorged and sorted into the other garage, with numerous extraneous items offered for free on the local facebook page, such as a bread oven, tables, sofa bed …

I was able to go to Guildford hospital for James’ first radiotherapy session, then we had a staff lunch with the Aged P’s (they do car care and admin for us when we are away) and then I drove back to Bristol.  The removals company had been in and loaded, so I slept in the floor and cleaned the house.  The next day the property completion took place and we (or I) took possession of our new North Devon home in Combe Martin. I played the cancer card with the removals chaps …. please move that wardrobe 6 inches to the left!   I did several full loads in the car to empty the Aged P’s attic of our stuff … full to the brim with barely breathing space for the dogs … and one trip I had a hight speed blow out on the M5.  And where was the spare?  Under a mountain of stuff, of course.

So what have we bought … a Devon long House in Combe Martin, North Devon, dating from late 1600s.   Three double bedrooms, lots of downstairs space and no grass to cut … just flower beds and two patios!  You can look at it here …   We’ve bought it with a view to letting for holiday lets and when we (eventually) want to reduce or stop our roving life, we will live in it.    So, in the meantime, if you fancy the N Devon coast for a break, you know where to book.

Whilst we were there, we had a new shower room installed, decorated one bedroom, widened the driveway, fenced the perimeter to make it dog safe, painted two lots of pine bed bedroom furniture and made 12 cushion covers, added plumbing to the utility room ….  busy busy work work chop chop bang bang.  Have come away for a rest!

IMG 1904

Sorting garages and furniture that arrived down from the storage unit at the house we sold.  Looks like a load of old rubbish!

IMG 1097 2

Tythe Barn House used to be a B&B and this is an old postcard we were given.  The porch and windows have since been updated.

North Devon Life

We commuted from Farnham weekends until mid-November, leaving the motorhome on site.  We both strongly feel attached to the village, even in the short time we lived there … until mid March.  It is a thriving village with a pulse … butcher, 4 all year pubs (we came second last a couple of times in the pub quiz!), library and doctors surgery.  Lots of good local walks etc.  Love it.  

We had a lot of visitors too … great to spend time with so many folk, but we still didn’t manage to see everyone we would have liked to.  James had a trip to Antibes to see one daughter and small grandkids and I had a week in Cuba with Maddy.

IMG 2312

Damien Hurst’s controversial Verity (Truth and Justice statue in Ilfracombe.

IMG 2479

Making paper mâché hats / lids for James and my New Year fancy dress costumes ….

IMG 2536

In the local pub as Salt and Pepper pots!

IMG 2239

We joined the RHS as Rosemoor Gardens is not far.  Their pre Christmas Night Glow was magical.

IMG 2242

 More art and craft … what a creative mother I am!!!!

IMG 2484

Lots of fudge making in the slow cooker … too tempting!

IMG 2175

Combe Martin bay with the tide out.

IMG 2195

Dog whisperer.

IMG 2240

Body bags … best ever purchase.

IMG 2344

Combe Martin Rememberance Service

IMG 2620

Woolacombe Beach.

IMG 2507

Christmas and Boxing Day with my Aged P’s and Clare, Chris etc.

IMG 2508

Maddy, Niecey, Louis and Zozo used to put on plays for the family, and an old programme was dug out … the blonde wig make several appearances – think Louis may still have it!

IMG 2443

Birthday running jacket.  Oscar asking when we’re off!

IMG 2445

Christmas full set of thermals … gotta remember that this is our first UK winter in 4 years, thank goodness it was a mild one!

IMG 2578

A rather special Niecey’s 21st.

1edbd322 d821 46e1 84de cfecc55ae1d0

It had to be climbed!  We invested in a set of gaiters each as it is sooo muddy everywhere!

IMG 2487

Worried our little Greek dog would feel the cold … a hand knitted jacket … she didn’t go out in it though!

IMG 2363

Me, Mum, Clare, Tim and Dad!

1088-1101: Back to the Emerald Isle

1088: Drive to Holyhead

Wednesday 29th August 2018

I was driving and made a bit of mistake … I followed the sat nav and it took us across Wales on the A5 which we are sure is slower than crossing Wales at the top … BUT it was very pretty.  Another must come back to place.  We ate and rested near the Marina in Holyhead before catching our 2.30 am ferry.  The Irish crossings are unenlightened when it comes to dogs – they either have to be booked into their Stalag metal cages in the kennels, or stay in the vehicles.  We are not sure if they slept, but we got a humungous welcome when we returned.  We did NOT sleep.  There were quite a few solo men (lorry drivers without cabins) who were horizontal and the cacophony of snores was LOUD.  One chap gave us serious cause for alarm with his breath rasping like a death rattle.

