1635-1645- : Heading North and Rain

Screenshot 20200914 123657 Samsung InternetWe’ve been listening to Wind in the Willows.


1635-1638:  Hereford Motorhome Meet

Thursday 27th – Sunday 30th August

A lovely town to wander and, in theory, some great walking and cycling from here … but it had been raining and it pretty much continued cold and damp.  So much so, that we had to be pushed off the grass and spent a couple of nights in the car park.  We left the muddy hand prints on the bonnet for a few days … not really a badge of honour!  With the weather and Covid, there was much less socialising than normal, but we did spend some lovely time with Ben and Lyn, who we first met a meet in Holland.  

A good chunk of time, was spent putting stuff into bags … habitation service due …  Oh, and we identified the leak in the garage, fortunately not a door seal, just a loose connection from the pump.  With this having been dripping and causing mould under our bed (yuk!) and the broken bottle of dish washer liquid in the garage … everything was frothing and needed a good amount of cleaning up and drying out (when the rain ceased!).

1639-1642:  Derbyshire Work and Walking

Monday 31st August – Thursday 3rd September 

Early up and off … to Derbyshire.  Jez the van had been booked into Geoff Cox Adria dealer for over a year … we had waited on parts to repair the damaged bumper (Cosica low loader damage early Summer 2019), but had to leave in September to meet the Aged P’s in Crete before they all arrived.  I was slightly concerned that the parts (the bumper costing £2400 alone) would have been damaged or worse, lost whilst in storage … but I am my mother’s daughter … a worrier.  A great moho dealer with lovely people who seem to really know their stuff. Habitation service complete, MOT passed (despite my worrying that the headlamps are aligned for the continent), bed frame fixed and a basic engine service done … bumper all new … just need to NOT drive into anything to keep it that way!

On arrival a a C&CC CS (5 pitch farm), we went into major erection mode.  I grew up being ‘dragged’ all over Europe as a child under canvas and so quite enjoyed being in a tent.  What we did not like was the odd leak (new tent!) and the cold in the evenings … no heating.  What heating, in August, I know!!!  As we had what we needed in bags and the cutlery drawers, living and cooking was slightly more complicated than it would be if we had just set off for a week’s camping trip … now which bag was the rice in???

We had use of a loan Os-car Ford Ka so were able to do some sightseeing …. limited walking as it, guess what, rained a lot.  We had Jez back on Thursday afternoon … just enough time to get most bags and boxes back into Jez and get the awning down.  Lovely to be back in our own bed in Jez, after only 3 nights in the tent.  It was a good practice run though, as we plan to use the tent on the drive to Crete.  I discovered that I should have bought a 220 – 12 volt adaptor for the fridge, and it wasn’t till we took the tent down, I spotted the electric cable entry point.  But it worked well.  

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You can never go too big!

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Our encampment.

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 An old tradition of Girlie Camping trips is the erection beer, but we refrained until the  driveway awnings up for the van contents and tent up for us to live in.  So this is a post erection wine!

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So it rained and CO2 went into body bags.

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It kept raining, so a chilly J used one of my shawls …

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And then the shawl was re-deployed to a chilly bedtime Corrie.

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A walk in between rain fall.

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Walk to Tissington: No pub, would you believe, so coffee and roll only.

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Sign in the park at Matlock … who’d have thought ducks like grapes, but they have to be seedless mind!

 

1643:  Heading North 

Friday 4th September 

The tent came down on Friday morning and we used the most immaculate facilities we’ve ever used to shower and do the services before we left.  An overnight stop along the Bridgewater canal.

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Good lay-by stop and view from our door.

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 Friendly live aboard canal boaters, one of which ran a dog walking business with this car reg!

1644:  Stockton-on-Tees Stopover

Saturday 5th September 

A stopover at the Darlington Railway museum.  Small but interesting.

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George Stephenson first engine on this line. 

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Travel Buddies.

We met Lisa and Danny and their Romanian dog (named Jesus ‘cos of it’s white cross marking and shipped home to parents, who have appropriated it) at her parents house.  They live on the edge of a large graveyard … Lisa recounted how her 18th birthday bash had been reported in the national press as ‘The Rave from the Grave’!  After a walk, we inched Jez through the graveyard, managing not to drive over or churn up any gravestones and thence to their new flat (and the washing machine!).  Danny managed to leave work to join us for supper.  

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My first ever chicken parmesan!  Breaded chicken with béchamel sauce and cheddar cheese.  Local delicacy.


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With Danny and Lisa:  Turkish lockdown buddies. 

1645:  And further North

 Sunday 6th September 

Continuing North, we stopped off for lunch at the Angel of the North and then Alnwick, pronounced Annick.  

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 Like or loathe, it is certainly striking.   And BIG. Eight reinforced concrete and steel pillars go down 33m to withstand wind.

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Waiting buddies.

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Alnwick.

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Claims to have the largest 2nd hand book shop in England.  Housed in an old railway station.  Did I really need more cookery books?

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But really famous for the castle aka Hogwarts.

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Attractive main Alnwick square.

