Merry Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas!

We must apologise for our lack of content since October, we have been ok and on the road, but the lack of WiFi signal in some places in England, including the outskirts of Cambridge and Salisbury, made life a little difficult. Since we last wrote, we finished our tour of the East Coast, coming from Cromer, down through Norfolk and Suffolk, stopping off at Aldeburgh and seeing the Giant Scallop Shell Sculpture https://artuk.org/discover/stories/maggi-hamblings-scallop#:~:text=On%20the%20beach%20near%20Aldeburgh,coastline%20between%20there%20and%20Thorpeness.&text=Hambling%20sees%20Scallop%20as%20more%20than%20just%20a%20sculpture. in tribute to the Composer, Benjamin Britten, by the artist Maggi Hambling and over to a wonderful Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Certified Location (CL), Lost Acres. A smallholding with pigs, sheep and chickens, wonderful hosts and access to the Fens. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/cambridgeshire/cambridge/Lost-Acres2/ Before heading for home via the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at East Horsely https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/surrey/east-horsley/horsley-camping-and-caravanning-club-site/.

Once back home we had flu jabs and boosters booked, staying at the CMC Gatwick Site, before it closed (lack of staff – we completely understand, the staff have all worked so hard through the pandemic keeping the sites running and looking good), we’ll be back when it re-opens. We hired a car, which allowed us to get about and see family. https://www.gatwickcarandvanrental.com/

As the Gatwick CMC site closed, we headed west, our destinations were Longleat CMC Site – right next to the Safari Park, a CL outside Bath, Willow Farm https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/bath–north-east-somerset/bath/willow-farm-1/, Bristol Baltic Wharf CMC site – this has had a reprieve from closing for the time being but… another CL, Rowberry Farm, Priddy, Somerset, Minehead CMC site (perfect for the town, sea and a chinese), Cadeside CMC Site, Wellington, Somerset https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/ecommerce/uksites/booking/listing?region=Southern+England, before heading to the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Salisbury. This was perfect to explore Old Sarum and the City, there are cycle and footpaths into the centre of the city.

We headed home (again), via Waterwells Farm CL https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/hampshire/winchester/waterwells-farm/ A lovely site, with super hosts, a pony and barn owls, close to footpaths and the countryside and a short drive to Winchester and on to Hayling Island and Stoke Farm CL, we have stayed here before but this time the ground was relatively dry and dog walking a joy in the countryside and along the Puffin Billy railway line (disused), https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/hampshire/hayling-island/stoke-farm/.

Since then, we have alternated between Sumners Ponds and the CMC Site at Brighton. Our plans, along with those of many others, have gone awry, we had hoped to head to Spain after spending Christmas seeing families, we’d booked Reg into the vet for his Animal Health Certificate, located PCR tests to enter France and then the French President closed the border to non-nationals for non-essential travel. Not wanting to be stuck in a lockdown abroad, we’ve chosen to wait for borders to reopen and travel freely.

As always, thank you for reading, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and hope that you get to spend time with those close to you. We WILL be back with an update and more tales, soon…

Weeks 15 and 16: North East England – North Yorkshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Norfolk

Sunrise at Wells-next-the-Sea

We’ve tied together two weeks here, we’ve been in some really poor internet (WiFi and 4G) areas and are desperately trying to catch up. Despite being in some fairly affluent areas, proof that the internet is not as great in all the country.

Leaving the pretty village of Sedgefield, we headed into the Yorkshire Dales and the home of James Herriot, Thirsk. We were staying at another racecourse site, https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/yorkshire/north-yorkshire/thirsk-racecourse-caravan-club-site/ It’s right on the edge of the town and a short walk to the old practice of James Herriot, now the James Herriot Museum. James Herriot’s actual name was James Wright, but he was a real vet! Thirsk is also, birthplace to Thomas Lord, after whom, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London is named. As well as, the surgeon Thomas Eshelby who amputated Lord Nelson’s right arm when he was wounded landing at Santa Cruz. In addition, there is a great market square, with a selection of shops, cafes and bars and the remains of an ancient castle. There is so much to see and do here, we will definately be back.

Heading back to the east coast, we were going to stop at an off grid site, in the village of Helmsley, but the weather was so awful, we headed to our next stop, just outside Scarborough at Cayton. Cayton Village Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Site, is a short walk to the village and the sea.

Leaving Cayton, we headed into the East Riding of Yorkshire a CMC Certified Location (CL) in the village of Patrington. Mill House CL is located walking distance from the town and the Meridian Marker. Patrington sits on the Greenwich Meridian Line, who knew there was such a marker? Indeed we didn’t and set off to find it! It actually cuts across the East of England from Peacehaven in Sussex, up through London (Greenwich) and onto the east coast where it disappears into the sea at Sand le Mere, East Yorkshire (the marker really did fall into the sea when the cliff collapsed)! http://www.thegreenwichmeridian.org/tgm/markers.php?marker_type=|%20all%20markers%20|

Heading over the Humber Bridge, and along the coast to Cleethorpes, where we found another Meridian Marker. Through the Lincolnshire Wolds and through the city of Lincoln, we arrived at Skybarn Farm. A CMC CL located a short drive from the city centre, but with a perfect dog walk (on lead) around the working farm. There are views across the countryside. This is another site we’ve added to our list to return to.

Leaving Mill Farm, we headed through the Lincolnshire countryside, passing a lot of past and present RAF bases. We weren’t lucky enough to have a display by the Red Arrows, though. We arrived in Boston (another on the Greenwich Meridian), but we didn’t find the marker! we had a quick drive through the town and found our overnight stop, at Boston Aerodrome, right on the edge of the runway!

Leaving Boston we headed along the coast to Wells-next-the-Sea and our site for the weekend. A short walk from the harbour and village centre, at a CMC CL Site, Mill Farm https://www.millfarmwells.co.uk/ We have stayed at some different places, but this one you can bring your horse with you! It’s a lovely peaceful site and the dog walk took us into the harbour as the sun rose and the mist began to clear.

We’re heading off again tomorrow, continuing our trip southwards. As always, thank you for reading, we hope you and your families are safe and well. We’ll let you have an update of our next leg of the journey, very soon (fingers crossed and wifi willing)…

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.