1954-1976: Mostly Dorset and Chichester

Catch Up Continued .


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Should’ve been in the last post … ignominious!

 

1954-1958: Corsham then Chideock, Dorset with Frances and Edward

6th -10th July

On leaving Snowdon we spent 2 nights in Corsham and Alison came to supper on night 2.  We really have done pretty well with catching up with folk on our travels.

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Gift from Alison.  Perhaps I should start a small portable garden.  Got herbs now.

Frances and Edward arrived ahead of us at the C&CC Temporary Holiday Site in Chideock, Dorset and in proper motorhomer style had set up well away from everyone else!  I discovered that another Alison and her family were camping at Eype where we used to hold our annual Girlie Camping May trip … well they weren’t actually camping.  In the wind they managed to snap 4 out of 5 tent poles and were in an emergency static caravan.  On our Girlie Camping weekends we were under canvas.  The only time we used a caravan was when one of us was pregnant … Alison assured me it was not the Caravan of Confinement but of Convenience!  It hadn’t even crossed our minds that guests would not be allowed to sit outside for a drink … major events were allowing crowds … but the Camping Club have not caught up so as we asked to make it quick.  So it was a quick drink and then they went off for a pub supper.  We managed to eat pretty well too, with us hosting one night and then Frances cooked the second.

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Being close to Golden Cap, we went for it. … we came from back there.

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James and Edward at the top.

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Oscar and I to prove we were there too.  Last time we were up here was during my 50th house party in the February before we set off on our travels.  

With the weather not being brilliant we took the car and drove to a village Frances had visited before … Moreton.  On the way we stopped off at Poundsbury for coffee and cake.  This is a massive new village on the outskirts of Dorchester … brain child of HRH Charles … him who dislikes bad architecture!  What we saw was lots of modern replica old style properties but completely crammed in next to each other … very few open spaces and high density of population.  Not at all a desirable location.  We nearly lost both James and Edward … navigating the garden centre amongst the spades and pot plants on the circuitous route to the toilets!

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  Moreton church:  Pretty unprepossessing on the outside …

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All windows had been blown during the war and Lawrence Whistler (brother of the more famous artist James) had engraved all the replacements.  Stunning.

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We wandered through the local gardens, which pretty much were going to seed … obviously insufficient volunteers.  If only she’d’had her trowel; Frances was itching to sort it out.

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T E Lawrence’s grave is also in Moreton.

1959: Sunday Lunch in Farnham

11th July

Leaving Dorset, we one last reason to stay over in our usual site … Coxbridge Farm in Farnham.  A much rearranged (down to my piss poor planning) Sunday lunch with my old school friend Michelle, Craig and their daughter…  and we managed to catch the end of the Wimbledon Men’s final between courses.  

And on the next morning we had our second vaccination in Basingstoke.


1960- 1976: Chichester

12th July

We are trying out a number of 5 pitch sites in Chichester as we will be here a lot longer than planned .. certainly into winter. James has discovered a medical issue and we are waiting for surgery … he really is high maintenance man!  So we split our time between Woodlands with more space, woods and lots of deer at £8 p.n. and Cobnor House with less space, but fabulous walking around the Chichester Harbour at £12 p.n.  We really cannot work out which we prefer, but neither have hard standing or EHU … which we will need when there is less sunlight to harvest from our solar panels. Further local camping options to investigate.

Brian and Zoa were already installed when we arrived … glad he was first as he had to be towed off the boggy ground, so we knew to park on the track!  And I got another night off cooking as Brian cooked one night and I the other.

We did quite a number of day trips out with the Aged Ps, including Bosham, Haling Island … not as full of caravan parks as we had expected and a mini tour of information boards about the WW2 army presence followed by … another good lunch!  We also walked from the Aged P’s new house down the Cirencester Way (no idea why it is so named) into town and tried a veggie cafe, food was good by no alcohol was less so!

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Woodlands with lots of space.


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Handsome pooches.   

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We’ve managed to eat out a fair bit … on our own and with the Aged P’s.  Several ice creams, coffees and cakes on day trips out with them.

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Part of the set menu in Purchases in Chichester … went with the Aged Ps and liked it so much we went back with Maddy to celebrate her getting a FIRST in her Business degree with Surrey University … fast tracked in two years!  

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The BEST chocolate fondant ever. 

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The espresso martini was lacking something compared to when I make it … enough alcohol!

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Maddy and Jordan came to Fishborne Roman Palace.  Interesting but when you’ve seen the mosaics in Sicily and Greece ….

