3M Command Hooks

My latest idea of space saving and tidying up was 3M Command Hooks. Not having anywhere in the bathroom to hang our towels whilst showering was the first port of call.

The hooks come with double sided sticky pads that attach to a small hanging plate. Firstly, you have to make sure that the surface to which the hook is to be placed on is clean and dry. Then, attach the sticky pad to the hanging plate holding firmly for 10 second. Next, remove the clearly marked ‘wall side’ sticker and press firmly onto the spot where you are going to put the hook. Holding it firmly in place for about 30 seconds. Leaving this for an hour the hook is then ready to use.

The hooks come in a variety of weight bearing loads for an array of different uses. You have a choice of white or clear hooks so that for hanging small plaques etc they would be almost invisible.

Before we put anymore up I really did want to check that they were removable without leaving the sticky mess on my walls, doors and cupboards that these type of hooks normally leave behind. Sliding the hook up and off there is a small tab at the base of the sticky pad. Grasping this pad firmly and pulling straight down the pad did come cleanly away leaving absolutely no mess at all.

Satisfied that they actually did what they said they would off I went on a sticking frenzy.

Two hooks were stuck into the inside of the shower. Perfect for hanging wet coats out of the way over winter. Four hooks went inside one of my kitchen cupboard doors. My cooking utensils take up so much valuable cupboard space. This is now perfect.

Hooks were also added in our bedroom for our fleece jackets. They take up so much room in the wardrobe, now releasing space for me to take more clothes away with us.

Would I use them again? Definitely. They do what they say on the packet. They come in various sizes all with weight guidelines and details of what they are best used for.  Priced between £3 – £4 a pack I think they are fantastic value for money too. Having used various makes of hooks over the years. I’ve always been disappointed when in the end the hooks fell off leaving behind an unsightly mess which was nigh on impossible to remove. 3M Command Hooks have answered my prayers. I’m am now finding myself walking round wondering what else I can hang. I think my next trip will be to the shops to buy more hooks for our house.

Somerset in September 

My humans are back again. For a change I thought I’d write this blog instead of letting them do it. Let me introduce myself, I’m a Bailey Pursuit 560-5 and I own two humans. They normally come to visit me on their own, on one occasion though they did bring their two grown up daughters with them. I don’t have a name, they don’t seem to name their belongings, apart from Louis, their tandem, who for some reason, has been named after one of the chimps in the PG Tips adverts. We are just the Volvo and the Bailey to them. The Volvo is full to busting. Must mean we are off for a good few days this time. Normally they travel quite light for our regular 2 night trips out. Hopefully we are off somewhere quiet. Having around 300 ‘vans on the storage site doesn’t give me much peace and quiet.

My fridge is on and packed. They lift my legs and hitch me up to the Volvo and off we rumble. The storage site is looking quite empty considering the kids are back at school this week.

Heading towards Basingstoke we then aimed towards the M4. Looks like they are taking me further afield than normal. Quick service stop, they obviously need a wee and some grub. Out comes my step, not grabbing a quick McDonalds then. In they hop and settle themselves down with a chicken wrap! My, they are being good. It won’t last. My female wanders over to the service station for the loos, claiming she needs the steps for her Fitbit. Bet she doesn’t have many days reaching her step goals on this trip. My male doesn’t care about the steps. Into my bathroom he goes. Complaining that my wastemaster is In his way.

Off we go again. Turning onto the M5 they head me towards Weston Super Mare. They decide to turn me into the tightest single track roads all uphill, I hope we don’t meet anyone coming the other way.

Tight left turn, God I hope he remembers I’m behind him. Gorselands Caravan Club CL is signposted, we must be here. We head left to the Caravan Club side of the site. Another field, with a fair few trees, for C&CC members meanders to the right, I’m glad we aren’t going over to that side, they gave me a good scrub a couple of weeks ago and with tree cover comes sap and bird droppings, non of which I want on my squeaky clean roof. I do have a fair few dead flies from the trip splattered on my front window, I hope they spot them and give it a wash.

The CC side is quite a large space with room for 5 ‘vans. There are 2 already here with pitches looking onto the distant coast line of Weston Super Mare. They choose a pitch also looking out to the coastline with views of Newport, Cardiff and the Breacon Beacons in the far distance on a clear day, I think I’ll settle here.

My feet are lowered into soft grass. My male goes in search of the wooden blocks he has used in the past. With a bit of cursing he realises that on the last service they went into the garage and must still be there. Probably along with the map book he is grumbling about.
My female goes exploring and comes back with a face on, northern term meaning she’s not happy. Announcing that she isn’t keen on the loos and having to pay 20p for hot water. There are only 2 unisex bathrooms between the CC & C& CC and what with them being a little bit old and having to do the walk of shame with loo roll in hand, it isn’t provided here, she is being a bit of a grump. I’m not sure why, my bathroom is lovely and my shower is really good. After elefooting about for a bit she decides my facilities will be used for her daily ablutions. Not sure why it took her so long to decide really, it’s my male that does all the emptying.

Couple of nights in and she’s complaining about the bed. They’ve turned my end dinette into a permanent bed and she’s moaning it’s giving her a bad back. I think if they take me away for weeks on end like they keep threatening the cushions will be in the garage and a mattress in situ. To keep her happy my male takes the bed to pieces and does some tetris with my cushions.

It’s blowing a hoolie outside and they are talking about taking a trip into Weston Super Mare. Looks like I’ll be able to have a bit of peace and quiet whilst they are gone. Maybe even a little snooze.

They’re back, full of chat about the walk along the front that blew the cobwebs away. My female wanted a walk along the Grand Pier and is still going on about how she won’t pay a £1 for the pleasure. She is so tight. Saying every penny not spent is going into the running away fund. Instead of walking on the pier it sounds like they walked under it. Wierdos.

Sounds like they liked the prom don’t think they were blown away with the town. They did nip into a well known burger bar for a cup of tea and some wifi. I think the digital detox that the site is making her endure is killing her.
The wind is still howling round the site and battering my awning and shaking me to the point I feel that if I could be sick I would. Any drop in the wind brings the insects out, all clammering to get into my awning. Little feet tickling my roof as they bat around aimlessly. Point to note, my front window still bears the fly road kill from my journey here.

They are talking about visiting the Camperex Motorhome Show at Bath and West Showground. Is there something I should know? Why would they go to a Motorhome show? The weather wasn’t looking too good when they left and true to form and my female not liking the rain, they weren’t gone long. Grumbling about the majority of the stock being second hand when they wanted to see the new models. Not to mention moaning about the rain. I’ve heard them talking about their dream of travelling the UK and Europe, feeling a little bit left out to think I may not be part of those plans.

