2021 continues: Another two weeks in Lockdown, and no end date yet!

We’re still locked down in our little parking spot. We’re safe and well so we do have that to be thankful for.

Storm Christoph hit the UK, this week. We weren’t too badly hit in the south, but know there is a lot more damage up in the North,almost a year to the day that we hankered down outside Valencia, trying to avoid the fierceness of Storm Gloria.

Reg had his first birthday, this week. It seems like we’ve had him for so long now! Although, he has only had minimal travelling, but has certainly seen a lot of England and a bit of Wales. He has so far spent five months in Lockdown, with us, and we are looking forward to being able to travel freely (and safely).

We haven’t been able to go out and about too much. The local parks and nature sites are too busy with people to be able to safely venture too, when the weather is fine, when the weather is bad (it is January), you don’t want to venture too far. We’re hoping the weather might improve slightly and we’ll be able to get out on the bikes and get Reg back into the trailer.

We are missing our time in the sun, our memories on Facebook, keep reminding us where we were this time last year, but we’re trying to be positive and getting ready for a tour. Where and when are still undecided. We are waiting to get our vaccinations, hopefully we won’t have too long to go (fingers crossed)!

Thankfully, our families are on the mend. The COVID affected are on the mend, still not 100% but back to work and out and about. Fingers crossed the fractured wrist has healed and the plaster will be off in a few days.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you are safe and well, and surviving Lockdown Part 3. We’ll be back with more news (or no news) soon, stay safe..

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!

Lockdown Week 16 / The Adventure Continues Week 1: Chichester to Minehead

Reg’s first countryside walk

Monday morning and we woke up to the relative peace of a campsite, rather than the hustle and bustle of town life. Taking Reg for a walk in a place he’s never been before (the countryside – rather than the road) was entertaining – he saw rabbits for the first time and also cat’s eyes in the road – which he wanted to chew!

We had planned to cycle to the Marina in Chichester, to catch up with my (Sarah’s) mum, before we disappeared again! We checked the route and strapped Reg into his trailer and set off. One hairy moment when he slipped his straps (Houdini strikes again) and ran along the side of the trailer along the busy road. A quick stop to remedy the situation and attach another lead to the trailer and harness and hopefully he’ll be safe in the future.

We arrived at the Marina, after having to navigate a very difficult kissing gate – it’s designed for wheelchairs, but to get a bike trailer through you have to dismantle the trailer and go through individually! Mum was glad to see us and we spent a lovely afternoon, socially distancing on her boat. We said our goodbyes and set off back to the campsite (and Reg’s friends).

Tuesday morning, after a quick trip to the Farm Shop opposite https://www.southbournefarmshop.co.uk/ and stocking up with some lovely food, we headed off to the New Forest and the Caravan Club Site in Bransgore. The facilities are open on Caravan Club sites, with social distancing measures in place (not that everyone understands how it works!). We had a nice grass pitch and managed to wander to the Airfield Memorial, before the weather changed.

We headed off after a couple of days (the weather was due to brighten up and campsites were getting booked up) to Exmoor House Caravan Site, in Dulverton. Dulverton is such a lovely town, with a traditional butchers and greengrocers. We had a wander around and the next day, we headed into the town for fish and chips – which we’d both been craving, whilst in lockdown and it didn’t disappoint.

Reg went for a swim in the river next to the site – he decided he wanted to jump in and off he went, luckily he was on a lead as the current was very strong. He did have a moment when he got back on the shore trying to dry himself!

From here we set off to Minehead. It’s only a short drive but we fancied a couple of days by the sea. We had a short walk to the beach and despite dogs not being allowed on the beach, we couldn’t resist – Reg has never been to the beach before and the sand was too inviting to him; he was trying to play with it on the prom! Our walk took us past Butlins, which is still not open and looked a bit sad. The walk back in the heat was a bit too much for Reg and he had to be carried part of the way.

We got the barbecue out in the evening and had lovely steaks, from the butcher in Dulverton,

We’re now planning our trip for the next week – we’re heading back towards home as lockdown easing has allowed the dentist to open and Ric can have the treatment we’ve been waiting for since Spain and December!

As always, thank you for reading, we’ll update you with the rest of our adventure soon #theadventurecontinues. Stay safe…

One year on, Lockdown and a Dilemma.

Handover Day 19/06/2019 Cleveland Motorhomes, Darlington

A year ago today, 19th June 2019, we arrived at Cleveland Motorhomes in Darlington and were handed the keys to Nortia. We started our trip with a little get-to-know-you adventure driving south, slowly before heading to Europe.

