Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Sea Side Time! Brean

Time for a week away, so we started to think about where to go. Pembrey CC site near the Gower was our first choice, but they wanted an eye watering £161 for 7 nights. So we look around and found Warren Farm at Brean for £101 for 7 nights. Plus a shop and bar on site. We have stayed at Brean before on several of the other sites.but this was to be the first time on Warren Farm.
We set off and took a gentle run down, skirting the south of Bristol.
We were soon at Warren Farm, where we were directed to field 5.  This is purely a field for caravans and tents. It had pitches for over 120 rigs, but was virtually empty! We had booked a hard standing and were able to set up with the caravan facing west! Awning went on the grass as the hard standing was tarmac
We were soon set up in the pleasant afternoon sun.
Weston Super Mare as seen from our caravan

Tuesday was a superb day so we went out for coffee and then spent the rest of the day sat out in the sun reading.
We ventured into Weston -Super-Mare on Wednesday where after coffee in the Old Colonial on the sea front, my credit card took a bit of a bashing at Marks & Spencers!  Lizzie is getting ready for our French trip!!
Donna and Pete joined us mid afternoon and we then adjourned to a cafe called 'The Plaice' for Fish and Chips.  When at the sea side you just have to don't you.
Brean Down

We popped down to Burnham on Thursday and then just sat in the sun for a few hours until the sky became overcast and we had thunder!  This dull weather lasted right though Friday!  We were surprised how many tent campers turned up on Friday afternoon/evening.   Field 5 still looked deserted though.

Good weather returned for Saturday so after coffee at the Brean Down National Trust Cafe we adjourned to the beach for the rest of the day!  £3.00 to park all day on the beach is not bad, and you can come and go as you please.

The Beach

Ami, Lizzie's eldest daughter was 28 on the Sunday, so it was arranged that her, Anthony and the children would come down to join us, and we would all have Sunday lunch, in the Beachcomber at 3.00.
As the weather was lovely, if just a trifle windy, they all turned up at 11.00am.  So it was off to the beach.

Ami, Tony, Izzy, Charlie and Freddie

We even played football on the beach.  Tony, Anthony's dad and his wife Julie joined us on the beach.
We adjourned to the Beachcomber for lunch, which was a carvery. I have never had so much meat, beef, turkey and gammon piled on my plate.  The meat was so plentiful that we put much of it into take away containers, and used it with a salad on Monday night when we got home.

Birthday cake in the awning!

After more time back at the caravan all our visitors left for home.

We cleared up on Monday and left the site at about 2.30.   None of this Caravan Club stuff where you must be off site by 12 noon. Here they asked you, unless it was school holidays to leave by 4.00pm.

Excellent week away!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Moving on to Burrs Country Park

Well we headed north, in very wet weather, up the M6 toll road, then the M6 and into Bury.  When we got to Burrs Country Park CC site part of it was closed off for construction work. Completely new hardstandings were being created.  We were not able to use our usual pitch as it was fenced off. We picked a pitch opposite it and went in, using the mover,  nose first so that we had a good view of the railway.
The East Lancs Railway, www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk  were holding their three day Spring Steam Gala, so the line running past the caravan site was going to be busy.

After we arrived on the site we went up to have dinner with Kathy, Robert and the boys. It was good to see them as we had not met up since Christmas.  Dennis the dog is now almost fully grown, and after inital excitment soon calmed down.

Thursday was a shopping day, restocking the cravan, and giving it a good clean.

Train movments started early on Friday morning, and during the day we were able to watch trains passing regularly. On steam gala days, these heritage railways are far more busy than they ever were when they were operated by British Rail. We were able to sit out in the sun and watch the trains passing.

This train is unusual as the locomotive is facing the opposite way to all of the others.

On the Saturday Robert and I went up to the railway, to spend the day riding on the various trains.  Robert had studied the timetable and by getting on and off at intermediate stations we were able to travel on all of the different trains that were running.
Each time as went past the caravan site Lizzie was able to wave to us.

Now follows a collection of photos showing the various engines that were running,

Bury station looking rather busy.

Tank engine in branch line mode with just a couple of coaches

The site with Lizzie stood outside of the caravan as we pass.

Possibly my favourite train of the day. A branch line goods train.

This was the City of Wells, dressed as the Golden Arrow at Ramsbottom. The Golden Arrow was the boat train that ran from London Victoria to Dover.   When I was a little boy I used to see the Golden Arrow steam through Gillingham station.  It ceased being steam hauled in 1961, and finally ceased running altogether in September 1972.

The steam gala was not as busy as normal, probably because there were no visiting Locomotives, as The Duchess of Sutherland that had been expected to visit was suddenly cancelled five days before the event, citing lack of locomotive crew as the reason.

Sunday was another good day so we travelled a few miles along the line to Sumerseat to see the site where the pub that spanned the river  had been washed away in the Christmas floods.  We then adjourned to Kathy and Roberts for an excellent Sunday Dinner.