The female slept well last night after even more cushion Tetris. I’ve no idea how she slept through the storm that spent the night trying to blow my awning inside out and throwing an unbelievable amount of rain at us. One consolation, it washed the flies off my front window.

They are discussing whether to go and watch The Tour of Britain. It’s in Bristol today so not far for them in the car. The male changed a headlight bulb and off they went. On their return, headlight bulb has blown again, all they can talk about is how close they got and what great views they got from the Clifton Suspension Bridge built in the 19th century. A giant screen had been placed at the top of the Mall showing the race in full. They said it was a lovely atmosphere with people partying and drinking champagne whilst watching Rohan Dennis win yesterday’s stage of the race. The weather stayed nice for them, thankfully, some moaning would have had to have been listened to if she’d got wet.

On their return the female produced packs of 3M Command Hooks that she had been planning to deface my lovely walls and doors with. She reassured me and the male that the sticky pads that fastened the hooks to my walls could be removed leaving no mess behind. Off she set. Hooks up for towels, coats even on the inside of one of my cupboard doors for cooking utensils, I do like the idea of those being hung neatly. They are too big for one of my drawers and take up valuable room in one of my cupboards. An hour after hanging the hooks they were ready for the test drive. I must admit they do seem to be a good idea, freeing up lots of cupboard space. With lots of different sizes and weight bearing limits they do seem to tick lots of boxes.

Hottest day of September since 1911 scorches the UK with temperatures registering 32 degrees over towards Gatwick. Whilst I’m sitting here in North Somerset with the rain beating down on me, lightning flashing and thunder booming all around. I must admit sitting atop Bleadon Hill in such a storm did make me wonder how safe my humans and I were. The final remains of fly road kill were washed away with gusto. My awning roof bulged under an ever increasing puddle, causing my female to go out there with a plastic ladle pushing the water off from inside. My groundsheet has started squelching underfoot. All they can do is sit, steaming cups of tea in hand, staring out of the window. I’m sure they’ve seen rain before. The storm rumbles on above for a few hours causing major downpours on and off. Suddenly we’re forced to go ‘off grid’. The storm has caused a power cut. My fridge is hastily flicked onto gas. Off goes the male to seek out the owner to be told the entire area is down and they aren’t sure how long for. Quite funny watching a neighbouring house with electric gates unable to let a visitor in. We’ll be fine. I can look after my humans without electricity.

After the rain came the slugs. Hundreds of the little blighters. All mooching around my steadies. Heaven forbid how I’ll feel if one crawls up my leg.

The next day brought wall to wall sunshine. My awning has been unpegged and allowed to blow in the breeze. This normally means one thing. Nearly time to go home. The awning is packed away, it’s nice to feel the sunshine on my walls. Still relatively clean after the storm, I settle back to rest and sparkle in the afternoon sunshine.

They choose to sit. Feet up, facing the sun. Bottles of beer in hand. They start to chat. Plans for a long trip next summer, sounds too like I’m included in the action. They’ve booked me in for a service too towards they end of the year. That’ll be fun watching them empty my belongings.

Would I come again? I feel for the price of the site the shower/facilities should be more appealing and loo roll, soap and hand drying a must. Lack of wifi, 4G and intermittent phone signal also a bit of a negative for the price. Lovely peaceful site but very windy. I’ve enjoyed looking after my humans here but feel for £18 a night they deserve some luxuries for this price and that it’s quite costly for just EHU and chemical disposal as they didn’t use the toilets and showers.

17 Minutes from Home

Tuesday morning, the sun is shining and the forecast is good for the next couple of days. A little more relaxed today in our preparation to getting the caravan hitched up and on the road. We discovered a site quite near to home on the Internet a few months ago and now seems a good time to try it. Old Barn Farm Is probably the nearest site we have to home. It took longer to hitch up and leave our storage site than it did to actually drive to the site.

The site is situated in Liphook, just a mile from the A3. The drive to the site is a good clear run from home until you get within half a mile of the site and you hit the countryside. A narrow single track road leads to the site entrance, you wouldn’t want to meet another caravan coming the other way.

A gated entrance welcomed us, we’d been given the entry code prior to arrival, in we went. Guided through well maintained farm buildings by signs a vast open space greeted us with only 6 pitches taken, EHU and water points skirted the perimeter of the field. With no facilities on site we chose a pitch and got the legs down parallel with the hedgerow on the south facing side of the site.

A vast expanse of farmland with loads of walks and not to far out of Liphook, where you will find a supermarket, local shops, pubs and takeaways,makes this site a perfect little haven. Slightly on the more expensive side at £20 a night, no facilities remember, still is a bit of a find for us for the shorter break as it’s very close to home with minimal fuel costs to get here.  We were a little worried on arrival to be greeted by this notice on the EHU though. Regardless we ran the electric and weren’t given any extra costs or charges.

Whilst on site we had two extremely good days weather wise with the second proving to be the hottest day of the year so far. So hot it melted my bloomin candles!

The hot weather meant after a walk to the local supermarket we were very hot and sweaty and with the sun still glaring down it seemed like the ideal opportunity to try out Equip, waterless wash wipes. Still too hot in the day to shower, you’d only need another one within the hour, these wipes certainly did the trick of freshening us up. Perfect for times when you need a quick wash but don’t have access to soap and water. Probably a good idea for festivals and a bit of wild camping.

One of the key pleasures of a caravan trip, and admit it, you agree, is the arrival of an entertaining couple, eg. the ones that argue and generally do things in an ‘interesting’ way. For now we will call them ‘Browbeaten Bob’ and ‘Bossy Bertha’.  So, Bob and Bertha drive onto our field and confidently drive to a unpopulated area, nothing too exciting, but once unhitched, Bertha is screaming “Further … Further … Further” as Bob drives about three caravan lengths away from their caravan, no sooner had we joked about the length of windbreaker they would be needing that Bertha was practically sprinting ten metres the other side of caravan with, yes, a windbreaker.  Eh..Up we both said, and immediately faced our chairs their way and settled in to enjoy the on site entertainment.  Once hammered into place, Bob is cajoled into helping carry another windbreaker ten metres past the now distant car.  Now either Bob was embarrassed at the scene or didn’t fancy the long journey to the far end of their new enclosure as a few cross words were exchanged before he flung his end of the concertina windbreak at his still sprinting wife. Bertha carried on regardless and hammered in the right perimeter wall, although, it is being re-hammered every ten minutes or so as it falls over regularly. Next, the caravan is emptied, my God, I hope they are staying more than two days, items were continually flung out of the opened caravan door into a large pile, to date, seven chairs are assembled (two people remember) and positioned in the North, West and South extremities of the encampment, a parasol complete with water filled base and the obligatory awning, which surprisingly was erected without too much drama, albeit over a period of about three hours.  As I look across it is still being pegged down.  In the time it has taken them to get to this stage we have normally had a cup of coffee, eaten dinner, explored the nearest town and eaten tea (translation for Southerners, for dinner and tea, please read lunch and dinner).  Maybe I am being harsh, the thirty metre exclusion zone could be on medical grounds and they are not just anti-social, territory grabbing, selfish gits, who knows.