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Emsworth is really pretty.  Another eating out venue for J and I and then we came back with Maddy and Jordan.

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Hake and alioli on a crab risotto with seafood bisque … yummy.

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Emsworth with its protective harbour wall / walkway.

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It wasn’t my decision to get CO2 a doggy ice cream each, but I did end up paying for them!

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Evening walk around Cobnor.  I said what a good climbing tree … Maddy had have a go.

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Competitive Jordan went further and Maddy’s imperious arm of “Get down NOW, you’ve gone far enough!”

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Looking over to Bosham.  Interesting pronunciation … Drop the H and say it like bosom!

1889-1943: Move and Medical

Catch Up Continued .

1899 – Saturday 8th May onward:  Out of Quarantine 

Saturday 8th May

We both quite enjoyed being in the Combe Martin House despite quarantine.  Surrounded by our things and keeping busy organising, sorting and buying ‘necessary’ items online!  But it was good, really good to be heading to Rothbury, my home since aged nearly 6, but not for much longer.  

We stopped off for coffee in Taunton with fellow motorhomer Robyn.  She has re-joined the corporate world.  We spent a couple of nights with the Aged P’s as Jez was still in storage with Abacus in Andover.  Maddy cooked for us all one night; she’s turned into quite a competent cook.

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Unpacking some of my deliveries!

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Maddy bought me a Peanut Kit Kat Chunky … Mum started it, then we shared this between 4 … we ate slowly!

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I wasn’t aware Corrie needed reading glasses!


Re-acquianited with Jez – Temporarily?

We collected Jez from Abacus … he’d been cleaned and buffed.  Engine service, hab service, lots of minor repairs.  We paid, collected the keys and walked up to him.  Sense of awe at how big, particularly tall he is.  Climbed inside and thought how fab he looks.  I bombed down the motorway, enjoying driving him.  But not for long …. we’d made the decision during quarantine to sell him  Reluctantly.  Our issue is timing.  As new Greek residents, we have to be in Greece for 6 months every year.  Under Brexit, we cannot take a UK registered vehicle into the EU for more than 6 months out of 12.  The sums just didn’t compute in our favour.  No way could we import him … about 29% of purchase price AND we would never sell him in Greece as right hadn’t drive and over 3.5 ton.  Logically it made sense to sell in the UK whilst prices are buoyant.  No stock in Greece due to a luxury tax that killed the Greek motorhome market, so import from Germany.  Under 3.5 ton so J could drive and left hand drive.

Before we reloaded Jez with all our stuff on pallets in the Aged P’s garage, we took empty photos and stuck them on AutoTrader and FaceBook Marketplace.  I even did a YouTube video extolling his virtues and his few flaws!  There was some interest, but a LOT of time wasters.  We dropped the price and a chance mutual acquaintance introduced us to a lovely couple who even had a second viewing.  I know we were pitching the price high, but he carries a serious amount of equipment for off grid, security etc etc.   In the meantime, I started doing more research on costs and what we could import from Germany.  With import duties around EUR5-6k, paying an import agent, costs of visiting Germany (if possible) or buying sight unseen, then properly equipping it for off grid.  Oh, and worries about what we could carry … we’ve over 1200 tons of payload in Jez so carry serious cooking kit, 2 huge e-bikes, a doggy trailer and the twin tub.  Lin and Bo have just bought a stunning new Hymer, but won’t be able to drive with all tanks full and it will be a choice between bikes or spare wheel …. could I (me particularly) manage without all my stuff?  So with the prospect of dropping the asking price again and only being able to buy a bag of potential expensive trouble, we were starting to have doubts about selling.  Our critical time for having a motorhome is whilst we are in the UK for our normal summer UK,  Ireland and Scotland summer tour.  We have a large tent and camping kit in Crete and AirBnB do good deals out of season for touring within Greece.   So thank you Dawn and Greg for NOT buying Jez.  A huge sense of relief once we made the decision NOT to sell.  

We will have to find Gold standard storage in the UK when we return to Greece.  The insurance for both UK vehicles has also gone up as we’ve had to take out ex-Pat policies.  Very few specialist brokers.  Jez has gone from around £550 with 365 days in EU to £980 with only 6 months in EU … and they didn’t even charge me the 10% premium for sole driver!

I have to just say we feel very blest with our friends.  Lin and Bo offered us longterm storage fo our van stuff until we could return with the new van to collect it.  And Robyn offered us the use of her A class Florian to bridge the gap between selling Jez and retuning to Crete.

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A couple of the marketing pix.

