Posted by: glenswatman | May 1, 2015

20150421-30 London Marathon

201504 ENG
WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 2015 – Steve has a regular check up at Norfolk and Norwich hospital. I leave him to go in alone and he tells me he has negotiated 6 monthly check ups rather than 4 months. He also told them about our 6 month trip to Australia with the 6 week cruise and initially they thought this was not a good idea but cleared it with specialist Matt. As always we push the boundaries but equally take extra precautions to compensate and do need to get life back on track. Take a short walk down near the University Lake to blow the cobwebs off us.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 2 APRIL – It’s such a nice morning we crack on and I stain the brown woodwork outside whilst Steve finishes off the patio and cleans up some outside chairs. We enjoyed a walk through part of Mattishall Village which looks to be pretty up market judging by the types of houses and how well maintained everything is. Steve has his 2 ½ year old diphtheria, tetanus and polio combined injection which means he should be OK to go to playschool. Next one is at 5 ½ years so he thinks he has a good spell without jabs. However it is recommended he has Hepatitis A for Caribbean and South Pacific and we both need Typhoid before we go which really displeases him. I’ve succumbed and ordered a Freesat recorder on EBay (£56.95) and get a call to say the driver needs a signature so can’t drop at Merryhill. Luckily he is heading to Mattishall and meets us at the surgery. As soon as we get back from Lidl I unpack it and am pleased to see the Bush recorder is really small and neat. After tea I get it set up and do our first test recording. I loads quicker than the Skybox and has a better way of filtering and listing channels so I am sure we will be pleased with it.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 3 APRIL – We have a morning wonder around the park and stop in for coffee at Anne & Nigel’s. Spend the afternoon baking for our coffee morning and knock up 40 plain scones and 8 cheese ones. Nigel and Anne come down in the evening and they are excellent scholars learning Canasta and we have a couple of really good games.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 4 APRIL – Tesco at Dereham have offered us some goods for our coffee morning but we are stunned to find a whole trolley full with coffee, tea, squash, doughnuts, Danish pastries and biscuits. It is a cold drizzly morning so we opt to move the venue into the clubhouse. We’re amazed by just how many people turn up, estimate over 40. Its nonstop making drinks but many people pitch in to help with that and also the clearing up. Fellow A.L.L. sufferer and transplant recipient Emma and a friend join us as do Dave & Denise who used to have the caravan in front of us. We’re delighted to find that over £130 has been raised to go on to Claire & Catherine’s Anthony Nolan marathon fund raising. Knock around at mini ten in the afternoon with Nick & Anne. I’m pretty hopeless but that probably means I get the most exercise in terms of picking up balls! There’s a band in the clubhouse in the evening and we enjoy the event and do quite a lot of dancing.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 5 APRIL – Steve is feeling remarkably well after such a busy day yesterday. In the afternoon we head to the swimming pool. I try a new strategy and instead of just plodding up and down I try to do a few laps at full pelt then take a rest before repeating the process. It certainly feels like it is doing me more good but time will tell. Colin & Eileen pop down for coffee afterwards and to help with eating some of the surplus food. Think we may have to have people in for drinks all month to get through it all and perhaps we should have auctioned it off yesterday but we did feel people had already been very generous and didn’t want to push our luck and those that could took what they wanted away with them so everyone has had a share. I’ve now had a week of eating gluten and overall haven’t felt too bad with a little bloating and a few delays in the toilet department!
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 6 APRIL – It is Easter Monday but with Norwich having the coldest weather in the country (high of 10C) the campers are soon packed up and off. Have to pop up to the mail shed to get phone and internet reception and it feels like sitting in a fridge. Do hope that last year’s weather was the normal and this is unusual rather than the other way around!
