Sunday, 12 August 2018

Eribatastic......

Earlier this week we enjoyed the first rain that we have had since we were at the Osiers campsite back in May......
Since then with all the lovely dry weather I have been managing to get out on the bike almost every other day. It has certainly been a great summer so far for getting out and about on the bike......

One of the things that I really enjoy as we travel around the country staying at various campsites is meeting up with other Eriba owners...
It is really interesting seeing all the different models of Eriba that have been available over the years and most owners are happy to show you around their pride and joy.....

Below are just a few of the Eriba Touring vans that we have seen on our travels this year....
Eribatastic...........


Eriba Familia from the 1980s with matching awning.

A 2015 Eriba Triton

A 1983 Eriba Troll (An early cousin to my own Eva the Eriba)

A visitor from the Netherlands - A Puck.

A 1985  Eriba Familia

A very sharp Eriba Puck....

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Who Needs an Estate Agent...?

 We have now re-located just 35 miles from Polstead to Hollesley which is East of Woodbridge in Suffolk....
Our stay at Polstead was first class the same as when we stayed there last year.....
A lovely site and really helpful owners.....

The area is just made for cycling and I was out on the bike every other day covering between 40 to 60 miles each ride.
The weather has been very hot like most of the country although listening to the forecasts and news it would seem that East Anglia has 
had the hottest weather of all....

Riding in the heat is OK as you have the breeze moving over your body to help to cool you down..... it is when you stop that you can really feel the heat so I always try and choose to stop in the shade.

As I have already said the Suffolk area is great for cycling  and I have seen lots of other riders out on the roads.... Not just 'Roadies' either....  Lots of Touring and MTB riders as well.

Our move to our current site went well and in just over an hour of leaving Polstead we were setting up the caravan and awning again.
We are only a mile and a half from the coast here and it is a wild section of coast with shingle beaches and marshes which are ideal for bird watching and wild coastal walks.....

The day after we arrived Anne and I decided to walk to the coast and explore the coastline a bit. 
We were climbing down a small bank to get to a lower footpath when Anne slipped and twisted her ankle..... 
It was now proving difficult for Anne to walk properly as it was quite painful for her. As luck would have it we met an old local couple who were also out for a walk and they suggested that they would drive us back to the campsite....
They were full of information about the area and even took us to see a 'Martello Tower' a mile down the road before dropping us off back at our site....
Things like that help to restore my faith in human nature......

One of the things that I enjoy as I cycle around the Suffolk roads and lanes is checking out some of the really lovely houses in the county.....
It made me think that you don't need an estate agent if you are looking for a house just get out on your bike and ride around and you will see some really nice properties...
A couple of my favourites are shown below....


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Getting a Clearer View......

We have been in Suffolk for three weeks now and like most of the country the weather continues to be stunning.....
I have been getting out on the bike every other day usually going out in the morning and getting back about 1300hrs just in time to have a shower  grab some lunch (and over this past week) settle down to an afternoon of watching the Tour de France......

Doing a lot of regular riding and also seeing all the pro riders taking part in the Giro d'Italia some weeks ago got me thinking again about riding/sunglasses....
Over a number of years now I have kept promising myself a pair of Oakley glasses....

Up to now I have used Tifosi Eyewear riding glasses..... Although they have had some quite good reviews in the cycling press my reason for choosing them was because they had the same name as my training bike the 'Tifosi' silly I know but I am being honest here Ha...Ha...
Although they seemed to do the job I always wondered whether Oakleys would be better,,,,,

The Tifosi glasses were mid priced and I must admit that every time I thought about a pair of Oakleys it was the price that put me off.... I felt that I just couldn't justify spending somewhere in the region of between £120 to £200 on a pair of sunglasses...
I didn't believe that the gain (if any) would be worth the expense....

Anyway when we were back in Canterbury I passed an independent optician and they had a large selection of Oakleys on display in their window....

Now independent shops I like rather than a national chain.... the display in the window was really eye catching too so I ventured in...

I tried on a number of different styles but the pair that I really liked was the style that I have being thinking about for a couple of years..... the Oakley Jawbreaker.
Apparently Mark Cavendish had an input into the design of these.... they are slightly higher above the eyeline than a lot of glasses so that when you are sprinting down on the drops (as Cavendish does) the top of the frame does not obscure any of the view.... not that I intend doing any sprinting down on the drops very often....

