This latest blog has been a while coming . The first half was just sat there as a picture draft before Dad took ill and I flew home to Australia 😢 to be with my Mum and sisters.
Our plans changed somewhat then and some of the places we had planned to go obviously did not happen.
So …… where were we last, sailing from Hook of Holland into Harwich England and a lovely smooth over night crossing .Pinot safely tucked away for the night and a cozy cabin for us.As we’ve said before , Motorhome travel really is so convenient.
We drove cross Country in the morning from East to West to the land of scrumpy….that,s cider to you and me. We Had ten days in Somerset. The first seven were lovely and we were lucky enough to enjoy the very tail end of the much publicized hot and dry Summer . Bishop Sutton was a great base to explore the region. We hired a car for the week and we were set. It’s school holidays in UK and as much as we love em….from a distance,,,,,,,,,,a very long distance, we booked into an adults only park.
A visit to the City of Bath was on the list. Our last visit here in 2013 was spent mostly in the Apple store, because the day we left Australia to start that holiday I had somehow managed to wash Al’s brand new iPhone in the washing machine !! Bit stressful as you can imagine.
A very busy little City basically built on a Roman settlement and The Roman Baths still play an important tourist role here.
A bunch of painted owls dotted around the place……dunno what their significance is but they were pretty.
Almost every place we arrive at, we start with a coffee and do a little plan of where we want to visit…….and a toilet stop.
Castle Coombe in the afternoon and it’s a gorgeous old chocolate box village which has been the scene of many films over the last few decades. Dr Doolittle, Stardust, Warhorse and The Wolfman. Today of course the Tourists have found it but it still retains its charm..
Of course it was past 12 so coffee was replaced with Vino. We actually stayed in this pub for a few nights on our last visit here.
Wells was a little gem of a Town, actually it’s a small City. We knew very little about it so really enjoyed a few hours snooping around.
Vicars Close..designed as lodgings for members of the choir , completed in 1363. Apparently the only completely medieval street left in England..
The boozer to the right of Amanda and the surrounding area was the setting for the 2006 film Hot Fuzz. Very funny movie and well worth a look.I know we’ve been to lots of old Churches throughout this trip but we really did like this one……It’s ‘s fantastic inside. The interior is brilliant. The Cloisters look and are so old but the centre is so different. Maybe because it is Gothic in style and was built about 700 years ago but it just looks so different. There’s a wishbone like structure in the middle which looks as though its almost art deco ……but its 700 years old …..very cool !
The picture below shows a clock which was built in 1390. Good God that’s amazing, we sat and watched it work and it’s so clever.
The buildings inside the old walls are fantastic….The Clergy really did get all the best spots didn’t they. And there’s still a moat around it. A really lovely setting.
Glastonbury the home of the now famous. Festival…it’s not on this year though. It’s closed for regeneration after hundreds of thousands of folk trudging, dancing and tripping around it. (Do they still say tripping man )?.
If there’s a hill with something on top, Amanda makes us walk, hike or climb up the damn thing, so why should today be any different ? Great view from the top though.
It’s a bit like Nimbin at home. Chockers with hippies, smoke (not just tobacco) and its fair share of nut cases. Every Town, well almost all of them, have flowers everywhere and very nice too.
Clevedon an old Victorian seaside resort below with a pier which was built in the 1860’s jutting out across the River Severn.
It was 3 quid each to walk along so Alpal gave me a choice……that or an ice cream ? No choice really 😉
Weston Super Mare surprised us, we expected a bit of a Blackpool experience, and it was but a bit more Gentrified…….that wouldn’t be difficult I hear some of you say, but we enjoyed it and I guess the weather helped too.I suspect all the seaside vendors have had a bumper season, aided by the great Summer they’ve had.
Another damned hill below. Shall we climb it Allen ?
A little caravan site tucked away below.
Country walks . The pic on the left of the collage isn’t a granite mushroom its a saddle stone. We’ve passed dozens of them over the decades and only found that out now. See you’re never too old to learn.Another circle of standing stones below so we stood in the middle awaiting healing powers, but only got a couple of hippies with bongos and a whistle, carrying on behind us.
Cafes and Country pubs. We popped in here for a coffee encounter and were joyously greeted by Fanny the owner. The little sign beside her says ” Fanny loves you” No comment required joked Allen with a straight face.Nice to see they haven’t just demolished all the old phone boxes and have reused them in all sorts of ways.
The residents at one of the lovely cafes..roaming around freely, except for the pig of course !.
Bristol Balloon Festival was on so we nipped in but were a bit disappointed as we were a day early for the big takeoff and only saw a few. Alpal had a go on an electric pushy for the first time and was suitably impressed but at 3,200 pound a go he decided there’s a few miles left in his legs on an ordinary one. But never say never !We remember these Helter skelters below when we were kids.