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 7 APRIL – Steve decides that we shall walk to Sainsbury’s and back believing it to be about 3 miles one way. I’m not convinced but happy that he has suggested it. Unfortunately most of the walk is down country lanes avoiding cars and then on a footpath beside a main road. We gain sustenance from the purchase of half price Easter eggs which probably negates and calories we have walked off. Steve’s already weary as we set off back but with no buses to Merryhill we have no choice but to plod on with an odd rest stop. Arrive back to hear my Endomondo tell me we have done 8 miles which is really way too far for him. Far better to do a couple of miles each day I’d say. We have another cracking card session playing Canasta with Anne & Nigel in the evening. Unfortunately Nigel works so this won’t be a regular occurrence as invariably the games go on for hours.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL – Unsurprisingly Steve is quite weary but I do understand his need to push himself when he has really good days even though he pays the price later. Luckily we have a relaxation class at the Big C which is most enjoyable.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 9 APRIL – Cashing in on the nice weather I wash the net curtains and a few other things as a spring clean. I make a massive pan of mushroom soup and we sit out enjoying a bowl for lunch along with some homemade seeded bread.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 10 APRIL – The last day of forecasted good weather so again I get stuck in with the washing. We sit out enjoying the warm sun having put up a windbreak to create privacy. Steve goes alone for his massage and Hope course. A couple of our sort of age are being shown around all the caravans for sale in the park and settle on the one behind us, assuming they don’t have kids this will suit us nicely – children are prone to be heavy footed and race around inside caravans creating quite a lot of noise. It’s Tony’s birthday today and 14 of us meet at “Namco Funscape” ten pin bowling lanes at Bowthorpe. We buy the £10 per person 2 games and a drink package each and set about playing with the 7 women on one lane and men on the other. Neither of us has played for about 3 years and I’m a bit concerned about Steve’s collar bone. He starts gently then increases the oomph and ends up being the best male with 150. I’m second in the females and just clear 100 with 101. With 7 on a lane it is quite sociable as you have plenty of time to chat between bowling. In the second game Anne again wins the women’s with me second and Steve wins the means but with a slightly lower score as his shoulder has started to ache and his bowling has suffered. We’re invited back to Chris’s for pizza but knowing we are out tomorrow night we opt to go home. Notice a Police car on site at the clubhouse so no doubt the jungle drums will fill us in tomorrow. You can’t say life here isn’t exciting.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 11 APRIL – I’ve been feeling a bit “snorty” the last few nights and now we both appear to have the makings of proper colds. I dose us up in the hope of nipping it in the bud and cry off tonight’s outing.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 12 APRIL – We’re both a bit worse for wear and have run out of fresh lemons and getting low on honey so I may have to go out to stock up. After a rainy morning the weather picks up in the afternoon and I venture out as I’m feeling much better. Steve also benefits from some fresh food and soothing drinks.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 13 APRIL – Under the new system you need to have a regular check up when on repeat prescriptions and this morning I have my appointment. The latest “craze” is to try and get people off long term HRT but I manage to talk the Doctor into leaving well alone until when we get back next year. Unfortunately part of the routine is to take blood pressure and mines a bit on the high side but will get checked again in 4 weeks when I have my celiac blood tests. Dr Allen will also check about whether we can have 6 months prescriptions for when we go away in the winter. I continue to Dereham and have a nice stroll and do a bit of shopping before returning to nurse my patient.
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 14 APRIL – By 10am it is a lovely day so I give the car a really good clean and wax. We’ve been having problems with our new Bush Freesat recorder and get a call from the delivery man to say he is at the gate with the replacement. I drive up there but then can’t get out of the car. The button to unlock the doors whilst the car engine is running doesn’t work and even turning the engine off the doors don’t unlock. Luckily the button works to let me out. Back at the van I find I can’t get out again even using the button which is now stuck in one position. I have to get Steve to open the door with a key on the outside. The passenger is completely blocked but the boot opens and shuts. Steve sets about reading the manual and fiddling around but to no avail and reckons I have done something whilst washing the car. Whilst pondering this Janet & Richard join us for afternoon tea and to use up some of the many scones frozen after our coffee morning. Through our Churchill Insurance we have basic Green Flag cover and call them out. In the interim I get a call from the pharmacy at the surgery to say they cannot issue more than 3 months prescriptions but we could buy the extra medication on a private prescription and she will find the cost. I was anticipating