1089: Yippee Back in Ireland

Thursday 30th August

We rested up a Malahide, next to the castle and park, before driving down to Camac Valley Campsite.  Our home for 4 nights, so awning up and dog walks in the adjacent park.  We largely ignored the dogs on leads signs, unless someone with small children was approaching.  We really do find Ireland pretty dog unfriendly … not allowed on busses, or in cafes etc.


1090: Kilmainham Goal

Friday 31st August

We cycled through the park to the Grand Canal, which is a cycle path.  Now you would think a cycle path allows one to cycle freely.  Not here!  There were 8 barriers; you could just wiggle a bike through, although no room for panniers.  But we had to tether the dogs, whilst we unhitched and lifted the Os-car over the barriers.  Did I mention 8 times!!!  We came back along the road, not as pretty but un-hitching free.

We had pre-booked timed tickets, taking it in turns to mind the dogs.  The goal was built along the lines of Pentonville, with the 3 Ss: Silence, Separation and Supervision.  As well as political prisoners, it also housed ordinary folk.  The inmates swelled to over 4000 during the famine as people were imprisoned for stealing a loaf as well as begging.  The leaders of the 1916 uprising were here and many were slaughtered in the yard used for rock breaking, until the British government put a stop to it as they realised the tide of public opinion was against.  A really moving place.








Later the Carbage 50cc scooter event arrived for one night.  The rules are the bikes must be over 15 years old and only 50cc.  They had driven from Harwich across England and Wales over 5 days.

1091: Family and Friends

Saturday 1st September

MaryKate (J’s niece and Goddaughter), hubby Michael and two off spring drove down to see us, later joined by old friends Fionulla and Sean for a late lunch, or is it early supper?


1092: Kerstin and The Game

Sunday 2nd September

Two big events today.  James got to go and see the GAA Gaelic Football Final, which his team won.  Up the Dubs.  He even managed to stay out till quite late!!!

Meantime, I did jobs around the van and walked the dogs.  The other significant event was Kerstin arriving from Germany … she arrived around midnight, Ryan Air was late, but at least it was flying.

Cd5deacb 66ed 4a6c 8860 275a6093cc92

Bd862472 505f 40ae 81dd 91808b4ea1f8


 1093: Onto Kerry

Monday 3rd September

After showers on board (we saved EUR6 between us buy not using the campsite showers), we headed off to Kerry.  Our destination was the Killarney National Park before we drove the Ring of Kerry.  K and I walked to Muckross Abbey and then around the outside of Muckross House.  Although towards the end of the day, there were till lots of Jaunting Cars (horse and carts for which Killarney is well known) offering to drive us and the dogs around the estate for EUR40.  Thank you but we like walking!

We found an overnight parking in a small leafy car park further on around the lake.  As well as Motorhome Craic, we also used Park4Night as the best apps for Ireland.


The Abbey was free to wander.  Huge and with some massive fire places … how those Monks lived.


The graveyard was still in use.





The house had superb views down the lawn to the lake.

IMG 6829

Each evening, I get the map, guide books and iPad apps out to plan where we go and stay, often over a glass of sherry!

1095: A Day of Walks

Tuesday 4th September

We walked from our parking to Torc Waterfall.  Easy to loose the crowds on a circular walk past the waterfall.  A slight incident, where we lost Corrie … we could hear her barking excitedly from a distance.  It seamed like she was gone about 15 mins, but Kerstin timed our wait and it was only 5 mins.  She came back pleased with herself, only to be promptly put on the lead until the landscape was more open and we could see her!

IMG 6832

At Torc Waterfall.

IMG 6833

I had posted a question about driving along the scenic Gap of Dunloe, to be advised that it was hardly suitable for cars, let alone motorhomes.  In Killarney, the TIC told us that there was parking at Kitty’s Kitchen.  We were heading along the start of the Ring of Kerry, travelling anti-clockwise as advised so as to travel with the coaches … narrow roads and negates the need to suck in our sides and pass.  We did a spontaneous turn following the signs for the Gap of Dunloe.  We were really pleased we did … fabulous scenery. Very like Scotland.  J joined us for an ice-cream on our return!  We had done something like 15kms, so deserved.



Joseph and his technicolour dream coat.  No mistaking these for boulders on the hills.


IMG 6866

Waiting for our triple ice creams 🙂

We overnighted on the Comane Peninsular.  Great views out across to Dingle.  The pub next door, Jack’s, is a well known seafood restaurant, but sadly shut for food on Tuesdays.  Probably just as well as mains were around EUR29-34!  We did manage a drink though and got some advice from the locals.

