Lockdown 3 Continues…With a Hint of Hope on the Horizon!

An unexpected find!

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, the English Government have released a road map out of the current Lockdown. Fingers crossed, we’ll be able to get out and about on 12th April, but subject to all the previous stages meeting their targets, starting with the schools on 8th March. We will know more by 5th April! Tentative route planning is in progress.

The Historical Blue Plaque hunt is becoming a bit of an obsession, this week we’ve found a few more: Frederick Knott – who wrote Dial M for Murder which was originally a play before being filmed in 1954 by Alfred Hitchcock; James Pulham – a Landscape Engineer, who designed a Pulhamite (type of artificial rock) water feature as well as features in Buckingham House and Sandringham Gardens; The Greyhound Pub – World Marbles Championship, formally held on Good Friday and possibly dating back to Queen Elizabeth I reign, but reintroduced in 1932; Philip Webb – an Architect who co-founded (with William Morris) the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; Elizabeth Fry – Quaker and Prison Reformer; and Sir Malcolm Campbell – World Water Speed Record Holder.

We also found various bits of street art and a Timeline Totem, carved from a fallen tree.

Some of the things we’ve found this week also remind us of places we’ve been (and where we would like to be), Sir Malcolm Campbell – Bluebird Coniston Water, Lake District; William Morris – a pub in Keld, North Yorkshire, where we found the inspiration for the wallpaper in our last home ( a feature wall, not a whole house)!; Daffodils – the Lake District.

We have to admit the last couple of weeks have been hard, we’ve both felt it, at different times, but we’ve weathered the storm and can see the light on the horizon. The change in the weather has helped, we’ve had some lovely sunny days, although the temperature does drop as the sun sets but… We are lucky to have a safe place to stay, vaccinations are approaching and we can plan the next part of our adventure, picking up from where we left it almost a year ago, at the start of the first Lockdown.

As always thank you for reading. We hope you are safe and well and that there is hope on the horizon for you too. We’ll be back with more updates from our Lockdown Hidey-Hole, soon.

Blue Plaque Hunting is wearing me out!

Almost Eight Weeks into Lockdown 3…

I can’t have a bath, if there’s no towel…!

We’re still in our parking spot, awaiting news from the English Government as to when and how Lockdown 3 will come to an end. We’re not hopeful but better to expect the worst! We have been told our booking for March has been cancelled, so we’ll leave that in the bag as it’s now the fifth amendment from the start of the first Lockdown, almost a year ago. We’ve booked to be away at Easter too, but…

Over the last week, we’ve discovered blue plaques depicting people from the town and their claim to fame, around the local area and the dog walks have been an opportunity to discover more. Some of them are surprising. There are a few more to find, but they are a little too far to walk to and back, we might be able to cycle to them though, in the future, when the weather is a little nicer.

So far, we’ve found plaques for Mark Lemon – the first Editor of the Magazine, Punch; Richard Marsh – Author; John Leech – Illustrator (he actually illustrated the Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens; Richard Brown – Sculptor (along with his sculpture – Family Group); Sir Charles Court – the 21st Premier of Western Australia; Roger Bastable – Author, local historian and founder of the Crawley Festival; Francis Thompson – Poet and Essayist; John Goepel – famous for naming the streets of Crawley; Jim Pitts – Musician, Artist, Sculptor; and Dame Caroline Haslett – Electrical Engineer. There is also a green plaque from the Brewery, Hall and Woodhouse dedicated to the actor Peter Vaughan.

We have also discovered more street art along the way too.

The weather has slowly improved and the snow turned to slush and ice before the sun came out and cleared it all up, now it has started to warm up a bit, we actually had some sunshine yesterday which was more than welcome and we were able to have a proper airing of Nortia. Hopefully, it’s a good omen and we’ll be able to have more good weather soon (although typing this it has now started raining!). We’ve celebrated Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) with Yorkshire Puddings, rather than pancakes and Ric has been lucky enough to have had his first vaccination (I’m still waiting for my turn)! Reg had a bath too (well a shower really), but he did decide he was going to steal the towel first, he’s not as adverse to a shower as Albi was, but it’s only number 2! Time will tell.

Fingers crossed we’ll have good news soon and we’ll be able to get back on the road soon. As always, thank you for reading, we really appreciate your support. Please stay safe and well, Ric, Sarah & Reg

The Adventure Continues – Week 2 Minehead to Crawley

England is still in partial lockdown, but campsites are open (with social distancing) and we’ve continued our journey.

We walked through the town in Minehead and along the promenade to the harbour, passing the marker for the start (or end) of the Southwest Coast Path. When we first set out last year my (Sarah) sister, loaned me a book – The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, it is the memoirs of a couple who set out to walk the Southwest Coast Path, having been made homeless. We hadn’t originally set out to stay in Minehead, but we are so glad we did.

The beach at Minehead is not dog friendly (in the summer), so despite a quick set onto the sand with Reg, we thought we should go somewhere he was welcome and headed up the coast to Burnham-on-Sea, where the campsite is close to the sea at Berrow. It’s a long sandy, dog friendly beach, and Reg was able to run on it (once we’d navigated the sand dunes). He also had his first venture into the sea, but was more amused with trying to eat the seaweed and drinking the sea water!

After a couple of days, we headed up to Bristol. Not too sure what to expect, we arrived at the campsite and were in awe! The campsite backs onto the Floating Harbour at Baltic Wharf and a gate at the rear, allows you to access straight onto the harbourside walk. There were views up towards the Suspension Bridge and towards the S.S. Great Britain (closed at the moment but still iconic).

We walked up the hill to the Cabot Tower (again closed) and along the harbourside. We discovered the Banksy Mural of the Girl with the Earring (complete with face mask) and several other sculptures and statues – including Samuel Plimsoll – the man responsible for the Plimsoll Line on ships, indicating the maximum load for a ship, and John Cabot (an Italian who discovered Newfoundland in 1497, with the backing of the mayor of Bristol and King Henry VII).

The following day after a morning walk around the harbour, we walked up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, through the Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve and then over the Bridge (take care if you suffer from vertigo – especially at the moment with social distancing in place)! Before walking back down through the Hotwells district of the city.

We headed off again on Saturday to Winchester and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Morn Hill. The campsite is just too far to walk to the city in the rain, but lovely grass pitches and a big-ish dog walk. The A303 as usual was very busy but the views over Stonehenge can’t be faulted.

Sunday, saw us head back to Crawley. We have a couple of appointments we need to attend to, these had been put on hold during Lockdown and a week into our trip, they started to be rebooked, it was too good an opportunity to not return for – especially as one was for the Dentist we had been waiting for since the hospital trip in Spain in December.

As always, thank you for reading, hopefully you and your families are safe and well. Join us next week to see where we get to!