this so in the meantime have been ordering our medications almost a week early to build up a bit of a stock! I have problems connecting the Freesat box and can only get one of the two satellite dish input cables to work but will leave it at that for now. Green Flag arrive and after an hour he says he thinks it is an electrical problem connected to the alarm system and needs specialist attention. Well they do say problems come in 3’s and we’ve had our share today. New neighbour Dominic arrives whilst Steve is pottering by the car and gets chatting to Steve. Turns out he knows quite a lot about cars and offers to take a look and after about half an hour considers it is a different problem that he is happy to have a go at tomorrow after work. Throughout the day Steve has been feeling a bit better so with luck we can still prevent his cold getting really bad. Backed up by research on a medical programme that I watched at the weekend we know that honey lemon is generally one of the best treatments.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL – Another nice day and we set out for a walk around the park and end up chatting to Chris & Lynn. Seems we have a lot in common as they would rather go out for a meal than to a pub for a drink, like going walking and Lynn has problems hearing when there is background noise as does Steve.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 16 APRIL – Dominic calls in after work and after taking a part to work has discounted that as the problem. After checking all the wiring and other things he concludes it either needs a Rover specialist auto electrician or alternatively the cheap quick fix is to disconnect all the electric central locking system and install a manual one but this would involve breaking into the passenger door and possibly causing damage. Either way nothing can be done until after our holidays as the local Rover dealer is booked ahead for over a week.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 17 APRIL – At the Big C centre I have my back massage first then leave Steve to have his whilst I drive to the college. Today I am trying Hopi ear candling, £15. You lie on one side and a hollow candle is placed in your ear and lit. There’s a tray to catch any drips and a towel over your head in case any ash blows down. You can hear a crackling noise and a slight warming sensation and for no apparent reason it feels very relaxing. Basically the candle creates a vacuum and this draws out any impurities and wax from your ear and up into the hollow tube which is blown out long before it reaches your ear! It should help with sinus problems, headaches and other things and is highly recommended before a flight. The treatment includes a pressure point massage of your fact which winds it up nicely. Steve’s had a good last session on the Hope cause with all but one of the people feeling much more positive and happier at the end of it. They have got along so well that they arrange to meet up again in June.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 18 APRIL – I do the first part of the drive and notice how much more difficult it is for Steve to shuffle over into the passenger seat. It takes about 3 hours to get to the Devere Hotel of Wokefield Park near Reading. We came last year and had one or two problems so have been invited back for 2 nights in the mansion house on B&B plus an evening meal. Our first room has no bath tub so we are moved to 216. Head off to use the gym and spa area only to find the spa has now been closed down. After a session in the gym we walk over to the new block to use the swimming pool only to find it closed. There’s a big Asian wedding taking place so suspect all resources are being put into that. It is wonderful to see the guests in their brightly coloured outfits and interesting to note the bride in a traditional Western style ivory wedding dress. Return to iron our clothes for tonight then run a bath. The iron is broken and there is no hot water. 2 hours later still no iron and the hot water cannot be repaired so we are a bit fed up. I speak to reception who apologise and put us in suite 206. It’s really nice but I am not sure we need the separate lounge. Have also been noticing that in the public areas the carpets all need vacuuming and spot cleaning and generally cleanliness is lacking. After running the bath I come to put the bath mat down and find it is covered in mould. Long story short they replace it and arrange for us to see the Manager when we go to dinner. The Brocas restaurant is lovely (but still has a dirty carpet) and Manager Kim offers us a bottle of wine and apologies. Given that neither of us really drinks and the wine is well over £20 a bottle we ask if we might have a meal tomorrow instead. She agrees to one person’s meal free with the other paying which is fine. Interesting to note that even Kim’s blazer is dirty and badly fitting. Hard to pinpoint what is going on but such a shame that a beautiful place like this is becoming so neglected. Fortunately the meal is terrific and we enjoy all 3 courses.
WOKEFIELD PARK, NR READING 1

