Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200308 Scotland England

2003 FRIDAY 1 AUGUST – With the rain fizzling out we head to Glenfinnan.  From the tourist office car park we visit the monument dedicated to Bonnie Prince Charlie and see the viaduct used in the Harry Potter films.  Just before Fort William we pull up to look at Neptune’s Staircase, a series of 8 lochs joining the Caledonian Canal to Lochs and other canals to the east coast.  Glen Nevis is a very scenic area but the cloud is too low for us to see Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Britain.  Bev & Norm manage to find a B&B on the outskirts of town (£20 p.p. inc breakfast) with parking for us.  They settle into their room then explore whilst we spend the afternoon lazing around.  McTavish’s restaurant does an evening show with Scottish singing and dancing.  Whilst enjoying the performance we feast on haggis, neaps and tatties, venison, Cullen skink (smoked haddock soup) and Scottish beef.



SATURDAY 2 AUGUST – Make a brief detour to Glencoe before driving along the banks of Loch Lomond.   The Erskine Bridge, 60p toll, leads us into Glasgow and we drive through the Gorbels to get to Jo & James’s place near Hamden Park.  They live on the top floor of a traditional tenement block which is on two floors and really spacious.  They insist we all sleep in the house and have prepared the spare rooms.  The weather has improved dramatically and we enjoy the walk through Queens Park and around the area before returning to share an evening meal.



SUNDAY 3 AUGUST – With access to the Internet and telephone we book Bev & Norm a weeks break to Malta (Half Board £212) and 5 nights in London to cover the time whilst we have Daniel.  They will then return to Swatours having extended their trip until 20th September.  £2.10 buys you an all day bus ticket and led by James & Jo we head into the city to do the Lonely Planet 4 hour walking tour.  One legacy of architect McIntosh are many fantastic old buildings, which would compare well with ones we have seen in Greece and Italy.  We take in unusual churches and walk right out to the university district and return rather weary. 



MONDAY 4 AUGUST – We drive off to Pollock Park to visit the Burrell collection museum which is one mans private art collection.  We are all amazed at the diversity of items including stained glass windows from churches, antiquities from around the world and enormous tapestries.  Gretna Green comes as a big shock to us.  We visited in the early 90’s when it was a small low key affair, now it’s he second most popular attraction in Scotland second to Edinburgh with café’s and gift shops to support it.  Cross into ENGLAND after exactly 2 weeks in Scotland.  The weather is fantastic with reports on the radio of the heat wave causing railway track to buckle. To make the most of the sun we settle onto a CL £3 near Penrith and soak up the rays. Bev & Norm put up the tent before we start the BBQ with the sun still hot at 7pm.



TUESDAY 5 AUGUST – Heading into the Lake District we stop briefly in Grasmere to see William Wordsworth’s grave.  At Waterhead we have a stroll along the waterfront.  The road into Grizedale Forest is narrow with lots of blind corners and car drivers racing along.  We make it to the visitor centre then head off on walks along the sculpture trails.  The 1-hour walk has 20 sculptures, which are enough for us; Bev, & Norm combine it with a longer one.  £2.50 ferry takes us to the other side of Windermere where there is lots of traffic.  On Morecambe Bay we use a CL at the garden centre in Bolton-le-Sands £4.  The tide is well out but it’s pleasant to walk across the sand flats with views down to Morecambe itself.  Evening BBQ before Bev & Norm go off for their stroll.



WEDNESDAY 6 AUGUST – We call into Morecambe and enjoy reading the captions near the Eric Morecambe statue.  Heysham Village is quite pretty with rock tombs in the cliffs by the old chapel.  In Blackpool we park behind the Pleasure Beach.  Norm & I go on the Pepsi Max £5, great fun.  We then split up and shortly after get a phone call from David who has the day off.  He drives over to join us bringing Donna with children Chelsea and Darren and Donna’s friend Nicky.  We stroll around and spend some time on the busy beach.  After tea in the van we drop David and gang near their car park and pick up Bev & Norm.  They’ve had a great time and particularly enjoyed seeing the ballroom in the Tower.  Check onto a CL nr Bretherton £5.