IMG 6868


IMG 6818


1096: Mega Sightseeing

Wednesday 5th September

Sight seeing included the Kerry Bog Village, where local dwellings had been relocated.  The information was a little dumbed down … coaches stop here.  Fortunately, the ticket office gave us the group rate so entry was only EUR5 pp, saving of EUR1.50.  Actually, we have been pleasantly surprised at how reasonable all entrance prices have been.

Cahersiveen had a lot to offer and it was here that we really started to find out about Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator.  He was a pacifist and believed that independence should be gained through legal means.  He was elected to the British Parliament and attended but refused to take the oath as it was Protestant.  To avoid an uprising, the Act of Catholic Emancipation was passed.  He also supported the abolition of slavery, women’s rights etc.

Our overnight was an absolute gem.  Cooncrome Harbour.  Just us, the waves and the stars.  Lovely chat with a local fisherman who was delighted we had found the place, he wanted to share.

IMG 1828

Kerstin kindly walked the dogs whilst J and I ran.  Cromane looking across to Dingle. 


At the Kerry Bog Village.  The neighbouring pub was offering Irish coffees for EUR6, but we decided we’d make out own using the cooking brandy!


During the famine, which lasted years, these pots were filled with soup for the starving … often just made with herbs and nettles.  Over a million and a half died and a further million emigrated.  The population has never recovered to its pre famine 8 million.


Irish wolfhound.


I just managed to use the flash as mama bird swooped in to feed her young.


Just outside Cahersiveen is a monument and short river walk to Daniel O’Connell.


His birth place is the ruins on the opposite bank.  He and his brother were adopted by his wealthy uncle and educated in France and London.


In Cahersiveen the old Police Station / Military Barracks is now a local museum with a section on Daniel O’Connell.



IMG 6905



Ballycarberry Castle, not open to the public, but a romantic ruin.


Two ring forts in the drizzle.

IMG 6920

IMG 1832

Cooncrome harbour – our best night spot.

1097: Valencia Island 

Thursday 6th September 


Kerstin’s morning swim followed by a Pilates session. I did offer loan of a wet suit!

James advised us that Valencia Island is the wettest place in Europe.  We don’t doubt him.  Portmagee had won some tourism award, but we drove through looking for somewhere to park, aborted and reckoned all it had to offer was brightly painted buildings.  Just over the bridge on Valencia Island is the Skellig Experience Centre.  This covered the history of the monks inhabiting Skellig Michael and carving 3 stairways out of the rock up to the monastery with beehive buildings at the top.  We watched a H&S film about how the boat landing, the climb up and down can be fraught … an American died this summer.  Boats onto the island were booked up till next week, dogs not allowed and the crossing each way could have taken 1.5 hours … so not for us.  We none of us fancied the EUR40 pp boat ride just to sail around the island.  Since the island was in a Star Wars film, it has become very popular.

Valencia Island is also where the first Atlantic telegraph cable came ashore.  It worked for 12 days, broke and wasn’t fixed till the following year.  The Cahersiveen Barracks was built to protect the cable.  We felt the area could have made more of the cable, but Skellig Michael over shadowed it.

A short drive up to Bray Head where K and I walked. The views out to the Skellig islands and across the coast were stunning, or would have been, had it been less misty.



IMG 1834

We had a quick look at Knight’s Town, the main town on Valencia, pleasant, but not much there…. 

IMG 1835

… so little, that the tourist information board made much of the loos!


We overnighted in the car park for the Tetrapod Trackway, only discovered in the 1990’s, these marks were left by the first amphibian 3.5 million years ago.


Our overnight view – the lighthouse and coast.

1098: Waterville and Derrynane – Best Beaches

Friday 7th September 

Given the narrow roads and how small our car park was, we got up and left pretty early.  We stopped at Waterville for breakfast and lunch.  Really lovely views and the morning light was superb. Well, it was until about 10.30 when the coaches arrived.  Fortunately we’d had the cameras out before the ‘trippers’ wreaked the atmosphere.  I know we are ‘tourists’ too, but we do not come in multitudes!

Derrynane is the home of Daniel O’Connell, which he inherited from his uncle.  A good introductory film about him at the start.  J rested, whilst K and I walked the most beautiful beach to Abbey Island and quickly around the house gardens, as the rain came in.

We overnighted in the really heavy rain at the motorhome parking in Sneem …  sounds of conkers being thrown on the roof, is NOT conducive to a good night’s sleep!  An opportunity to charge everything up and take on water for showers in the morning.



IMG 6974

Charlie Chaplin used to visit.




Kerstin’s second sea swim. We overheard some people admiring (!) her hardiness!  J and I shopped for a woollen Jumper for him … stocking up on warm clothes for our first winter in the UK for 4 years!