The hottest day of the year soon turned into a stormy evening. Still warm, we were able to sit out under the canopy with a beer watching the rain come down.

All in all, would we come again? Yes, purely because of its locality to us. At £20 per night with no facilities, including no wifi, the price is a little bit steep but as you can see there is more than enough space for everyone. The owner is very relaxed and doesn’t really have any rules. He is very generous with his arrival and departure times, or should I say there aren’t any.

As for the anti-social territory grabbing selfish gits ?  It turns out they are wonderfully considerate people, why?, well clearly they were protecting us from the mass of bodies, bikes, dogs, caravans and tents that turned up over the following twenty-four hours and all seemed to be related to dear Bob and Bertha. Either way, we were entertained.

Equip Waterless Wash Wipes

We took Equip Waterless Wash Wipes away in the caravan with us.

The first morning we set ourselves the challenge of using the wipes instead of washing/showering. We were impressed with the way the wipes worked. They certainly freshened and gave you that ‘just washed’ feel even on your underarms. They are thicker and stronger than a normal wipe and are extremely moist which lasts quite a while whilst being used. They are PH balanced and dermatologically tested so great for most skin types. They produce a soap as you rub leaving you looking and feeling fresher.

The heat of the day meant that the wipes were also used later in the day to wash away the heat and grime of the day.

The wipes are perfect for those moments when you can’t get to soap and water but really need to. They come in a pack that is easily stored in your bag and provide a wipe bigger than the average wipe. Great for festivals, camping, sports, long car journeys and even work.

Another hot day today so the OH took them to work with him. He is an HGV driver and on days like today was grateful for the chance to be able to freshen up between drops.

Would we buy them again? Yes, I think we would.

At approximately £3 for a pack of 24 wipes they seem like a good buy.


Return to Rookesbury… With grown up children

Picture the scene… 10 hour shift just finished. Takeaway eaten. Caravan site booked. Wine opened. Bring on my mid week weekend.
Rewind to 1992. Challenge Anneka did a challenge and made a charity tape, Tommy’s Tape, that really appealed to my little ones musical taste of the time.
Fast forward to 2016 and she is fast approaching 25 and about to go on her first family holiday for a few years, in our caravan with her 20 year old sister. Tommy’s tape is a tape that was played in our old Ford Fiesta many moons ago and was played over and over again, tonight, 24 years later we are ‘streaming’ it from the Internet just to reminisce.

Setting the scene I am hoping that this may help to relive some of our earliest holidays under canvas. We holidayed under canvas until about 10 years ago when we moved south and pay rises meant tropical holidays to foreign climes. Up to present day grown up children have visited the caravan but not been away with us. Up until now this has been our private time, our private space. Bring on the family. I hope they enjoy it as much as we do.

Legs up, hitched up. It’s Tuesday morning and we are taking our grown up daughters on their first caravan adventure to Rookesbury Park. Arriving at lunch time, legs down, inside and outside jobs done time for some lunch. Both girls like me have fitbits and whilst I try to take my step count seriously they are more into it than I am. Caravan time normally means time to relax, especially on our 2 day jaunts as this is recovery from work time. So to get the step count up off into the neighbouring woods for a walk. A fern waved it’s greetings to us as we entered in a quite comical and mechanical way. On a previous walk earlier in the year here this was very muddy, although still muddy in places it had greatly improved.

Rabbits, a young stag, birds and dragonflies all made an appearance before scuttling off into the undergrowth.     Further down the path we spied a beautiful dragonfly appearing to be resting on a particularly spiky bush, (if anyone can help identify this plant I would be extremely grateful), we think it may be gorse. A few photos later and closer inspection, we realised that it wasn’t enjoying the sun it was actually impaled. We dutifully released it from the spiky prison and watched it fly away.

Sitting under the canopy watching the night draw in, Alice, our youngest, fast approaching 21, decided that it would be a good idea to have pizza delivered to the caravan! True to any uni student, she was pretty adept in finding an eaterie that would deliver. A few taps on her phone and it was arranged that the delivery driver would meet us at the entrance to the site. 30 minutes later the table groaned with goodies. I must say we got a substantial amount of food of really good quality for a very reasonable £15. Not something we would normally do and inputting the late night snack into our Fitbits I can see why we don’t do it regularly.

We were up bright and early, the girls tried to sleep in until lunch time. Not easy apparently with a mum that ‘Elefoots around the caravan’ and ‘the wolf next door howling’. Said wolf is in fact a beautiful husky, so very wolf like in appearance and really does howl like a wolf and insists on talking to its humans quite loudly.

Discovered this morning that one of my Twitter followers was on site too. Was good to spend a couple of minutes chatting about what we are up to. It’s always nice being able to put a face to the name.

The afternoon brought a walk up Old Winchester Hill. The girls love to take photos and really enjoyed messing about at the top of the hill. A few year ago we decided that no matter how old we all get we were going to try to have a ‘just the four of us’ family day every year. Today was our family day. It’s nice sometimes to be out and about, chatting and doing things together. Brief stop on the wayback to the site atop Portsdown Hill in Portsmouth. Very busy in the lovely weather but we still managed to grab a bench for a while.

Sitting out chatting with the family on a summer’s evening was perfect. All the hustle and bustle and distractions of every day life gone. The girls agreed that it was a very laid back and relaxing experience. Neither were quite on the same wavelength as us as regards our love of being in our caravan. Non the less it’s an experience that we’ve shared with them and I’m glad we did. It’s been a few years since we went away together as a family and I’m glad we did it.

Morning arrived and with a heavy heart we were forced to pack away. Time to go home, back to distractions, back to work, back to real life. I’m really pleased they came with us and feel that as a family it did us good. Maybe they’ll come again one day, who knows?