We almost made it to Scotland, but not quite … Battle of Flodden site and monument.  Knew the name, but following the battlefield walk, I discovered that James V and most of the Scottish nobles had died here … for once English battle tactics had prevailed, despite a smaller force.  However, it was also significant due to the death toll … 10,000 Scots and 4,000 English.  And all over within hours.  Up there with First World War battles for loss of life.

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Battle of Flodden monument.

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Overnight Parking.

Scotland tomorrow.

 


1618-1634 : Chop Chop Busy Busy Work Work Bang Bang

1618-1634:  Work – Chores and Busy with Friends and Family

Monday 10th – Wednesday 26th August 2020

Do you remember the BT advert with penguins?  Chop chop work work busy busy bang bang .  That’s how it’s been with us since we landed back in the UK.  It was all so busy, I had to set up a 3 column spreadsheet so I could keep track!  And now catching up with the blog.

With a stupid o’clock crossing, we parked up for the rest of the night close to Folkestone and then drove round the M25 to the Aged Ps in Ash Vale.  Maddy and I (and the laundry) alighted from Jez and I picked up the car … leaving the laundry in the machine, dropped Maddy at her home and drove around to join J at Coxbridge Farm, the CL (5 pitch site) we regularly use.

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A bit squished!

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Obligatory pic of M25 traffic, at least it wasn’t as bad as normal and the sun was shining.  A stop at Cobham Services was a reality Covid check after a more relaxed France.

Here for a few days only and the weather was glorious. And I spent it in the stuffy and even hotter attic … I’d been warned not to add to the volume of our stuff there and as we will be emptying the van into the attic, garage and shed, pruning was needed!  Over the 5 years of on the road, we have swelled the contents … items we’ve picked up as they seemed like a good idea and others that we have carried around and not sufficiently used … they all made it into the attic.  As soon as I descended from the stuffy and sweaty roof, the weather turned …. it seemed to move into Autumn pretty rapidly.

During this period we did some socialising and chores. Our Fiat airbag warning light was resolved (new innards!), and we combined this with 2 nights on Frances and Edward’s driveway.  Niece Zozo had an 18th birthday family Garden Party and we combined this with a side trip to see Ian, Jimmy, Mel and Ruth and Brian in Rustington.  Michelle and Craig joined us outside the van, for an American supper … I’ve done their prawn and smoked salmon starter for others as it was so good.  An overnight to a soulless Club site in Bladon, Oxford, to see ancient Uni friends for supper.  Met up with another old Uni friend, just as ancient, for supper in Lydney.  A very boozy lunch with Caroline – isn’t it great when off spring can act as chauffeur?!  E Bikes are serviced … Maddy drove me to collect them one by one and I cycled them back to Ash Vale.  The car has had the air con fixed, as we will need this with taking the car to Crete.  Maddy also dragged me a number of times to her gym … we did legs, arms and cardio over 4 days, so every part of me ached.

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New labelled bottles formal my sauces … thanks David and Karen for the link.

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Our Coxbridge view … and the new ex-racehorse.

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Always love a pic of one of the Severn Bridges where J worked, whilst we had 2 nights in Aust.

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Oscar is often ambitious when it comes to sticks.

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Lydney Harbour where we overnighted after meeting Sarah, ex Uni.

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Getting comfy on a trip … we’re using trellis to keep them off now!

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Our view of Southampton – the Solent … overnighting here before the trip to Fiat.

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Our first British breakfast whilst Jez in with Fiat – It may have been with plastic cutlery and on polystyrene trays, but yummy.

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Walking in the New Forest before going to Frances and Edward.

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We saw lots of the wild New Forest Ponies …

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… and CO2 got mucky!

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Corrie nesting in Frances and Edward’s flower bed …

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… and she ousted Bevan from his bed at Bron’s.

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Weather OK one night for BBQ with Maddy.  It was supposed to be confit duck, but we couldn’t open the tin …  a quick trip to Waitrose for provisions. 

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A walk before Zozo’s 18th birthday party with views of Arundel castle.

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And Oscar found another big stick … or log.

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Birthday girl.

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Corrie and Doris hoping for cake!

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Walk on Climping Beach after the party.  New tradition to each collect a shell each beach walk for Clare and Chris’ new house.

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Ian had passed a load of Nicky’s photos to Ruth … she’d sorted some out … this was the truck Nicky and I hitched a lift back from S Spain in … we had to stow away on the freighter!

On the medical front, J has had another blood test … PSA still effectively 0.  Specsavers have lifted a chunk of £s for new glasses.  And I have had a hip Xray … not significantly showing signs of arthritis, which is good, but an old injury may be causing problems … will have to wait for a clinic appointment … initial telephone consult just as we cross over to Europe …  may need to get this looked at in Crete.  J also paid the GP to do the medical form for his post 70 C1 license … despite the government announcing that all expired licenses are valid for additional months, we don’t believe that this covers overseas … and currently think that I will have to do all the driving to and in Crete … ho hum.  Of course, no way of getting any idea of when the license may (or even further medical test) arrive.