Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200406 England

TUESDAY 1 JUNE 2004 – Claire & Steve take me to Bradford Royal Infirmary for my sinus operation.  I’m in a four-bedded room along with 2 other ladies who are also scheduled for surgery this afternoon.  First on the list I’m down at theatre on the trolley waiting to be anaesthetised before 2pm.  The only problem is that Mr Raine the surgeon hasn’t arrived.  Apparently he’s a very busy man and this is not uncommon.  I chat away to the theatre staff and quiz them about the various machines I’m hooked up to.  One shows my heart and pulse rate and to pass the time I play a bit of a game trying to control the levels.  Closing my eyes and thinking of sunbathing on a beach in Australia gets my heart level down to 66 whilst thinking of something really scary gets it up to almost a hundred.  The staff are amazed and want to play as well  – just shows what mind over matter can do.  As the door slams open and the surgeon appears it shoots up to 123.  When I come round from the anaesthetic I have a bit of trouble with my breathing and this leads to a panic attack.  Assume they put me out at this point as the next thing I know I wake up back in bed on the ward.  Steve, Claire, Daz, Daniel, and Natasha all come to visit in the evening.  Think the kids are a bit put off by my fat nose and all the packing.  Claire plays nurse and takes me in a wheelchair to the toilet.  It’s got wonky wheels so she has to drag it backwards.  Feel much better after their visit and despite my nose still bleeding I’m fine.  One of the ladies on my ward snores very loudly so I sit up watching TV until after 10pm.  Can’t get to sleep so go for a wander to the day room where there is a video.  Unfortunately it is broken but a nurse directs me to an empty private room and says I can use the TV and video in there.  Stuff the video I’m going to try and get some sleep. 



WEDNESDAY 2 JUNE – I catch a bit of sleep here and there and return to my proper bed before the nurse’s rounds at 6.30am.  Time for the packing to be removed from my nostrils.  The left side is not too bad but the right side is excruciating.  I think there must be a piece of my brain attached to it.  It bleeds quite a lot so I have to stay in bed for an hour applying pressure to my nostril and sucking ice cubes.  This seems to do the trick and after the registrar has been round I’m allowed to go home.  Steve drives over in Charlie and picks me up.  I lie on the sofa dozing until we get to Manchester to meet up with David, Donna, and Daryl.  I buy bottled water, sea salt, and bicarbonate of soda to make up a solution for flushing my nose and this has to be done 3 times a day for the next 6 weeks.  Not a pretty sight.  Next we head down to Stafford, again I doze, to park up at John & Shirley’s for the night.  I manage a reasonable nights sleep.



THURSDAY 3 JUNE – After showering at John’s we head to Four Ashes where we are booked in at American Autos’.  Despite phoning up on Tuesday they now tell us the main man has gone away to America and also they didn’t realise we had a Ford truck as they deal with Chevrolets (we give them exact details on the phone).  In the end they connect us to their diagnostic machine (a different type again) and this shows no fault and also makes the warning light go off.  Needless to say just a few miles up the road the light comes on yet again.  Over to Market Drayton where Mum is having work done on her guttering.  Following recent laser surgery on her cataract she is still having difficulty focusing and is a bit fed up.  Stay and chat for a while giving her time to find a few odd jobs for Steve to do.  Afternoon resting in the van listening to the pouring rain.  Claire phones at teatime to tell us Daniel has broken out in chicken pox.  By 9.15pm she is down in Market Dayton dropping Daniel with us and doing a fast turn around for her long drive back.  Count Daniels spots whilst putting calamine lotion on and he has 81.  Next Netty calls round and drops Nick off to stay overnight as well.  So much for my quiet recuperation time!



FRIDAY 4 JUNE – Daniel has been no trouble thorough the night.  I dab his spots and he now has 133.  Pop over to Mums where Daniel gets an impromptu piano lesson.  Nick plays with Daniel before they both go round to Netty’s.  In the afternoon Daniel comes back and we pass the time playing 5’s and 3’s at dominoes and teaching him lots of card games.  Mum comes over for tea and stay to play cards as well.  Evening count revels Daniel has lots more spots.  He has a very bad night with toothache to compound his problems.  So still no rest for the wicked. 



SATURDAY 5 JUNE – Nearly 300 spots to go on Daniel’s chicken spot chart this morning.  Cancel our planned visit to the cinema, as Daniel’s face looks terrible.  Take a walk up town to get some food for Daniel but he’s very weary and wants to go back to the van.  Spend time at Mum’s where we all have fish and chips for lunch.  When Netty returns from taking Mum to the garden centre we leave Mum in peace and all go round to Netty’s.  Enjoy a buffet tea and hang around until evening.  Daniel now has about 400 spots and looks like a snowman with all the calamine lotion on but he does have a much better night.