Norfolk ‘n’ Chance

It’s early Tuesday morning and we are loading the car for 9 nights at a CL in Norfolk. 9 nights means I’m a little more organised than for our usual 2 night breaks. Off to the storage site to get the legs up and off we go. Still within 2 miles from home and we realise that we’d forgotten breakfast. We’d had a takeaway pizza the night before and wrapped the left overs up to eat en route. Pizza it is for breakfast then. Up the A3 and through the Hindhead tunnel. I realised I’d forgotten to pack a white bra, no white T shirts this holiday then. Onto the M25 and I realised we’d forgotten to pack the caravan box. This is a box that I put things in as I remember them before the next trip out. Clean towels are in the box as are basic food supplies, new toothbrushes, toothpaste, caravan blanket and countless other bits and pieces. Feeling rather useless and down, quick check back, yes we’d remembered the caravan.

The heavens opened the skies went black. Come on. This is July it’s supposed to be summer. We ploughed on and black clouds gave way to lighter clouds with the occasional patch of blue. Not enough to make a pair of sailor’s trousers though so as my grandma used to say summer’s not quite here yet.

170 miles later we arrived at the site. Driving down a long gravel drive,bedecked with baskets teeming with flowers, the drive opened up onto a small 6 pitch field, The Grange CL. The owners live on site and were on hand at our arrival. A small site office and a ladies and gents toilets are in a small building to the side of the site. There is a small daily charge to use the loos and a charge to use wifi. We paid for use of the toilet/shower but declined the wifi as our gadget managed to pick up wifi for free from the surrounding area.  The site office is well stocked with tourist leaflets on things to do in the area and the owners, Pat and Steve, are more than happy to share their knowledge of the local area. Legs down facing a beautiful dovecote, peace and tranquility reigned. The awning went up quickly, kettle on and a bite to eat. Having forgotten most of our supplies this meant a trip into the local market town of Diss. Diss boasts three supermarkets and plenty of local shops whilst still retaining the small town feel.

Morrisons was our chosen supermarket. We entered at just after 4pm, good time or bad time, I’m not sure. They had just started reducing items. I like to refer to the section dedicated to reduced items as ‘The Shit Corner’. Boy was the Shit Corner good today. Trolley loaded with bargains I just hoped my fridge and freezer could cope.

Day 2

It had rained overnight but the morning greeted us with sunshine and fluffy clouds. Reduced Morrisons Bloomer toasted with lashings of butter for breakfast swilled down with a strong cup of tea. Time to explore. The owners had encouraged us to take time to wander around their 6 acres of land. Leaving the site through a 5 bar gate we were pleasantly surprised. It was like entering the wardrobe and finding Narnia. A wildlife town awaited us. Hidden amongst tall grasses and an abundance of wild flowers was an assortment of bug hotels, owl boxes, ponds, a bird hide and ‘Ye Olde non Swinging Swing Chair’. The 6 acre site was alive with butterflies, bees and birds. With the suggestion from the humble abodes that frogs, reptiles and countless other mini beasts live here. With birdseed provided in the bird hide we topped up the feeders and sat back to enjoy the birds feasting. 

We later met up with Steve, the owner and wildlife enthusiast, who told us that he was leaving a moth box out over night and that if we were up early tomorrow morning we’d be able to see its contents.

After lunch, armed with a parcel for my parents that needed posting, we set off on the tandem for Diss. A 14 mile round trip to a lovely little market town with a Mere in the centre. A beautiful lake left over from the ice age. Today however, we didn’t do the town justice, with rain imminent we decided to save exploring for another day.

Day 3

Early to rise to check out the moth box.  Us getting up early whilst on holiday is unheard of let alone getting up early to go and look at moths. I feel we just lost all our street cred, if we ever had any in the first place that is. The site still slumbered as we headed into our little wildlife haven. Steve was out ahead of us and opened the box to reveal a bounty of moths, different sizes, shapes and colours all basking under the lamp placed in the box to lure them in. The piece de resistance was a beautiful Hawk Moth which quite happily posed on Steve’s hand for photographs. Moths duly released back into the wild we set off for a quiet half an hour in the bird hide. I think on this occasion we must’ve been up before the birds as we only saw a couple of Yellow Hammers.

Back to the caravan to prepare for a ride to Norwich. A 40 mile round trip. The sun was out, sun cream applied and off we went. Having only ridden less than a dozen times since our Tour of Great Britain my bum didn’t feel too bad on my Brooks Saddle. Legs felt good as we powered on. Probably a good part of the country for me to embark on such a lengthy ride. The furthest I’ve ridden in the last 18 months is about 15 miles so the relatively flat terrain of Norfolk felt promising.  On arrival in Norwich we were on the hunt for lunch. We’d holidayed here 30 years ago on one of our first holidays together on a boat on the Norfolk broads so we headed down towards the water. Lovely pub found with a waterside balcony and settled down to eat. Reminiscing about our first holiday we set ourselves the challenge of recreating a photograph taken of our younger selves. Location found. Willing photographer on a nearby boat found.  Pose. Job done.

Heading back I got quite saddle sore and the hips played up a bit but despite the moaning, ( apparently I’m good at this) I’m still proud of the fact I managed the ride after such a long time out of the saddle.

Day 4

Another sunny day dawned and saw us peering into the moth box again. This morning we were greeted by a Privet Moth. A stunning creature resembling more of a butterfly than the usual moth.

Bit of a lazy day planned today. Bit of cleaning. Sleeping in the sun. Little bit of shopping and a trundle around Diss.

Day 5 & 6

Little bit of a lie in and then a full cooked breakfast on the teppanyaki. The site had EHU maintenance on Friday. Another first, we switched the fridge onto gas for the few hours that our supply would off. Having switched it back onto EHU after said works were completed we thought nothing of it. Woke up this morning and the bloomin fridge was warm! Nightmare.

Meeting friends later and doing an early tea so hopefully we’re set up food wise until then. Met up at a pub about 45 minutes away. The Hare Arms, a beautiful little village pub which has a lovely beer garden with various breeds of chickens and peacocks roaming around. With it being a lovely sunny day and our friends having 3 young children we opted for the beer garden. We all met 8  summers ago in Turkey and hit it off straight away. We have kept in touch over the years and managed to meet up every year since. The family is 3 generations and has grown over the years with us getting to meet the latest addition, Sienna, a beautiful little 17 week old bundle of smiles. Food ordered, Sienna’s older brothers playing in the large beer garden, time to catch up. The food arrived, large portions that were extremely well presented, time to tuck in. It’s always great catching up with old friends but all good things come to an end. We said our goodbyes and head back to the caravan just in time for Steve to watch Le Tour de France and for me to try to get my Fitbit steps in with a stroll around the wildlife area. Early to bed, more friends to meet tomorrow.

