1260: Family, Friends and UK Trips Part 2

1260-1261:  Yorkshire with the Margaret and Shirley

Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th August 2019

So good to say goodbye to the Aged P’s knowing we will see them again soon.  They headed south and we headed a short distance NE to meet Margaret and Shirley (not forgetting Poppy and Boo. It was touch and go whether we met them … they’d had to be towed out of a muddy long grassed field and could easily have headed to home to clean up …  They were not be be persuaded to do Greece and East with us this winter .. it’ll be a while till we see them again.

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On the way we stumbled on Nidd Hall hotel, where I had my my honeymoon with (practice) husband No.1.  Should’ve known it was doomed, as we arrived and he promptly stuck the F1 on … all about priorities!

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 They’d found a stunning CL in Lingerfield, near Knaresborough.  Dog walking in the fields by the site and Shirley was tickled by Oscar’s ears and caught them in full upward motion! 

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Margaret grew up not far way and was our guide on Sunday around Knaresborough.

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Smiling after bacon rolls and amazing brownie for me.

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1262-1264:  Heading South

Monday 19th – Wednesday 21st

A CLs and a free night night on our way South towards Hereford.

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Clavering CL.  Down lots of winding narrow lanes so not for the feint hearted.  But so peaceful with the dog walking field at the back, so we stayed two nights and had an admin day.

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Then the most amazing wilding spot at Clee Hill Quary.  It was a quarry on and off since Bronze age days, had its own railway and industrial buildings are evident.   It is an amazing mound in the middle of lower rolling landscape.  https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/titterstone-clee-hill

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Radar station on top. 

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360 views all the way round, but a little windy … and another funny ear movement. 

1265-1269:  Hereford Meet

Thursday 22nd – Monday 26th August

Another wildcamping.co.uk meet with some ‘old’ and new friends.  We managed to get a riverfront pitch.

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We spent some quality time and meals with Pat and Jim, who we’d shared our Orkney adventures with.  We went to the Bulmer’s cider factory … they expanded and then over extended and much of where the factory was is now a Sainsburys.

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Generous tastings at the end.

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We attempted a sculpture bike ride around Hereford, but there were so many twists and turns, we aborted and had lunch in the pub!  This statue was erected by someone who survived one of the plagues, don’t know what the benefactor would have made of it being in the middle of a roundabout.

We also watched England thrashing Ireland at Twickenham in a pub … pure magic!!!  Says I!!!  And I did some knitting and chatting with the ladies.  I had an eye check up … contact lens in left eye to avoid reading glasses, working well, so I ordered a year’s supply.  And the sun came out … I think my shorts made it out for about an hour before I got chilly.

1270-1273:  Back Home and Multi-Medicals

Thursday 22nd – Friday 20th August

En route back home, we dropped the e-bikes into the centre of Bristol for their annual check up (service) … free servicing for life from the store we purchased them.  Apparently, they’ve tightened both chains to stop them slipping.  We shall see … not been on them since.

J’s oncologist still very happy with the way his prostate treatment is going … seems she is from near Palermo, Sicily and holidays every year in Sardinia, where we’ve just been.  So good to go.

With Jez on Clare and Chris’s drive, we emptied him most thoroughly and cleaned all the interiors of cupboards, footwells etc.  Stuff stacked up in the Aged P’s garage now, as well as the shed, attic and our bedroom.  They were away again, so had no control how much stuff came over!  Jez was soon to be dropped at Bristol Caravans for his medical – MOT (first and a little early), both services, electric check and very outstanding warranty work.  We packed our bags for what we wanted whilst in our house in N Devon for two weeks.

On Friday we collected the e-bikes and had supper chez Stephen and Kay, our old neighbours … we sold that house last September.

1274-1286:  Home in Combe Martin

Saturday 30th August to 13th September

Loading our shopping bags and boxes of stuff (being van dwellers, we don’t have suitcases or holdalls!) in the the car, we left Jez and the long list of works with Bristol Caravans, Tackled the M5 south and across to Combe Martin to the house we bought last September.  We have had an amazing first season of holiday lettings …. just as well we’d booked ourselves in for the two weeks, or it would have been back to back house guests.