THURSDAY 7 AUGUST – Next stop on the Swatour is Liverpool where we begin with Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium.  In the centre the free car park at Albert Dock makes a great base.  Bev & Norm head off on an amphibious duck tour whilst we make a start on the many free museums which used to cost £3 each or £9.99 for a multi pass.  We see some fantastic things including a grossology display about bodily functions.  Re group for lunch in the van then all head out to check out more of the fantastic museums until 3.30pm.  The Birkenhead tunnel £1.20 takes us under the Mersey for our drive to Port Sunlight.  This is a superb village built by Hesketh for the workers at his Lever brother soap factory.  The houses are all very attractive with lots of flowers around and manicured lawns.  The art gallery in the centre is quite interesting after which we cool off after like the locals in the big fountain.  Another CL this time just outside Chester.



FRIDAY 8 AUGUST – We park down by the river in Chester £2.50 and whilst Steve relaxes the rest of us set out to explore.  We walk a good stretch of the walls; find the cathedral interesting and the old buildings and galleried arcades excellent.  Including a visit to the museum it takes us 6 hours to finish.  Continue to Market Drayton where we do a big Lidl shop before parking up by the baths and surprising Mum with a visit.  John is still not at all well and can’t get out of the house so just the 4 of us enjoy a BBQ by the van, making the most of the lovely evening.



SATURDAY 9 AUGUST – It’s a hot start to the day with clear blue skies.  Mum kindly lends us her car and we head off to Wrekin View sun club where we used to be members.  Little has changed but the addition of a new clubroom with toilets and a shower is excellent.  £1.50 pays for a day visit and we make the most of it chatting to old members who remember us and taking cooling dips in the pool.  Reluctantly dress and head over to Trench where we are meeting the family at the Old Shawbirch to celebrate niece Laurens 21st.  All the family are there which is a rare event.  It’s a very hot evening and combined with the smoke in the pub forces many of us outside.  Netty puts on a nice buffet and they have had a cake made with a photo of Lauren printed on the top.  We leave just after 11pm and find it’s still very hot.



SUNDAY 10 AUGUST – What a change as we wake to drizzle which soon becomes a torrential downpour.  Head back to Drayton picking up the papers en route.  Fester in the van reading the news until after lunch when it has brightened up.  Bev & Norm head off for a walk and I stroll up town with Mum.  In the evening I cook a meal for us all at Mums and we open up the dining room so we can all sit together.



MONDAY 11 AUGUST – Another heavy morning storm after which we pick Mum off and set out in her car.  Hawkestone Follies charge a rather steep £5.50 for you to do a walk on their grounds.  Mum does really well as there are lots of hills and steps.  There are some very interesting caves and other follies and we return after 2 hours for a picnic.  For future reference we check out nursing homes for John on the way back.  Beech House itself is nice enough but half the residents look barely alive and there can’t be one a day less than 100.  It’s so depressing even one of the visitors has fallen asleep.  The Matron suggests we try River Meadows in Shawbury.  Although still a nursing home 10 of the 43 residents are young people and it alters the whole atmosphere.  There’s a cinema, they do regular outings to the fish & chip shop and such like, have a band in once a week and also hold special functions. Mum in so impressed she even says she would be happy to stay there.  Cook up another meal at Mums but John is really struggling and in a lot of pain. Read in the news that yesterday was the hottest day in Britain since records began and the first time the temperature has gone over 100F



TUESDAY 12 AUGUST– Mum struggled to get John to bed last night and although he has a hospital appointment today he is not able to get up.  The doctor and district nurse are summoned and they phone for an ambulance to take John to the hospital. Mum goes out to lunch then to visit a friend whilst we do jobs at Mums and on the van.  We get a phone call in the evening to say they are keeping John in hospital and doing some X-Rays tomorrow.  Steve goes out to baby sit for Netty in the evening and Bev & Norm take their usual pub sampling evening walk with plenty to chose from in Drayton.



WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST – Using Mum’s car we set out on a Mystery Tour with Mum, Bev & Norm.  First we call in to Lilleshall National Sports Centre where they are impressed by the gardens and the main building.  To Ironbridge next with the original bridge looking lovely in the sunshine.  In Bridgenorth we explore the town before eating lunch in Witherspoons.  Merry Hill shopping centre gives Mum a chance for a quick shop and we leave there at 4pm.  There are big traffic jams going into Wolverhampton due to road works on one road and an accident on another.  It’s after 5pm by the time we drive past the Wolverhampton Wanderers stadium, Molineux.  Just north of the city we get caught up in more traffic jams then find the M6 blocked following an accident and he Penkridge road also has hold ups.  Heading east towards Cannock we get into yet another jam and it seems no matter which country road we detour onto we always get stuck in a queue.  By the time we clear Cannock the traffic is building up for the football match at Stoke on Trent.  We’re heading to Stoke to visit John in hospital so this is another problem for us.  We try lots of different routes by just after 7pm we give up and head to Eccleshall.  Finally spot another way to Stoke with no traffic but get in a queue at the last minute.  Make it to the hospital just before 8pm, the end of visiting time, fortunately Sister wavers the rules.  John’s  X-Rays show two breaks in his right femur.  He believes he did one about 5 weeks ago and the other in the last few days but put the pain down to radiotherapy.  Now he is much more comfortable in the hospital bed and waiting to see what they are going to do with him.  Arrive back in Drayton all rather weary with Steve suffering an aching foot due to all the clutch control.  Certainly not the sort of Mystery Tour we had anticipated.



THURSDAY 14 AUGUST – Mum makes arrangements for John’s medical aids including the bed to be collected after which I set too packing things up in the spare bedroom.  Netty is moving house today and Steve heads off to collect the rental van.  He and Norm do the early part of the packing then return to us for lunch.  Netty gets access to her new house at 2pm and with many hands making light work we have everything transferred by 4pm.  She’s moving from her 2 bedroom terrace house to a 3 bedroom detached which means there is much more room for the boys.  By the time we leave at 7pm most things have been put away and we are ready for our feed at Brenda’s.  It’s a pleasant evening so we eat outside and Ted & Brenda quiz us in relation to their impending trip to Australia.



FRIDAY 15 AUGUST – A very hot day, Steve borrows Netty’s car and takes Bev & Norm to the naturist club.  Unfortunately I have lots of paperwork and jobs to do so I end up staying behind.  In the evening I drive Mum over to the hospital.  John is very pleased to have been told that he is down to have a full hip replacement operation next Wednesday.



SATURDAY 16 AUGUST  Drop Charlie at the motorhome dealers to have the windows resealed.  At lunchtime Netty treats Bev, Norm, Steve & myself to lunch at the Four Alls.  David & Donna are down and they join us and treat Mum to lunch.  We all return to Netty’s new house in the afternoon. Pick the van up at 5pm along with a £100 bill.  I’ve got a bit of a migraine so I rest in the evening whilst Bev packs for their holidays.



SUNDAY 17 AUGUST  Netty drops Nick round to us late morning.  He is coming away with us for a holiday.  In Hanley we drop Bev & Norm at the bus station. They are catching a National Express coach to London to connect with their evening flight to Malta.  Arrive in Yorkshire mid afternoon and Nick plays out with Daniel and Natasha.  Natasha is now getting upset not to be coming away with us so we agree to her staying in the van tonight.  Unfortunately she only lasts for 10 minutes and that’s before Nick starts to snore!



MONDAY 18 AUGUST – Junior Swatours sets out with Daniel and Nick as guests.  After a bit of business in Keighley we go to Bradford to the National Photographic museum.  The play station games sections are popular and Nick enjoys reading the news and flying the magic carpet whilst Daniel marshals us around.  After lunch we move on to Leeds to visit the Royal Armouries museum.  The gunfight is very tame and overall we find little to entertain them.  Return to a CL used with Bev & Norm near Tadcaster.  The lads play a bit of cricket whilst I cook tea and the evening passes very smoothly.  In the middle of the night we have some disturbance when Nick having joined Daniel in bed has “nicked” all the covers.  Once they are split up and back in their own beds everything is fine.



