Thursday, 11 May 2017

Exmoor House, Dulverton. 2nd May

Well we have been to this site before many times in November/December, so we decided to visit again in late spring.
We had a good run down stopping in Wells for a burger and a mug of tea.  When we reached the site it was very full, but we were able to find a good south facing pitch.  We were soon set up in the very warm sun.

This really is a lovely tidy site, close to the centre of town. It is very clean and is extremely tidy. The new wardens Keith and Debbie are very helpful. We had met them before at Burrs Country Park and also Start Bay.

On the Wednesday after a proper breakfast I went on the 'Heritage walk' round Dulverton. There were 12 of us on the walk, and was really informative.

Dulverton Main Street. 

 Their used to be another row of cottages down the middle of the street.

Their are many cottages built of brick, rather than local stone.

This waterway feeds three mills further down.

We drove over to Minehead on the Thursday. We took the opportunity to visit the West Somerset railway where we had coffee and watched the trains for a while before adjourning to Lidl to do the shopping.

The moor still looks quite forbidding, even with the Gorse in flower.

Just about to depart to Bishops Lydeard
This is the next engine to be restored!

I spent the Friday wandering round Dulverton, browsing the amazing second hand bookshop, before spending time in the Dulverton Heritage centre and their fabulous model railway.  More details of the railway are on the Dulverton Heritage centre website.
As the campsite is only a few minutes walk from the town I went up to collect fish and chips for our supper.

The Lynmouth and Barnstaple railway was our destination for Saturday. This is a narrow gauge railway, and at present is only a mile and a half long.  Plans to expand it to about nine miles are well in hand though. It really was an outstanding railway with everything being very clean, tidy and well presented. We rode down the line and then stopped for a light lunch.

Taking on Water

The turn round at Killington Lane

Looking down the line

We loved the station signs.

The views from the railway over the countryside were outstanding!

I went to church in Dulverton on Sunday morning, and then at lunch time as it was so warm we adjourned to the bridge inn for a lunch time drink.

We went to Woods on Monday!  This is a really outstanding restaurant, and the food certainly lived up to its reputation,

We cleared up on the Tuesday and had a good run home.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Wood Farm, Charmouth. 27th March

Good run down through Shepton Mallet. The journey took us about two hours. We set up on a pitch with the caravan facing east. The actual pitch was a concrete one with a graveled area for the awning.
Everything was soon set up in the very pleasant and very warm sun.
A fish and chip van was expected on site and we were looking forward to supper from there! Then the camp staff said that the Fish and Chip Van would not be coming!  As we had nothing else ready it became Omelette for tea, whilst we looked out over the pleasant countryside!

We spent a very lazy Tuesday as my back was rather sore.  No hardship though as the warm weather was holding very well.

Wednesday was a very cloudy day. We set  off for Dorchester to meet my old colleague Mary for Lunch. The journey along the A35 was not at all peasant as it was extremely foggy. e had a very pleasant lunch.  We set off back, stopping at Morrisons in Bridport to do some shopping. Fortunately the journey back to the site was much easier as the fog had cleared!

The site we were staying on was equidistant from Charmouth and Lyme Regis.
We popped down to Lyme Regis, but because of road works it was impossible to park.  Charmouth however was different as there was a large car park on the beach.  We  went in the Beach cafe for Coffee.  It was a very strange cafe!  They had obviously not heard of cupboards as there were boxes stacked all over the place!  The whole cafe needed a complete reorganisation.
The beach however was good and we spent some time there just watching the world and the sea go by!
Charmouth beach looking East!

Charmouth beach looking West!
It was very pleasant watching the world.  We did not walk as my back was still very sore.

We set off for Seaton for coffee on Friday, but failed to find a convenient one open. Much of the town was very quiet as it was still March. So we drove on to Beer! Absolutely no chance of parking here as they were filming on the beach!  We think it was Broadchurch!

Looking down over Beer!

So it was on to Branscombe where we found a most excellent beach side cafe. Coffee became lunch which was superb.
Branscombe is the beach that a large container ship was wrecked on some 10 years ago.  The containers that came ashore were then looted!  The wreck has long gone, but its anchor is at the top of the beach as a memorial.

The Anchor, left as a memorial.

Branscombe beach looking West.

Branscombe beach looking East.
The story of the wreck.

We drove on to Sidmouth, which was very busy.  The main car park was absolutely stuffed with Film Unit lorries, so parking in the town was difficult, so having been here before we headed back to the caravan.

The weather was far better than we expected on Saturday, so we set off heading east along the coast, making our first stop at Eype, where the car park charge was £4.00.  As there was little to see we did not stop, and drove on to the swannery at Abbotsbury. As the weather was so good we decided to go in.  The pictures tell the story.

