Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Three C's....

After my last post when I was complaining about not having been out on the bike for about three weeks due to both dodgy weather and commitments..... since then I have managed a couple of tough days on the bike....

Yesterday I think that I must have pushed it a bit too far as on the last hill on my return to the campsite I 'bonked' in massive style almost grinding to a complete stop.
Thinking it through when I got back I came to the conclusion that after a three week break with no riding at all I was expecting too much to go out on the bike for two long and hilly rides on successive days... 

Unless I am in tip top form I normally like to give myself a recovery day between rides and this is something that on this occasion I didn't do...
The reason for this was because I wanted to make the most of the good weather..... at my age and with my cycling experience you would have thought that I would have known that it would be a ride too far..

The older I get I notice how much more important recovery is than when I was younger.....

Here is a picture of Eva the Eriba with a Felt bike in front..... The sharp eyed will notice that it is not in fact my Felt..... no this bike belongs to my old friend Jason Boynton-Lee who cycled over to the site for a coffee and a chat.....


Eva and Felt
 I had hoped to get out on a ride with Jason but following yesterday's 'big bonk' and bearing in mind that I have another ride planned at the end of the week common sense stepped in and we settled for just the coffee and cake.....

Talking about coffee and cake....when Jason was here we discussed the route that he would take on his way back home and I happened to mention a garden centre where in the past I have both camped and also stopped at when I have been out on cycle rides.... 

The attraction on the cycle rides was the garden centre's small cafe.... I knew that it would be too much of a temptation for Jason and about an hour after he left here he sent me this image....
Classic Bike Lean Image incl Coffee..cake..sunglasses and phone...
The message that Jason sent with the image was "Can highly recommend this chocolate and apricot flapjack!"

Cycling...coffee and cake......The three C's.... Classic...

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Autumn Weather..

Since we have been back in Dorset the weather seems to have turned dramatically into full blown Autumn......
When we were at the Theobalds Park site just two weeks ago we were sitting outside the caravan sunbathing.... we then travelled down here to Dorset and the weather changed overnight......
For most of the two weeks we have been here the view from our awning has been like this....


Autumn Weather..
So far our time here has been spent having the car serviced..... attending medical appointments..... sorting out kit for the winter..... shopping and best of all catching up with my daughter and her family......

The day after we arrived here Anne had to shoot off down to Devon to attend a funeral and also to visit her mother who has had a bad fall and been hospitalised.
Anne got back here last weekend but on Friday had to go back down to her mothers again...... I couldn't go due to commitments here in Dorset. I am not expecting Anne back here till next weekend.

We are intending staying here in Dorset for another couple of weeks but due to the situation with Anne's mother we will then relocate to another site at the northern edge of Dartmoor for three weeks before heading on to our winter seasonal pitch at Tavistock... 

In the past we have spent September and most of October in Dorset but we feel that it would be more sensible to get back into Devon earlier this year for the reasons I've mentioned...

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will be able to link up with some of my friends who are based here in Dorset....

With everything that's been going on plus the weather I haven't managed to get out for a bike ride for about three weeks.....
Looking at the forecast for this coming week it seems that there could be some nice days for bike riding and I have already been in touch with my old cycling mate JD to sort out a ride together later in the week.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Four Days at Theobalds......

After our quick visit to St Neots the next on our list was Theobalds Park at Enfield and just a few hundred yards from the M25...
Now those of you who know me well will also know that I try to keep away from London but this was a special visit to meet up with my old friends Gideon and Angie who this season have been HSA's (Holiday Site Assistants) based at the site.....

Both Anne and myself were pleasantly surprised with the site....although very close to the 'road to hell' (M25) the site itself has a very rural feel to it and as per C&CC standards everything is kept very neat and tidy and the toilet facility block is first class....

During our visit as you would expect we shared a couple of evenings with Gideon and Angie sampling a few beers and other drinks and sharing tales of camp life and the various people we have met and places we have visited.

One of the places that Anne and I found less than a mile from the site was Myddleton House Gardens. This was a real gem of a find made all the sweeter by the fact that entry was free.
Anne and I enjoyed a nice lunch here followed by a few hours wandering around the very attractive gardens.....

Here are some images of just a little of what we saw....
Free Entry- Always a bonus.


Years ago this was the Market Cross in Enfield but has been moved to the gardens.