SUNDAY 19 APRIL – We tuck in to the full breakfast, again in a room with a dirty carpet. Enjoy a leisurely morning reading the papers then head over to use the swimming pool and sauna. Our evening meal is the buffet at the Steam & Bake Grill in the new block. Contrary to the bad reviews on Trip Advisor it is very nice indeed. So nice I ask the staff if I can take photos to do a Trip Advisor report to set the record straight. Yes I will complain if things are wrong but get far more pleasure from complimenting things that are good. When we come to pay we are told that is all paid for.
WOKEFIELD PARK, NR READING 2

MONDAY 20 APRIL – What a change, all the carpets have been vacuumed, there are biscuits at the comfort station and everything is stocked up. Maybe it was the wedding that caused staff to be deployed elsewhere at the weekend. Fill up on our buffet breakfast then head off doing a slight detour to look at the National Trust property Petworth House. There are couple of gems, a carved hall with Van Dyck paintings on walls completely covered in carvings and a fantastic staircase area with murals everywhere. Interestingly the servants’ quarters lead you to a back entrance directly into the town. It is a pretty place to wander around for half an hour. Arrive at the Haven Church Farm holiday park at Pagham to be allocated 73 Lagoon Close. We’ve booked directly with the owner as we wanted 5 nights and Haven only do 4. At £100 it is a great price but terrible location by the entrance road, next to the Spar and with a walkway beside the caravan. Although a much newer and more expensive caravan it is not a patch on ours but will suffice. Taking the boardwalk over the lagoon we eventually reach the beach. Typical with much of the Sussex coast it is all pebbles and rather windswept. Behind it is a real mixture of houses – old shacks in various states of disrepair adjoining modern expensive homes. Steve’s a bit weary and battling his cold so we return to the caravan. Early evening I take a walk around the site which is absolutely huge and set out like a housing estate with lots of named roads. The caravans don’t have skirting or enclosed gardens so it doesn’t look as nice as Merryhill and most visitors are families with young children.
PAGHAM 1, CHURCH FARM

TUESDAY 21 APRIL – Heading east we stick to the coast as much as possible. The locked passenger door becomes frustrating as I am unable to hop out to check a view or take a picture. Worthing seems lovely enhanced by the hot sunny day. At Shoreham by Sea we get a big surprise along the spit. Houseboats are anchored in the estuary and walking along the embankment we get a better view. An owner tells us they were put here after the war when there were housing shortages. Today people own the mooring rights and a piece of land down the embankment and have electricity and water. For years they were frowned upon and even today many look like junkyards crossed with allotments but the tide is turning and it is becoming a trendy place to live with boats being bought by affluent people and done up to a high standard. We like the older quirkier ones and spot an artist working on a new project attaching bits of cars, caravans and rockets to his! One is appropriately named “Luna Sea”. At Hove we easily find Tom’s house with the motorhome parked outside. We met Tom & Karen on our Japan cruise. Tom has put together a plan for highlights of Brighton and suggests we go in on the bus and he will cycle in and meet us later. Cheapest is a £9 family ticket which is pretty steep for a 3 mile ride. Brighton Dome is a fabulous old building with lots of Asian style architecture inside. It houses the free Brighton Museum and Art Gallery which is a real mixture of exhibits -Dali’s famous red sofa based on Mae West lips being one of them. A short stroll through the park takes us to the exotic extravaganza of The Royal Pavilion. Commissioned by the Prince of Wales in 1815 and designed by John Nash it is Indian oriental gothic style on the outside and Chinese inside is. Admission is expensive at £11.50pp but the Banqueting and Music rooms alone make it worth it. We have never seen anything quite like it with a 1 tone chandelier hung from the jaws of a massive dragon. Every surface is decorated with ornate splendour and you almost don’t know where to luck. The building was used as an impromptu hospital after the war and these magnificent rooms became wards. Across the road the traditional old streets are now known as “The Lanes” with many being barely wide enough for a person to walk along. There seems to be themes with one lane full of jewellery shops. Pubs abound and are all of an interesting character. At the waterfront we can’t resists a stroll along the pier. Today all the deckchairs are taken with people enjoying the kind of temperatures you would expect in summer. We meet up with Tom who suggests a couple more things before we catch the bus back. Check out the Atlantic Seafront Hotel where our friends Bev & Norm will be staying in September. It’s a small traditional style boarding house that looks nice and clean with modern features and directly opposite the big wheel it is very central. Below the main promenade is another walking area where businesses have set up under the arches. The cafes with outdoor seating are doing a roaring trade. Steve’s weary from many coughing fits so we head back. Sit out in the garden enjoying lots of travel chat as Tom is also an avid backpacker. Once Karen arrives home Tom cooks us a tasty chicken stir fry. All agree how amazing the Japan cruise was and will be hard to top. We’re reluctant to leave but have an hour’s journey and it is already 9.30pm.
PAGHAM 2, CHURCH FARM

WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL – “Pauls” garage in Bognor Regis specialises in Rover cars. They offer to make space to look at the car today and lend us a similar one to use. Would be nice to walk all the way along the front and explore a bit of the town but after a brief attempt it is clear Steve is not up to it. We do manage the short walk to the harbour area near the caravan site but as the tide is out we can only see mud banks. Late afternoon I leave Steve resting and drive back into Bognor to wander around the shops before hopefully picking up the car. It appears to be a more downmarket/poorer area than nearby coastal resorts and has a massive Bullins holiday camp on the edge of town. Charity shops abound and I pick up some wonderful bargains including zip off trousers for our travels at only £2.50 and a musty smelling leather jacket for £1. Have a hunch baby wipes and/or coconut oil will get the marks off and a bit of Febreeze will get rid of the smell. If all else fails I’ve made £1 charity donation. The car is not ready. They have had a quick look and still can’t decide if it is an electrical or mechanical fault so want to investigate more tomorrow but say we can hang on to the loan car.
PAGHAM, CHURCH FARM 3