SUNDAY 6 JUNE – We all have a good sleep, Daniels spots are starting to crust over or fade.  It’s a lovely warm sunny morning.  I cook a roast dinner in the van and Mum joins us.  In the afternoon Mum, Daniel and I go for a walk around Market Drayton.  Daniel’s much better.



MONDAY 7 JUNE – Daniel definitely on the mend, no new spots, and the olds ones are getting better.  After an early lunch we drive Mum’s car over to Newcastle under Lyme.  Mum’s eyes are not up to watching a film so she goes shopping whilst we take Daniel to see “Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban”.  At times Daniel is a bit scared but overall he enjoys it.  Claire comes down in the evening to pick Daniel up, as he is well enough to go on the school trip tomorrow.



TUESDAY 8 JUNE – Spend a lot of time at Mum’s trying to sort out problems with her driveway.  She was originally conned by a man professing to be from the council but the problem was compounded when another opportunist said it wasn’t finished properly and needed sealing.  She now has tarmac lifting up and holes appearing everywhere.  We speak to Albert who did the sealing job and he gives us a load of blarney.  Late afternoon we get a recognised contractor round at the same time as Albert and manage to come to an agreement where Albert will remove all the loose tarmac before the new firm does a proper job from scratch. 



WEDNESDAY 9 JUNE – Whilst Mum is at the hairdressers we have another man out to look at the drive, there’s absolutely no doubt that she has been conned – twice.  We use Mum’s car to drive her up to Blackpool so she can stay with Auntie Barbara for a few days.  Auntie Barbara takes us out to lunch for a carvery at The Squirrel, Bispham, excellent value at £2.99.  Auntie Barbara can’t eat all her meat and is just about to put the left overs into a bag when the waiter arrives to clear up.  She explains that she was about to fill her doggie bag and he offers to take it away and wrap it up for her.  He returns a few minutes later with an ice cream tub containing not only Auntie Barbara’s meat but also the ends of two ham shanks!  Reckon the dogs Enid and Barbara will have a real feast off that!  Return via Lidl for Auntie Barbara to shop.  Back in Drayton we call at Netty’s and have a look at the new snooker table that Nicky had for his birthday.  When we left Mum’s this morning one of Albert’s men was digging up the tarmac.  Return to find has dug it all up but left it all piled up in the corner. 



THURSDAY 10 JUNE – I make a phone call to Albert and soon after a truck arrives.  Where the tarmac has been piled up it has all stuck together so what would have been a 10-minute job yesterday looks like it’s going to take the man half a day.  Leave just before 11am to head to Northampton to another garage where the man is confident he can solve our gearbox problem.  Arrive at “Logical Automotive Solutions” just after lunch and owner John Beasley finds us a place to park.  After he has closed up he chats to us about the problem and says he will start at 9am tomorrow.



FRIDAY 11 JUNE – John starts with his diagnostic machine then takes Charlie out for a test drive.  He returns to the garage, makes some phone calls then does another test drive.  A faulty torque converter is diagnosed but he is too busy to fit us in.  This is the part that the garage at Preston wanted to fit on a hunch so we phone them up and the earliest they can book us in is for a week on Monday.  Turn tail and head north once again – well we did get nearer to Dover than ever before!  Park up for lunch and to plan what to do for the next ten days.  Phone up friends at Y.S.S near Hull and they are off on holiday tomorrow for 2 weeks and none of our other friends are going there this weekend.  Steve’s not keen on my suggestion to tour Derbyshire so with good weather forecast we head towards Morecambe Bay where there is a naturist club.  Traffic is heavy and at one stage we are crawling along the M6.  By 4pm we’ve had enough so turn off at Sandbach and check onto a nearby CL.  Roughwood Farm at Hassall (£3) is right beside the canal and after a drink I plan to take a walk; at this point the heavens open up.



SATURDAY 12 JUNE – Traffic is much lighter and we have a better journey.  Manage to find the club site just north of Carnforth in the village of Silverdale.  The only problem is that the driveway is narrow, overgrown, and only suitable for cars.  Steve is fuming as the guidebook says caravans can gain access, we spoke to one of their members last week, and they said we were OK to visit in a motorhome.  Park down by the shore to calm down and re plan.  It’s £1 to park and we reckon we could stay overnight but that goes out of the window when Steve finds we have no TV reception, crucial when the world cup football is being shown this evening.  Further down the coast at Bolton-le-sands we park by the shore and Steve gets a perfect picture.   We’re not in front of anyone’s house and it’s a proper parking area so this should do us for the night.  It’s a pleasant change to be parked up with a view of the sea and a bonus when we get a nice sunset over the Lake District.  Not so good when idiots go past in the early hours, the first lot shouting out that we should be on a camp site and the second lot banging on the door.