Lot's of Lovely Pears....

A view of the house.





 We really enjoyed our four nights stay at Theobalds Park and it was great to meet up with Gideon and Angie again.
They finish their seasons contract at the end of October and in early November they will be off to Spain and Portugal for the winter...

We won't see them again until next April when they will be based at the Verwood site in Dorset for the 2018 season which is where we have now re-located to for the next four weeks....

Monday morning saw us pulling out of the campsite and heading on to the M25 and then the M3 for our journey down to Dorset.....



Thursday, 31 August 2017

It was a quick visit.....

Yes it was a quick visit to St Neots...just two nights which for us is just the blink of an eye.
We managed a couple of walks...a couple of pub visits....a visit to a superstore....and a walk around the town.

The day we arrived the weather was very warm and sunny.... the second day however was a day of gloomy skys and rain however that didn't hinder our enjoyment of  the short time we had there...

One of the things that we saw in the superstore car park was this VW Beetle...
Lowered VW Beetle
 Now I've seen many lowered vehicles over the years but never one quite like this.... Look at the running board...there is hardly a gap between that and the road. 
No, this wasn't an abandoned car I saw it arrive in the car park and watched as the driver parked it...I asked the driver if he minded me taking a picture and he laughed and said go ahead....
I wouldn't mind betting that it is a pig to drive with no handling at all and as for driving over speed bumps...well I shouldn't think that goes too well.......

In the towns market square these bollards attracted my attention.....so much more interesting than the normal bollards that you see.

Unusual Bollards in St Neots
 Finally here is a view of the river (The Great Ouse) from a bridge overlooking the terrace of one of the pubs we managed to visit......
Pub Terrace overlooking the Great Ouse
So yes it was a bit of a flying visit but enjoyable just the same and the C&CC site at St Neots is one that we will probably visit again so that we can do the area justice....... 

We have now re-located to the C&CC site at Theobalds Park near Waltham Cross..... The site is just about 200 yards north of the M25 so that puts us approx 15 miles from the centre of London.
We are here to meet up with friends Gideon & Angie who are site assistants on the site and also Anne can get into London and meet up with her son and granddaughter who live there.....

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Heading South.....

We are now heading south...
This morning we left the Wodhall Spa C&CC site and this afternoon we pulled into the St Neots C&CC site....

Our first impression of the site is very favourable with lush grass kept to a very high standard and a river running along one side of the campsite..... Two of the assistants working here we first met last year when we stayed at the Verwood location..
We will only be staying here for two nights as for us our visit is purely as a transit site. Mind you we have already managed a walk along the riverside path and a visit to a very nice pub for a drink and a meal......

Before we left Woodhall Spa we visited Tattershall Castle... 
This is a superb 15th century red brick castle... It is one of the earliest and finest surviving examples of English medieval brickwork. 

Anne and I went up through each of the floors and found our visit really interesting although Anne wouldn't go up to the upper roof area as heights are not really her thing.....
Having said that I have to be honest and admit that the older I get I don't have the same confidence with heights as I used to have when I was younger.... The upper roof area of the castle made me feel very uncomfortable....
Tattershall Castle
While we were staying at Woodhall Spa we were entertained each day by the ducks that were resident at the site.... Their home was centered around a small pond in the wooded area of the camp.... 
However each day they would go on walkabout around the caravans and tents hoping to get some food.....
Duck food was available to buy at the camp reception/shop and Anne loved feeding the little blighters as they came round and visited our caravan..... 
By the end of our stay which was around four weeks they would sit outside our van in the morning waiting for Anne to feed them...
The photo below shows them waiting outside our awning one morning a few days ago.......
Anne's little duck friends waiting for more food......


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A visit to Lincoln.....

One of the places that was on our list to visit was of course Lincoln....
We used the park and ride which seemed to be pretty efficient and saved any hassles with finding a suitable parking place in the city itself....
Judging by the number of people waiting at the park and ride bus stop it seems to be a popular way to travel into the centre of the city.....

We alighted from the bus at the bus station at the bottom of the hill.... there is a new shopping precinct close by and our plan was to look around the shops there before walking along the main high street and then heading up 'Steep Hill' (which as the name suggests IS steep) up to the castle and the cathedral at the top of the hill.
From there we would then catch the park and ride bus back to the car....