Derrynane House



Daniel O’Connell was imprisoned for 3 months for organising monster rallies (a million people would come to hear him). On his release he was paraded around Dublin atop this chariot, with his grandchildren dressed in green velvet on the lower tier.


Abbey island by Derrynane.



IMG 1839

Kerstin had a couple of items on her check list of things to do … fish and chips was one of them.  And boy, was it good fish and chips.

IMG 1843

My fish chowder was pretty good too.  

IMG 6995

Sadly no music in any of the pubs in Sneem (too few tourists here), but we did have two Irish coffees in two pubs.

1099: Kenmare

Saturday 8th September 

K walked the dogs again, whilst J and I ran.  Then we all showered. We parked up in Kenmare by the pier and had a wander … Oh and an ice cream in the rain! Kenmare was laid out as a model town by lord Landsdowne, later the British Prime Minister.  It had a good feel to it and, whilst full of tourist shops and bars, real people live here.  I think we must have touristed ourselves out, as music was on in some bars later, but we had a quiet night in … and I let K beat me for the first time at crib!

1100: Return to Dublin

Sunday 9th September 

Another thing on K’s bucket list was a full Irish .. so we had a healthy start to our driving day!  We got back to Camac Valley Campsite and erected the awning.  We wouldn’t normally bother for one night, but we were entertaining some of J’s family … Delia and Liam, and John who’s over from Chicago.  Sadly Amelia didn’t make it.

A1d1294e 908b 4abc ab79 4879d29bb535

E19588aa 2413 4a40 8715 6c00943cb57e

More cream James?

1101: Journeys Home

Monday 10th September 

Runs and Pilates before taking the awning down. Tom (another brother) and Mary popped over for coffee and kindly drove Kerstin the airport.  J and I parked up for the afternoon and early evening in Phoenix Park before heading off to Dublin Port for our 0215 hrs stupid o’clock ferry.

IMG 1875

We walked through Phoenix Park to see the Papal Monument where the current Pope recently delivered Mass.

IMG 1838

A new type of Disk Lock to stop your vehicle being stolen!


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.

IMG 1634

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.

IMG 1636

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

IMG 1641

Instow across to Appledore.

IMG 1643

IMG 1654

IMG 1657

J’s flashing dangly balls.

IMG E1649

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


Along the Torridge River on the Tarka Trail.

IMG 1650


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.

IMG 1659

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.

IMG 0702


IMG 0719

IMG 0721

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.

IMG 1715  1

Our CL just out of Combe Martin.

IMG 1718

Looking down onto Combe Martin from the coastal path.

IMG 2139

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.  

Screen Shot 2018 08 31 at 17 29 36

The YouTube expert!

Screen Shot 2018 08 31 at 17 29 54

IMG 0755


IMG 0789


IMG 1726

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.

IMG 0806  1

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


 Wickworth and castle, surrounded by water on 3 sides.



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!


Inside the Hermitage … several rooms all carved out.


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


Wickworth Castle.



Ashington Mining Museum.




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



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.


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?  

IMG 1777

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.

IMG 1792

Aah … snuggle time.

IMG 1810

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.

IMG 1808

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

0b7aabf9 04f3 4fdc b81f 539e6c684d51

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

IMG 1631

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

713f334b 0ccd 4e22 9e79 e3e6fcb8bf75

1099-1047: The Length Of Britain … Almost

 Over the last 2 months we’ve been very busy … met lots of friends on travels and spent time with family.  We’ve travelled a fair bit:

  • North Devon – twice
  • The Lakes
  • Inverness
  • Farnham, our home from home
  • Bristol
  • Urchfont, Wiltshire

Bristol:  10th – 18th June 2018

We had intended to take a few days wilding, but after loading and cleaning as we left the Aged P’s we felt a bit shattered … we came onto Bristol and got in early than booked at Newhouse Farm CL in Aust that we’ve used before – £12 pn.  Gentle views over the S Gloucester countryside, close to the Severn Bridge that J likes to run over (it was his lunch time run when working at the bridges), good dog walking and close to friends.

Supper in Bristol with friends from our erstwhile wine appreciation society – a group of ‘old socks’ – sorry, ‘old soaks’ wearing old socks!  K met with Thelma – ex-colleague from Cotham School……Stephen and Kay came to lunch at Newhouse Farm CL.

A trip to Bristol Caravans, who have picked up the warranty work after our supplying dealer went broke, to check out the hab door and a small area of floor vinyl de-lamination.

We woke this morning to strong winds. The awning is pitched on very HARD hardstanding, so the pegs were not fully home.  We looked out of the hab door this morning only to discover the awning had largely walked 2 foot to the left.  Clothes on double quick, mallet in hand and storm guys deployed. Fortunately the rain in the night has softened the ground a little so the pegs went in … hope they stay in.