We visited Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, France, Monaco, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. All in covering 25,000 miles in nine months, then Lockdown hit and our plans for the next three months were changed in an evening.

Lockdown began for us in Sussex, when Boris said all unnecessary travel was prohibited and only essential businesses should remain open. The campsite we were on, was closing. We headed off home and parked up outside, plugged into the electric, logged onto the WiFi and filled up with water. Here, we dutifully stayed parked up, until we were allowed to go out for day trips in June. On our first trip, we had to check the tyre pressures and dust off the cobwebs, which were everywhere – wheels, wing mirrors, bike rack. We had been stationary for so long, that driving was a new experience and we actually forgot about the cruise control and sixth gear! We headed to the beach, hoping to show Reg the sea, but so had the rest of the county, so we headed up into the South Downs National Park instead.

Our views, whilst away, have been magnificent, the fjords in Norway, mountains in the Dolomites, the Alps in France, marinas in many countries, sea views and green fields. We’ve stayed in towns and in isolated areas, with many people and on our own. Now our view for the last three months has been a fence and garage doors!

During Lockdown, we’ve managed to stay sane, trained a puppy, been in good health and we’re still talking – there have been moments, but with the three of us in a 7.4 metre long motorhome, you’d expect some fireworks.

Our plans had been to travel up to Wales and over to Ireland (perhaps, to the Isle of Man), on to Scotland and the Hebrides (Inner and Outer), but they are on hold for the time being.

Life is slowly beginning to get back to normal, non-essential shops are allowed to open and campsites are beginning to get ready to open on 4th July, still no word about pubs, restaurants or hotels.

Now our dilemma, Etrusco need to sell our motorhome – our year has come to an end, but we have been offered first refusal, we’re just waiting for a price. We’ve started looking at the market, to see what we can afford but, we need to move on if campsites open.

Our dilemma is two-fold – without a price for the Motorhome, we don’t know where to book!

  • If we have to return Nortia, we need to plan to head north and sort out a plan to return home to start again; or
  • If we can buy Nortia, we can start to book our next trip, into England and see more sights, Wales looks like it might be opening its borders soon so a slow trip west could be on the cards.

As always, thank you for reading. We’ll update you with our plans as soon as we know what we’re doing, Government guidelines depending.

Lockdown Part 2: We’ve written a Book!

What could we do while in Lockdown? Our friends at http://www.motoroaming.com Karen and Myles, suggested we write an e-book about training Reg in our Motorhome!

You can read it here if you’d like! Please respect our copyright and if you want to use anything ask. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZRbl6CsyzP1jtPiy_3PvpyNfIK1DhhaO2bk2Vuhk3EM/edit?usp=sharing

Thank you again for reading – we’ll be back with more tales from Lockdown soon. Hope you are all safe and well and we can get through this together and start our travels again.

Week 38: Lockdown

Not the normal view (or is Nortia trying to hide)

Monday, started as a normal day. Reg slept until almost 06:00. Although, it was a cold night, the sun rose and the weather warmed quickly. We had moved pitches as the pitch we were on was not available for our lengthened visit. Not happy with our orientation we chose to turn Nortia around to take advantage of the sun. We popped over to the cafe on the site, it is only open for take-away but the food is amazing. We got the chairs out and sat in the sunshine, allowing Reg to play a little. Later, we were informed that the campsite has to close by Friday evening, and the Prime Minister, basically put the country into lockdown. It was a no brainer, we had to leave, but where?

We had two options we could realistically put in place and went with our first choice. We’ve parked up next to our home. We rented it out, while we were off travelling, but thankfully we are able to use the garden and Reg has somewhere to play. He’s been running around like a looney. It will give us a chance to reflect and complete a few chores we need to do. Reg has a vet’s appointment booked for his second jabs. He’ll have a chance to grow and play here. We can also plan our future trips.

The week has been a little different to our usual ones. We’ve had to stay in one place ( a bit like Storm Gloria, but without the view. We’ve managed to go out on our bikes (one of our lodgers petsits Reg) and for a couple of strolls, in line with the Government Guidelines. We’ve queued for food and started cleaning Nortia.

We’ve written a list of chores to try and keep us occupied, how many will get completed is another thing! So far we have completed three!

We’re lucky to be safe and warm with somewhere to stay, without imposing on others and able to practice the social distancing advised. We’ll be back with a slightly changed blog next week, unless we can get back on the road or something significant happens in between! Thank you as always for reading and we hope that you and your family and friends stay safe and well.

Week 37: Road Trip – Yorkshire to Sussex and a new Team Member: Meet Reg!

