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.

The Lake District, Britain’s Highest Pub (Yorkshire) and south to Leek.

We chose to cycle to Maryport along Hadrian’s Cycle Route, National Cycle Route 72. From the campsite it is almost all off the road on a cycle path and the promenade (there are signs warning not to use the promenade in bad weather – it is so exposed to the sea). Luckily, it wasn’t on the road as in a catastrophic failure, I managed to cycle into the trailer when Ric stopped, landing face down in the grass – it could have been so much worse, though! We do have hand signals warning that we are stopping or slowing, but thinking he’d dropped something he stopped dead!

From Allonby, we headed into the Yorkshire Dales, via Carlisle. We were due to stop the night at the Tan Hill Inn, outside Reeth. It is the highest pub in the British Isles at 1732 feet (528m) above sea level. We had pre-booked and booked a meal in the pub – our first real night out since Sweden! The views are amazing, it is right on the Pennine Way and the footpath leads right down to the village of Keld. We walked up to the top of the path before returning back to Nortia! It was freezing and wet underfoot, but the views were stunning. Motorhome parking at the Tan Hill Inn, is unmarked, so literally, where you can! It was somewhere we’d wanted to stay, but wasn’t the place we’d thought it was!!!

We set off back through the Yorkshire Dales to Kendal, back in the Lake District. Our trip back took us up towards Skipton and back down to Kirkby Lonsdale, the scenery is amazing and we love this part of the world. The campsite in Kendal is about four miles outside the town, although it is possible to walk it, we walked to the Farm Shop at Sizergh, instead!

We set off again, heading south. Our plan was always to move south at this point, but it also coincided with the threat of a new COVID lockdown being placed on the North West. An announcement was due tomorrow.

We arrived at Leek in Staffordshire, a site we have stayed at before, but I didn’t recognise either by name or location, but Ric did – I was adamant we’d never been here before, until the Warden checking us in recognised me! Then the penny dropped! We stayed here in March, on our way to Harrogate. We had arrived in the dark and without a dog to walk around the site, we hadn’t really taken it in. I’ve had a nightmare of a week, hopefully next week will be better!

As always, thank you for reading. Stay Safe. We’ll be back soon…

The Lake District – Coniston, Borrowdale and Allonby.

We’re still in Coniston, near to Coniston Water – the lake where Sir Malcolm Campbell set the World Water Speed Record in 1939, at 141.74 miles per hour, in his Blue Bird K4. His son, Donald, continued the tradition, setting four faster speeds between 1956 and 1959. In 1966, he wanted to exceed 300 mph, but unfortunately, was killed in the process. Incidentally, the lake in our local Park, is named after the Campbell family, who owned some land and tested the floatation devices for the Bluebird K series prototypes.

After a day of rain, where we followed the path along the lake to Torver Jetty and back, we spent a sunny day up on the fells above Coniston (the foothills of the Old Man of Coniston). This was Reg’s first adventure up in the hills. There were plenty of sheep to keep him occupied too. As we headed back towards the campsite, we found an amazing waterfall and lake.

After, Coniston, we headed north-west to the Borrowdale Valley, just outside Keswick. Although, we’ve stayed at the Camping and Caravanning Club Site in Keswick, we’ve never been here before and it was a gem. The Caravan Club Site in Borrowdale, despite having no facilities, is right on the edge of Derwent Water and under Cat Bells. We had hoped to walk up Cat Bells, but the weather had other ideas – we almost managed it once before, but the weather forced us back then, hopefully we’ll be third time lucky! Instead, we walked along the edge of the lake and around to Grange – in – Borrowdale and back to the campsite. We had a cheeky Saturday Walk for breakfast at the Grange Cafe. It was amazing and despite the weather, we were able to sit outside socially distanced.

Reg is definitely a water dog! He loves to chase the waves or ripples, as we found in a stream by the campsite! He’d jump in and try to catch the water as it rippled down over the stones, all fun, but add his wetness to the mud in the field and we had to wash him down before he could come back in the Motorhome!

Leaving Borrowdale, we headed north to the coast at Maryport and up to a Certified Location at Allonby. Old Kiln Farm CL Site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/cumbria/maryport/old-kiln-farm/ is a small five pitch site, just off the Solway Firth, with views across the sea to Scotland. It is a short walk to the village or a cycle ride to Maryport and Workington.

Reg again showed us his love of the beach, running circles on the sand and attacking the waves, trying to bite the surf!

We’re here for a few more days, so there’ll be more to come. Thank you again for reading. We hope you and your families are well. Stay Safe, we’ll be back soon….

