Tag Archives: WEATHER

Stowe National Trust Outing…

As it was such a glorious morning,  we decided on a whim to go to Stowe. Its only about half an hours drive from home, just outside Buckingham. We popped Max in his travel crate for his first big adventure.  He was a bit nervous at first but he soon settled down.

It was just like a summers day, so warm.  Obviously we were not the only ones taking advantage of the weather.  The car park was packed.

Forunately there is plenty of space there so it was pretty sparsely populated we had a good walk round and then back to the reception area for a sandwich lunch.  It would have been soup and a roll, which is our usual fare on a National Trust outing but the soup was mushroom… I hate mushroom soup..  Jan went and queued for the food while I looked after Max outside.  She was gone quite a while and returned with plenty of good advice about the catering arrangements !!!

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The Best Laid Plans….

Often Go Wrong !!

After a chat during our last motorhome trip we decided we didnt have the proper motorhome mentality.  We were still in ‘caravan mode’.  That is, finding a site and staying there a few days or week or more instead of moving around and finding new places.

I came up with the idea of doing a trip around the coast of the mainland UK in a series of stages.  Doing a bit, then coming home and picking up from the last place next time.

After much thought the logical place to start, given our location seemed to be Kent.  Jan wasnt too keen on the sound of Kent despite my assurance that it was a nice county.

We haven’t really tried staying staying anywhere other than proper sites in the UK so far, when there are places that many motorhomers use that are cheap or free. Places like pubs who let motorhomers stay in their car park for the price of having a meal there, or 24 hour council car parks that have motorhome parking places.

We have the facility now for self suffiency, two big gas canisters, a solar panel with a heavy duty leisure battery and a hundred litre water tank plus toilet and shower onboard.

With this in mind, as Jan had a busy week ahead and didn’t really fancy Kent anyway I set off on a solo exploratory trip last Wednesday for about a week to investigate.

It wasn’t the success I thought it could have been though.  I arrived at my first stopover, a ‘proper’ site near Sevenoaks.  I plugged into the mains connection and turned the refrigerator over from the main vehicle battery where it has to be for travelling to the mains electric option that that now I was connected to the mains.  The refrigerator wasn’t very cold when I arrived but I put that down to high temperatures outside.  However after a couple of hours it still didn’t seem to be getting cold but again I put that down to the high temperature.  As a test I swapped it over to the gas option.  We always use the electricity when we can though because its included in our site fees.  Using the gas runs down our gas bottle.  Gas is supposed to be the faster way to get a cold refrigerator but even this didn’t work.

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Oldbury Hill, Sevenoaks

Another reason I thought it might not be working was that I was parked on a sloping site and that can stop the refrigerator working properly for some reason.  I was using ramps under the front wheels but still wasn’t level.  You can see from the photograph there is quite a slope.

So my next move was to go to another location for the next night that was level. I had somewhere in mind on the Isle of Sheppey, on the seafront.  Just a parking place, no facilities, at Leysdown on Sea.

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Leysdown On Sea

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Leysdown On Sea, Isle of Sheppey

I found it OK, a nice quiet spot right on the beach and just a couple of other motorhomes in residence.  I parked up turned the refrigerator onto gas again but after a couple of hours it still hadn’t got any cooler in there so I decided I needed to get back home and see about getting it repaired.

I didn’t come straight home, I went to another ‘proper’ site at Folkestone for the night where it would be level so that I could try it the level and plugged into electricity option.  But that was no good either so early next morning, Friday, I set off back home.  I needed to get things sorted out because it has to done before we can go away again.  I had the pleasure of the M25 and the Dartford Tunnel right at the morning rush hour ( I can’t for the life of me think why its called the RUSH hour, when the opposite is true ??) but I figured I might as well be on my way rather than starting later to miss the traffic.  Anyway it wasn’t too bad.

Hopefully the refrigerator engineer will be calling me tomorrow but I wont be holding my breath…

 

Sixes and Sevens.

What a busy sporting weekend that was.