The plan worked well allowing us to see a good number of Lincolns attractions as we made our way through the city..... The weather was good which is always a bonus if you are having a 'tourist' type of day.....


One of the many interesting buidings to be seen
There were lots of very interesting buildings to be seen and the history of the city was to be seen everywhere.....
Lincoln Stonebow and Guildhall
Halfway up the high street is the Stonebow and Guildhall.
The name 'Stonebow' is of Scandinavian origin meaning a stone arch. The east wing of the Stonebow used to house the city gaol but these days it houses the Guildhall Treasury...
The present Tudor Arch was completed by city freemason William Spencer in 1520
Steep hill...and it is!!
As you carry on up the high street you eventually arrive at Steep Hill..... The gradient appears to be similar to Gold Hill at Shaftesbury in Dorset.
There are lots of vintage, antique and retro stores on Steep Hill as well as tea shops, pubs and restaurants. 
Anne and I rewarded our ascent of Steep Hill with a meal and a drink at one of the pubs we found near the top of the hill...  
View towards the Cathedral at the top of Steep Hill
Upon arrival at the top of the hill to our right was the view towards the Cathedral.........
View of the Castle entrance....
and to our left was the castle entrance as shown in the above photograph.....
West Front of Lincoln Cathedral
Anne and I were really impressed with Lincoln Cathedral. We found that the Cathedral's West front to be absolutely stunning and it appeared to be massive dwarfing everything around. 

John Ruskin the eminent Victorian writer wrote "I have always held.... that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have."

No description I can write could describe Lincoln cathedral better than that....so I won't try..!


Interior view of Lincoln cathedral....
Anne and I really enjoyed our visit to Lincoln and were most impressed with the magnificent historic buildings.
If you have never visited the city and enjoy a bit of history then I can recommend that you visit Lincoln.....

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Finally...A New Post...

Finally a new post...
It's been over two weeks since I last posted an entry here on the blog.....but I do have a good reason.... Anne and I were hit with some kind of bug that knocked us both for six a few days before we left Sandringham.... 
Even now we still both have a bit of a cough.

To complicate our move up here to Woodhall Spa.... on the day we were due to move the car wouldn't start...the battery appeared to be flat. The car hadn't been used for nearly three weeks.. RAC were called but took over four hours to arrive... Battery was checked and although flat was perfectly serviceable so we can only assume something had been left on and drained the said battery... 

Due to this we stayed an extra night at Sandringham and arrived at Woodhall Spa a day late but it was a bit of hassle that we could both have done without feeling so rough....
The first couple of days at our current site were spent in bed trying to throw off the bug....
Mind you it did give me the chance to change the cleats on my cycling shoes for brand new ones... The old cleats were really well over due for changing...

Well worn cleat...Overdue for changing

Brand shiny new cleats fitted
 On my first venture out from the campsite to top up on our supplies what should I see but a nice old petrol pump..... Regular readers to the blog will be only well aware of my interest in these and I always like to post images of these pumps whenever I see them. This one seems to date from the seventies.....
Nice old petrol pump.... possibly from the seventies?
 For the first week and a half of being here at Woodhall Spa we did very little as we both felt so low.... But this past weekend my good friend Peter Calcutt visited us for two nights as a bit of a break during another stage of his British Coastline cycle ride.... For the past couple of years Peter has used part of his holiday to cycle a section. 

The first year he cycled from Bournemouth to Deal in Kent.... Last year he cycled from Deal to Holbeach near the Wash...... This year he started at Holbeach and will be cycling to...... well that's to be seen.

I rode out to meet him and lead him into our campsite on his arrival day and on Monday morning when he set off again I rode out with him for a couple of hours before he headed on North and I turned round and headed back here to the site.....
Peter sorting out his kit during his stay with us.
 While he was here Peter and I went on a bit of a nature trek in the local woods... There is a hide there that was installed back in 1983 and we both spent some time there keeping an eye out for some wildlife.... As it transpired apart from some swallows we didn't really spot anything worth reporting.... mind you bird and wildlife spotting does require a lot of time and patience.....
There is another hide at some other woods at the end of the lane and a couple told us today that they have spotted a couple of Kingfishers there so Anne and I might well spend some time in that hide to see if we can spot them too.....
The small hide in the woods...