Second day of lunching out was a hot day. Grateful to leave the confines of the sun lounger, carefully placed south facing outside the awning. We set off in the hot tin box on wheels, known to us as’ The Volvo, slowly roasting for the few few miles whilst the air conditioning kicked in. Arriving at The Marsh Harrier. A lovely old pub refurbished now looking like a new pub. This, too, had a lovely beer garden that people where taking full advantage of. Dave is an old colleague of Steves from the days when we worked Monday to Friday, 9-5, and hated every minute of the daily grind.  Dave brought along his wife, Sharon, a lovely lady originally from Rochdale.  Two chatty northern women meant that there wasn’t any awkward silences.  Food ordered. I opted for the traditional Sunday roast and Steve, the ham hock. Conversation flowed freely, as did the local ale. All fed, watered and caught up, time to say our good byes with promises of meeting up again. Back to the hot tin box on wheels to return to the caravan to continue to slowly roast outside the awning.

Day 7

The holiday is slowly coming to a close, but the weather is cranking up. Wall to wall blue skies today with more than enough blue to make trousers for a crew of sailors. The sun blazed down reaching an amazing 29 degrees. Steve opted for the sweltering heat in the shade of the rolled up awning with me choosing to hop between the awning and the perfect blue skies. Quick cool down in the later part of the afternoon in the chilled aisles of the local supermarket got us ready for a walk around the wildlife area assisting the owner of the site with his Big Butterfly Count.

Armed with the sheet downloaded from the website, off we went. Laughable really, if you’d’ve told me last week that on my holidays I’d be getting up at the crack of dawn to look at moths and spend hot afternoons chasing butterflies around a field, I would never have believed you. An almost impossible task as butterflies just don’t sit still for long enough for you to get close enough to identity them. We only really managed to identify about 4 different ones but we saw it as something different and a way of me getting extra steps in on my Fitbit.

During our visit Steve, the owner, had invited some owl specialists out to check his barn owl box at the end of the wildlife area as he suspected there may be chicks in there. Specialists arrived and low and behold 2 beautiful baby chicks. Ringed and carefully placed back in their box the babies settled down to await mum’s return. Whilst we did not witness the babies being ringed ( best to keep people to a minimum whilst the experts do what they do best), Steve Garten, the owner, was on hand and took these beautiful photos. 

Day 8

So hot last night that every window and skylight was opened to full, with the mozzy blinds in place and light breeze it made for a pleasant nights sleep. 

 Today was a tourist day, once again reliving some old holiday spots, but first, we need to feed Steve’s belly, it must be nearing 12 noon then!!!  We acquire Tesco reward points, not by being loyal Tesco shoppers, oh no, but by purchasing everything using a Tesco CreditCard which is paid off “IN FULL” every month, just in case Martin Lewis is reading. These reward points convert very nicely into Food Vouchers, and generally provide a three course meal once a month, or have even been used to provide a no cost return journey through the Channel Tunnel in the past. We travelled to Beccles, a point we remembered from our Norfolk Broads holidays, that also happened to have a ‘Prezzo’ so three course lunch it is then. A short walk down to the water admiring the sheer variety of architecture along the way and we were in familiar territory reminiscing about the old times whilst a family of Swans paid us a visit.

We journeyed onwards to Great Yarmouth, now we may not be the people to do Great Yarmouth justice, but I don’t suppose they are hoping to attract middle aged caravanners (cheeky auto correct just corrected caravanners to caravan nerds!!!). Let’s just say it has gone the way of other ‘Kiss Me Quick’ seaside resorts and we seem to prefer them in winter when the tattoos and naked beer bellies are covered up back ‘inland’ somewhere.  Anyway, we ‘joined in’ and spent an hour snoozing on the beach, with views of a large oil tanker and some enormous oil rig, which may have been an off-shore wind turbine planter, we didn’t know, while ‘beer bellies’ grandchildren traipsed 50yrds and back on a donkey for £2.50 each. Nice to see that old style pier entertainment still exists, featuring one of my childhood favourites, Showaddywaddy, whom I  saw in Woking a couple of weeks ago.

We next journeyed onwards to Acle for a peaceful half hour at the ‘The Bridge Inn’, a nice looking part thatched pub by the side of the ‘Broads’.  Then back home, and yes, we do call the caravan home, via Tesco (more reward points) for fuel. After a full day of 30C temperatures it was fair to say the caravan was HOT on our return, the already opened windows were flung to the full extremities and the freezer was raided for the choc-ices rather quickly.  End of the day, in the awning, wine in hand, watching the full moon rising after a walk round the sites wildlife area watching the Barn Owl swooping around the field, but not close enough for a picture, sorry.

Day 9

Lazy day planned to end the holiday. Think a little bit of heat exhaustion may be affecting me, woke up to temperatures rising towards 30 degrees again and feeling quite dizzy. Water by the litre and sit in the shade was prescribed by the boss. Temperatures soared and a little nap after lunch I was feeling almost back to normal. 

A short walk around the wildlife area and housemartins swooping over the water caught our attention. Some swooped gracefully skimming over the surface drinking as they went. Others not quite as graceful belly flopped in an attempt at getting a drink. The small fishing lake proudly presents about 9 fishing platforms, all fenced off to prevent children and animals entering the water. The water is well stocked with fish of all sizes, carp I think,  but don’t quote me on that. Ideal for the more inexperienced fisherman as we were told you were more than likely guaranteed to get a catch. 

On returning from our walk we decided it was time the awning came down. Unpegged it came down with relative ease and dutifully allowed itself to be folded and stored away in the boot of the car. Just in time me thinks. The sky turned black and distant rumblings suggested an imminent storm approaching. Within minutes big fat rain drops were making that wonderful noise in our roof, lightning flashed and the thunder clapped. As quickly as it arrived the storm moved on its way leaving the world looking and smelling fresher and cooler. 

Day 10

Awake early, breakfast done, time to pack away. I always hate this bit as it always seems to be the final full stop behind our holiday. The owners, Pat & Steve came over to say goodbye and with great sadness we hitched up and set off back to Hampshire. Alarms set for our early morning return to work tomorrow. 

Would we go again? In a flash!  We didn’t have any real plans to do anything this holiday. We just wanted bucket loads of rest and relaxation, which we certainly got. The way the site is set up it oozes calm and relaxation with the wildlife area being a great asset. It’s up to you how you use the wildlife area, be it for fishing, twitching, dog walking, studying the many different homes for different animals or just for a lovely evening stroll and a quiet moment in the ‘non swinging swinging seat’ watching the beautiful sunsets. Or like us you could completely surprise yourselves and find yourselves getting up at silly o’clock to look at moths. It’s entirely up to you how much you get out of the site. We got so much from the holiday it made us more determine to retire early and tour. There’s a great big world out there waiting to be discovered and we found a tiny piece of tranquility a few hours up the road. 