The jawbreakers have the 'Prizm Road' lenses which according to all the advertising blurb are supposed to help you spot subtle changes in the texture of the road surfaces.... did I believe all that...no I didn't but I did like the glasses.... I'd been thinking about a pair for a long time so I treated myself and splashed out and bought a pair.....

My Oakley Jawbreakers
So are they any good...?. Are they worth the wedge of cash spent on them....?
Well surprising to say...Yes and Yes.

First of all they our beyond comfortable to wear.... 
The Tifosi's would always seem to press down on my nose no matter how much I adjusted the rubber nose piece and every so often I would have to push them back up my nose a little as they always seemed to slip down..... 
The Jawbreakers have been comfortable from day one with no adjustment required and I have not experienced any slippage on the nose at all.....

The length of the arms can be adjusted in three different positions if needed.
 I have mine on the longest length and they fit perfectly....

As for the claim about spotting subtle changes in the road surface.....well that seems to be true.
I have found that  the clarity of these glasses is superb. I have now used them over about 450 miles of mixed riding and actually look forward to putting them on......

Were they worth the money I spent on them ?
Well from my perspective yes they were.....

The only question I have is why did I leave it so long before buying a pair??
My Oakley Jawbreakers with 'Prism Road Technology' lenses
**NB: I have received no payment or incentive regarding my mention of this product. 

Sunday, 8 July 2018

A Short Visit to Canterbury....

Following our stay at Crowborough we then moved on to Canterbury...
Our main reason to visit Canterbury was to visit Craig and Caroline who until January of this year had been the managers at the Tavistock C&CC site where we have spent the past three winters.....
They took over as managers of Canterbury C&CC site in March and we were eager to see them again and see how they were getting on in their new site......

The Canterbury site is very busy with units booking in in large numbers every day.... It tends to be a bit of a transit site with people using it as a starting point for the ferries to mainland Europe..... Also visitors from the ferry use it as their first site before setting off on their tour around the UK.

It was nice to see both Craig & Caroline again.... plus two of their assistants at the site had also been at Tavistock the winter before last,,,,nice to see them all.

Anne and I walked into Canterbury from the site...it only took about 30mins.... and we had a good look around the town which is very interesting and full of history...
As far as the Cathedral goes it really was the Church of England in full retail mode.......

You cannot even get into the Cathedral grounds without paying a substantial admission charge even more to actually see the Cathedral .
The only part of the building that you could see from 'outside' the wall of buildings surrounding it was part of the roof and spire which seemed to be covered in scaffolding anyway...
From outside the Pilgrims gate where lots of Tourists were lining up to hand over their entrance fees you could actually hear pneumatic drills and other building work coming from inside the cathedral so it was not actually selling itself to us as a place of peace and tranquility....
Needless to say we passed on this tourist hotspot...!!!

The Cathedral shop was something that you could access from outside on the street.... from what I could see it was full of typical tourist rubbish.....as I said..... the Cof E in full retail mode.....

We have visited numerous Cathedrals on our travels and at almost all of them you can view the outside of the building from the Cathedral grounds without payment. Some of them have an entrance charge and others request a donation for the upkeep of the building which we have always been happy to pay but a visit to Canterbury felt like the entance to a Theme Park...

What we did find just outside of the city was St Martins church.
This was the first church founded in England......the oldest parish church in continuous use and the oldest church in the English speaking world....
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is well worth a visit.
A picture of St Martins is shown below......

St Martins Church- Canterbury
 Another place we visited was believe it or not...Ramsgate.
We had a really enjoyable visit to the town with a visit to the Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina.. The Royal Temple Yacht Club overlooks the marina....
It's quite a cosmopolitan feel to the area around the marina which seems to set it apart from others that we have visited in the past....

While we were there we also walked out to the end of the harbour wall followed by a very nice meal before we set off back to Eva and the site....a journey taken by bus of course..
Part of Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina.


 We only stayed at the Canterbury site for one week which for us is the shortest time that we have stayed anywhere since we set off in 2015..... But is was a very enjoyable one week.

The day before we left a number of trucks arrived at the site loaded with tents and equipment....
Craig told us that it was an advance party of German youngsters over here to set up a summer camp for more youngsters who were due to arrive the day that we were leaving.....

We watched these youngsters set up the camp...errecting over 25 bell tents plus other tents for kitchen....meeting place....etc...
It was really impressive to watch all these tents go up in double quick time.... each of these young people knew exactly what they had to do with some puttimg down the groundsheets...others laying out the tents....others putting in the centre poles and still more pegging them out. 
It was just like a military operation and as I said it was very impressive to watch all these young people working together as a team..... It reminded me of when I was their age and in the Scouts something which I really enjoyed....