IMG 1491

Storm straps on.

IMG 1492

Our view.

Our little buggers have been exiting the awning under the van … well Oscar … he comes out  to find K.  We’d bought a caravan skirt and fixed it to the van using a Kampa Limpit system.  However, the Limpits don’t stay on.  The question was posed on the wild forum, and one suggestion was a cheap airbed.  This worked initially keeping them from exiting under the van, but Oscar has now taught Corrie to escape through the sides where the awning has a flappy return to the side.  Currently the pilates mats are ineffectively blocking this exit point.  Suggestions?   The little buggers also managed to switch on the radio (again) and the hazard warning lights when we were out last night.  Oh, and they found their way into the spare sack of dog food this morning … I had to come back for more poo bags on the early walk!

IMG 1490

The air bed barrage. Now being head butted out of the way!

We walked on the Prostate Cancer march at Blaise Castle – thanks to all our friends and family, we raised a shedload of ‘smakaroonies’. It affects 1 in 8 men in the UK (official figures – many more unrecorded). 
IMG 1508

Exmoor:  19th – 21st June -2018
To Exmoor – meeting with Lin and Bo – Lin gave us generous and invaluable advice whilst we journeyed in Greece and Crete … K had an oft repeated refrain “Lin says ..” – many thanks for that and supper!  Next day we moved a short distance to a farm CL – we were the only occupiers!  Walking lots and instantly fell in love with this gorgeous area – potential home purchase? more anon….. 
IMG 1514
Views of a walk down the valley from Exmoor to Porlock.
IMG 1519
 Coming into Porlock. 

IMG 2011

Walk along sea marshes to Porlock Weir followed by a pub lunch.

IMG 2013
IMG 2014

Farnham:  22nd-  June 2018:  Back at Coxbridge Farm in Farnham
Between various eye, ear and sundry appointments, we managed a few meals with family and some friends … even managed to get camping adverse Caroline overnighting in our drop down bed … result.
Our Palace … and we still haven’t sorted the Hoodini dogs!  

IMG 1524


J purchased new back up running shoes.   They are getting some serious use with all running he is now doing. It’ll be matching lycra next!

IMG 1531 

 Naming no names … someone had a pootiful flushing time at work – a sh***y story! 

IMG 1520

Two of my siblings, Michael and Amelia flew from Dublin to dine with us at Danniellie’s Sicilian restaurant – with Sinead and Shane!  A proper family affair!   Just a shame their flight was 2.5 hrs late … K who was doing the airport run was OK as she went back to the car to read … they spent a large chunk of it in the plane and on the runway!  Air Ryan!!!  

Just on siblings, did you know the word for nieces and nephews is nibblings?

IMG 1550 

IMG 1551

56776c2c d6a6 4f0b a6f7 3d8211c86b08

IMG 2039

J ran into Farnham the next morning for a quick hello and goodbye with Amelia.

 Ambleside:  30th June – 5th July – 2018

‘Jezzed’ up to Cumbria (favourite place in England – but north Devon is catching up). Camping and Caravan Club walking meet – about 40 motorhomes and caravans.   This C&CC special interest group is called MAS Mountain Activity Section; we have been assured that is actually a walking and cycling group, no crampons required.    
I managed one 7-miler with the walking group, with assistance from ice cream! We did shorter walks another couple of days.  In total 4 walks and 3 different lake swims.  And once you got on a walk you lost the crowds who seem to congregate in and near the towns.  Now K doesn’t like shopping unless it is for camping or outdoor clothes and the sales were on.  I rested in a bar whilst K speed shopped.  We both came away with tops and shirts and a walking skirt (for K!).

IMG 1556

Amazing wild flowers near Windermere.

IMG 1559

The MAS group allowing the cool breeze to dry us out after a steep and long hill climb.  Either that or doing an Angel of the North impression.

IMG 1561

View from the top.  The rugby club, our campsite, is down there.

IMG 1567

IMG 1570

Half the stones were washed away a few years ago.

IMG 1572

Elopement anyone?  The only elopement we know of was Delia, one of J’s sisters, who married Liam in Gretna Green. Not because the family would have objected to her choice in man, but she doesn’t like fuss.

IMG 1573

Rydal Water one of our shorter walks.  A swim followed by lunch and a nap.

IMG 1574

Doggy run up only at the C&CC temporary site.  Right next to the posts!

IMG 1577

Overlooking Thirlmere Lake.  Same formula … walk, swim, eat and sleep. 

IMG 1579

IMG 1580

Bus into Keswick.  A first for Corrie.

IMG 1582

Walking part way around Derwent Water.  No swim today.