Alpal was asked if he’d like to sample some Cider and replied no, he didn’t like it but thanks for offering. 2 minutes later he’d changed his mind. Not a bad drop and not the old sweet stuff he remembered.
All very English isn’t it. In a ver y nice way !
The plaque below was really interesting, particularly if you remember the old comedy On the Buses. Zoom in and read it.
We had a little trip down the road and caught up for lunch with our pals Keith and A.J from Sopalmo. Lovely time guys and we’re disappointed we wont be down there this Christmas. Say hi to the crew.
For those of you not from U K , every vehicle over 3 years old has to have an M . O . T done by an official garage EVERY YEAR. Basically its to make sure your vehicle is road worthy. Our Pinot was due again so we took her down and held our breath. Clean bill of health and fit for another year. Alpal was very confident she’d be fine but was happy to get the thumbs up with no nasty surprises.
Off to Wales Coffee at Usk and the most gorgeous coffee shop ever..Number 49Amanda could’ve spent the entire morning in here.
We’d arranged to meet our friends Richard and Jacqui from Spain at a site in Wales. They’ve taken delivery of Pancho, their new moho, so it would be rude not to Christen her properly. A lovely couple of days with them before heading North.
Richard bought me a new mug…………see below. Poor losers !
It was here that I dropped Amanda to Manchester for her sudden and unexpected trip back to Australia to see her Dad for the last time.
I spent a few days hiking in the Lake District but the weather took a turn for the worse and after a few days headed down to Lancashire and pottered around. Had dinner with my Brother and Sister in Law and enjoyed the local pubs and I even spent a couple of hours in Lytham where they were commemorating WW2 with a 40’s themed day.All good light hearted fun even though some of the boys took themselves a bit too seriously haha.Probably the only upside to Amanda being away for the week was I didn’t have to shave.We were meant to go up to Dunkeld Scotland for the weekend to see my mate Arth and Wendy. I rented a car and drove up on the Friday to see them and watch the Highland Games. A great weekend with them and a few beers of course.Not much traffic on the way up lol .
Plenty of Pipers, hammer throwing etc, and more beer. Lovely weekend before driving back to Manchester on the Sunday morning to pick Amanda up from the Airport. Cracking weather on the big day. Thanks for the hospitality guys it was great fun with you and your lovely family.
.I even snuck in a photo with Eric Morecambe of Morecambe and Wise….funny lads !So I night with my cheese and kisses in Manchester and we then tried to fit into 1 week what we had planned to do over 3 weeks. Lots of catching up with friend around the Country. First stop was a quick run up to Carlisle in the hire car for lunch with friends Kerry and Al and Gayle was over from Australia so 2 birds and all that. Thanks for lunch and a great afternoon. See you all at home....Then a quick bomb back down the motorway to have a great lunch with Lyn and Austin, sadly I was on driving duties on both occasions and was rather limited lol. So nice to catch up with them all again.
We found a brilliant little site on the Marina at Garstang and only a 5 minute walk along the tow path to the village……..8 pubs in a really small village wow ! Now that’s Town Planning at its best….happy days ! We even had free roaming chickens visit every morning and evening in search of some grub..and I was then getting Pinot ready for hibernation. We decided not to sell her in case we get some wanderlust next year. Another coffee and catch up with the friends from Lytham. Unfortunately we only had an hour or two before getting Pinot stored then a quick run down to London but it was lovely to see them again. We rented a little cottage in Yorkshire for 5 days before going to London. Smashing time catching up with friends Bob and Liz for lunch. Great laugh with them as always. Then had Amanda’s Cousins over to the cottage for drinks and pizzas. They are such a nice family and we loved seeing them again. Sadly the tyranny of distance makes it too infrequent..
Spent a couple of days at a Hotel in London doing touristy stuff and paying 3.quid for a Magnum……most we’ve ever paid..We did a couple of tours including the Royal Mews looking at all things on wheels belonging to Mrs Queen.This monster below is 250 years old and was used in Coronation and Jubilee etc. Detail is incredible and its HUGE.. We also saw the one used to carry Harry and his Mrs after their wedding in Windsor although it had the roof on in the pic below..And Amanda hopped in to practice her wave..We also took a tour of the gifts given to the Prince on his visit through India a couple of Centuries ago. Lord knows what they’re worth now,.and on the way back to the station we took a pic of the little girl below. We know they are pests here but got to admit they are cute.and so it was time to say “cheerio” to Blighty. It was a whirlwind visit and not the happiest but the sun shone (mostly) and we had some great catch ups. So with Pinot wrapped up for the Winter it was time to catch a flight South to Bali for a little bit of beach time.
Love to all xx