Heading North, Shropshire to Chester and into the Lakes

We left Much Wenlock, just as the sun began to clear the fog and headed up to Chester. Our plans have changed, slightly due to the recent local restrictions set out in Liverpool, Stockport and Manchester we have postponed our trip to the Wirral, Stockport and Blackpool – Blackpool is not currently covered by the restrictions, but we decided to stay clear of the region.

We have stayed at Chester Fairoaks, previously but only ever as a stopover, this time we were determined to explore the area. We got the bikes off the back of Nortia, did a quick maintenance check and service, fixed the dog trailer (we seem to have lost a bolt, somewhere along the way) with a metal coat hanger twisted into shape – we will try and source something more suitable when we get somewhere suitable!

Our first trip was along the Chester Millenium Greenway to Connah’s Quay, travelling over the border again to Wales! The following day we headed along the cycle route / towpath along the Shropshire Union Canal to Chester Town. Despite being very busy, we love the city and will definately be back to view when times are less restrictive.

After Chester, we headed up to the Lake District going along the motorway, just to crunch some miles and into the Southern Lakes. Our first stop over was just outside Grange-over-Sands at Meathorp Fell. We took a short 6 mile stroll into Grange and along Grange Promenade, stopping for a lovely ice-cream opposite the Station.

From Meathop Fell, we travelled slightly north to Coniston and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Coniston Coppice. We took a stroll into the town of Coniston, stopping for a cup of tea along the way, before walking back along the lake to the campsite.

We’ve got a few more days here, so find out what we got up to in our next installment. As always, thank you for reading and we hope you’re all sae and well….

Heading back to England (again)…

What do you call a trio of Etruscos?

We left Gowerton and headed back to England along the motorway, so far this is the third time on this trip we’ve headed back, across the border! We had an appointment for the motorhome in Gloucester on Tuesday, so we’ve opted to return to Tewkesbury Caravan and Motorhome Club Site.

We’ve fallen in love with Tewkesbury and the town is very welcoming. Monday night, Ric’s birthday and we knew there was a very nice looking Indian Restaurant and Take-Away at the end of the lane to the Campsite. This was his choice of meal and I couldn’t have agreed more. The Mezbaan Fine Indian Restaurant: https://mezbaan.uk/ was just as good as their menu looked!

Tuesday and we cleared out some of our gear from Nortia, and headed off to Pearman Briggs Motorhomes for our habitation check. This is supposed to be completed annually as a safety and damp check and something we are keen to have completed prior to purchasing Nortia, from Erwin Hymer. We arrived and also explained that we have concerns over the position of our Gaslow filling cap – we have caught it on a couple of occasions, without serious damage – and they were able to move it for us to a less prominent position. However, with the latest COVID-19 restrictions, our gear needs to be completely removed to carry out the habitation check… We’ve re-booked it, and will be back in Tewkesbury, again!

The weather has got a lot warmer this week and we have decided to purchase a driveaway awning, partially to enjoy life out of the wind and partially in anticipation of our habitation check – we can dump all our gear in it whilst the check is being carried out! We went to Allwoolls Camping in Worcester and purchased a Vango Noosa Driveaway https://www.attwoolls.co.uk/vango-noosa-tall-driveaway-awning-p-2828 We’ve chosen this as it is lighter than an air tent and therefore will not add to much to our payload. Returning to the campsite, we had a quick go at putting it up! We needed to make sure that we had all the bits before driving off and to ensure there was nothing wrong with it! The moment we got it out of the bag the wind picked up and we managed to check it out, before repacking it and stowing it away! Normally, we would pitch a new tent in our garden to ensure we knew what we are doing, before looking like numpties in public! (We have even pitched a brand new tent in the living room, just to check it out)!

We left Tewkesbury and started our trip north. Our next stop is a small Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location (CL), just outside the village of Much Wenlock – birthplace of William Penny Brookes, who contributed to the rebirth of the Modern Olympic Games. He apprenticed with his father in Much Wenlock and trained as a physician and surgeon at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, at the Sorbonne and in Padua, before taking over his father’s practice in Much Wenlock. Here, he was keen to improve the health of the villagers, along with sanitation and hygiene and he set up the Wenlock Olympian Society and campaigned to get Physical Education onto the school curriculum. His annual Wenlock Games, encouraged all villagers to keep fit and compete and not just a privilege of the elite He was visited by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who later set up the Modern International Olympic Committee, based on the Much Wenlock Games held in his honour.

We stayed at the Coates CL for the weekend, and we used it as a base to travel out and about around the local area, travelling to Telford and Ironbridge. The countryside and views are stunning, as is the village of Much Wenlock. Reg also had a field of friends, for his stay!

We’re off again tomorrow, heading north. Thank you as always for reading and we hope that you and your families are safe and well.