We managed just a few house guests of our own, Sinead and Shane Lin and Bo, Maddy and Robyn.  And a coffee and and wine fuelled evening with locals Debbie, Brian and Annette.  Annette is the sculpture talent behind Cornish Creatures … mostly seagulls and puffins with attitude … check them out here …https://www.facebook.com/rockyandcliff  but she’s just started branching out into more serious works.  I’m lusting after her nose to nose at the finish line racing greyhounds in bronze.

We managed to better our 2nd from last score at the pub quiz, by coming last!  Our team name was Brain Fog!

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It felt like slipping on a comfy dressing gown being back in the house.  Corrie settled right back in under the TV.

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The new Cool Garden at RHS Rosemoor … I went twice … with Maddy and then James.  Making the most of my membership card for this last year. 

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I’m fascinated but the rhythm of the glass blowing process at Dartington.  And being a resident with an EX postcode, I and a guest get in free.

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Lots of beach walks … this is Hebdon Mouth.

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And Saunton Sands.

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A favorite – Woolacombe.

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And our own Newberry’s Beach in Combe Martin which is dog friendly.

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And the main beach, which is NOT dog friendly until 1st October.

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Sunset over Combe Martin.  Sadly the second week saw some torrential rain … our plumber who was supposed to replace the utility room roof, ended up repairing the sky light leaks in his own motorhome!  So the roof will have to be done another time.

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Exhausted wet, but happy dogs!

Bristol Caravans managed to do the hab and engine services, the MOT and the electrical test, which had thrown up some unusual and dangerous wiring, but failed to complete a single other task.  They ran out of time, so these were outstanding:

  • Fit a fuel cut off switch
  • Clean the air suspension filters
  • Warranty work on front blind (Adria had sent the wrong one … again!)
  • Warranty work on the bubbling decals (Adria had sent some vinyl, but not the back, so they couldn’t complete this)
  • Warranty work on the hab door … Adria had not sent all the parts, so Bristol Caravans managed to source a breaker’s yard door and cannibalise some of the parts for a temporary fix.  HOWEVER, it transpires that the door and frame have warped … and we have a resulting crack in the side wall.  All the warranty work has been going on well over a year now … completely rubbish service.  Luckily for us, one of the Adria UK staff was nearby and took a look at our hab door damage and the result is that we need a full new door, door frame …. and a side wall!!!  Thankfully, after a few emails, Adria has agreed that as it is consequential damage, we will not have to pay.  But based on the service so far … it is anyone’s guess as to when and where!  Just hope the temporary fix to the door holds for this trip!
  • Oh, and whilst there we had 4 new tyres fitted.

Slightly irritated that not everything we’d asked to be done was done, we contacted Mulacott Caravans in Ilfracombe.  Yes, they could fit us in next week, so we picked up the van early on the middle Saturday and took it straight into them.  They are brilliant!

  • They fitted a battery monitor, so I now have a % charge on our lithiums on my phone (the lithiums don’t work with the on board control panel)
  • As one of the two UK approved Goldschmidt air suspension installers, they corrected the install we had done in Greece …. moved part of the system so that it was no longer 1mm from a rear tyre … dont’ know how we didn’t have a blow out …!  And protected the wiring with conduit.
  • Cleaned the lpg gas filters
  • Fitted fridge fans
  • Moved the sine wave inverter from right next to the lithiums, where its heat would not do them any good, to under the driver’s seat.
  • Re-attached some battery wiring (a bit loose from Bristol C!) and up graded some to low spec wires.
  • Installed a fuel cut off switch.
And all in a week … when it hadn’t been booked in.
If anyone fancies renting a holiday home in N Devon, do check us our first!  Tythe Barn House, Combe Martin

1287-1299:  Limbo in Ash Vale

Saturday 14th – Wednesday 25th September

We had to vacate the house by 10.00 as Clair the housekeeper had to come in and clean up after us for the next set of house guests!