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The BIG Move

The Aged P’s had been seriously drasticreducing clutter for their downsizing.  “It’s a lovely house but no storage” is now going on Mum’s gravestone!  Everytme Clare and I asked about an item, oh I sold that, or it was thrown out.  I got on the FB Marketplace game too and sold a driveway awning, Jormax panels, airbeds etc.  Clare and Chris continued their good work with sale and purchase negotiations, dump runs etc.   The Aged P’s were pleased when we took the last of our stuff down to Lin and Bo’s barn in Exmoor.

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Stuff we didn’t plan to take back to Crete when we thought we would sell Jez.

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Lin and Bo were away so we set up camp in the farm yard.

The new build house in Chichester had not been signed off and the Aged P’s couldn’t even exchange on it.  The end of June, with the stamp duty concessions, was approaching and the buyers for Rothbury would have pulled out.  So … the Aged P’s became homeless for about 10 days … could it become a family trend?  Even when they had exchanged and completed on 25th June, they couldn’t move in until the removal company had a slot to deliver the furniture.  So what do homeless folk do …. go on holiday of course!  A night in a posh hotel and then off to Northumberland.  They stayed with Clare and Chris and got the trades in to do quotes for blinds, bedroom furniture etc.  It is a lovely house and the lack of storage is being sorted!  Not enough for us to keep more than a wash kit each!  And our UK car in the ‘car barn’ … But the spare bedroom is dubbed my room and the new bed coming is referred to as mine!  So I’ve not been completely cast off!!!

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Rothbury looking rather bare.


Medical

We’ve been double jabbed and have the NHS certs to prove it.  Just got to work out how to get the UK vaccinations recognised onto the Greek health system, but that’s a problem for another time.

I had my slightly overdue woman bits checks.  Smear was all clear.  Mammogram was a call back.  I was not unduly worried as I had a call back last time for a small cyst which was syringed out.  However, this time there were small calcifications like grains of salt.  These are normally benign, BUT can be the start of cancer.  Given my best friend died at 49 from breast cancer and another bestie is going through treatment, it was a relatively tense time waiting from the biopsy result.  But it was all clear.  I am now left with a metal marker in my boob and a small scar at the site of the biopsy, but no need for extra screening.  I am very lucky.

James had another super low (perfect) PSA blood test … his prostate cancer is not showing any signs of returning and long may it remain so.  


Friends and Falling for the UK Countryside

The weather remained horrid … it affected both of us.  James never used to be affected by rain but has become more acclimatised to better climes.   Walking was a pain as CO2 had to spend a lot of time in their body bags and we felt we were constantly trying to dry clothes.  Bearing in mind, we’d left Crete thinking that we were coming to a UK summer and left most of our boots, warm and wet weather gear back in Crete!

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Grey and wet view from Jez at our usual Coxbridge Farm, Farnham site.

We found solace from the weather by eating lots … a meal out for a another belated James’ birthday celebration, dinner with Caroline and Terry, partial Girls (Al and Gill) and Mum and I fed each other a good number of times.

Whilst waiting for the BIG Move, we headed off to meet up with friends and joined a couple motorhomer.com meets.  And the weather did mostly perk up …. 


1915-1919 – Thursday 17th May to Tuesday 21st May:  Bron @ Blenheim & Littleborough

In convoy we set off for a motorhomer (aka Wildcaming.co.uk) meet in Littleborough.  En route we stopped off to see Bron, the missing ‘Girl’ who’d not joined us a week back.  We did a sneaky left the van in the free Blenheim Palace car par.  As I hopped into the Merc for the short trip to see Bron, J declared that the Merc was still playing up.  It had lost power a few days before and a local garage had cleaned a filter (£50 for cash) and assured us all was well.  It obviously wasn’t and we didn’t have faith that it would make it up to Littleborough and onward.  So we left it at local family garage patronised by Bron.  

Littleborough was great … lovely location, although busy around the lake with folk from Rochdale over the weekend.  We met up with old faces and relaxed after all our business.

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Looking back to the meet.  No rugby on but there was a cricket match.

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Hollingworth Lake.  We ran around it before the weekend crowds arrived.

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Did a couple of walks and not a lot else!

1919 – Tuesday 21st May to Thursday 3rd June:  Pately Bridge

Tuesday we shifted not too far to Pately Bridge; a Club Temporary Holiday Site.  Margaret and Shirley shifted further, down from Melrose, Scotland, via the dealer they’d just bought their big new-to-them Hymer … a couple of issues … We had 2 nights with them before they had to return to the dealer with a nasty water leak.  We ambled around, taking the dogs for walks, ate and chatted.  Just wonderful to ooze with them.  It was their wedding anniversary, so we picked up some tasty morsels from the fish shop, butcher and grocer.  A  rare good weather day had inspired us to BBQ.