On the Monday we drove over the outskirts of Warrington where we met my cousin Tony and his wife. It made a change to meet up socially rather than at a funeral!  We had lunch together, having a thoroughly good time. Hopefully we will meet up again when we are next in Bury.

We cleared up on the Tuesday morning and left for home, having a good run on the motorways.

Nights spent in the caravan this year totals 20.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Highwayman Hotel CL, Kidlington, Oxfordshire.

Well we found this CL in the Caravan Club sites book,and despite some dubious reviews decided to give it a go. It was on a small piece of grass adjacent to the hotel. In the car park of the hotel were a motor home and  a caravan.On the grass area were two more caravans, all being occupied full time. However the site was clean and tidy. The hotel had an excellent bar and served good food.  The site was bordered by a canal, a main road and a railway, so not the quietest of places. However as we were not going to be sitting outside the noise was not going to be an issue for us.
Whilst we were there the site did get delisted by the Caravan Club, due to non return of paper work regarding proof of insurance.

Don't be deceived.  This was the only good view.

Our main reason for choosing this site was that we wanted to visit Oxford, and also to pop down to Reading to see James, Jade, Jack and the new grand daughter Josephine.

When we arrived on site the heating decided it was not going to work. As it was only 1 degree outside we got our emergency fan heater out to start warming the caravan up.  I then called Chipping Sodbury Caravans as we are still under warranty.  The Lovely Heather was soon on the case and arranged for a local mobile engineer to come. He arrived after 30 minutes, and admitted that despite being a Truma Agent he had never seen our sort of heater before. He was soon on the phone to Truma and following instructions from them got it going! Faulty heater blower that had jammed.  He even explained to me how to get it going again if it stopped.  That saw me on to screwfix to purchase a set of security screwdriver bits so that I can remove the cover if I need to.

On the Friday we popped down to Reading for lunch and to see the 4 J's. Jack handed me his remote controlled Thomas engine for Pops to repair,which I dutifully did on the Saturday

We visited the Hotel for dinner on the Saturday night, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and the prices.The beer was also of a very good quality and was reasonably priced, so a few pints were sampled

We popped into Oxford on Sunday and parked right outside the Ashmolean.  Spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around and also looking at various colleges.
We enjoyed visiting the Ashmolean so i have put the link here.  www.ashmolean.org   This tells you more about it than I can in my blog.

Monday entailed another trip to Reading to visit the J's and lunch out again. These Grandchildren get to be expensive!

We decided on another day in Oxford on the Tuesday and again parked very easily.We spent more time wandering around before visiting the Pitts Rivers museum.  This is a huge collection of things collected from around the world.  It is absolutely crammed with exhibits and was also full of school parties.  Again I put the web site for you.  www.prm.ox.ac.uk  Again it is free to visit and is well worth doing.

When we got back to the camp site, I decided that in view of the weather forecast that the awning was coming down.  So glad I did as we had torrential rain over night.  And I mean torrential.  When i got up the following morning their was a lake in front of the caravan that was some 2 inches deep.  I decided to visit the hotel for breakfast.  It was possibly the biggest breakfast I have ever been served with, and was really scrummy.

Notshown are the dish of Baked Beans and the rack of toast.

I returned to the caravan and Liz was up so we cleared up.  It was still raining so I set the Freelander 2 in grass mode and gingerly reversed to the caravan and hitched up. Fortunately all was well as we moved forward and making a large gentle arc drove out of the field without incident.

We left the site and headed towards our next destination.  Burrs Country Park CC site for the East Lancs Railway Steam Gala.

Thoroughly enjoyed the Highwayman hotel, and will probably return in the future.

A late start to 2016!

Well with one thing and another, including the birth of yet another Grandchild on the 12th of January we were not able to get away until the 7th of February.  Looking forward to a well needed rest we opted for a short trip to Greenacres CL in Bibury.  This is a lovely site we have visited many times before. It is only £12 per night including EHU, and has good views over the open countryside.

With the imminent arrival of storm 'Imogen' we opted for pitch 9, as a 15 foot high, thick hedge gives admirable protection from the south and west. We survived the storm with no problems,wondering what all the fuss was about.  However when I ventured out the following morning for a paper and milk there were many trees down on the roads.

On Tuesday I had to go to my opticians in Chippenham to retrieve a pair of glasses that had been in for repair.  We then popped home to check up on Zoe who had taken to her bed as she was feeling unwell.  All was well so it was back to the caravan.
Cirencester was our destination for  the Wednesday where we spent much of the day just wandering the shops.

On Thursday morning the temperature dropped to minus 3,and the water was all frozen up. Soon defrosted though when the sun came up. We then drove cross country to Gloucester Quays, where I picked up a new lightweight jacket for France.
I went to the auction at Moore, Innocent and Allen's sale rooms just outside Cirencester. It was mostly sporting goods,. fishing rods, rifles and the like. Some of the prices were amazing.

Saturday was again spent in Cirencester.  The site was now full, all caravans.

On the Sunday we cleared up and set off for home, having had a successful first week away in the caravan.

Only a short entry this time.  Longer Blogs to follow on Oxford and Bury