A general overview

Nesting. The Swans do not see  to worry.

Safer nesting in the reeds!
It was an amazing place to wander around. Many of the Swans were nesting on the paths, totally unperturbed by people walking past!

On the Sunday we set off for West Bay.  It was extremely busy with a motor cycle rally starting from there.  We watched all the motorcycles set off and then sat on the harbour wall eating pasties and watching the boats in the harbour. I have not been to West Bay for many years, and it really does not seem to have changed at all.

Some of  the motorcycles preparing to depart.

West Bay Harbour

West Bay Harbour

Then it was back to the caravan to do some clearing up ready for our departure the following day.

We left at about 11.00 the following day and had a good run home, via our favourite burger van in Wells.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Henley Four Oaks CMC site

Well this was just a couple of nights away at Henley. We were off up to Henley to see Jade, James, Jack and Josie. As it was a very short trip, only two nights we were traveling light, no awning and all the associated bits and pieces.
A quick run up the M4 and then the outskirts of Reading to Henley. Warning bells rang as we drove the Reading roads! It was the Reading Half Marathon on the Sunday and roads were closed, so we would need a different route home on the Sunday.

Found the site easily, arriving just after the site reopened for the season. Picked ourselves a nice hard standing well away from the main road.
 The site seems OK, although having stayed on Swiss Farm Camp Site next door is probably better as most pitches are serviced and there is a coffee shop on site!
We set up and then left the site to go and visit Jade and her family in Lower Early. They were all fine and Jack was really excited to see us.
We stayed there for a couple of hours and then returned to the caravan.
I popped into Henley and bought fish and chips for our supper and they were very good!  (JK'S Fish and Chips)

The site had filled up quite a lot!

On the Saturday, after a decent Brunch Lizzie and I went into Henley on Thames to have a wander round the shops! Lizzie bought herself a new bag ready for our forthcoming French trip.

Later in the day Jade and family came to join us and we went for an early dinner at The Catherine Wheel in Henley on Thames. Its a Whetherspoons, so relatively good food that is quiet inexpensive.

We started Sunday with a late breakfast, and fed the Bacon rinds to the red Kites! Really spectacular to see them swoop down, but really very difficult to photograph!

We cleared up and set off for home heading towards Oxford before heading down to Swindon where we joined the M4.
The journey down the M4 was heavy going with a very strong head wind!  Our fuel consuption dropped from a normal 29mpg to 21 mpg.

We were soon home and the caravan was back on the drive, ready to be prepared for our next trip in a few days time.

Burrs Country Park Caravan and Motorhome Site!

Only home for a few days and we were off again heading up north for the East Lancs Railway Steam Gala.
All went well as we sped up the M5, making good time. Then on the information board over the Motorway came the message 'M6 Closed'.  Warning bells begin ringing in our heads, but then the signs disappear, so the M6 is obviously open again!
We carry on, still doing well, and then the warnings started of slow traffic around junction 14,  we slow down, then we crawl, and eventually stop!  It took us about an hour to complete the next few miles.
All caused by a lorry fire and the motorway needed to be resurfaced.
We finally arrive at Burrs after a five and a half hour journey, two hours longer than usual.
We were able to set up on the corner pitch, our favourite as it gives an excellent view of the railway line.  We set up and then head up to Robert and Kathy's for dinner.
Amazingly Dennis the dog, just looked at us and then laid down, not a sound.

We spent Thursday shopping, as Bury has many shops that are not near us at home.

The Steam gala started on the Friday morning, so we settled down to watch the activity.

Although we could have  sat and watched trains going backwards and forwards all day, we set off for Bury Market, as we had a list of odds and ends we wanted. After a couple of hours wandering the market we headed back to the caravan to continue our train watching.

There is a new station at Burrs Country Park. one train in three stops at the station. This means that Engines heading North have to work really hard as they leave the station.

That evening all of us went to Toby Carvery for dinner. I have to say I thought it was pretty good.

On the Saturday morning Robert and I caught the first down train at Burrs Station, as we were going to enjoy a day on the railway.. Our aim was to try to travel behind each of the engines that were running. We went as far as Ramsbottom, then caught the up train to Bury.

Our first train of the day, which we caught at Burrs Country Park Station.

 We then traveled up and down the line, behind various different engines. A selection of photographs follow!