IMG 1583

IMG 1585

Goodness knows how Corrie found mud with all this dry weather.

IMG 1586

Wonder what it’s worth?  Although probably many of the coins are now out of circulation.

Stunning Scotland Meeting Friends:  6th – 10th June 2018
Cumbria to Scotland – we’re getting around!  Met Dan ‘the man’ on the shores of Loch Lomond for food and chats……  Thanks, Dan for the advice on visiting Sardinia – sometime…
On northwards to Brin near Inverness for the next motorhome meet – hosted by lovely Margaret and Angus. Old friends and new – lots of good food and vino. And another loch swim for K.  Saturday night – Emma played the Scottish Harp beautifully. New arrival Jim produced his guitar and said he hadn’t played for years…  He subsequently played like Bob Dylan!  I strummed some background chords….   We all had some sharpshooting practice… my youth, my father took my air gun away after neighbours complained that their chimney pots were mysteriously disappearing……. (This was in Hazel Hill Amelia.)  
South to see Margaret and Shirley’s new apartment in Melrose – luxury – and huge spaciousness……they gave us a lovely supper too despite only just being moved in – thanks, ladies…
Journey from hell to get down to Farnham on 10th June.  90 min delay on M6 so a detour via Leeds to the M1.  Having been so wowed by Margaret and Shirley’s new apartment and mellow Melrose, we could have considered the Borders as a potential house purchase.  10 hours driving was no joke.



Short Stay in Farnham:  11th-13th July  2018
Simon came to visit for the day – we drove to Ash Vale and he and I ran 4 miles along the Basingstoke canal – when did we last run together – xx years ago – maybe Swindon cross-country when he was 13??   Wow!  He’s running well and I’m fitter than I have been for 2+ years….. Lunch at Jez and Simon returned to London by train. He and Ai  are off to Hungary for a dragon boat racing international.
The following day, we had a “Persian Bbq with the Baker gang, 9 of us in the awning!  Quite a hoot with the teens and 20’s bringing us up to speed with what ‘doing bits’ means.
51fc2d79 664a 48d9 97a4 5e81e225d3b2
5ad83fbf 0890 49f5 8cdb 293ebe332245
House Hunting in N Devon:  14th – 18th July 2018
Having sold Acer Crescent, we’re on the trail of a home in north Devon, having fallen in love with the area!  12 houses to view in 3 days – quite a schedule…  after a second viewing in Coombe Martin – no contest – Tithe Barn House it will be – offer accepted – Yippee!!!  The main house dates back to 1500s – time of Marlowe, his employee Shakespeare and good Queen Bess…. 
While I rested my bones, K walked along Woolacombe and Westward Ho beaches.  We both walked up around Ilfracombe, and fell into a bar until we realised the car park ticket was about to expire!  OK, the sun is shining beautifully, but even in winter the place will be gorgeous – family and friends are welcome – youze can dress in Elizabethan style if you wish – I will dust off my codpiece!  EBay for a chastity belt for K? 

IMG 1603

Walk from Ilfracombe.

IMG 1605

Looking down to Ilfracombe.

IMG 1606

Resting whilst listening to a band.

IMG 1608

View from the bar!

IMG 1627

Woolacombe beach goes on and on.

IMG 1629

Our New House!

IMG 0697

Ours in the far part of the semi.

IMG 0688

IMG 0678



Oscar here, fellow campers!  How about this, then?  I have owned my pets for 2 golden years!  They are still a work in progress but coming along nicely…..  I remember the day they came to fetch me in Solihull (August 2016).  Since then, I’ve dragged them around Europe – including Greece – where Corrie found us in Ancient Corinth. Now, I have 3 pets to train – but I’m Spaniel enough for that!  Mind you, Corrie almost threw a Spaniel in the works – James and Katherine always said there would only be 1 dog in the family!  But she’s really ok and well-mannered – she even follows me when I bash my way out of the awning (regularly) – they don’t call me Oscar Houdini for nothing…  Here’s to the next 20 years – James is lasting well for a bloke in his eighth decade!  K is a young posh potty, anyway….   Corrie is only a little ‘chiseler’……

Corrie here, pets….. the above whippersnapper thinks he’s a gifted Lothario in charge of everything….  He doesn’t even get a sniff – well, maybe a quick bumsniff – nothing else – I’m saving my self for Mr Right……perhaps Mr Geek, no, Greek.  Now, I need to do some training – otherwise things get a bit sloppy around here!  















1068-1098: Where Time Gone?

 We are both doing the Prostate UK March on Sunday 17th June in Bristol.  If you have a few spare pennies, please do sponsor one of us.

There is just a small amount of rivraly as to whom will raise the most!

Thank you.