TUESDAY 19 AUGUST – Park by the National Railway museum in York and wait for it to open at 10am.  There are lots for the lads to do and they enjoy the learning centre and collecting stamps in the warehouse.  Round off the visit with a ride on the steam train where Daniel proudly waves the green flag to start us off.  Final port of call is the Y.S.S campsite near Hull.  In no time at all we have the tent erected and full of toys.  Next we visit the indoor swimming pool where the lads have great fun playing surfing on the foam mats.  We have to drag them out for tea.  After an evening stroll they head back into the pool for a repeat performance. 



WEDNESDAY 20 AUGUST – Up at 8am, breakfast at 9am then once we have done the washing and cleared up in the van we head to the swimming pool.  10am in the pool for 1 hour.  11am back to the van for drinks and biscuits.  Nick then helps me make a cottage pie whilst Steve helps Daniel fill the paddling pool.  1pm lunch then 2pm back to the pool for 2 hours.  4pm happy hour with drinks and nibbles.  John & Maureen join us for our evening meal at 6pm and enjoy Nicks pie. 7.30pm back at the pool for another session.  The lads return and sit in bed watching a video, both drop off by 9.30pm.



THURSDAY 21 AUGUST – Not surprisingly the lads sleep in until after 8.30am after which we fall into our usual routine.  We play Monopoly after lunch and watch Spiderman at bedtime



FRIDAY 22 AUGUST – We’re just starting our daily chores when the warden comes and asks us to move site.  There are lots of things happening over the bank holiday weekend and he has taken more bookings so we have to move to the main camping area.  On our new site we spot a hedgehog on the grass and the lads manage to get very close to it and give it a drink of milk.  Everyone gathers at John & Maureen’s for an evening BBQ then I return with Daniel to watch Harry Potter on DVD.



SATURDAY 23 AUGUST – We make it up to the clubhouse for a swim before chip butties 50p are served.  Claire arrives with Natasha so we return to the pool for another swim.  The kids have tea by the van then we head up for the “Down under” BBQ night, steak or salmon plus dessert  £3.  The kids get a dish of jelly and ice cream and even fit in another swim.  8pm and we move into the clubhouse for fun and games.  Daniel and Nick enjoy the game passing a rugby ball down the line, especially when our team wins and they get sweets as a prize.  There’s a fancy dress competition and Daniel proudly leads the mens parade wearing a hat with a kangaroo on top and Fosters beer cans dangling from it, a “Sydney” ruck sack on his back, an Aussie flag tied around his waist and in his hands a snake, fly swatter and boomerang.  He’s happy to receive a bag of jelly snakes as his prize.  Natasha is the first to get tired and return with Claire.  Daniel manages to keep going until 9.30pm when I take him back.  Steve & Nick roll in around 11.30pm.



SUNDAY 24 AUGUST – Combine a morning swim with a visit to the car boot sale on site.  After lunch we congregate for the “Race” meeting.  A sack cloth marks the course with 3 jumps (one with water) and squares for the moves.  With 6 different coloured wooden horses 2 dice are rolled to show colour and number of moves.  First the horses are sold off and then the owners allocate a rider from the children.  Nick & Daniel both ride in the first race with Nick coming nearest in 3rd place.  Natasha gets to ride in the next race.  The kids really enjoy themselves.  Nick rides in the 4th race and wins to receive a £5 tip from the owner.  Our betting gives us wins in 3 of the 6 races so we all come out of it rather well.  Afternoon tea is served, coffee or tea plus scones with jam and cream for 50p.  After tea Claire heads off with Natasha and we return to the clubhouse.  It’s quiz night and Daniel makes himself useful collecting the quiz sheets whilst Nick messes around with the friends he made this afternoon.  The lads are no trouble at all so we stay until 10.30pm.



