Posted by: glenswatman | June 11, 2011

20110601-10 ENGLAND

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WEDNESDAY 1 JUNE 2011 – Daz drops Daniel off and gives Steve a lift to pick up the van. Once parked on the drive we set about a few jobs and immediately come unstuck. Steve decides to empty the toilet cassette and we find that we had forgotten to put the cap on the end, the shit may not have hit the fan but it has certainly a lots of waste has ended up in the locker. I alter our DFDS ferry booking, if you cancel you lose all your money but changing to another date is no problem so I book for November with the intention of changing it again to next May. I do some sewing making seat and pan covers and feel we have achieved quite a lot in making Eddie homely. Daniel is no trouble and happy to do his own thing. Late afternoon we return to Sandra’s drive giving Steve chance to get all the garden furniture out and clean it up. In the evening we get out maps and guide books to try and re plan our time until I hear from the hospital.

THURSDAY 2 JUNE – We should be in Harwich today waiting to meet Bev & Norm ready to go on the ferry to Denmark but due to my medical problems we are now on plan B. Drive over to Bradford to tidy up a few lose ends. Leaving the van at Cordoba we walk into Bradford with Daniel and Natasha and partake in a Pizza Hut buffet lunch. Excellent value at £6.99 each and kids free. We get back to Claire’s mid afternoon and make the most of the nice weather by sitting out in the garden. In the evening Steve goes off to bowling, now at Shipley but the same old bowling buddies.

FRIDAY 3 JUNE – Another hot day, the washing line is constantly filled as we wash load after load. We do a bit of gardening and I help Natasha to get the rabbit cages out into the garden. The new babies, Bubbles and Squeak, are growing really quickly and look so cute. Bev & Norm caught a bus to Leeds yesterday, stayed overnight and today come on to Keighley. We meet them around 6.30pm to go up to Claries. Her friends Janine and Alan are there so it becomes quite a party as we tuck into a roast pork dinner washed down with copious amounts of wine and good conversation. With Bev & Norm we return to the van to spend the night on Sandra’s drive. This is the first time we have had 4 adults in the van overnight and all I can say is it is a good job that Bev & Norm are seasoned caravanners.

SATURDAY 4 JUNE – We move to the Caravan and Camping Club CL at Newsholme Manor which means we can set up with tables and chairs outside. Or at least we could were it not a cold and windy morning. Bev, Norm & I enjoy a bracing walk whilst Steve gets a lift to Claire’s. We meet up with Richard and Azura and head off to Saltaire. First stop is the old pub “Fanny’s” where they serve real ale. Saltaire was a working village created by Titus Salt and is now preserved as a UNESCO site. It’s a nice place to wander round and today the chapel is open for viewing. Late afternoon we return to Claire’s to cook up a BBQ where typically we have way too much food. Bev & Norm book a bus to Glasgow where they will stay for a couple of nights and then decide on their onward plan based on the outcome of my visit to hospital on Monday. Claire and family are staying at Richards overnight so she leaves us her house and car. After showering we call in to visit Mom & Dad before returning to Newsholme. Tonight we seem to manage much better in the van and I am sure that after a few more nights we will be in a good routine.

SUNDAY 5 JUNE – We drive back to Claire’s and arrive just before she and the kids come home. Today we are cooking up a gammon joint in Cherry Coke as suggested by Janine. Claire has started it in the slow cooker at Richards and brought the whole thing back to continue cooking. This leave us time to take Bev & Norm for a ride “over the tops” to Lisa’s. It’s a lovely day and the scenery is stunning. Lisa and Sian are home whilst Mick is out climbing so we catch up on the news. The gammon turns out well with just a slightly sweet fruity flavour.

MONDAY 6 JUNE – We drop off Bev & Norm who are catching a bus up to Glasgow. At the hospital I have a hysteroscopy where the gynaecologist finds and removes polyps and does a biopsy. Fortunately he says they look benign but I must wait for the test results. Feeling a bit tired after the operation I spend the afternoon napping. Steve does evening taxi service taking both Claire and Natasha swimming at different baths. Claire has Natasha in the car when she drops us back at Newsholme. We get a message shortly after saying the farm behind their house is on fire and it gave them a shock as driving back they thought it was their house with Daniel inside. We can see the smoke and Claire says canisters are exploding. We offer to have them stay with us overnight and are a little relived when we hear the fire is out, 3 extra humans plus 6 rabbits would have been a challenge to Eddie.

TUESDAY 7 JUNE – Having had a scare when Nationwide reduced our credit balance we decide to keep NatWest as a backup. When we go to the bank to ask about dealing with it on line with the rest of the banking they tell us our cards were cancelled as they hadn’t been used for a long time. Can understand that but why didn’t they inform us? Rest of day at Claire’s doing laundry and then leaving after we have had a chilli pasta meal together.

WEDNESDAY 8 JUNE – Set off for Cumbria on the A65, another really scenic drive. There are lots of motorhomes on the road and also old fashioned carthorses and wagons that are heading to Appleby Fair. Jean & Arf live with their daughter on a farm near Milnthorpe and we are lucky they end up behind us in the car as without them taking the lead we would have got very lost. The place where Arf & Jean have their motorhome is inaccessible with our long vehicle so it is decided that later on we will move the motorhome into the barn for the night. In the afternoon they take us to Levens Hall where their granddaughter Louise works. This gets us free admission to the gardens and they are stunning. The best topiary gardens in England they have lots of unusual features. On return we show Jean & Arf our new motorhome only to find a problem with the interior lights. Arf and Steve check everything possible but can’t get it sorted as it has a complicated digital system. We have lots to talk about as Jean & Arf did a 4wd trip in Australia and that’s what we want to do. It’s really cold in the evening, feels more like winter than flaming June. Our motorhome problem is put into perspective when we hear how their daughter Jean’s husband Steve has a problem with the farm baler. If they can’t get it fixed soon they will lose contracts and even with their son Roberts electrical help they cannot get it sorted. Meanwhile we learn a lot about the functioning of a farm like this where they rear calves. I am very happy to learn that the silage they put into the barn is a form of cattle feed as opposed to the really smelly slurry (manure) which I thought it was. Feel a bit like Mary and Joseph returning to the stable for the night with the cattle a lowing in the background.

THURSDAY 9 JUNE – Jean has an appointment for a cataract check up and won’t be able to drive back. Arf still has a driving ban following a caesura so they are happy to have Steve along for the return journey from Kendal. In the afternoon they light a fire in their lounge and we pass the time with lots of travel chat and looking at photos.

FRIDAY 10 JUNE – We’ve spoken to Cordoba and told them that unless they got back to us yesterday we would return to Bradford today to get the lights fixed. Arrive and speak to owner Sid who says they are too busy and will book us in for 2 weeks time. No amount of pleading or explaining that we live in the van and need light makes any difference. Leave as very disgruntled customers. Stop off in Shipley to see our motorhome friend Pete whom we first met in Spain in 1999. He says we are welcome to park up overnight and offers to check out the light problem. Not only does he do that (and establishes that it is in the computer circuit board) but he also gives us some nice carpet and matting for the motorhome. Last winter he was on the Canary Islands and tells us about a cheaper ferry, Armas, from Portugal and coupled with his photos tempts us to go back there this winter. He’s going off flying this weekend so loads his motorhome then parks at the side of us by the river.


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