Ah! Thought you’d got away with it didn’t you? I’m afraid not – the silly old blogger is back with another load of meaningless drivel guaranteed to cure even the most chronic of insomniacs.
There’s lots to tell – well a bit – about what’s been going on since my last missive. Mostly – well some of which – is actually related to caravanning as well as the usual pickling of the grey matter…
We are currently on site at Bo Peep in Adderbury, near Banbury having met up with fellow caravanners for Twittercamp – more of that later – but are heading southwest tomorrow to a site roughly halfway between Bath & Bristol for the last stop in our summer getaway. We’d toyed with the idea of heading up to Yorkshire in general and Whitby in particular, but the thought of going to Britain’s gothiest town without my trusty leather trench coat to ponce about in was simply too much to bear. Seriously though we decided to put it off until the Easter holidays when we’ll have three weeks or so to explore more fully and give Yorkshire a fair crack of the whip – something I’m always keen to do. Ahem..
We’ve been busy promoting the blog too. We now have calling cards which we leave at places (usually pubs!) which have had the dubious pleasure of our patronage. The car too displays the blog web address on magnetic stickers kindly sponsored by caravanstickers.com, so if you see us out and about , please tweet us @aloadofnonsense rather than just raising the middle finger!
Right, catch up time. The journey back from Devon was, well wet but otherwise unadventurous. Patsy was safely back on the drive before 11pm. The next few days mainly revolved around emptying the house. Our friend Lawrence helped us with the the heavy and awkward sofas and made life a lot easier. We managed to squeeze in a visit to the cinema too, something we hadn’t done in ages and got a wheel bearing changed on the car. In fact, considering the work the old Jag has done, hauling both Patsy and us around the country she’s done really well. Apart from regular servicing this is the first time we’ve had to spend money on her – and with nearly 100k on the clock I reckon that’s pretty good going.
The sale of the bungalow wasn’t due to complete until the Friday but we decided to head up to Cambridge on Thursday – being on the M25 with a caravan on the first Friday in August when the school holidays were in full swing was something we considered well worth avoiding.
So having done our final checks, read the meters and said goodbye to the fish we turned the key on ’Border Control’ for the last time. The estate agent already had most of the keys so we pushed the last one through the letterbox. It had been a tough few days emotionally and I must confess to a few quiet tears when we pulled out of’ the close’ with Patsy in tow.
The journey up to Cambridge was straightforward – and stiflingly hot. The weathermen’s predictions were proving to be correct and we resorted to the aircon as we passed through Dartford Tunnel and the temperature soared even higher.
Both the major caravan clubs are represented in Cambridge and we have stayed on both of them, so this time we opted for a change and headed to The Travellers Rest campsite on the A10 at Chittering behind the – sadly closed – pub of the same name, roughly half way between Ely and Cambridge. Being north of the city it would be handy to see Trev’s Mum, better known as HRH which was the primary reason for our visit – and it was relatively cheap too.
We arrived early afternoon and the office was closed but instructions were left to basically pitch where you like. There were a number of hard standings and a grass for caravans – all with mains hook up – and a large grassed area on the far side for tents. We set the van up but it was too hot and humid to even attempt the awning so we slipped off to see HRH instead.
The awning eventually went up quite late in the evening. It was fair to say that we were both hot and tired so it wasn’t our best er, erection but it would serve it’s purpose so to speak. The site owner came over and introduced himself too. The showers were adequate – we’ve had worse on club sites – but they may struggle a little at peak times.
Most of our time in Cambridge was spent with HRH – and most of that was in pubs too – plenty of food but surprisingly little grog. I made up for that though when we met up with some friends one night for a beer or six and awoke a little delicate the next day. A friend also invited us to dinner and made a lovely curry that I ate rather too much of too. Whilst out and about with the aforementioned HRH we also bought a new laptop – something I’d been promising myself as soon as the sale went through. It’ runs Windows 8 and although it’s early days I think I’m getting my head around it – this will be the first blog on the new machine. For the record it’s a Toshiba L955 something or other and offered the right specs at the right price.
Last Wednesday we hitched up again and headed west to our current site. We arrived in the morning and they were happy to let us on – in fact there is no time restriction here unlike a lot of sites – including those run by the two major clubs – and makes a refreshing change.
It’s a very pretty site occupying part of a former farm with just over 100 pitches in areas sub-divided in to little paddocks separated by a combination of trees and wild hedgerows. They were happy for us to reserve pitches for our Twitter friends who would be along on Friday.
An excursion to Banbury to a supermarket for supplies – rather stupidly at rush hour – was as far as our sightseeing went.
Thursday and Carl arrived to give Patsy a service (!). She was well overdue but am glad to say she got an almost completely clean bill of health, the only issue being signs of minor wear on the wheel bearings which we’ll have done next time. Carl, you may recall appeared whilst we were on site at Moreton-in-Marsh in February with a complementary hitch cover.
Friday, and the day we would finally get to meet, in person, some of the friends we’d made on Twitter. Amanda and Allison were first – in fact so early that I wasn’t prepared with the camera and was busy carrying an armload of empties to the recycling when they appeared in their new Bailey Orion. We chatted then watched as they put up their new inflatable awning – something we have our eye on when we’ve sold our current full size one.
Next up was David and his Elddis Golden Crown called Elvis. It’s actually the caravan that tweets – yeah I know – and very entertaining but it was great to finally meet the man behind the ‘van as it were too.
Amanda provided some welcome sustenance with a delicious home made lemon drizzle cake then for lunch we tucked into toasted sarnies thanks to chef Trev.
Our last arrival, Andrew finally appeared around 5pm having spent a miserable few hours on the M25. The shiny Airstream was easy to spot through the trees as he trundled up the driveway so we were all ready for him.
Well, we had a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days – even though most of the time was spent eating and drinking and chatting – and not entirely about caravans either. . So much so that I’ve had to nick, er borrow their photos as I didn’t take any. Caravans and travelling were a hobby to most of us but to Andrew it’s a living – and before you ask that doesn’t mean he sells pegs, lays paper thin tarmac and nicks cutlery either. Andrew writes about and photographs all things related to caravanning and camping for magazines, clubs and manufacturers. Check out his website here and his blog about life in an Airstream and other caravan related ramblings here
On the Saturday night we had a demo of a ‘wood gas’ stove brought by the girls. Similar in size to a baked bean tin it burns twigs – and anything else that will fit – but because of a little battery powered fan that circulates the gas produces enough heat to boil a put or even cook on the grill attachment. Heat from the unit charges up the battery and there is a USB socket for charging phones and so on – all from burning twigs. A great little device and if ever there was something to represent the 21st century this is it. You can be at one with nature and still blog or tweet about it!
No sooner had they arrived though then it was time to leave. We really enjoyed meeting the others and it was sad to seem them go but we really hope there will be another ‘Twittercamp’ next year. If you are on Twitter and fancy a get together do let me know. And when on Twitter make sure you check these out by clicking their highlighted names above – you might learn a thing or two – and not just about caravanning either….
It’s seemed very quiet since the weekend – though I’m sure our neighbours on site love it. I took a few photos the other night and we popped in to Banbury yesterday morning before grabbing a burger and a pint in Adderbury. A lovely village with plenty of the Cotswold stone we saw so much of when we stayed at Moreton-in-Marsh back in February.
So that’s it. You’re up to date. Still no word on the flat yet. The way things are going we’ll be living in Patsy back in Brighton for a while but that’s no hardship. Look out for the next blog in a few days with Bristol and Bath highly likely to feature. So, until then….