Burrs Country Park CMH site, with Lizzie outside the caravan

Lunch was taken at the Irwell Valley Brewery

City of Wells was the only Loco that we did not travel behind!  Have traveled behind it before though
We enjoyed traveling up and down the line, enjoying the on train bar ,when at 17.00, we got the last train that was stopping at Burrs Country park, and back to the caravan. Kathy collected, Robert Lizzie and myself and we went up to their house for dinner!
Then home for an early bed!

on Sunday we watched the trains for a while and then went to a shopping centre called Boundary Mill. Unfortunately I had forgotten to leave my credit cards at home, so Lizzie indulged in a lot of retail therapy at my expense!  I did however get refillable salt and pepper mills that I was after then it was back to Robert and Kathys for a sumptuous Sunday Dinner!

On Monday we ahd not expected to see any trains, but there was a photographic charter running!
The Goods Train Photographic charter!

This was a little mixed goods unit running up and down in front of us for an hour!  it ran past us, then reversed back beyond the station, and did it again and again!  All for the benefit of photographers who were paying £50.00 each for the privilege! On our side of the fence there was no charge!

We then cleared up and were home in three and a half hours!  Better run home than coming up!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Moreton in the Marsh CC Site.20th February.

Well it has been a long time since our last Caravan trip, over two months in fact. Christmas, family birthdays and a major revamp of the living rooms of our house necessitated us being at home. Jade, Jack and Josie stayed with us over half term week and as soon as they returned home to Reading we were off.
Moreton in the Marsh is a place we have driven through many times, but never stopped at.  After a very pleasant run up through Tetbury, Cirencester and Stow on the Wold we reached the site.
Now Moreton in the Marsh CC site is very big, about 180 pitches, and it was shown as full on the web site so it was very fortunate that we had booked.

Set up on site

We soon set up on pitch 49, which I chose faced South . In view of the predicted storm 'Doris' was a wise choice.. The awning was soon up and the caravan was ready for our weeks stay.
As we were driving up Lizzie unfortunately had a phone call to say that her step father, Roy, had unfortunately passed away.
As her mum was surrounded by Lizzie's two sister and four step brothers there was no real reason for us to return immediately.
Supper was cooked, and then the discovery was made!!!  My pills had been forgotten. So it was off to bed, so I could make a trip home early in the morning to collect them.
I was up early, breakfasted, and on the road by 8:15, and home by 9:25. Grabbed my pills, and back on the road and back at the caravan by 10.45.
Later that day I wandered down to have a look at the town.
An image of Moreton in the Marsh from the 1960's. If you put modern cars in, it could be today.

About 9.00 am on the Tuesday we were having breakfast when there was a knock at the caravan door. It was one of the wardens, who duly presented us with a goody bag, and she told us that we were now staying on Moreton in the Marsh Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. The CC had rebranded itself to create a more modern image.  Then the wardens started changing all, and I mean all of the signs on the site to ones that had the new name and colours on. They even were changing all of the pitch numbers!

Tuesday was a nice bright, albeit cold day, so we wrapped up warm and set of for Moreton in the Marsh as it was Market day. We parked straight outside a little cafe so coffee was the order of the day. Then off round the Market. Interesting, but nothing was bought apart from some vegetables for supper.  Lizzie enjoyed the independence of having her very own mobility scooter!

We decided that we would go down to see Lizzie's mum on the Wednesday, so it was another trip back home. We met up with Lizzie's mum, as well as Coral and Robyn, Lizzie's two sisters.
A couple of hours there and we returned via home to the caravan.

I needed to return to Bristol yet again on the Thursday for the will reading at 12 noon. As the weather was expected to be very rough I checked the caravan, and double pegged the awning before leaving. I went a different way back, heading towards Gloucester and down the M5. It certainly was very windy.
I met Lizzie's mum, Coral, Robyn and Andy at the solicitors. The solicitor read the will, and as expected everything went to Lizzie's mum. Andy and I had been told that we were to be the executors, but that had still been in the process of being sorted so Lizzie's mum was the executor.
The journey back was a bit of a nightmare with many trees down, blocking roads. Also a lorry had lost its load of straw on to a car.
Eventually I got back to the caravan, and was met with a pale faced Lizzie.  Apparently the caravan had rocked back and forth in the wind. Anyway all was safe.  All except for the small drip we were getting from the roof seam, so the caravan was booked in to Chipping Sodbury Caravans on the Monday morning.

Friday was a really lovely day so we went down to Bourton on the water for a good look round!We then went on to Stow on the Wold, but parking was impossible, so it was back to the caravan to enjoy the afternoon sun.

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water war memorial!

I was collecting some bits and pieces for Robert, that he had bought on E Bay. As this was in the direction of Reading we collected the bits and then dove on to meet James, Jade, Jack and Josie for lunch at the Retreat in Early.

Sunday was clear up day, so the awning was packed away, almost dry and then we headed for home.
As we left the site the heavens opened, so we were really lucky to clear up in the dry.