 

In convoy we drove back to drop Jez to Clare and Chris’ driveway whist we installed ourselves (again) with the Aged P’s.  Stuff from attic, bedroom, shed and garage all scrutinised with regard to whether it deserved a place back in Jez.  Once almost fully loaded we took Jez to a weigh bridge … a chalk quarry, so guess what colour the footprints in the van were!  An interesting old chap did the weighing … he’d been granted French citizenship … I surprised him by asking if he was Foreign Legion.  He claimed to have been ‘attached’ to them, but saw active service in many French ‘empire’ battles, such as Chad.  Bet he had some tales.  Anyway, Jez came in at 4.2 tons, rear axle not over laden 🙂  Happy bunnies.  Really pleased we up plated last year from 4250 to 4850kgs.
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CO2 trying to be invisible at the vet sorting out their pet Health Certs, just in case …
 
We completed so much admin whilst at home … van insurances, breakdown (we now have ADAC but they only cover 4 months trips, Fiat Assist, but they only cover EU, so we also now also have RAC for Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and Starling Insurance who will cover Turkey!!!), travel / health insurance. Updated software etc etc.  We were hoping that the bumper repair (low loader damage whilst in Corsica) would be done on Friday 27th, so had put our tunnel crossing back to Tuesday 1st October.  But on hearing one part is still outstanding (Adria!), we gave up the wait and brought the crossing forward.  Had we wanted to pay an additional £94, we could have travelled the same day, but we can do much better good with that kind of money, so we crossed at 0123 hrs on Thursday 26th.  And onto our next adventure … Greece and East!

1234-1259: Family, Friends and UK Trips Part 1

1234:  Antibes and J’s Family 

Monday 22nd July 2019

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Harbourside at crack-o-dawn in Bastia, Corsica watching this car transporter be loaded quickly and driven away … by a very petite lady.

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On our crossing from Bastia to Nice, we had a cabin.  Daytime, and we couldn’t sleep all morning.  What was one supposed to do … make use of the shower for a hair dye of course!

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We know Nice pretty well, but not this from the sea view of it.

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On arrival in Nice we went straight to our usual campsite so we could meet up with three of J’s 4 children for an afternoon in the nearby park.  

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And with their kids … full house on grandchildren.

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Baseball was the main game … Corrie confused …

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…. Oscar knew exactly what to do with the balls! 

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And water pistols to play with.

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Did I mention, it was still hot!

 

1235-41:  Charente and K’s Family 

Tuesday 23rd – Monday 29th July 2019

A driving day with loads, and I mean loads of Deviations and road works.  We paid for the motorway to get west along the south coast but not to head up NW to Charente region to see my family at Clare and Chris’ house.  We arrived mid afternoon on Wednesday and went straight in the pool!  Fab to relax with the Aged P’s (not that it was long since we’d seen them, but with Clare and youngest Zozo, and then Chris, Louis and Abbie arrived.  We took one day out to stay on a EUR9/night munipal campsite nearby to spend time with Bev and Mike who have a house let out as a Gite nearby.

IMG 3616Aubeterre.  Would that be another lunch out?  

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Cocktails pool side.

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Oops … would that be a red wine incident??? 

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The beach near Sangatte aire.  Had to remind myself that these sea defences were German. Coming back from this walk, I got a phone call from a woeful James … He’d dropped my sharp knife vertically onto the knuckle of his foot.  Blood everywhere!  That was the second of the carpets to head for the bin … Corrie had pooped on the other!

 

1242-1249:  Back to Blighty

Tuesday 30th July – Tuesday 6th August

We crossed back to Folkestone and wended our way to Rustington to meet up with Ian, Mel and little (he’s grown again) Jimmy.  Would that have been another big wine night?  I have no idea.  I don’t remember!  Maddy had joined us but left at a sensible hour before it got messy!

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Where’s the sun gone.  A very windy walk on the Sussex coast.

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As ever, Mr Competitive Ian won the Puket tournament.

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Then the M25.  Why does it always rain and have traffic jams on the way back?  I could recycle the same pic.

For most of this part of our stay in the UK, we left Jez on Clare and Chris’ driveway and moved in with Mum and Dad.  I seem to remember Dad giving a speech at my first wedding, along the lines of, love her, and love it when she leaves but then she comes back!  And I’m still coming back and filling the attic!