Lets work through it.  Firstly this was the weekend of the annual Olney 7’s rugby tournament which started at 10:30am on Saturday. I wandered down in the afternoon to take a few photographs and to watch my grandson Harry playing for one of the Olney teams. What a great day they had for it weatherwise.  A great success, well organised, well supported and a terrific atmosphere.  I don’t know if its a measure of the success or not but they had stocked up with forty five barrels of beer and there was not a drop left at the end of it, which I believe was the early hours of Sunday morning, the various tournaments having finished around 7pm.  By the time of my Sunday morning walk there was hardly an evidence of anything having happened there at all.  The tournament grows in popularity every year and has teams from all over country competing.  A very well organised event by a very hard working and efficient club.

On Sunday I watched the England football team beat Panama 6-1, having already beaten Tunisia 2-1 earlier in the week.  I don’t think that means we are going to win the World Cup though as there are much tougher games to come against better teams.  The first reality check will be on Thursday when England play Belgium.  Both teams have already qualified for the knockout stages but this game will decide who will finish top of the group.

Whilst down at the 7’s on Saturday I was able to keep tabs on another England success.  They had the England v South Africa rugby game showing live from South Africa on the big outside screen which England won 25-10.  Mind you they had lost the previous two encounters in the series but they at least avoided a whitewash.

Also on Sunday England beat Australia in the fifth one day international cricket match to complete a 5-0 whitewash in the tournament.

There was another English sporting success too, if you count motor racing a sport that is.  I am not sure that I do but Lewis Hamilton won the French Grand Prix as well.

Of lesser sporting prowess and note, I went out for a bike ride today, the first for two or three weeks.  I had a nice easy ride around my Ouse Valley route via Felmersham. I noticed there was a sign on the bridge announcing the 200th anniversary celebrations of the bridge on the 30th June.  It has been in continuous use since then apparently.  It does look to be of fairly sturdy construction though.

I did about 25 miles at a nice steady pace in an average temperature of 28C according to my Garmin bike computer.

 

 

Norfolk..

We arrived at West Runton ‘Caravan and Motorhome Club’ site yesterday and found a nice pitch but we really wanted to go to one we had last time we were here.  However that area was closed because someone had damaged the grass when it was wet.

This morning we enquired about moving to another pitch with a better view.  There would be one available after midday as someone was leaving. It was a great view right down to the sea from the top of the hill. We walked up to check it out but it was really windy up there, Hurricane Hector was blowing quite a bit so we decided to stay where we are for now.  Nice and sheltered down in the bottom here.

This afternoon we walked across country to Cromer for the exercise and had a wander round.  We managed to buy nothing, just took a few photos then got the bus back for a sit in the sun.  Hector was moving on now.

Giving It Another Go…

Well here I am again writing a blog post.  Not sure how long it will last but its that time of year when there are more things to write about.

To start with we had the first trip of the year with our caravan last week.  We went to Devon visiting family around Exeter.  It wasn’t without its traumas, even before we left.  We had a booked a stay at our newly found favourite site near Chudleigh but a phone call two days before we set off caused a minor panic.  We were told that the field was already wet and waterlogged and that more heavy rain was expected before we arrived so unfortunately we couldn’t stay there.  Fortunately another site we have used in the area had a vacancy and also they had hard standings so no wading around in mud.

The sites we like to stay at are Caravan Club ‘certificated sites’.  These are basically fields, usually attached to farms that are licensed to accommodate no more than five caravans.  Mostly these days they have showers, toilets and electric hook ups, all essentials for us.  There are plenty of them around the country and they tend to be a lot quieter than the big commercial sites and in quiet rural settings.

The weather was to cause us more problems before our departure. On Monday, the morning of our departure we were experiencing very strong winds and heavy rain at home so we delayed setting off until later.  We heard from Devon that the sun was shining there by now and it had improved enough at home for us to set off just before lunch.

We had three days of trips and visits with the family, including trips to two beaches, Exmouth and Teignmouth.  The weather was kind to us after an inauspicious start to the week, plenty of sunshine even if not a lot of heat yet.

