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.

 


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!