Into another Lockdown, technically just a Tier change but from T2 to T4 – STAY AT HOME!

Waiting for Santa Paws…

Merry Christmas to you all! Hopefully Santa has been kind and you and your families are safe and well. Santa was kind to us and our families are all safe and well. It’s Reg’s first Christmas, so our decorations are limited to prevent an eager puppy getting too excited! We have decided that Christmas (or at least a big family get together), WILL take place when safe to do so, whenever that might be….

Following Boris’ announcement on Saturday, we knew Christmas would be different; that along with the fact that our plans had to change due to mum’s fractured wrist. We are still at the Gatwick Caravan and Motorhome Club Site until Tuesday. Time to catch up on chores and put up some Christmas decorations. It was here, that the Club Site Wardens informed us that the site would be closing from 12:00 on Saturday until (at the moment) January 3rd, 2021. There are a couple of local(ish) sites available as Rescue Sites for those with nowhere else to go. Thinking we wouldn’t be able to get a delicious Pizza from our local store, for a while, we decided to order one. We’ve never had an order delivered with a Police escort before though. The delivery driver, couldn’t find the site and was escorted by the local boys in blue! Special Delivery!

We headed off on Tuesday to our (three times) rebooked Campsite – Sumners Ponds in Barnes Green, Sussex. It’s close to family so had been our site of choice for our original Christmas plans. It was while we were here, that Boris announced to the nation that there would be a lockdown, in March and here again, he announced that our home county (and that of the campsite) would be put into Tier 4 on Boxing Day (26th December) at 00:01, for an undisclosed length of time.

We’ve tried to stay positive and we know we can still have Christmas on the site. We were then informed by the site we had to leave by 12:00 Sunday 27th December, so after Christmas Day we would head back to our parking spot and sit it out, along with the weather forecast, and Storm Bella!

Not a lot has changed in the three weeks since we left, keen to get out and explore, we feel a little like our wings have been clipped again, but we can plan our next trip. As a bonus, there has been a last minute Brexit deal! So far, we are aware our EHIC cards will be valid in Europe from 1st January 2021, and we don’t need to get International Driving Permits (we know it’s not hard to do as we got them all last year, in time for Brexit Day 31/12/2019 – before there was a year long transition! At least now we have time to read the document and see what we need for Reg to travel.

As always, thank you for reading. Stay safe and well. We’ll be back soon with our next update, from our little parking spot….

Hayling Island, Homeward Bound…

Spending Monday at our little Certified Site Location at Stoke Farm, Hayling Island, we waited for the sun to appear (after a lovely rainbow) and headed back along the Hayling Billy Coastal Path, northwards towards the mainland, stopping at the bridge.

Tuesday and a short trip to Barnham, and another Certified Location, Choller Farm and Fisheries. It’s located near to a bridleway and cyclepath, down to the town and up towards the South Downs National Park. It’s almost geographically the centre of three areas, Bognor Regis, Chichester and Arundel. We had a stroll up the road to the village of Walberton and down to the town of Barnham. Barnham has a mainline train station and is a junction. From here, you can head to Littlehampton, Brighton, Portsmouth, London and beyond!

En-route, we popped into Chichester Marina, half hoping to catch-up with my (Sarah’s) mum, as her boat was out of the water having its annual maintenance (slightly later than normal due to the initial national lockdown 1), but in true unplanned style, she wasn’t there!

After a couple of days here, we headed north and on to the familiar Gatwick Site. Areas around us have had their Coronavirus Alert Levels increased to Tier 3 and we knew we couldn’t head there. In addition, Hayling Island is now Tier 3, along with Portsmouth. We’ve changed our New Year plans too, as London where we were heading is also Tier 3.

We like the Gatwick Site as it’s close to family and friends, but the rules are no mixing at this time of Coronavirus. We had a few things to do while we were here, but these changed slightly on Saturday as two things happened!

Firstly, my (Sarah’s) mum fell out distributing Christmas cards at her home and fractured her wrist. I am the only person who can drive her car, currently parked in a public car park. We packed up, as quick as we could, and headed to collect her. A call to 111 and an appointment at the Urgent Care Centre nearby, involving another drive. Ric returned to the campsite with Reg and I headed off to Chichester. A few hours later and a cast wearing mum returned to the car.

Secondly, Boris and the UK government have changed the Coronavirus Tiers and Christmas arrangements. Surrey, which is approximately two miles north of us, is now Tier 4 – the highest level and a brand new tier, similar to the last complete England Lockdown. No travel or staying overnight, so glad we’re in the right place. Christmas is now a one day celebration only. We haven’t yet arranged what we’re going to do, but I’m sure you’ll find out soon!

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well, whichever Tier you are now in. This will pass and we will get back to normal…

Along the South Coast – Littlehampton, Lymington and Hayling Island…

Monday and rain, we know it is December and England but it does get a little depressing. The days are short, the sun rises late and sets early, making dog walking interesting! We’re at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site in Littlehampton. It’s a short distance to the local shops and a large supermarket. We had a little walk down to the Supermarket and back, mainly to tire the dog!