Here are a few pictures from the trip..

Fun on the beach at Teignmouth

Fun on the beach at Teignmouth

Sunset over the farm

Sunset over the farm

Across the bay from Exmouth

Across the bay from Exmouth

Exmouth Beach

Exmouth Beach

After our return, on Saturday I went to watch grandson Harry,17 (for a 3 more weeks anyway) playing another game for Olney Rugby Club first XV against Biggleswade.  It resulted in a win after an inauspicious start to the game, Olney going down by 12 points very early in the game but they managed to clay back the deficit and eventually won the game 42-27.

Harry, second in line here for congratulations from the losers.

Harry, second in line for congratulations from the losers

So thats my first post in my return to the blogosphere.. see you again soon in one or another of my blogs hopefully..

 

Wallingford

We combined a little bit of pleasure with some business yesterday.  Our caravan had to go into our preferred service company, Cross Country Caravans, in Wallingford, on the River Thames  a few miles south of Oxford.  There are caravan service companies nearer to us but this is our preferred one.  Normally they come out to us once year with the mobile service van to carry out an annual service check but this needed a bit of ‘hospitalisation’ to carry out a non urgent job that was detected on the last service visit so we saved it until the end of the caravanning year for us.

After dropping the caravan off we made for the town centre as although we had been through it before we never really stopped for a look around.  Its a typical old country town with a market place in the middle and plenty of old timbered houses.  Just on the outskirts of the town is the River Thames.

Here are a couple of views of and from the bridge.

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We then walked along some back streets to get to the river up stream a bit.. I spotted this very autumnal looking wall..

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This is the view from further upstream back towards the bridge before we disappeared round the bend. (Literally, not mentally !!)

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I failed to take any photos of the town centre for some reason but here are some I borrowed from Wikipedia to give you an idea of what it looks like.  I often forget I have my phone in my pocket and only later realised what I have failed to photograph.

After a brief wander around and a visit to the smart new Waitrose in town for essential supplies we were back on the road again, stopping off at the Wyevale Garden Centre at Bicester for a look around to see what could be bought by ‘the gardener’!  We managed to find some plants we couldn’t live without then had a nice lunch there and within forty five minutes we were back home.

Blessings In Disguise..

I am writing this on Sunday morning, the morning I should have been up early and pedalling around a 200km Audax down into the Cotswolds. I was prevented from doing so by the events of last weekend that were documented in my previous post. I am thinking in some ways it was a kind of a blessing in disguise as its pouring with rain here as I type this.  Not the best day for pedalling 200km+.

I was pleased to see this morning that the road rash on my thigh had grown some new skin over it when I removed the dressing,  I was wondering what I might find there after a few days of being covered up.  I went to hospital on Thursday to get my shoulder x-rayed and there were no broken bones but I have torn the ligaments and they will take about six weeks to heal by all accounts.  I don’t think that will stop me cycling though as when I am riding the bike I have no pain from my shoulder at all.  I didn’t know how it would stand up to 200km ride though so thats why I opted out of todays ride.  Now my road rash has healed over I will try some steadily increasing rides and check my shoulder out as I go.

I have been passing my time this morning checking the future Audax calendar and my next scheduled ride would be the Kidderminster Killer if all goes well, a 200km loop from near Kidderminster and heading west.  To quote the site details :- ….

THE KIDDERMINSTER KILLER is an audax with a long history. Worcestershire to Montgomery and back via plenty of scenic but challenging hills including The Long Mynd. It is a ride to be beholden and fondly remembered.”

While browsing the ride details further I found this YouTube video made in the 2013 version that I posted on my Facebook Page ‘Bricycling’ earlier.  I will share it here as it might be of interest to those who have no idea of how an Audax works or what it ‘looks lik’.  It features the home clubs riders quite heavily (Beacon RCC) but is quite typical of how an Audax is.  You might just be tempted to give one a try sometime..

Have to go now, Its now time for me to settle down and watch somebody else suffer in the National Road Race championships, men and women live on TV all afternoon.