Sozzed in Slinfold

Tuesday morning. Sun’s out. Let’s get those legs down again. As usual a bit of a last minute decision to take the caravan out. I’d been itching to get back to Slinfold CC site and today seemed like a good day to go. Quick phone call and we had secured a pitch for 2 nights. 

The site is located on an old railway line on the South Downs Link, making this site perfect for cycling and walking. The site is volunteer run and has no toilet/shower block. A mixture of grass and hard standing pitches on this site we like a grass pitch. A long site with the far end backing onto a small industrial unit we have found the pitches nearer to the wardens office don’t hear the sounds of the occasional truck or workers going about their business. I must add that it is only a small unit and noise is minimal anyway. The site is well established and cared for and the wardens are very helpful and chatty. The site is located at the far end of a single track road so it is advisable to arrive after their 12pm recommended arrival time as you really wouldn’t want to meet another unit departing. 

Set up was done and dusted in no time with me doing the inside and the boss doing the outside jobs, of course. Lunch made, time to sit in the sun and relax. 

With rain forecast later we decided to walk into the village whilst the sun was shining. A short walk and we were in the very quaint and typically English village of Slinfold. Stone roofs and cottage gardens teeming with flowers and heavy with the scent of summer. A small local store selling essentials sits opposite the local hostellers, The Red Lyon, offering B&B, food and a beer garden. It would seem rude not to partake in a local tipple. Met by a very cheery couple of locals on our side of the bar who were more than happy to advise which ale to sample. A pint of locally brewed Mr Chubbs was selected and taken to the garden. A lovely pub, well worth a visit on a sunny afternoon also offering quite a substantial menu for lunch and dinner.  Being a bit tight, at £8+ for 2 pints, needless to say, we only stayed for one. 

Shortly after our little jaunt into the village the rain started. Tucked up warm and dry inside our little tin box, time for an afternoon siesta and to watch the evening creep in. 

The day dawned with bright sunshine. We knew from the forecast that the weather was going to be short lived and that rain was rolling in from lunchtime onwards. 

A first today in the Pursuit. We used the shower. Pretty impressed with water pressure and space within the cubicle. In an attempt at preserving our water supplies we only had the water on when needed and were pleasantly surprised that the aquaroll we filled on arrival yesterday sufficed. As regards the shower area a shelf or two for shower gels and shampoo would’ve been a nice added extra. As it is with only a soap dish our toiletries were banished to the floor.  Nice to know though that we can survive comfortably and confidently on smaller sites without the usual facilities. 

Just before lunch the predicted weather drizzled in. On a previous visit to this site we had cycled a few miles on the South Downs link to a local brewery and bought a sample of their wares.  This time our chosen method of transport due to the weather was the car. In the neighbouring village of Rudgewick is the Firebird Brewery.  A typical micro-brewery, a small industrial unit with a small unmanned shop (hand bell on counter to summon assistance) and mini-tours available twice a week. Today we were definitely “buying” so aimed for the free taster jugs where you can sample all the available ales. We opted for 2 litres of ‘No79’ and 1 litre of ‘Pale Face’ (just enough to see us through a rainy afternoon in the caravan). We also came away with the added bonus of a free bin, ie, a carrier bag, a win win. Really helpful and chatty staff and being able to watch them brewing through a huge window in the shop added to the whole experience. 

As I write this, our beer drinking strategy may be risky as we are out for a meal tonight with a good friend and meeting his girlfriend for the first time. Perhaps the risk is entirely his, as we may be totally oblivious to the outcome of the evening.  I can just imagine the comments in their car later, “..and you actually know those people”. Maybe a siesta is required before tonight, I’m sure we will be on best behaviour, will let you know in a later paragraph. 

Sat here in a haze of Paleface and No. 79 and an elderly neighbour decided that despite the weather now is the time to do the ‘blue jobs’ and fill the water with a deggin’ can (only a true northerner will recognise this term). Empty the loo and the waste. Countless trips up and down later he is drenched and decides to take the dog for a walk. The dog is obviously bursting but isn’t allowed to pause to even smell the raindrops let alone make a puddle. Marched off the site to dutifully do it’s ablutions it is then marched quickly back to have it’s paws dried thoroughly before re entering the caravan. The neighbour though still obviously not quite as wet as he could be stomps past us again carefully skirting past the puddles to the on site information office. StopPress. Just had a laugh as the old boy tripped up over a speed bump, that will teach him to break the 5mph rule. 

Firebird’s finest dutifully slept off. Time to get ready to go out for dinner. Our friends collected us from the caravan site and drove us to our chosen eaterie, The Blue Ship. Famed locally for a ‘challenge burger,’ we chose the smaller alternatives. A typical English village pub with great hosts and an extensive menu all good portion sizes and prices. We arrived early and had the place to ourselves and were able to catch up and chat with ease, no juke box blaring out and no arcade game machine churning out the incessant, irritating music designed to lure kids in and wind up the adults. Our food arrived beautifully presented on slate with a substantial basket of fries. Time to tuck in. People by now had started to drift in and it became quite obvious that their menu was a big draw on custom. Everyone who came in ordered food. Due to our ale consumption in the afternoon we only managed one drink which helped the conversation flow freely. 

Tums full and all starting to tire we returned to the caravan for coffee. Strange how big the ‘van feels with just the two of us in it yet ever so small with four adults. The day was drawing to a close. Good nights said and promises made to keep in touch more we waved our friends on their way and tumbled into bed knowing tomorrow morning would be here soon enough and time to go home.

Would we go again? Of course we would!  No facilities, no wifi just total relaxation. Looking back it seems that this was a bit of a boozy mid week weekend for us. Quite unusual really. We like to think of it as keeping local businesses alive by sampling their produce – hic! That’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it. 

And Breathe…

We are a northern couple, who for the last 10 years have been living down south in Hampshire.  Working for a big corporate company, promotion meant we upped sticks and moved from our native town of Bolton to rural Hampshire with our two teenage girls.

Fast forward 8 years and holiday planning for the summer of 2014.  A Tour of the U.K. on the tandem, taking in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Two weeks of driving to destinations, taking in the sights and cycling approximately 50 miles a day, booking into hotels and B&B’s made for an amazing holiday but extremely tiring trip. After cycling so many miles in a day all I wanted to do after the ride was to fall into a hot bubble bath and rest my weary limbs, put my pyjamas on and relax. Staying in hotels meant after the bath we had to get dressed and go out into the world in search of dinner. No time to wind down and relax. On reflection, looking at the holiday photos on our return we wondered how the trip could’ve been better. A caravan was our answer.