Tuesday and despite the early fog, the sun came out and we walked down to the sea. It’s a fairly short walk and in the December sunshine without the summer hoards, it was quite a relaxing walk. We’ve never seen the beach so empty, despite a few dog walkers. The sea was calm and beautiful (not inviting enough for us to go in though)! We stopped on the way back at a Fish and Chip Shop for a snack eating them on the Prom (avoiding the seagulls). The prom along the Pier has plaques with fish recipes on.

Wednesday and we’ve headed west to Hampshire and into the New Forest National Park, despite a road closure, not spotted by Ditsy Daisy, but thankfully a Diversion was in place and the road signs indicated the height restrictions so we were safe to continue. We stopped at a Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location (CL) Site outside Lymington – Homefield. It’s a small site, just of the main road, with a toilet block, paid shower and laundry.

Over the road is a footpath ideal to walk the dog or so we thought! On further inspection the first field is easy to enter through a kissing gate and well signed and walked, the next is a broken stile so negotiating with a puppy was a little tricky but manageable. The next field – through a gate, no problem then another broken stile and barbed wire, and a polite notice to follow the edge of the field then the signs run out and indicate the way you came… Needless to say, as darkness approached, we headed back.

We headed out for a drive, when the rain finally stopped heading up to Salisbury and Old Sarum. Although we’ve driven past many times we’d never actually been into the city centre. We had a quick drive through (vowing to stay more local and explore thoroughly in the future) and stopped for a dog walk at Old Sarum. Old Sarum is one of the most historically important site in southern England. It combines a castle and cathedral within an Iron Age fortification. Entry is via an online booking, but the car park is free and the lands around are too!

Leaving Lymington, we headed back east to Hayling Island, through the beautiful New Forest and Beaulieu. The site we’d chosen was another Certified Location in Stoke. It is a short walk to the Hayling Billy Coastal Path, running North to South along the western edge of the harbour. We had a walk along part of it, looking over to Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower.

We’re here until Tuesday! As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well. We’l be back with our next installment soon….

Back on the Road (after a few chores)…

Our last night in Lockdown…Lovely Moon (not so lovely fence view)!

Finally, the week has arrived that we can leave our car park and get out and about, but before we do we have a few things to sort… We are in Tier 2 for Local Restrictions, which allows us to travel a little freely with some limitations on hospitality, but we’re happily self-contained as much as possible!

Reg has been booked in to have his Rabies vaccination, we aren’t getting him a passport at the moment as no-one (including the vet) knows what will happen at the end of the month. We have started the ball rolling for either of our two future options. Besides, with COVID-19 being as it is we’re not ready to go to Europe just yet. Good news though, there is a vaccine which should be ready to be rolled out shortly and depending on our positioning in the tier system, we should be able to receive it by (fingers crossed) Easter.

Nortia needs a service! It is due at 30 000 miles and we are almost there! We’ve found a FIAT dealership locally, who have booked us in for the end of Lockdown (our departure has been delayed by one day, but needs must)! We dropped her off at 09:00 and she was ready to collect at 14:00 – great service.

Thursday, time to head off and in true English style, the rain was pouring. We needed to repack all the larger items we’d stored in the shed for Lockdown 2, including the bikes and the awning. We headed down the road to the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Brighton. We filled up the LPG and diesel on the way. Brighton is a familiar site for us as we have lived (Sarah) and worked (both) here. Time to have the postponed haircut too! The site is ideally situated for buses and the Marina. Head up to the seafront and you can walk or cycle to Rottingdean to the East or the City Centre westwards.

We stayed at the Brighton Site until Sunday, when we headed off to the Littlehampton Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. On the way, we managed to catch up with some (slightly mad) family who were sea swimming at Shoreham-by -Sea!

Our trip will continue next week, as always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well and we’ll be back for an update soon…

Lockdown 2: The last full week.

Where you find the dog, when you leave him to clean the roof!

We’re still tucked up in our little parking spot. We’re thankful that most of our neighbours are still ok about us being here! The days seem to have dragged this week, probably in the run up to the Government’s announcements about Christmas and which Tier we will be in when Lockdown 2 is over.

This week there has been a number of houses getting themselves into the festive mood, with lights and decorations being added and switched on as the week has progressed. We ventured up into the loft and have got ours out ready for the festivities to begin, wherever we may be! We have made arrangements for the Festive Period, but not wanting to get our hopes too high, for fear of them being dashed once again.

We finished cleaning the roof, it was a bit of a chore without scaffolding or a gantry, or even a lot of space to move around, ever wary that we were blocking the roadway as we cleaned, but thankfully we didn’t get in the way (that we know of)! We’ve also taken the opportunity, whilst the sun was out, to clean the carpet – we have a carpet cleaner at the house, not a hands and knees scrubbing exercise!

We can definitely tell we’re heading into the depths of winter, the sun is rising later and setting earlier, the temperature has begun to drop and rain seems to be an almost daily occurrence. This time last year we were preparing to head to Spain for Christmas and saying our goodbyes to our families. At the beginning of this year, it seemed the ideal place to arrange to go back to, little did we know what 2020 had in store for us (all)!

We’ve got a fairly busy week again next week, whilst we prepare to set off on our mini tour. We’ll let you know what we’ve done in our next post… As always thank you for reading. Stay safe and well, wherever you might be.