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.

Lockdown 2 continues – Days 5 to 17

One of the rainbows this week..

Hello! We’re still here! Some of our neighbours have told us they like us here as it adds another level of security, while we continue to annoy some! We’re just trying to sit out this second Lockdown safely and uneventfully.

We’ve not managed to do a lot this time around. This Lockdown has been a bit harder to get used to and our plans not been as easy to get into. Maybe just because we knew it was a set timescale (fingers crossed) and there is a date to head to or maybe just because the weather has changed the nights seem longer and the time to get things done, therefore shorter. We’re endeavouring to take more photos to add to our posts, but the weather hasn’t been too great recently.

We started to clean Nortia’s roof but were rained off. We’re hoping for at least one more dry-ish day to sort the roof and complete the clean of the carpets and upholstery, before we leave. I (Sarah) managed to have a socially-distances dog walk with my mum. It seemed like so long since we were last able to see each other (July) and even longer since we were able to hug.

We’ve been trying to teach Reg to walk nicely on the lead, but have discovered his new training lead has grazed his chest, so we’re back to his old harness, until it heals. He is great in himself and it doesn’t seem to upset him but… We’re trying to teach him recall too…

Reg and his looky-likey on a card!

We’ve started to think about where we’ll be for Christmas and New Year. Our plan to return to Spain has been postponed until next year, not just due to COVID-19 but also Brexit, we are still trying to find out what arrangements we need for Reg next year. We’ll probably get his Rabies vaccination completed, before we head off after Lockdown 2 and stay in the UK for the time being!! However, that’s not a bad thing as there are so many places we want to visit here.

As always, thank you for reading, hope you and your families are safe and well. We’ll be back soon to let you know what our plans are post-lockdown and where we’re heading, if we’ve decided or know ourselves!

Finishing our stay in Kent, and into Lockdown Part 2…

Our last campsite for a while…

We stayed at our preplanned stop at the Caravan and Motorhome (CMC) Certified Location (CL), Manor Farm, Halling (near Dorchester), Kent, for a further two nights. There are great walks from the site to the village and the River Medway. The campsite itself is on a slightly sloping field (chocks are advised), but due to the weather and our weight, we were allowed to stop on the hardstanding. There are plenty of electric hook-up points, so you’re not short of space or on top of others.

Due to Boris (Johnson)’s announcement the previous Saturday, we cancelled our next two stops, as advised by the CMC, had my haircut rescheduled, arranged for flu jabs with our Doctors and headed back to the parking spot we had left (after Lockdown Part 1). outside our flat. Lockdown Part 2, felt a little more of a disappointment than the first one, but we’re sure we can manage 30 nights here.

We are fortunate to have some great (understanding) neighbours, who although would probably rather we weren’t here, were glad to see us return. Of course, not all are so pleased…

Walking Reg around the town in the run up to Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, we spotted crocheted poppies on the Memorial Garden fences, giving a feel that people were still carrying on as normal. However, the feel of the town was slightly surreal – normally it is full of shoppers and shops encouraging you to spend for Christmas. The decorations start to get put up and Santa’s arrival is imminent, but the town is relatively quiet, decorations are few and far between and there is no mention of Santa… It may just be that it is too early in Lockdown at the moment. We will continue to monitor on our daily walks!

We have survived the first four days of Lockdown without any real events. Thank you for reading, we’ll try and keep you up to date with how we get on with our lives this time round. We’ve realised we’ve not been too motivated to take too many pictures of our stop, so will endeavour to try and make our posts more pictorial! Please stay safe and well. #handsfacespace

Norfolk and Suffolk, continuing our trip around the East Coast, another Lockdown announcement and we buy Nortia…

Reg in camouflage

Monday again, and we’re heading off again, this time slightly inland to Haddiscoe and a Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location site – Oakside. It was a great site, with a couple of farm shops nearby – within walking distance and the town of Beccles, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. The site is relatively new but offers a great grass field and hardstanding along with The Cabin, available for Campers, with a small kitchen, Barbecue area, seats and a bathroom, with shower. Perfect! We stayed for three nights and although one of the days was a complete wash-out we enjoyed the stay. For reference, there are also two holiday cottages here as well!

Moving on we went to Kessingland on the Suffolk Coast, just below Lowestoft. The Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, White House Beach, is right on the beach – there are two parts of the site, separated by the beach road, one right on the beach and the other just behind. We were a little disappointed not to be able to stop on the beach (the views are amazing – next stop Amsterdam), but as the wind picked up overnight we were quite grateful!

We walked along the beach to the Nature Reserve, allowing Reg to run around freely, before returning to the campsite. The morning sunrises were amazing as was the Fish and Chip lunch from the Beach Fish and Chip Shop – within walking distance and also has a Restaurant.

Returning to the Motorhome, the rain started, just to dampen our mood, luckily we got back with the fish and chips just before! Today is the day BoJo (Boris Johnson) will announce whether we are to go into Lockdown 2 or not. The Press Conference was due to start at 4:00pm, then 5:00pm and finally Boris appeared about 6:15pm, confirming what was expected – Thursday 5th November, we would be back in Lockdown.