We stayed on an extra night and revisited a cafe for amazing smoked salmon and cream cheese pancakes and to die for rhubarb ice cream.  We both agreed that we could have happily stayed on and explored more of the area … gentle lush scenery.  Judging by the number of walkers, good walking country too.

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Corrie,  tight rope walker, navigated the length of the wall.  Oscar would have fallen!

 

1922-1924 – Friday 4th to Sunday 6th June:  Overlander Show,  Surprise for Danny and an Annual Haircut

Where does all the traffic come from?  We’d thought congestion was the province of major cities and the south.  Cars and trucks everywhere, even on what should be quiet roads.  We set off for the motorhomer.com (wild camping.co.uk) area at the Overlander Show in Stratford upon Avon.  A huge number and variety of visitors staying over in their mortohomes, overlanders, conversions, converted ambulances, horse boxes etc.  We’d arranged to meet with Lisa and Danny, part of our Turkish family.  Danny had no idea we were to be there and Lisa kept him in a pub nearby until we managed to get parked up first.  We then walked back along the queuing traffic to leap out in front of their van!  They were parked up one side of us and Pat and Jim, who we met in Orkney, were the other side.  3 good nights of sharing food and wine.  

And Danny had the joy of cutting my hair … he’d cut it last in Hungary in July so it was due!  Again, a man’s optimistic view of what 6” looks like! 

 

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1936-1939 – 18th to 21st June:  Wet Wiltshire with More Turkish Family  David and Karen

We stayed on a 5 pitch site not far from Glastonbury … and it pretty much rained the whole time, so long walks were out of the question.  We did 3 cities in 3 days …. Glastonbury, Wells and Bath.  And frequented numerous coffee shops and pubs / restaurants.  Oh and Clarkes Shopping Outlet village.  A new pair of walking shoes for J as his existing pair were leaking, which had to be rectified given this English summer.  New tops for me and bedding for Jez.  Having made the decision to keep him, we are (or rather I am) changing the colour scheme!

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Quirky graffiti in Glastonbury.

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Glastonbury Tor.

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Well Cathedral, we didn’t go in due to the dogs … David and Karen suffered the queues.

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Vicar’s Close in Wells.

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Wells again … no pix of Bath as I think it was probably too wet to get the camera out!

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Corrie being spoilt again chez thegreygappers.com aka David and Karen aka the dog parents.


1940-1943 – 22nd to 25th June:  Burton Bradstock beach and walking

We moved south to the Dorset coast and the sun actually made brief appearances; at least the rain mostly held off.  

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Burton Bradstock beach.

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A bit up and down on the cliff walk to Bridport.  I did it alone with CO2 but when J and I walked it, we came back along the beach … but not too close to the cliff as you can see the landslip of parts of the Jurassic coast.

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Jurassic Coast.

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Camping and Caravan Club Temporary Holiday Site … plenty of space.  Jez is in the middle row left, with the car and dog beds airing on his bonnet.

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Someone on a FB group suggested a fab walk from Lyme Regis … we started with an ice cream!

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Four candles!

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We’d planned to have a cheap couple of days, but after the fabulous walk we found ourselves in one of the Burton Bradstock pubs … I had the lemon sole!

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Bridport.


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. 



 


 





 


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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1055-1067: The BIG Drive Home

1055 – Thursday 26th April 2018:  Birthday 2 and  Still Rear Air Suspension

We spent the night outside the Adria Athens compound, as the fearsome Rottweiler roamed inside at night.  We had an electric cable thrown over the wall, but the Austrians waiting to have some work done weren’t offered that … were we receiving special treatment?.  It took the best part of this second day to complete the work.    As it was J’s birthday, he had wine in the local cafe.  We also caught the tail end of the local market where I bought a huge plastic washing up bowl for EUR1.50 and lots of olive oil to bring home.

In the afternoon we drove to just west of Patras – Diakopto on the harbour side.  We walked to a restaurant … not as smart as I’d hoped for a birthday, one of those where you’re taken into the kitchen to choose your meal from trays.  Tasty but no starters other than baked cheese.

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Birthday wine for one … all of EUR1.5 🙂

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Marco, our lovely mechanic who was rather taken with Oscar.

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Birthday boy in a birthdays T-shirt.

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Great spot in Diakopto.