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As we’d extended this trip by going to Corsica and Sardinia, we would not have time to do our normal Ireland and Scotland tour.  So James flew to Dublin for the weekend to see 3 of his 5 siblings.  

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Michelle and Craig became van dwellers for 2 nights in the New Forrest with me whilst J away.  Oh, and their 2 Springers … so that made 4 mid sized dogs and 3 adults in Jez.  It worked fine!  And the sun came out!!  Good walking … flat!

We spent a few nights at our usual CL Coxbridge Farm, and Caroline and Terry came to supper.  Trying to persuade them to visit us in the Caucuses.  And we fitted in dentist and doctors etc. We also started the job of emptying Jez.

1250-1254:  Uffington White Horse and Abingdon Meet

Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th August 

Wilding isn’t always possible in the UK – after an abortive 3 car parks with height barriers and no overnighting signs, we ended up in a small farm site.  Great location as it was right on the Ridgeway and close to Uffington Iron Age Fort and the White Horse.

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 I did one walk solo with great views of the rolling hills.  Amazed to still see ears of corn as all the harvesting had long since been done in Europe.

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Oh dear! 

We joined a wildcamping.co.uk meet near Abingdon.  Caught up with some old (!) friends and made some new.  Relaxed and big fires most nights.  

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We watched this heron shake this huge fish down its narrow neck.

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One wet grey and windy day we caught the bus into Oxford with one of the ladies on the motorhome meet.  Her great uncle had been a Master at Pembroke College and had some Halls of Residence named after him.  He had been largely instrumental in the independence of Persia (I think!).  I was tour guide around the main city sights until, cold and hungry we took sanctuary in a pub.  Whilst half the menu items were off the menu, we had no choice but to stay as finding somewhere for 3 dogs had been challenging.

 

1255-1259:  Yorkshire with the Aged P’s

Monday 12th to Friday 16th August

We spent 5 nights up in Yorkshire with the Aged P’s.  This trip came about as Mum fancied visiting RHS Harlow Carr Gardens, and I’d taken out membership for a year.  They were in a small family hotel and we were on their CS (5 pitches site) next door.  The family were originally sheep farmers and still kept rare breeds, but had diversified.  The vegetarian daughter doubled up as restaurant waitress, front of house and sheep farmer … she had lots of ‘old girls’ as she could bear to part with them.

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Our View.

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The Aged P’s joined us for drinks and supper in the van.  Although we did eat in the hotel restaurant (the only dinners!) twice.  An ordinary menu, but superbly cooked.

RHS Harlow Carr on the one day that the forecasters suggested might not rain! On arrival we had coffee and cakes in Betty’s. Yummy.

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The next day was forecast to rain.  And it did.  But we booked the Rover ticket for the Keithly and Worth Valley Steam Railway, so were ‘ moistly’ dry.  https://kwvr.co.uk  Built by the textile mill owners to get their worsted cloth to the main railway line. A short railway with several stops, including museums, a vintage bus side shoot and The Railway Children film station.  An excellent day.  Lunch, eventually, was a quirky little cafe about to shut up.  I spotted some Lewis Chessmen high on a shelf, to be told no one else had recognised them … the owner’s father was having a late lunch too … he got them off the shelf … he’d carved them from a picture in book.  Some talented people.

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Hadn’t realised the UK operated on different time zones until the railways forced a single time zone.

Bronte Parsonage, Haworth https://www.bronte.org.uk  Small but fascinating.  Quite a lot about the family members who, even individually, were interesting to learn about.

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A teenagers’ bedroom … no brother Branwell’s room.  An intellectual and talented portrait painter who could find love or a career and descended into self pity and narcotics.

The Bradford Industrial Museum is housed in an old mill and run by the council, but free.  https://www.bradfordmuseums.org/venues/bradford-industrial-museum  A hotch patch of collections from cars, to engines, printing, mill worker houses through the ages etc. … but don’t expect a cafe, just a vending machine

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We also discovered Skipton, and Mum and I went back one afternoon to do some Christmas shopping!  I know mad isn’t it … it’s still supposed to be summer!

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