1068-1074 – Wednesday 10th – Wednesday 16th May 2018:  A Mini Trip to Scotland

Drive to Scotland.  Overnight near Moffat at National Trust Grey Mere’s Tail car park.  A little damp so no stars.  Scenic walk up the stream to the lake the next day and J watched ospreys in a nest through the ranger’s telescope.  Joined the SNT, as cheaper than England and as we will be in the UK for a bit …

We spent the night on the coast west of Edinburgh by Blackness Castle.  In the morning, just as I was getting dressed we heard the fish van arrive.  A scramble into clothes, hair awry, and fish cakes, trout and sea bass purchased.

We spent 5 nights in a lovely campsite in Roslin, famous for the chapel that features in the the Da Vinci Code.  Very good friends Margaret, Shirley and pooches were on the neighbouring CL, so we walked lots and dined with them several times.  We also got to meet two sons and wives; lovely to see Chris and Mary who’d we had such frolics with two Christmases ago in Lagos.

Coincidentally my very good friend Kerstin the Kraut (actually she is a Professor Frau Doctor Doctor – you know how the Germans love titles!) flew into Edinburgh on their way to Plockton, so she and her mother came to supper.  She is completely mad … I’ve agreed to do a  Rhein swim with her in November!!!  That makes me mad too.  And she is spend 3 weeks this summer cramped up in a boat sailing from the Azores to Norway with strangers and having to work … and she is paying for the privilege!

It was a social time as Meg, from whom we bought the awning popped in too.  We had managed to get it up, after some head scratching and a few expletives …. I reckon myself to be an expert tent erector!  A founding member of the Girlie Camping Errection Committee!  Finally worked our that the side adjacent to the van should be higher!

We stayed an extra night here, as the weather was so good, the site so chilled and quiet and the walking from the site excellent.  Each day we managed to do a different off road walk.  We’d not explored this area of the Borders before, although I lived in Edinburgh for a 6 months ages ago, but we really liked it.

We found a lay-by just west of Birmingham for our overnight and wandered into the local pub.  A real locals pub with old fashioned pub fare.  I asked what red was available and was offered a tasting, YUK.  So I tried the other red, double YUK.  The locals were all on ale.  J managed to drink the least offensive of the two, I managed 3 large gins!  One of which was Gordon’s summer Pink Gin with strawberry and raspberry … pleasant but more suited to a summers lunchtime.  Pink gin to me is with angostura bitters … but I am a publican’s granddaughter!

We nipped into a caravan supplies place just south of Birmingham to purchase some more bits for our new-to-us awning, such as connecting to van bits, a hanging shelving unit, pegs, shorter EHU cable etc.  We have certainly spent more on awning equipment than on the actual awning, but we loved the extra space, especially for entertaining.  Three of the sides unzip, so we get a breeze but the dogs are contained.

IMG 0546

Grey Mere’s Tail overnight car park.

IMG 0550

The Grey Mere’s Tail waterfall.

IMG 0552

IMG 0558

The lake at the top.

IMG 1359

Blackness Castle.

IMG 1363

Great view of the Forth Bridges.

IMG 1369

Oscar wisely getting out of the way.  Neither Margaret, Shirley or I attempted this. 

IMG 0578

One of the walks from the campsite was along the river that had formally been the home of a large gunpowder factory.

IMG 1371

Post walk snuggle.

IMG 1377

Roslin Castle.

IMG 1382

And we hit bluebell time, just lovely.


1075-1098 Thursday 17th May – Saturday 9th June:  Sorting Out Stuff

Back at Coxbridge Farm CL and awning up until 3rd June.  This site really is our home from home.  We chat to people coming to nurture their horses and some of the other regulars.  During this time we did a little socialising but mostly sorting … inside all the van cupboards and the Aged P’s attic.

IMG 1391

Our pitch at Coxbridge …

IMG 1388

… with extra space … 

IMG 1394

… that the dogs think is their play room!!!

IMG 1387

New nick knacks and shoe hanging.

I did a trip overnight to Brighton with Maddy … loaded with cleaning fluids and my rubber gloves.  She and Kitty, the flat mate and friend, had a flat inspection.  Kitty had a university paper to finish, so Maddy and I set to.  Maddy eventually declared that she was not really designed for cleaning, so I set to!  We passed with flying colours!  By the time I’d paid for a couple of meals, the cleaning stuffs, a belated B’day jacket and was persuaded to buy a new handbag and trousers, it was a rather expensive, as well as tiring weekend.

