Monday, 17 April 2017

WHAPLODE WEEKENDER


We headed Lincoln way on Sat afternoon for three nights of peace and quiet, washed down with plenty of Merlot and Baileys. We booked into a CL in Sutton St James, just outside of Whaplode.
We tried to book the Bluebell Field CL but with it being a Bank Holiday weekend and me leaving it until the last minutes.. It was full! So I got out my trusty 'offline' Maps.me app on my phone ( thanks Pete ) and looked for another CL close by. We found Homefields Farm Park and it was available! Bingo!

Maps.Me showing CLs, Wildcamping, Pubstops, Taps, Toilets and National Trust venues..
Im sooo middle aged! 

We took the bikes for the first time, It was a job and a half getting them in the garage at the back of the van with everything else we thought we needed to bring.. but we... I managed.

Hopefully Farm Park was great. An electric barrier on entry. Open views, hard standing pitches and your own fresh/grey water/electric hookup!


I title ride to Long Sutton for an early Brekky and some supplies.

The roads in Lincoln are amazing for quick bike-rides, I think we cycled for an hour and climbed a total of 9 feet! 
I like Yellow!

South Holland Drain.. apparently.

(A) Abducted by little green men?
(B) Nasty accident?
(C) Wee stop!

Always time for a little work in the van!

Now should we head home tomorrow or should we venture into Derbyshire.. Lets see what happens as we pass Kirkby!

"I had a woof-erly time, I slept, ate, slept, walked, slept and while they went for bike rides I guarded the van ( while sleeping )






Thursday, 23 March 2017

SUDBURY HALL



Upon leaving Ilam I followed the Sat-Nav to Sudbury Hall, hoping the car park would be ig enough for the van. Half an hour later I arrived, the carpark was truly massive and I parked up in a quiet corner.

Tink, is getting old and nowadays only has about twenty minutes walk in her at the best of times. So I decided to carry her from the carpark to the hall so she could have a nice walk around the grounds. Its about 5 minutes walk and shes getting heavier. Anyway I got her there, put her down and took this photo :


I looked back and Tink was full squat in-between all  the visitors taking a woopsey!
I know its natural but Tink has this thing about an audience, she loves one! So I whipped out a bag, cleaned up, trying not to look anyone in the eye and then attempted to walk on with Tink.

Nope.. Tinks brakes were fully engaged, she was going nowhere.. apart from back to the van... being carried again like royalty. SO back to the Hall.. this time being able to look folk in the eye!



The property has a toy museum and the hall itself which the owners handed over to the trust when they could not afford the death duty they incurred fifty years ago. They literally walked out and everything they left is still on display, just as it was.

Now your talking I was draw the the toys of my era.

The museum was full of very interesting toys from hundreds of years ago. Dusty dolls or a Spectrum +3.. The force was strong!

Croggy anyone?



IN THE HALL
The Long Gallery

A fancy stairwell

Lovely gardens

The hall.. although you can't tell,  the East side has only 2 floors ( the windows give it away ), but the West side has three floors in the same space. Some of the windows aren't windows some are at foot level on the inside and some are way up high! But from the outside all looks symmetrical.














Wednesday, 22 March 2017

ILAM HALL - Real Ale

It has been a while since the van has had a run out. Apart from a couple of trips to 'Sherwood Truck & Van' to iron out a few FIAT gremlins like, random lights appearing on the dashboard and no hot air for cold feet! Needless to say, neither issue has been resolved :)

Anyway Mandy was going to London for a couple of days so I thought I would have a middle aged 'lads night out' with Berrny! I blew the dust off my National Trust map and popped a pin in a little village called Ilam in Staffordshires peak district. Apparently the National Trust has a little caravan site at the back of Ilam hall, I booked myself in for a night and started packing some fresh pants!

 

This is actually Ilam Hall, it is now a Youth Hostel!
The hall was built in 1821 by Jesse Watts-Russel, it replaced a smaller version. In 1927 a Mr Backhouse transformed the Hall into a luxury hotel. The project didn't work and by 1930 it was up for sale. A Sir Robert McDougal took on the estate and handed it to the National Trust in 1934.