SUNDAY 13 JUNE – Move a little further down the coast to the RUFC CL at Torrisholme nr Morecambe £3.  I sit out sunbathing and reading whilst Steve watches TV.  In the evening Steve goes off to “The George” to watch the England European championships football match.  He returns to explain that once again England have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory having been 1-0 up at 90 minutes then conceding 3 goals to France in added time.  He’s also learnt that this is the club where Billy Beaumont used to play rugby.



MONDAY 14 JUNE – While away the day relaxing, doing odd jobs and copying more of our old photos onto he computer.   



TUESDAY 15 JUNE – Windy rainy morning.  It gets better in the afternoon so we walk the 2 miles to Morecambe.  Despite efforts to do up the town it still has an air of neglect and it’s not very busy.  Walk along the sea front then back through the shopping centre.



WEDNESDAY 16 JUNE – Another drizzly morning so we linger in bed.  Again it brightens up in the afternoon so this time we walk to Lancaster, partly along the Millennium footpath by the Lune River then into the city over the Millennium Bridge.  Explore the castle area before dropping down to the shopping centre where we spend ½ hour in the free City Museum.  Steve goes up to the rugby club house for the football and gets chatting to a chap called Harold who is also a Wolves supported and has many other things in common with him, this necessitates him staying long after the football match has finished!



THURSDAY 17 JUNE – Usual miserable morning so we drive to Morecambe to shop at Morrisons.  Head off through Lancaster and down the coast to try and park at Condor Green Picnic site but the bridge is too low for us to pass.  Nearby Glasson Dock has good parking by the industrial estate and from there we walk through the village to the docks themselves.  It’s a pleasant place and we get side tracked on the way back and visit the smoke house where the half price salmon tempts us.  They are about 3kg in weight and they cut them up and package them to your requirements.  Steve is delighted when England beat Switzerland 3 – 0 increasing their change of getting through to the next stage.  A nice quiet night



FRIDAY 18 JUNE – Again a rainy morning but brighter afternoon.  Walk to the nearby boatyard in the afternoon.



SATURDAY 19 JUNE – Back yet again to Preston.  First we visit the National museum of football (free), which Steve enjoys.  Try to park down by the marina but there is a festival on so we park at the supermarket then walk down to see what is going on.  There are boat races and a few stalls and exhibitions but not much of real interest.  Walk around the area and discover a car park by the locks where some caravans are parked.  Unfortunately there is a locked barrier at the entrance and a council sign on the lamppost saying that the caravans must leave by 25th May!  We park in the cul de sac nearby.



SUNDAY 20 JUNE – Relocate to a CL just south of Preston at Whitestake.  Its £8 for a motorhome site with electricity but more importantly for us we can stay here tomorrow night for £6 in our tent whilst Charlie is at the garage.  With a toilet and shower on site we should be fine so long as it doesn’t rain.  Put the tent up to give it an airing – and a washing down when we get heavy rain in the evening. 



MONDAY 21 JUNE – The tent has remained dry in the rain so we put our gear inside before taking Charlie back to the garage.  Kill time around Preston.  Steve is happy at the library reading the daily newspapers and I do a bit of shopping.  Catch the bus back to the site and from there Steve walks to Tardy Gate to watch the England v Croatia football match.  It’s a lovely evening and I sit out until after 9pm.  Steve returns happy as England won 4 – 2 and as a bonus the pub served free chip butties at half time.  We’re lucky to have a dry night in the tent.



TUESDAY 22 JUNE – A beautiful sunny morning and after breakfasting on fruit we sit out sunbathing.  Bus back into Preston to collect the van at 5pm.  Charlie has now been to the Preston garage 7 times plus 5 other garages and been the subject of about 20 phone calls so we are hoping we have now got to the bottom of the problem.  A new torque converter and seals have been fitted at a cost of almost £500 so with the £300+ we paid before it has been an expensive problem.  We are now determined to keep heading south whatever.  Return to pick up the camping gear before continuing to a CL at Heskin nr Chorley £3.  There’s a lake next to us so we sit and watch the men fishing. 



WEDNESDAY 23 JUNE – Heavy rain keeps us awake during the night then at daybreak we are serenaded first by peacocks then cockerels and ducks.  Spend a lazy day, as the weather is poor with lots of drizzle.



THURSDAY 24 JUNE – A rainy day so we abandon our planned visit to Rivington Park to go walking.  Pay an extra £1.50 for electricity and make full use of it the charge everything up.    Manage to do a bit of hand washing and get it dry under the awning.  Steve settles down to watch the European cup quarterfinal match with England playing Portugal.  He’s elated when Owen scores an early goal for England but it soon goes pear shaped and he is not happy when England end up losing on penalties and are consequently out of the European cup. 