THURSDAY 23 APRIL – It’s about 20 miles to Port Solent near Portsmouth. We last met fellow Couchsurfer David in 2008 when he hosted us prior to our Egypt cruise. Since then he has sold his home near Gatwick, bought a small house in Wales and a yacht that he now lives on. Surabaya Girl is an old boat but comfortable. We meet his partner Lindsay with whom I have chatted on Facebook. Sit on board for a couple of hours catching up with news and learning about all the gadgets David loves to use on the boat. We get a phone call from Paul’s garage to say they have traced the problem to a faulty security unit. The cost of a new one, resetting the remote controls and labour is well over £700 so we ask them to leave it for now. David used to be an RAC roadside mechanic and like Dominic at Merryhill believes there will be a cheaper solution by passing the automatic system and making the doors manual locking. We walk around the marina to an area full of restaurants. There’s a nice mix of expensive ones, mid price chain restaurants and also Harvesters and Wetherspoons. Wetherspoons have a lovely terrace upstairs overlooking the marina so this swings the balance in terms of the cheaper ones. It’s packed out with a wedding party holding their reception there. They must have dropped lucks as today they are not only putting on their usual curry deal but also a fish and chip special for St Georges day. It’s a fabulous spot to sit and look over the water whilst enjoying the surround view, good food and conversation. David had hoped to take us out on the boat but the tides and strong winds would have made it difficult so he suggests we visit another time and stay on board for a few days. Steve’s getting weary so we head back mid afternoon. It’s a really nice day so I coax him out for a walk around the sit at about 5pm. We reckon there are about 500 vans here in total but still only one small entertainment complex. Arrive back to find a text from David saying that he has given our car problem some thought and if we want to drive over he will have a go at getting the passenger door open and working manually. Has to be worth a try and once at the marina Lindsay and I go for a nice walk around the waterfront giving me chance to get to know her better. Unfortunately the problem even stalls David as it is not simply a broken button link but something to do with the solenoid. At least he is able to eliminate some things and leave the door panel off ready for Dominic to work on it next week.
PAGHAM, CHURCH FARM 4

FRIDAY 24 APRIL – Steve’s shattered combination of his cold, too much fresh air whilst walking and stress about the car problem. I take an afternoon stroll to Pagham and have a chuckle at the amusement arcade with a statue of Elvis and a sign proclaiming that he has lived in Gracelands Memphis and sung in Las Vegas but is happiest of all at Pagham Beach family fun centre! Haven sites have a Friday check out then check in during the afternoon for people on the 3 day weekend package. This means that at night the newcomers are in party mode and we get a lot of drunken banter as they stagger back to their caravans past ours.
PAGHAM, CHURCH FARM 5

SATURDAY 25 APRIL – It’s a small detour to the National Trust property of Chartwell, family home of Sir Winston Churchill. It’s really busy but many people are just visiting the magnificent grounds and your entry to the home is timed to avoid congestion. Wandering around with our room info card we get a real sense of the character of the man and how he lived. Although a magnificent mansion house it is not pretentious at all and very practical. It is 50 years since his funeral and there is a special exhibition all about it. The studio in the garden (another massive house) contains much of his own artwork which is really good and as hands on man he built the wall around the kitchen garden and a small play house for his daughter. Arrive at Bromley mid afternoon at Vez & Dave’s and get to meet their 14 month old son Dylan for the first time. He’s just lovely, a really nice nature and very cute. They leave us to settle in whilst going out house hunting having sold their 4 bedroom terrace house 3 days after putting it on the market and for the full asking price. The prospective purchasers have got £250,000 to put down so shouldn’t have much problem raising the rest as a mortgage – the mind boggles. They arrive back shortly before Pete & Carol arrive from the Midlands having come down on the train. It’s great to catch up with everyone and we order a Chinese takeaway and spend much of the evening working out our plan for viewing daughter Claire in the London marathon tomorrow.
BROMLEY 1