When our girls were growing up we’d holidayed in tents. As a family we loved being under canvas and treated it as a home from home with the girls having more holidays and outdoor time than anyone they knew. We spent time outdoors, we saw birds and other wildlife you wouldn’t see at home. How many families do you know that have woken up to help a confused hedgehog escape from their tent and then watched as its little bottom ran off into to the darkness? And yes, they can run! Listening to the rain thundering on the tent and squelching in the mud after about 10 years our camping days came to and end. We used to sit inside the tent watching the raindrops on the crumpled plastic of our windows gazing at the people in the warmth and comfort of their caravans. Looking in awe we never dreamt we’d be able to ever be the proud owners of our own caravan.  Now that the girls were older we no longer needed to include them in our holiday equation. Fast approaching 50 we quickly dismissed the idea of dusting the tent off. Next best thing, a caravan. Finances had changed with the passage of time. For the price of a couple of foreign family holidays our dream could come true. So the seed was planted. Let’s go shopping. After trawling the Internet for hints, tips and advice for what was best for the car we were to tow with we found our dream ‘van, a Bailey Orion 400-2. The minute we stepped inside we knew it was the one for us.

From the minute we bought it it released what I call ‘Magic Dust’ from the door as you entered. A blood pressure lowering effect happened the minute your foot hit the mat just inside the door. Our brains were full to busting with work problems, bills to pay, chores to do. We weren’t getting a healthy work/life balance. It’s calming properties equated to total relaxation. It’s ability to take away all the problems and pressures of every day life were amazing. 12 months later our little tin box was traded in for a bigger model, the Bailey Pursuit 560-5. Guess what! This too emitted my ‘Magic Dust’. The effect that caravanning had on transforming our lives was perfect. We have cut our hours at work to 4 days a week and chosen to work weekends, hours that most people don’t want.

 Our caravan is also TV free, we don’t have one!  I find at home, and it’s the same in most homes, that it’s always on. Not necessarily with the intention of watching a certain program, it’s just sits chunering away to itself in the corner and quashes family conversation. Going without TV means we talk to each other more than we do at home. Watching a sunset and mulling over the day’s events is so much better for the soul and helps to empty our minds. We do have the radio on from the minute our eyes open to the minute they close so we are still in touch with the world and its news. 

We manage to escape every other week for 2 nights within an hour or so of home. No household chores to do. Even washing up almost seems pleasurable. What do we get from our caravan? Now we choose to have our downtime either listening to the rain on our tin roof or sitting in the sunshine with a book. We get ‘us’ time, escapism, relaxation and fresh air. We get to choose the view from our front window. We get to see places we wouldn’t ordinarily visit. Going away mid week also means that we are mixing with like minded people, all in holiday mood, most of who have years of experience and miles under their belts. Regaling us with tales of weeks in Europe over the winter months only added to our appetite for more. Seeds were once again planted and the need to escape the rat race became stronger.

“In pursuit of a dream”, predictable title yes, and chosen to ensure the target remains in sight. What is the dream? Stop work, tour the UK and Europe, long term touring/living on the road, Caravan or Motorhome? All options remain open, and actually, why not have it all?  So, back to reality, we are knocking on the door of “50” and first target is to stop working in next five years and somehow survive on a budget balanced by the reward of freedom.  We repeatedly bounce back to the idea of Motorhome touring, mainly for the attraction of drifting randomly around Europe utilising “Wild” camping opportunities, whereby, the caravan requires a little more planning and longer stop-overs.  Lifelong devotees to either method of touring will give countless reasons for their chosen transport but we fully intend to enjoy both before our days are out.

We are not experts, but get one year more experienced each year (if my maths is right). What we do works for us and any advice is welcomed, we either follow it or ignore it (this is the “stating the obvious” paragraph).  We love meeting other tourers on our travels and compare “dreams”. Keep an eye out for the Pursuit and come say “Hello”

Back to our Northern Roots

Ten years ago we upped sticks from the familiarity of our native town of Bolton to Hampshire. 

Steve, at that time, was working for a big corporate company and a promotion meant a move south. 

This means that any trips back to see friends and family are normally just one or two night stays. Trying to catch up with people when time is so limited is hard and visits always feel rushed. 

240 miles and just less than 6 hours later we arrived in Bury, home to Bury Football Club, the famous Bury Market, black pudding and Burrs Country Park. Our little home from home for the next 9 nights in our Bailey Pursuit. 

 The approach to the site makes you wonder if you are going the right way. Heading through a housing estate you suddenly hit cobbles and almost instant countryside. Burrs Country Park Is an oasis of tranquility tucked away on the outskirts of a busy town. Met by the friendliest of wardens bursting with enthusiasm and information about the site and surrounding area, we set off hunting for a pitch. With a little bit of prior knowledge of the site, we knew that the East Lancs Railway skirts the edge of the site and we were hoping to get a pitch fronting onto the line. We were successful. A pitch with an uninterrupted view of any passing steam trains. 

Legs down, electric on. Lunchtime. Due to having worked late on the day before leaving I wasn’t as organised as I normally am. No food in for lunch, a food shop was needed. Needing to eat before we shopped we headed to the Brown Cow pub at the entrance to the site.  

Food eaten. Time to food shop. The Caravan Club site is a 10 minute drive or  a 30 minute walk to all the local amenities, supermarkets and the famous Bury Market, home to locally made Bury Black Pudding. 

Supplies stored away. A visit from my parents and a trundle around the adjacent country park. Reclaimed from an industrial past the park makes for an interesting walk but could do with plaques explaining what the various fenced off features once were.  We did find one information board but it could’ve easily been missed. The River Irwell slices through the park and local countryside with the trees and bushes on the banks still wearing the debris of recent flooding. A Walk into Summerseat In the afternoon sunshine showed us the true strength of the swollen River Irwell on Boxing Day of 2015. The Waterside pub, a 19th century inn completely washed away. 

On a previous caravan trip out. I’d seen a neighbour put out a cardboard cake stand and produce an afternoon tea for visiting relatives. After a quick visit to the amazon website a couple of weeks earlier I produced a pretty impressive afternoon tea for my mother in law one afternoon. I must admit it did look pretty impressive and was so pleased that I planned to treat my parents later on in our trip to one as well. 

From the site are numerous cycle paths and public footpaths and riding the tandem was quite enjoyable. We have ridden the tandem all over the UK and were pretty impressed with the cycling infrastructure in and around Bury. 