We were due to head off on Sunday anyway, as the Campsite was closing for the winter, but before we left, we had a few important tasks to complete. We have bought Nortia, our home for the last 16 months, is now ours. We transferred the vehicle into our name, organised the insurance and tax and were able to head off. Our first trip in our own Motorhome, just as the country has to lockdown!

We headed south to Kent and the CL site of Manor Farm, in Halling, near Rochester. It’s a nice site, just off the M2, and close to the River Medway. You are greeted by the free-range geese, ducks and chickens and a very hospitable owner. The grass field would need levelling chocks, but as it was wet, we were able to stop on the hardstanding – there is not a shortage of Electric points so you can stop where you like, within reason.

Next week will be a strange one, what we get up to and where we go, we’ll let you know. As always, thank you for reading. Stay Safe and Well, we’ll be back soon….

Another Week in Norfolk…

A wet and windswept sandy dog!

Monday and the sun was shining. After a quick breakfast and walk for Reg, we headed out towards Norwich and a Hand Car Wash! Finally, we were able to get Nortia cleaned (outside) for the first time since France in February! We had meant to clean her while in lockdown, but there always seemed to be another day available until we left, then the opportunity hadn’t happened since….

Tuesday and we headed up to the coast and Cromer, famous for dressed crab and the Seacroft Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. It’s a great site, just off the Norfolk coast path. A short stroll and you are on the beach, which is lovely and sandy as the tide goes out. We met a couple with a young dog and Reg and Pippa were soon running around in circles along the shoreline.

Wednesday and in true autumn fashion it rained (again). Reg however, wasn’t unfazed by another trip on the beach and enjoyed playing in the waves.

Thursday, one of the things we’d looked forward to whilst in Cromer was visiting No 1 Cromer. https://www.no1cromer.com/ This is an award winning Fish and Chip Restaurant and Takeaway owned by Galton Blackiston. We’d heard about it so many times watching him on James Martin’s Saturday Morning. This place does not disappoint! This was possibly the best we’d ever had. If you are in Cromer, we would recommend this highly.

We headed down the coast from Cromer to Great Yarmouth and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at the Racecourse. This site is another so close to the beach and the town, that it’s great for a stay. There is a monument to Lord Nelson, which is now located in the industrial zone, but commemorates Nelson’s birth in the county of Norfolk.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well. We’ll have more to share soon. Stay Safe and well…

Moving south to Gloucestershire and east to Norfolk.

It was a very rainy Monday, and we didn’t really do a lot. It started to rain, just a light drizzle and then got heavier and heavier, so we took an opportunity to just chill and relax. We knew we’d have a fairly busy couple of days coming up, so it was well worth it.

Tuesday and we headed south to Tewkesbury. This is our third visit to Tewkesbury in the last three months, but it is such a lovely place to be and it’s close to the Motorhome Dealership, where we’re having the habitation check carried out. As we arrived, the sun came out and we were ready to sort out Nortia.

We pitched the driveaway awning and began to move the contents of the Motorhome, trying to be systematic and methodical! We had decided that we would sort it when we replaced it into the various storage holes. By 7:00 p.m. we were as complete as we could be and the rest would be finished off in the morning.

Wednesday and an early start saw us moving the last of our gear into the driveaway and we set off to Pearman Briggs. After a few hours, our habitation check was complete and we had also had a few minor issues fixed. We set back off to the campsite and moving the essential items back into Nortia. The hard work would be carried out tomorrow. A takeaway curry was on the cards for tonight! However, returning to the Motorhome carrying the curry, I tripped over an edging stone and landed flat on the ground (not face first, this time though) and without loosing the curry – the poppadoms were a bit crushed, as was my pride. I don’t think anyone saw….

Thursday and after a trip into town, we undertook the mammoth task of reloading Nortia. We are actually surprised by the amount of gear we actually have on board, it’s not as much as we felt we had! The last time we’d had a good clear out was in Spain at Christmas.

Tewkesbury is at the confluence of the River Avon and the River Severn and steeped in history, being the site of one of the decisive battles and turning point in the War of the Roses in 1471. The morning dog walk from the campsite, takes us across the recreation ground in the grounds of the Abbey and round to the town. The Abbey dates back to Norman times and the town has a mixture of Medieval and Tudor buildings. The Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, is a real gem and on the edge of the town.

Leaving Tewkesbury, we headed to Norfolk – the latest Coronavirus rates stopped us wanting to stop in the Midlands. so we decided a long drive would be on the cards. Six hours later, we arrived at the Norfolk Broads Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, outside Wroxham. As a child we had a couple of family holidays on the Broads on a boat and it’s nice to return, I haven’t stayed here since!

Saturday and once the rain stopped we took a very muddy walk to the ruins of St. Benet’s Abbey. The Abbey is thought to date back to the ninth Century. Reg enjoys a run in the countryside, too. We walked back along the slightly drier byway.

Sunday and more rain! We took a drive to Norwich and up to Potter Heigham, before returning to the campsite. The weather improved slightly but it has turned colder. We’ve got another day here on Monday before heading onwards!

Thank you again, for reading. We hope you enjoy the insight into our trips around England. We’re planning our trips carefully and keeping up to date on the Track and Trace App and postcode information, to try and stay safe. We hope you’re safe and well and we’ll update you soon.