Home safely and the Caravan was emptied and delivered to the dealers first thing on Monday morning, and we got it back all fixed on the Tuesday afternoon!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Exmoor House, CC Site, Dulverton

So it is the beginning of December so it must be time to head for Dulverton to enjoy the 'Dulverton by Starlight Celebrations'.
The site, was very full, with two thirds of the occupants being motorhomers. We had opted for a fully serviced pitch, and in view of the weather I was rather glad. It was extremely cold and damp.
A fully serviced pitch is one that comes with electric, mains water, which we connect to the caravan, and a drain which we connect the caravan to. On Caravan Club sites there is an extra £3.00 a night charge.  Many commercial sites and ones abroad often provide them for free !
On our pitch at Exmoor House , Dulverton.

On the Saturday we did no more than go up into Dulverton, where there is a lovely range of small shops, where we wandered around doing some Christmas shopping It was very foggy, and cold

I went to the 8.00am service at Dulverton Parish Church on the Sunday.  Just after lunch we went up to the Dulverton by Starlight celebrations. Lots of stalls in the street, but surprisingly, apart from raffle tickets we did not spend much.  Enjoyed the atmosphere though.
Afterwards the fireworks were very good as usual!

Monday started very misty, but it cleared very quickly so we set off for Minehead, for a look round, even though it was very cold.

It was really foggy and cold on Tuesday so we spent time writing our Christmas cards.

We went for our traditional Christmas lunch on the Wednesday, and had an absolutely excellent meal!
If you are in the area it is well worth a visit.

Neither of us were feeling particularly bright due to winter colds, so as the weather forecast was grim we decide to cut our time at Dulverton a couple of days short.
We cleared up in 2 hours, and were home a couple of hours later.

So ends our 2016 caravan exploits. 172 nights away in total.

Overshore CS, Upchurch, Kent

Well we set off for Upchurch in Kent, a distance of 157 miles. Virtually the whole route was motorway so we reached the site in exactly three hours, which is not bad as we were towing.
The site belongs to Tara, who is a friend of my cousin Lee.
The site is a 5 caravan CC, with a small commercial site next to it. It is on the edge of the River Medway, but you cannot see the water as high earth banks are in the way. Entrance is by way of a double width gate, so nice and easy.

On site.

We were soon set up, and Lee turned up to see us and to show her brand spanking new Pick up truck.

On the Friday Lee came down to see us and we went off to see her boys, (two Shetland ponies), before going back to her place for a takeaway Chinese supper.

Saturday was bright and sunny so we set off for the Romney,  Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. We headed for the brand new station at Dungness, where ther was a smart cafe that we could sit in and watch the trains arriving. It was their end of season steam gala, so the line was really busy. trains were arriving Double headed, pulling 14 coaches. They were then split into two trains, each of seven coaches. The first then left to run non stop back to Hythe, whilst the second train ran back to Hythe as a stopper.

There are two engines under that smoke and steam.
Second train ready to depart.

The Royal Coach on the end of the train.

On the Sunday it was very windy so we set off for Margate to see the rough seas. Margate, despite the regeneration work is still a very depressing place, with many places closed down.
We got to the front, and were disappointed that the seas were not as rough as we had hoped as the winds was blowing offshore.

Not as rough as we had hoped.
We drove on to Cliftonville and found a very old fashioned, and rather quaint cafe, where we had coffee.

We spent the next couple of days doing odd bits of shopping and visiting some of my old haunts.

On the Wednesday Lee collected us mid afternoon, and we went to visit her new offices and yard, which are inside the Historic Dockyard at Chatham.  The dockyard is a mixture of historic sites, residential and industrial units. Sounds a mishmash but it works well. We then went back to Lees for dinner.

I spent most of Thursday at Lee's house sitting,  as she was having a new conservatory built, and she had to go to meetings with work.

Friday morning saw me heading for Gillingham Parish Church. My mum and dad were married there in the late 1940's and I was christened there in the early 1950's.  I enjoyed looking round the church.

On Saturday we did some clearing up, ready for a departure on the Sunday. Lee collected us late in the afternoon and we set off for Sittingbourne Dogs.  Advertised as 'Kents Big Night Out' it turned out to be great fun.
Lee had arranged for a group of us to go. Dinner had been booked. The restaurant was in tiers, so as we sat having dinner we could watch the racing. Races happen every twenty minutes, so it is very busy. A man comes round and collects your bets before each race, and also pays your winnings. Yes we did make a small profit.
The whole evening was great fun, and we are looking forward to going again.

Lee and friends at the Dogs!

On the Sunday we left at 11.30 and were home before 3.00pm after an excellent week away!