FRIDAY 25 JUNE – Leave mid morning to drive down to Prestwich in readiness for David and Donna’s wedding tomorrow.  Park up at The Welcome Inn where the reception is going to be held.  I borrow David’s car and take Donna to collect the gateaux’s and then the wedding cake.  David, Donna, Chelsea, and Daryl join us for fish and chips in the van.  Chelsea and Daryl stay with us overnight whilst her other children Warren and Lincoln are staying at her parents leaving Donna and David with the house to themselves.



SATURDAY 26 JUNE – There’s a launderette just down the street so I take our washing.  David and Donna arrive to collect the kids.  They are both very relaxed despite the fact that David may yet have to go to Keighley to collect his best man due to transport problems!  They leave and I go back to the launderette to tumble dry the clothes as it is now raining.  When I get back we have another visitor, bridesmaid Nikki has dropped her 3 week baby off whilst she decorates the room for the reception.  I get into the swing of things giving him his bottle.  After Leon has been collected we have just enough time to get ourselves ready before Claire and family arrive to get changed in the van.  No sooner have they started getting ready than Netty, Mum, Bobby & Nick pull up so I suggest we move in to the pub for a pre wedding drink.  David is already in the bar along with Steve, his best man Mick and his other friend Roy.  Next we are joined by Donna and her kids and it’s at this point that David realises he hasn’t made arrangements for them all to get to the registry office so Steve steps in driving them in David’s car.  The wedding is at Bury registry office 2.30pm and we all regroup there.  The second bridesmaid is stuck in traffic but fortunately the ceremony is delayed and she arrives in time.  The ceremony is very relaxed and it’s all quite informal with the odd joke thrown in here and there.  David asks if they have a pencil for him to sign the register in case he changes his mind!  The registrar allows us to linger in the room for photos then we manage a few more shots outside as the rain has stopped.  Back to the Welcome Inn where the drinking starts in earnest.  Early evening we all eat from the buffet then the disco man arrives.  Speeches are made by David, Mick the best man, Pete Scott (David’s godfather) and Steve.  Quite a few people leave early but the Swatman family make their presence known and put on a good show on the dance floor.  It all winds down after last orders but David, Donna and a group head off to a nightclub whilst we return to the van. 



SUNDAY 27 JUNE – Daniel and Natasha are awake just after 7am.  I get them dressed then take them for a walk to MacDonalds for breakfast.  Unfortunately the branch we visit don’t do breakfasts, don’t serve happy meals in the morning, and have a problem with the water supply so only have milk shakes.  Go to the shop next door and buy stuff to take back to the van.  Daz, Claire, and Steve reluctantly get up.  By the time we have all dressed David and Donna arrive looking remarkably well having only got in at 4am.  We sit around chatting and look at the wedding photos on the computer before Claire and family leave.  Next to arrive are Mick and Roy.  It’s late morning by the time everyone has left and we are ready to set off.  Drive through the centre of Manchester stopping in the Asian area to stock up on curry spices etc.  Park up on a CL near Buxton (£3) to catch up on sleep and relax.



MONDAY 28 JUNE – After lunch we drive to Bakewell and park up to look around.  Its “well dressing” season in the Peak District and there are 4 on display in Bakewell.  Large boards have a design traced on them then filled in with natural products such as gravel, flowers, and leaves.  Continue to Matlock where there is a huge free car park by the railway station.  When Steve goes over to chat to a patrolling police car they ask us if we would like to stay overnight.  Wander round the town tying up a few lose ends.  David phones to say they are off to Crete tomorrow for a weeks honeymoon.



TUESDAY 29 JUNE – We’re quite near to Alfreton where we previously had new seat foam put into the dinette cushions at Tockfield.  The sofa bad foam is in need of replacement so we drive over and they fit us in during the afternoon.  For £125 cash we get 4” reflex foam fitted and it makes a big difference.  They have an on site CL where we can stay free overnight and make use of the electricity, toilet, and showers.



WEDNESDAY 30 JUNE – Another perk of having work done at Tockfield is that you can have a free round of golf Shirfield golf course.  Steve went to check it out yesterday and managed to find loads of golf balls as well.  At the clubhouse they are selling clubs off at just £1 each so we buy a half set and head off on the course.  We’re as bad as each other and the par 3 holes take us about 6!  By the end of the third hole it’s raining and blowing a gale so we call it a day.  Join the M1 to continue south.  Claire & Malcolm have told us of a place to park up so we can meet them tomorrow.  We head straight to Newland’s Corner, just east of Guildford, and find a super NT car park on the Surrey Downs complete with public toilet.



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