I headed off solo the following weekend too.  For over 30 years we’ve had Girlie Camping weekends. However, Gill doesn’t ‘do’ canvas and all my kit is in store (was offered loans, but feeling soft), so Gill found a stunning barn conversion near Winchester.  We raised a glass to Nicky, whose birthday it would have been on the Friday we met.  We nattered and hooted.  Walk and pub lunch.  Ate royally … Greek, Turkish, Persian and good old English for a breaky.  Gill introduced me to Negroni … equal parts of Campari, Gin and Sweet Martini … I managed 3!  I missed it, but the rather sexy host entertained Gill and Bron, by walking outside wrapped in nothing but a towel, apparently the house shower was broken and there was one in another barn.  

IMG 1429

Bron, Gill and Al in Winchester.

For both my trips, J stayed at home.  One of his daughter’s and partner popped over for a BBQ, but I left him at home with the dogs to walk and more cleaning stuffs! 

Medical news.  James had had two scans to judge if the prostate cancer had spread … we saw the consultant on the 18th.  Really good news … it has spread but is contained to the prostate and the consultant said twice that he was going for a cure.  James has been on hormone tablets since   and will be on injections as of tomorrow.  So far the only side effect has been deep seated fatigue, but we expect more side effects with the injections.  We attended a Prostate local superb talk about how hormones can increase fat around organs and reduce muscles … we are already on a mostly Mediterranean diet :), James has upped his running, resistance bands purchased and the 2nd pilates mat out of attic.  

We’ve also both had dental check ups, sorted out online repeat prescriptions and the car passed its MOT.  The dogs have been to my say-it-how-it-is vet and got a clean bill of health. I even got my first ever GOOD on the state of their teeth!  

Just a word of warning for dog owners.  The UK mandates that rabies jabs should be every 3 years, the rest of Europe is annually.  Whilst in Crete both dogs had bloods sent off to the national laboratory for their Titer Test.  Corrie has the requisite antibodies.  Oscar did not!  His UK rabies jab is valid until 2019, but actually with no antibodies, so I guess he is not protected.    This may only affect anyone wanting to take their pets to High Rabies countries.

A little socialising ….  James bumped into Caroline and Terry at the running club … later I joined Caroline with two old school friends mums of Maddys, that I used to know quite well … 12 years ago.  We trained up to London to see J’s eldest who was in London form Doha for a few days.  Whilst walking on the South Bank, two extremely handsome young ladies fell on Corrie … they were Greek and recognised her instantly as a Greek dog.  A BBQ with my sister, cooked by her 18 year old son … one of his life skills sorted!

IMG 1404

Corrie’s first trip to the old smoke.  Oscar had been as far as Ealing before.

IMG 1405

Simon.  Family resemblance?

We’ve had some issues with Jez.  On our return trip from Greece the indicators were flashing fast.  On our decent from Scotland they stopped working altogether.  We drove to Fiat Southampton … they worked for them so nothing to fix, and fortunately Fiat did not charge us.  We took in a National Trust property on the way home and then … the indicators stopped working again!  We booked Jez in again.  In the meantime, a mechanic on the Farm where we stay called in his auto electrician.  £60 diagnosis that the indicator relay was not working …. but not able to fix it!  Fiat disagreed with the diagnosis, it was something in the EMU … fixed.  Here we go again then …. they stopped 5 mins from home.  Fiat wanted the van for up to a week … if it was the computer, and worst case, if it had to come from Italy, it would take a week on the slow boat via China!  Mum, Dad …can we stay with you?   

We stayed in Eastbourne for two nights to attend a very dear family friend’s funeral on Monday 4th June.  Gladys was 95 and ready to go; the lunch after was pleasant with her long term cleaner and two cousins.  At 95, and having been unmarried, there were not many friends left.  On the Tuesday we dropped the van into Southampton and then moved in with Aged P’s.  We’d already emptied the freezer and fridge, plus dropped off car loads of stuff … we weren’t sure how long Fiat would keep Jez. We went to the cinema, I went to RHS Wisley with Mum.  Far too much booze with suppers, but we did manage one dry night!

IMG 1487

Beautiful sunny Eastbourne afternoon.

IMG 1437

The funeral suit came down from the Aged P’s attic … first time in a tie for over 3.5 years.  There’s a wedding suit up there too … any takers?

IMG 1441

RHS Wisley.

IMG 1445

IMG 1451

J collected the van on Friday.  All sorted – poorly positioned wires under the chasis during Adria build which had eroded and caused short circuiting.  Adria agreed to cover the cost instantly … I had thought we may have to pay Fiat for the investigation labour and then move Jez to an Adria service centre.

IMG 1457

The broken wires.

So Saturday 9th June saw us back on the road again in Jez.  Very happy to be so.  It is good to have the comfort of a house, but we kept loosing things as it is too big and far too much to clean!

IMG 1430

 Kongs all lined up, waiting to be filled with dog food and frozen.