New Team Member – Meet Reg

This week has been a little weird. We set off on Monday from Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales to Harrogate. We had planned to head up to Leyburn and then on to Harrogate, but a road closure meant we needed to travel back to Hawes and north to Kirkby Stephen before heading through the Swaledale Valley towards Richmond and then south to Harrogate.

We walked the Coast to Coast several years ago and were reminded of the route as we headed up to Ravenseat and on to Keld, Muker and Reeth. We like to remember the little tales we heard on the way! Albi also did this walk with us.

We arrived at Harrogate Caravan Site, after having been taken to the wrong address by Ditsy Daisy – Gloria Google Maps to the rescue! The campsite is not too far from the town, and next door to a Farm Shop and Cafe, just up the road is Sainsbury’s. Our reason for coming to Harrogate, was to get the Motorhome sorted. In Spain, our water pump stopped working and we have been making do with water bottles and topping up, but Rachel at Erwin Hymer was able to book us in to Steve Mann Caravans https://stevemanncaravans.co.uk/ for a repair. We consulted with Alison and were able to book an appointment for Tuesday at 09:30. As you are probably aware, Ric doesn’t like early mornings and the thought of a wake-up call at 08:00 was a shock to the system!

Tuesday morning, bright and early we set off to Steve Mann Caravans, where we left a very dirty Nortia and Alison, dropped us into the town and we set off on a mooch. We have to say, this was the day after the Government brought in new measures to control the spread of Coronavirus – Covid-19 and the town was very quiet. We were able to get a bacon bap in Gregg’s but Betty’s – the iconic tea rooms in Harrogate, was closed (the shop/bakery was still open, as we write). We managed to bag a couple of bargains too, before we walked back to the workshop, they had offered to collect us but in light of the current rules of socialising we thought a walk the best way! When we arrived, Nortia was being cleaned, that told us how dirty she was. Pump fitted, we headed off to get some puppy bits – Reg is a Border Terrier puppy, who we are due to collect on Thursday!

We returned to the campsite and took the bikes off for a well deserved clean. They were still caked with sand from France! Before we could go out on a ride, the weather turned and rain clouds loomed, so they were put back on the Motorhome, with the knowledge they are serviced. We took the opportunity to plan our trip back, south. We still aren’t sure what we’ll be able to do or go with the Coronavirus pandemic. Currently, there are no restrictions for campsites here as there are in France and Spain, but we’re waiting. Technically, we aren’t socialising and we’re away from vulnerable people, but we’ll wait and see! We had hoped to take our next tour to Ireland, but with the lock-down we think it might be wise to stay on the UK mainland, wait and see what we’ll get up to, we have no idea at the moment!

Wednesday, we had a fairly long journey to Polstead, Suffolk. We’ve stayed here before on our return from our first Europe tour. It’s a lovely site, in the middle of the country but in true British fashion it was raining. We settled down for the night and got ready for our short journey tomorrow.

Thursday, we headed to Essex, where we were picking up Reg, our new puppy. He’s the new team member. He’s a lovely, lively eight week old bundle of fur. Normally, we would have waited and collected him a week or so later, but with the threat of countrywide shutdowns, we felt it best to collect him now.

From Essex, we headed to our campsite outside Horsham – Sumners Ponds. They have a special offer until the end of March. We like Sumners, we have stayed here before on a number of occasions; it’s on the edge of a footpath and close to the Downs Link, as well has having a number of fishing lakes. It’s the ideal place to stay. We have booked to be here until Wednesday. In the current pandemic situation, we chose to stay within our NHS catchment area, just in case.

Friday, after the first night with Reg, up at 03:30 to let him out (not alone!) and then move him into the bedroom to stop him crying. Until 03:30 he had been as quiet as anything. We were met by my (Sarah’s) mum and practicing social-distancing – no hugs or kisses just an air high five. The weather was still not great and a reminder of those days dog walking in the rain!

Saturday and a less early start. Reg slept until about 05:00. Later in the morning, we took him on a little stroll (we strolled, he was carried!) he saw a couple of horses, which he wasn’t quite sure of. The sun has graced us with its presence today.

Sunday, and a surreal Mother’s Day. It’s not advised to visit family and spend time in groups more than two outside of your own household. We strolled with Reg (who slept until nearly 06:00) to the village shop, maintaining social distancing. Reading through e-mails it was becoming obvious that things were changing in relation to the COVID-19 virus. The Caravan and Motorhome Club have shut their sites, as have the Camping and Caravanning Club. The campsite today, has no intentions to close, so we’ve booked to stay until 1st April. It’s still sunny and becoming positively springlike, following yesterday’s Spring Equinox.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope that you, your families and friends are safe in this current strange time. Please see what we get up to next week and more of Reg’s adventures…