Since it was raining I Just a little visit to the Youth Hostel.. Cheers!
(£3.25 for the Bombardier!)

After the refreshment, the rain didn't stop so I visited the NT shop and purchased a bottle of Elder Flower wine and a CD compilation of 1940s music.. The Bombardier had obviously taken affect!

I spent the next few hours  plotting my next NT visit with Vera Lynn in full chorus. Tea & biscuits followed by Elder flower wine & some chocolate Mandy had left in the van last year!  Bring on the pipe & Slippers!

The night passed quite nicely, the next morning was brighter so I ventured out again!


The Italian garden.. not a sniff of Oregano.



Ilam Church

One of the Swiss style houses in the village. Jesse Watts-Russel restyled the whole village in the 1820s after a visit to Switzerland.

Back for a well deserved brekky.

Views  from the Van


It was time to move on, after chatting to Tony & Margret at reception, I decided to head for Sodbury Hall for another NT installment!

On route to Sudbury, Thorpe Cloud will have to wait til next time!
Bon Voyage!!









Saturday, 31 December 2016

SUNK AT FLAMBOROUGH HEAD

We decided to head away for new year's. Northumberland was our first choice but after a couple of hours driving we opted for Flamborough!

I managed to tick another "incompetency" box in the world of motorhoming. This time I managed to sink the rear of the van in the grass until the rear axle was on the floor.

Many kind people came to help but none could get us out. It was time for the big guns... A Tractor to drag us out!

The Night Sky

Flamborough Beach


A WWII pill box

..you can get inside!

Going down...

..down...

..down!

Helllppp!!

Steve save's the day.. for £20!

Happy Campers!





Thursday, 25 August 2016

ITS GOOD BUT ITS NOT FRANCE

We should have been somewhere along the coast of Brittany at this point in August but as usual we have swerved our initial plans and gone with a last minute dash to.. Grantham!


We have just moved into a little bungalow that as a result of my DIY frenzy has no facilities available.. At all.  Thus we decided to opt for the motorhome that has hot water, a fridge and a working toilet!


Our departure date for the ferry came and went as we were up to our necks in demolition duties. The weather was too nice and I was sick of smelling of chimney soot. So we grabbed our bags and jumped in Bernie. Once we got her off the drive we sat there wondering where to go.. 10 minutes past... Belvoir!!

On route to the Vale, Mand put a pin in the map and booked us a CL in a little village  called Casthorpe. A lovely little place. After settling in we walked along the Grantham canal to the Rutland Arms for some grub and real ale.



It was a mile and a half. A mile too much for Tink. The pub had just been refurbished and only had crisps on the menu. Two quick pints and a steady walk back for a bbq supper.. carrying Tink or course.




The morning came after a spicy BBQ concoction the night before  , we headed half a mile down the road to Barrowby for a brunch at a Deli we past the day before while lost. 



( A middle aged ) 
"One for the road"

From here we headed to Loughborough to 50 cycles to have a blast on some demo electric bikes. Some of which were unrestricted and technically illegal. We were looking for a bike for Mand that has a little "assistance" so we could get out together.

The first batch...

Hmmmm...


The Beast. 28mph.. Mand liked this one.

After a couple of hours fun zipping up and down an industrial estate  we headed for a CL I previously went to with Jack and George. Heronbrook in Cotgrave. After taking a detour via Kegworth looking for a pub. Let's just say, non were suitable!

We ended up in the Manvers Arms in Radcliffe on Trent for a lovely bit of grub. Bernie just squeezed into the Carpark. Anyway two glasses of Merlot later we headed for Herobrook.

 

The following morning we walked another local stretch of the Grantham canal.


Back at the site we got talking to a German couple who had two kids and Three large greyhounds in their motorhome!

They had electric bikes and while talking to them I saw the future. 


These fancy looking carriages are not for kids. They are for the three greyhounds! As we walked back from the canal they whizzed past us with the dogs being towed like royalty!

"Guten Morg!"

I suspect we will be having such a doggy taxi in the near future.. save me carrying Tink everywhere!