With the East Lancashire Railway on our doorstep a trip on the steam train was needed. We walked to the station in Bury. Purchased our tickets using the Caravan Club’s discount and headed down the platform. The stations along the line are all in keeping with the era of steam and were beautifully kept with volunteers all wearing traditional costume. 

We climbed into a carriage and on the whistle off we chugged. Slowly gliding out of the busy town we hit green fields with the occasional glimpse of the Irwell. The train steamed past the caravan site as we madly waved to children playing. First stop Ramsbottom, a lovely little town almost unspoiled by large retailers with many of the shops being owned by locals. Refuelled by lunch we hopped onboard and sped towards Rawtenstall and the end of the line. A slightly larger town than Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall is home to Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar. The last of its kind in Britain. 

The holiday draws to a close. After meeting up with 28 different family members and friends. We achieved what we wanted and saw as many people as we could in the given time.  There were still loads of people we would like to have met up with, we will try to catch up with them next time. 

Burrs Caravan Club site. Would we recommend it? Yes we would. Great wardens that are really helpful, very friendly and keep the site immaculate. Most pitches are level with with oodles of space. Club wifi is accessible across the site with good 4G coverage too. Great for dogs with plenty of walks close by. One very clean toilet block with spacious showers, laundry and dishwashing area. With first class views of the steam trains rumbling past a couple of times a day. The only thing I would say is that some pitches back onto the local pub beer garden which in the warmer weather could be a little noisy. A great site in the north west of England. 

April Showers in Cirencester

After trawling eBay for a few weeks we finally found an awning, in Gloucester! Only one thing for it, our 3 days off midweek are going to be spent in Cirencester.  We are quite lucky to have 3 days off during the week, every other week come hail or shine we try to get our Pursuit out, we don’t normally need an excuse.

Unlike other midweek trips out we are a little more organised this time. We booked a pitch at Cirencester Caravan Club site the day before. I even shopped for a few foody bits to take with us the night before. In true tradition though we packed in the hour before walking out of the house.

Legs up, hitched up and off on our journey. A couple of hours away, we normally wouldn’t go that far for two nights but we had a reason this time, a new to us awning. Our little Orion had a full Dorema awning. Since changing caravans we knew that for longer trips during the warmer months we would want the extra indoor/outdoor space. We had decided against another full awning as the Pursuit is so long we really didn’t need one quite that big. After being outbid on a few different makes we finally got a Sunncamp Platinum Ultra 390 Plus.

The Cirencester Caravan Club site is a little piece of tranquility on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of the market town centre. Met and welcomed by a lovely warden who went through where the best pubs, restaurants and supermarkets were. A quick drive round the site we chose to head off towards the far side of the site. It neighbours with the local 6th form college which in itself seemed very quiet student wise, we were, however, very aware of the presence of scaffolding and builders. Even these turned out not to be a problem from our chosen pitch. Peace and quiet reigned supreme for both days and nights.

After a quick bite to eat we were back on the road to collect our awning. Safely stowed in the boot we headed back wondering on the way whether or not the wind was favourable for a very lightweight awning. Did we put it up? Of course we did!  Up it went with relative ease and no cross words. Never really understood why they are referred to as a ‘Divorce in a Bag’ we always seem to manage.

Instantly liked the extra space that the awning provided. It was going to mean that we could leave the table and chairs set up and also provides good storage for when we take the tandem away with us. The only disadvantage we found was waking up in the morning and having condensation dripping. Open to ideas on how to deal with this.

Notice boards around the site told us that local takeaway services visited the site. Pizza on Thursday and fish and chips on Tuesday. It would seem a shame not to wouldn’t it?  The van parked up near the information office at the entrance of the site and an orderly queue started to form. Having used takeaways on site once before I wondered if it would be the same kind of experience. It was. A very sociable queueing experience. We got chatting to a lovely gentleman from the north west, our neck of the woods, who laughed at my supposed northern/southern accent.  Having been an honorary southerner for 10 years I thought I’d hung onto my dulcet northern tones. Chatting always makes waiting pass quicker and as each customers food was cooked to order it didn’t seem like long before ours was ready. Back in the warm we prepared to tuck in. The portions were huge! I think my Fitbit is going to be showing a red day.

When we bought this caravan at the back end of 2015 we decided we would start a caravan log , noting total miles travelled, nights away, site costs etc. Decided that it would be great looking back over the year and seeing the amount of sites we visited, miles we drove and costs we spent. We always add a little note too about the site to remind us if it’s worth revisiting.  This midweek break was going to give us our 19th night away since November. With a good few more nights booked for May it’s looking good for 2016.

Wednesday brought showers, hail storms, wind and sunshine all in one day. Sitting with a cup of tea and Ken Bruce on radio 2 watching as people tried to dodge the four seasons in one day. On picking up the awning yesterday, we drove through a lovely little town, Minchinhampton, with Rodborough Common on the outskirts. A quick walk to get my Fitbit steps up to par revealed the most stunning views from what appeared to be the top of the world.

Lunchtime seemed to bring darker more threatening clouds, we headed towards a pub, The Ragged Cot, for lunch.  A really old pub that was once a hospital that boasted of visits of past Kings and Queens seemed like the perfect venue. After last nights big tea I’d decided on something light, a salad maybe. Swayed by the menu, salad wasn’t shouting out at me as loudly as it should have been. I ordered the pork chop.  It arrived in all its splendour, beautifully presented on a bed of chive mash. I wasn’t going to need tea tonight. After polishing that lot off we headed back for a little nap.

After our little nap and we were feeling refreshed and needing to walk off our rather heavy lunch. We looked at doing the short walk into town through the neighbouring Bathurst Estate. A beautiful 15 minute walk at the most into the centre of Cirencester.

No matter what I don’t think any amount of walking is going to burn off the calories consumed over the last couple of days but when when food is as good as it’s been as a one off treat I don’t mind. Cirencester is architecturally beautiful and for whatever reason I failed to get photos of the Cotswold Stone market town in all its splendour. Choosing to snap entrances to quaint courtyard shops and pub signs.

The showers continued on and off into the evening, fortunately we’d managed to dodge them all day without getting wet once. Final night in the caravan, always a bit sad. I get that Sunday night feeling on my last night knowing that life will return to normal tomorrow. I suppose as far as my diet is concerned that’s not a bad thing.

We wouldn’t normally put an awning up for just 2 nights but with it being new to us we felt it needed to go up so that we could check it out. After the showers of the day it was still wet, we decided to keep our fingers crossed for a dry morning tomorrow and take it down then. We were blessed, sunshine and a light breeze soon had it dry. Dropped and stored away back in its bag in no time at all. Legs up. Hitched up. Lights checked. Goodbye Cirencester thank you for a lovely couple of days.