1056 – Friday 27th April:  Back to Italy

We had a leisurely start and then to Patras for our overnight crossing to Ancona in Italy.  We did do a small detour to a winery to pick up a case of MavroDaphne … not for drinking, of course, but used in a pork and prunes dish.

We’d been warned to expect serious security checks leaving Greece … but they checked the inside of the van with a cursory glance.  There were a LOT of security guards all around the car parks before entering the port, and there were about 20 or so youths who were lurking in the hope of being stowaways.  We did watch one lad being chased by 3 security cars as he tried to leg it, having climbed the fence. Sad.

It is a small world, we bumped into a German couple who we’d met on the campsite when we first arrived in Crete.  They were amazed how much Corrie had grown … we knew she had a bit, but not really clocked it until they said.  She’s obviously younger than we thought.  Wonder how much more growing she has to do?!

The dogs got to poop the poop deck again … eventually.  For some reason they are quite hesitant about not doing their business on earth.

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Cabin japes!

1057 – Saturday 28th April:  Driving

A calm, if long crossing … 18 hours.  I stocked up on some Italian food, and mostly booze items, at the big Auchan and then it was on the road.  Overnight was a quiet aire in Forlimpopoli … it may be an interesting place, but we arrived late and set off early … I just like the name.

1058 – Sunday 29th April:  Big Drive to Tende

A very long day behind the wheel, especially as were were avoiding toll roads.  But we made it across to France.  Just over the border we stopped at a place called Tende.  I recognised it and realised we had caught a train up here on a Nice visit.  We wandered the town of lovely narrow streets, but I don’t remember this part … I think it was so cold when we were here before we fell into a bar.

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Tende.

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This isn’t, but it could be Corrie.  Not quite like the English Setters, but this pic is from a Greek breeder.  OK, so now we know Corrie is a large part Setter.

1059 – Monday 30th April:  Over the Hill to Biot

The drive down the mountain was ‘interesting’.  Fine for us in our big motorhome, except for all the other buggers!  We encountered the following, all coming up the pass, but on our side of the road … bikes, lorries, BMW group and Porsche convoy … throw in tight bends and being really low on fuel!  Coming down hills, I was free wheeling to conserve the diesel.  At a town, a local told us where to refill … thank goodness I asked, as it was not quite on our route and would have missed it.

We got parked up at the campsite we’ve used before, Parc des Maurettes and showered.  We met Sarah, Jade, Cian and S’s mum-in-law, Eileen in the nearby park … lovely for dog walking and hide and seek.  Later J and I cycled, towing CO2, up to Biot for supper and Jade was allowed to stay up for the BIG SURPRISE.  Such a big surprise, that she’d told James about his birthday cake at least 3 times … ssh, it’s a surprise!

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1060-1063 – Tuesday 1st May – Friday 4th May:  Up Through France

Farewell to Sarah & Co at the campsite … she had to pop over to pick up some of Cian’s clothes that were in my washing loads… what’s the point of having family, it you don’t abuse their machines!

Just 3 big driving days with stops in Chirens and Chamouilley … again we saw very little of either town, other than dog walks…. Chamouilley was a super pitch right beside a canal.  Wednesday evening saw us back at Bergues … an aire with no services that we’ve used a few times.

Having done the drive from the south of France in 3 days, we had a day in hand before our tunnel crossing.  So it was a late start, a run and a lunch out.

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Chamouilley.

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1064-1067 – Saturday 5th to Tuesday 9th May:  Back to Blighty

For once the sun shone on the M25 and there were only a few minor hold ups.  We are always struck by how congested, inhabited and just plain busy the S of England is.  Another thing we’ve found is that the consideration of other drivers is no better than France or Greece … Italy is another matter!  It doesn’t seem to matter if we are in the van or the car, other road users drive far too close and overtake when really they shouldn’t!  And I do not drive that slowly … honest!

Maddy popped over for supper on Saturday.

On Sunday, Sinead joined us for soup and a dog walk.  I watched the end of neice Zozo’s cricket match … for her to bowled out in minutes with 1 run … but they won by that very single run.  As an aside … cricket really IS dull to watch.  Then roast chicken supper with the Aged Ps, Zozo and Louis.

Monday saw us at sister Clare’s for a BBQ.  And in between, we’ve been making good use the Aged P’s washing machine, attic and shed!

On the medical front, J had scans 1 and 2 (MRI and CT).  With results and the consultant appointment not until 18th May, we decided to do a mini trip up to Scotland.

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Zozo modelling her prom dress …. wow!