SUNDAY 26 APRIL – We’re up early and out by 8am to drive to the nearby train station. It’s a breezy start to the day and drizzling but not too bad and forecast to fine up later. Marathon runners and spectators abound so there’s a great atmosphere. The second train is a little busier but most get off at the stop nearest one of the starting points. Steve, Carol and Pete alight near mile 5 to go to the special “Anthony Nolan” viewing point whilst Vez & I stay on to mile 6. Steve & I have tickets for the grandstand at the finish line but need to meet up with Netty & Ian to pick them up and they should be at mile 6 along with Richard. Unfortunately their plan has come unstuck as they are trapped at Docklands where they got off the train and cannot get through the crowds. Vez & I walk back to the others who have a fantastic spot at the roadside. At this point there is loads of space even with gaps where no one is stood to cheer. First the wheelchairs come through followed by impaired athletes then the elite women at which point we spot Paula Radcliffe doing her last marathon. The elite men race through quickly and they we await the start of the fun runners. Anthony Nolan have provided us with big cards to write people’s names on and we are supporting Claire, her friend Catherine and her Dad David so have cards for each. Carol and I are wearing pink glittery tiara’s and we all have Anthony Nolan T Shirts so should be easy to see being lined up on the outside bend of a road at the end of a long straight. The fun runners begin to come through with the first lot in each time section in a bunch then it thins out. Many are in costumes which is great entertainment. A large butch man in a Pamela Anderson style Baywatch costume, rhino’s, super heroes, a dinosaur, a girl running in high heels and more. Lots of charities are represented and we make sure we call out the names of all the individuals in the Anthony Nolan shirts and other charity runners and people who look to be flagging. The Endomondo trackers is not working and the official Virgin Marathon website trackers has crashed so we have no idea where anyone is. Spot CJ from Egg Heads as he comes past at a good pace. Pick up Catherine on Endomondo but don’t spot her going past and no indication of Claire even starting. It’s getting a little worrying as we all scan the runner but to no avail. We eventually get a phone call from Netty to say Claire has just passed them at 6km and had a hug from Richards and picked up her breakfast bar. We have to walk 2 miles to the DLR station and en route cheer runners and note that if you followed the route you could pick up almost every item of clothing needed as a runner as people abandon things when they get hot. There’s a queue for the train and we learn that Netty, Ian & Richard are also having problems with crowds and have to abandon their plan to see Claire every 3 miles. Arrange a rendezvous with Ian to pick up our tickets and then carry on to Tower Bridge where Anthony Nolan have cheering points at mile 13 and opposite at mile 22. The crowds are huge and the underpass to mile 13 has had to be closed for safety reasons. We get stuck at mile 23 and during a brief spell of Endomondo working notice that Claire is at mile 14 so we won’t even see her go through opposite us. Pete has gone off on his own and Carol & Vez got separated from us on the train but will stay at mile 22. Steve & I battle more crowds and a busy tube (he copes exceptionally well) to get to St James to walk to the finish. They have a great system organised as we have to cross the race so they divert runner to single track on the far side, herd spectators into a pen in the middle then divert the runners to the nearside and allow us to cross. It’s a beautiful park and we admire the scenery and blossom on the trees before reaching the grandstand. The army are doing a security inspection but are not terribly efficient failing to spot a massive heavy adjustable spanner in my bag. We’d used it to disconnect and reconnect the car battery when we left our car with Claire in February and had left it behind so Ian has passed it back to me with our tickets. Bit of a worry that they don’t find it or consider it a weapon. It’s very crowded but we manage to find Catherine’s Mum Pam, Sister Paula with son Sam and her friend. They’ve been there all day and are managing to pick up David and Catherine on Endomondo. It’s great to watch the people finishing and to hear the commentary. DJ Chris Evans flies past and we spot a few other minor celebs. If someone has a costume on appropriate music is plaid which enhances the atmosphere. We just manage to spot David as he goes past and Catherine is able to pick us out as we cheer her to the finish. We’re into the 5 hour groups now and with Claire estimating 4 ½ – 6 we should see her soon. Ian, Richard & Netty catch her at mile 21 then I get a message from Carol at mile 22 to say she has just given her a hug and she is OK but finding it extremely hard. Steve’s been at the barrier for hours whilst I’m stood behind looking further ahead. Your eyes get very sore scanning everyone but luckily we both spot Claire just after she has seen Steve. They both have their arms stretched wide as they head for an embrace with both overcome with too much emotion to speak. I’m choked with tears of relief at seeing her but she doesn’t even spot me! We head to our rendezvous point for the Anthony Nolan after party and meet Carol who is waiting there. Anthony Nolan volunteers meet the runners and escort them there then provide food, drink and no doubt a very welcome massage. We manage to get Netty & Ian in as well as Richard so it’s lovely to sit together as a group beside Catherine, David and family. Claire’s weary but overall OK although she said it was extremely difficult and although her time is 5 hours 28 min she did spend about 20 minutes in a queue for the loo at mile 17. Cannot understand how we missed each other at mile 5 as she was on our side of the road and high fiving people and with 5 of us in a line looking for her it doesn’t make sense. We are really proud of her and make sure we take plenty of pics to capture the moment. Already Claire & Catherine’s fundraising is at £4500 but we hope to get that over £5000. We have a good journey back and over pizza chat about our days and how difficult it was as spectators, never mind Claire saying never again as a runner it is much the same for us!
BROMLEY 2