Mind you....with 80 plus youngsters all arriving for their summer camp I was pleased that we were on the move again....
Just half of the full circle of Bell tents for the Summer Camp


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Pantiles and Photos.....

Following our trip to Brighton another trip was planned by bus...this time just a few miles up the road to Royal Tunbridge Wells.....

I had never been there before and neither had Anne... I particularly wanted to visit the Pantiles area which is at the lower end of the town....
We decided that we would start at the top of the town and work our way down and finish with the Pantiles.

The town is really like two small towns in one... The upper part is more modern with all the usual shops that you expect to find in any British town. 
If shopping is your thing then you would enjoy a visit to the  Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre. 
It is not a huge shopping centre but it does have some very nice shops including a branch of Fenwick that also has a nice Terrace Restaurant......`

Working are way down the hill we couldn't resist checking out the various jewellers shops which all had some very nice watches and unusual jewellery on offer......

One thing we noticed was that there are some very nice parks in and around the town and they seem to be very popular with local office workers taking their lunch there..... It's nice to see the parks well cared for and also being enjoyed.......

Eventually we had worked our way down to the older section of the town and the Pantiles.....
Still lots of high end jewellery shops indicating both that this is quite a wealthy area and also that it has a high number of wealthy tourists......

A view of the Pantiles
 The Pantiles has a number of coffee shops and small bistro style businesses as well as pubs and is very much a popular 'cafe culture' area in the town.
I went back to the Pantiles a few days later on a Saturday and the whole area was packed with people sitting outside drinking coffee and much stronger beverages
Another view of the Pantiles
 One of the shops in the Pantiles was an independent camera shop that I couldn't resist visiting...
For some time now I have been thinking about getting a high quality compact camera.....
Over recent years I have gone from DSLR to CSC and a Fuji X-Pro but although each change has given me in the main a smaller camera I still find that due to their size I don't carry them with me on the off chance of a good shot often enough......
These days most of my shots are taken with my phone camera and although ok for the internet the quality is not there if I want to print out a larger print....

Years ago I had a Rollei 35s film camera that I used to carry around everywhere with me. It was a very neat little camera and it was capable of some very good quality shots......
Part of that quality was down to it's Zeiss Sonnar lens..... 

What I was looking for when I entered the shop was something similar in size to the Rollei but digital of course and capable of producing really good shots......

Over the past few moths I have been checking out 'Best Compact Travel Cameras' online and the Sony RX100 series keeps coming up time and time again.

Over the past five years or so Sony has updated the RX100 a number of times and the latest model is the RX100 VI. The thing though with Sony is that when they bring out a new model they keep the previous models still available....

The guy in the shop had a flow chart with each model on it and I used that to highlight my requirements and the model that would suit me best.....
Whichever way I used it, it kept bringing me back to the same model....the RX100 III so I bought one....
4K video and long telephoto were not high on my requirement list and the newer models have improvements in those areas hence the reason the RX100 III kept popping up as more suited to my needs and photographic style.....

I won't bore you with all the technical specs except that it measures just 101.6 x 58.1 x 41.0mm and it weighs in at 290g.
It has 20mp and a 1 inch sensor....... 
I have a little Ricoh CX1 camera that I have had for a number of years and the RX100 III is really no larger than that but a lot more advanced with the larger sensor and higher pixel count and many more fuctions and controls....

A number of the reviews that I have read online that were posted two or three years ago rated the Sony RX100 III "possibly the very best compact camera currently available".
As I said that was a few years ago and things move on rapidly in the photo tech world but I am pretty certain that it will still fullfil my requirements and needs pretty well.

It has been said that the best camera is the one that you have with you.... so with it's small size I am hoping that I will be carrying it everywhere just like I did with my old Rollei 35s....
Retro style camera case for the RX100 series

The two panels on the top plate are Flash in the middle & Pop Up EVF on the right.

Zeiss Vario Sonnar means a quality lens.

**NB: I have received no payment or incentive regarding my mention of this product.**

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Trying to Catch Up......

We are currently at the Polstead C&CC site in Suffolk....
We stayed here last year for a couple of weeks and really liked the site but felt that we could have done with more time here. 
This year we have come back to spend 28 days here.... The cycling in the area is first class and with nice walks and a selection of pubs close by it has a lot going for it.....