MONDAY 25 AUGUST – Give the lads a bit of a stir at 9.30am before sitting out to eat breakfast.  We’re in quite a routine now with me making up the bed whilst the lads set up the table and chairs outside for breakfast.  Receive sad news in the evening when Mum phones to say that Auntie Joan died peacefully last night in hospital.  She was 83, seemed quite frail when we visited her last year and has been poorly recently so the news was not unexpected.  Claire phones to say they have just been to hospital.  Daz injured his hand whilst playing cricket yesterday and has been in pain throughout today.  It turns out he has a broken hand which they have put in plaster.



TUESDAY 26 AUGUST – Between showers we manage to pack the tent and other things away.  The pool is closed for cleaning after heavy usage over the bank holiday weekend so we just shower.  In Hull we visit the Spurn lightship.  It’s a lighthouse on a ship that can be moved around the coast as the sand banks shift.  By the Humber Bridge we go to the visitor centre then set out on a sculpture trail in the adjacent country park.  Each of the 10 sculptures has a bug hidden on it and this keeps Nick & Daniel interested and amused.  Rain gets the better of us so we head over the bridge £2.50 to our usual parking spot at the Barton on Humber viewpoint.  After tea I take the lads out on the wildlife boardwalk where we see lots of birds and huge black slugs.



WEDNESDAY 27 AUGUSTArrive in Cleethorpes for the opening of Pleasure Island at 10am.  £11.50 admission (3 for the price of 2 coupon in the tourist brochure). This is Daniel’s favourite theme park and he storms ahead of us.  Nick persuades me to go on the Alakazam white-knuckle ride and we eventually get Daniel on some of the bigger rides.  He absolutely loves Razzle Dazzle and really enjoys himself.  Late afternoon there are few queues so I join Nick on the new ride the Pendulus.  He’s so impressed that he goes on 3 times in a row.  We’ve had news today that the tenants still haven’t left our property despite the judge ruling they must be out by yesterday.  Will head back tomorrow to try and sort it out.  Find a lovely parking spot behind Pleasure Island directly behind the beach from where we get a good view of the many ships passing by.



THURSDAY 28 AUGUST – It’s lovely to wake up to such a nice view.  Unfortunately by the time we get to Grimsby it’s drizzling.  In the basement of the Town Hall is the Time Line, that takes you down into the dungeons telling the history of the town.  The lads get quite a few scares as they come face to face with unsavoury characters.  Return to Keighley where we are still having problems with our tenants.  They say they have moved out and just want to clean up, however they won’t return the keys and as they have changed the locks we can’t get in.  Head to Claire’s where the lads sleep in the house overnight.



FRIDAY 29 AUGUST – Pick the lads up at 8am.  At 9am we get a call to say the keys to our house have been handed in.  We arrange to meet the agent at the house at 10.15am.  It’s been left in a terrible state, curtain rails, curtains, lampshades, light fitting and bathroom accessories are all missing.  The place is dirty and full of rubbish but at least we are in.  Spend the rest of our time bagging up the rubbish and restoring some semblance of order.  When we clear out the cellar and find a baseball bat with 6” nails in it we realise just what sort of people we are dealing with and decide against changing the locks at this stage.  Better to give them access to collect anything else they want rather than have them break in.  Return the boys to Haworth in time for a quick shower before meeting at Sandra’s.  Join her and Keith for a meal at Shimla Spice and try and relax for the evening.



SATURDAY 30 AUGUST – It’s Daniel’s 6th birthday today so we meet up with him at Brewsters where he is having a party.  The kids get to use the playroom for an hour before having a meal and all really enjoy themselves.  Do a bit of work on the house before picking Bev & Norm up at 5.30pm.  They have had a good time in Malta and London and tell us lots about it.  Drive over to Haworrth to baby-sit in the evening.



SUNDAY 31 AUGUST – Return to Parkwood Street where we are joined by Dickins decorators.  Many hands make light work and with a bit of extra help from Nick and Claire in the afternoon we get loads done.  By evening 3 of the rooms are almost finished and jobs started in the others.  Bev & Norm “camp” out in the house whilst we stay in the van at Sandra’s








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