MONDAY 27 APRIL – At Neasden there is a BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir a scaled down version of the temple we visited in New Delhi. It’s a magnificent white structure set in beautiful gardens. Visitors are made extremely welcome and the interior is also white marble with hundreds of carvings. It’s free to enter but we pay the small extra charge to visit the museum that explains about Hinduism as a religion, the things the ancient Hindu’s discovered or invented and the boy to whom the temple is dedicated. We’re invited to a service during which alcoves are opened and illuminated to show colourful characters. You then go behind the main room to see many statues of their deities. Opposite is a massive shop which is a great place to buy Indian foods and you can even have a meal in the adjoining restaurant. Steve’s only too happy to leave the madness of London traffic behind as we head to Hitchin to our friends Peter & Margaret’s’. They make us most welcome and at Peter’s suggestion we enjoy a bit of sunshine sitting out having a salad. I join Margaret on the school run to pick up one of her step grandchildren and then take Nathaniel home where his sisters are waiting. As an ex teacher Margaret is really good at helping them with homework etc. When we get back Peter is trying to figure out his new HUDL, a tablet computer and to some extent I am able to help him and get some apps up and running. Margaret is off to Madeira next week and I help her book transfers with Resort Hoppa and leave them with website info for things that should save them money on their September cruise. I learn from Margaret that Buckingham Palace tickets include admission to many other Royal buildings so it’s a good trade of knowledge. It’s a good job we arrived a lunchtime as there is so much to talk about.
HITCHIN

TUESDAY 28 APRIL – We have a light breakfast then chat around the table until Margaret produces an extremely delicious brunch. Homemade leek cooked in a cheese sauce then baked with cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Margaret shows me her new travel bag which is designed to cope with the fact that each airline has a slightly different cabin baggage side. With zips on every side the bag can be expanded or reduced to fit in everywhere. We’ve had a lovely time but are both ready to go home and do very little for a few days. The journey back is excellent and we are home by 3pm and I soon have 3 loads of washing out on the line quickly drying in the strong wind. Steve’s delighted to be home in our snug little caravan and looking forward to a few days’ r&r before our visitors arrive on Saturday.
MERRYHILL LEISURE, NORWICH

WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL – After wind and showers the afternoon brightens so we head for a walk. Arrange cards for Friday eve with Nigel and Anne. Visit Debbie who is still off sick but looking forward to their holiday to Spain next week then Ian & Pauline who fill us in on MH news.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 30 APRIL – According to the weather forecast it is all downhill from here with May forecast to be cold. Even yesterday there was snow in many parts of England. In Dereham we do a bit Lidl shop then enjoy a wander around town.
MERRYHILL

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Responses

  1. Hi Glen & Steve. I was originally given your website addresses by some friends of ours and fellow naturists and motorhomers of yours; Sue and Dennis from Pontefract. We too are looking to retire early and travel as much as possible and were getting ready by doing a final project to raise some capital before we can set off. It would be lovely to have the opportunity to speak to you both about our plans. I have scoured your other tips site from start to finish and I love to catch up with your blogs on here. We’ve seen over the last few months a number of caravans that have come up for sale on your site, obviously people wanting to sell to move to another naturist site. It’s obviously an ideal choice while your own home is rented out while travelling and we are coming down to view one next weekend. It would be nice to say hello if you are around and introduce ourselves. What’s the best way to contact you please? Cheers Aly & Martin Booth


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