Unfortunately I am running behind in my posts to the blog and I am trying to catch up so as we are here for a month I hope to be all up to date by the time we move on.

Following our stay at the Osiers CS near Chichester we moved on to the C&CC site at Crowborough....
Now I think that it is fair to say that there is not a lot at Crowborough but our main reason for stopping off for a couple of weeks there was to enable us to visit Royal Tunbridge Wells and also have a trip to Brighton.

I did venture out on my bike when we were there but the condition of the roads was terrible... There were pot holes everywhere and that plus narrow roads and a high volume of traffic made me decide that I wouldn't go out again on the bike during our stay....
So from then on it was walking everyday rather than cycling.......

When we visited Brighton we travelled on the bus.... I find that if I drive I tend to miss out on a lot of the views of the countryside and you can see so much more from the upper deck of a double decker bus..... also when you arrive at your destination you don't have to bother with finding a parking place......

We had a good day out in Brighton visiting the Lanes...the Pier and the Royal Pavilion...
The lanes were packed with lots of small Jewellers Shops with some very high end items for sale. 
Our visit to the pier consisted of having some lunch and a beer and watching some of the braver youngsters taking rides on some of the scary rides..... 
Years ago I might have had a go on those rides but not these days.......

After lunch we then visited the Royal Pavilion.....
It is certainly a very interesting building and Anne had been wanting to visit it for some time....
Some images taken during our visit to the Pavilion are shown below.....






Tuesday, 19 June 2018

East Marden YHA....A Full Circle....

Last year I told you about my visit to a water mill near St Ives Huntingdon that had been a Youth Hostel that I had visited 55 years earlier while I was on a cycle ride with one of my childhood mates....
Well when we were staying near Chichester a few weeks ago I visited another of the Youth Hostels that I had visited as a youngster.....

This time it was the YHA at East Marden West Sussex.....
I remember the ride quite well...
Leaving home at Feltham Middx which is where we were living at the time the ride consisted of Milford YHA.... East Marden YHA.... Portsmouth YHA.... Southampton YHA.... Hindhead YHA and then back home.

This ride was really like a tester for the ride we did the following year when I visited the Water Mill near Huntingdon and although I remember all of the YHA's we visited on that earlier trip it was the one at East Marden that I remember the most....

I think the main reason for that was because we had met a couple of girls that happened to be staying at the youth hostel when we stayed there and Paul and I were a bit reluctant to have to move on.....
I remember taking a picture of my bike under the old thatched well in the village and also stopping at a bend in the road as we cycled away from the village and looking back at the Youth Hostel.... 

As Anne and I were reasonably close to the village when staying near Chichester I decided to cycle out there for a visit...this would me the first time that I had been back to the village since I was thirteen......

The House That Used To Be East Marden YHA
 The ride out to the village was really enjoyable and it seemed to have hardly changed....
Happily it doesn't seem to have grown at all... no new buildings and everything just as it was all those years ago....
Standing looking at the building that used to be the Youth Hostel that first visit all came flooding back to me.......
East Marden Village Church
 I remembered sitting outside the church eating a 'Fry's Five Boys' chocolate bar while we waited for the Youth Hostel to open on the evening of our arrival. The seat outside the church was still there......
East Marden Thatched Village Mill
 As I sat there eating that chocolate bar we could see the village mill opposite us.....
An image of the mill was used as an ink stamp that you had stamped in your YHA membership card when you visited the hostel.....
It was also used on a badge that you could buy to add to your collection of hostel badges and I remember buying one on the morning that we left the hostel......
Bike Lean Image at the Well...
As Paul and I sat there all those years ago we decided that it would be a good idea to take a photo of each of our bikes under the thatch of the village well.....
In those days the photos were of course in black and white......

On this my 2018 visit to the village I did the same thing..... my current bike is worlds away from the heavy bike that I was riding on that trip as a youngster but I stood it in the exact same spot for the colour shot taken on my phone....

I would never have thought as a thirteen year old all those years ago that I would be re-visiting the village as a seventy year old riding a bike and taking pictures in those same spots......
I really enjoyed my return visit and as I rode away I came to the bend in the road where I had stopped and looked back towards the hostel... I stopped and looked back... the only thing that had changed was that view...the trees have grown and now obscure the hostel...

I remounted my bike and headed back in the direction of Chichester.....

As I rode away the phrase 'Full Circle' entered my thoughts.... I thought of all the rides that I have done since that trip as a youngster and here I was again cycling that same route...In cycling terms it really was a 'Full Circle'