Sunday, 6 October 2019

Our Last Stop.....

We have now been at Moreton, our last stop on this year's tour, for a week.
 Before we left Verwood my friend Peter and his wife brought their caravan over to the site for a flying 24hr visit.
 It was nice to see them and luckily we had a dry spell that coincided perfectly with their stay.... 
The image above is of their cherry red Freedom caravan with Eva the Eriba in the background. 

Unfortunately that dry spell has not transferred across here to Moreton as since we have been here it has rained every day up to today.

 I actually managed to get out on the Tifosi for a ride this morning which was the first ride since I swapped the bikes over... 

This past week I've been really busy with lots of medical goings on...
 I have had a DNA/ gene test as well as genetic counselling in respect of my heart condition...
 I have had a treadmill stress test...which was stopped halfway through because my blood pressure shot up to 200/110.

 I have also managed to fit in my annual cancer check so I am now waiting for the result of that which always makes me feel a bit apprehensive..

 Also a ECG was completed following the treadmill stress test..
 I also have another appointment with my cardiac consultant tomorrow  due to my blood pressure'malfunction' during the treadmill test and also following on from the ECG results...

I am very concerned about this appointment as there is always the possibility that I could be told that I shouldn't ride a bike anymore and that today's ride on the Tifosi was my last bike ride ..... 





Saturday, 21 September 2019

Changeover time.....

Well since we have been here  I have managed to get out on the bike every other day... 
The weather has been really nice with some very sunny days and quite warm making for some ideal cycling weather.

I cycled around the Wimborne area quite a lot and last Sunday I had a stunning ride out to Salisbury and back.... 

We have our awning up on site which has proved useful in the evenings as they are now drawing in and the awning allows us to sit outside of the caravan quite late into the evening and yet still remain warm. 

The forecast for tomorrow and the coming week is not looking good with rain and strong winds being promised. 

With that in mind I decided today that it would be a good time to changeover my bikes. 
This morning I went over to my daughter's and packed the Felt away in its padded bag and zipped the wheels up in their wheel bags... 

I recovered the Tifosi from the depths of my bike shed and have it now standing in the awning all nice and clean and prepared for the winter ahead.... 

At least with  mudguards fitted on the Tifosi wet roads don't cause dirt and streaky lines up the back of my cycling kit which is what I would get if I rode the Felt in wet conditions . 

Only one more week left at this location before we move on to Moreton and the last three weeks of our 2019 summer touring season. 
 It will then be back to Devon....


The Awning in use again.

Short break in Cranborne on ride from Salisbury.

Wimborne Minster..

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Not what we Expected..,

We arrived back at the Verwood C&CC site after a bit of a convoluted journey.
 A couple of diversions sent us on a merry tour of Wiltshire countryside.
 We eventually arrived at our site about  an hour later than we had hoped.

 We had thought that with the school's going back in the week the site would be child free..... 
Unfortunately we were unlucky and the site still had quite a few of the little blighters running around... 
Obviously their parents were stretching their holiday out until the last possible moment...

Luckily for us the next morning they all packed up and left. 
However this weekend a lot more families turned up on Friday evening although by midday today they too had packed up and gone. Making the most of the good weather over the weekend I suppose. 

There are new managers at this site and in the short time that they have been here (since April) they seem to have upset everyone by being a bit jobsworth and wanting to make changes just for the sake of it ... 

The fish & chip van that has been visiting the site for the past five years that we know of no longer comes here due to a difference of opinion with the new managers... 

When we arrived there were just the two managers here as all the assistants had left as they had had enough...
In the past week two more assistants came down to help from a site in Lincolnshire. 

A number of the seasonal pitch caravanners here seem to be very unhappy with the new management style with complaints being made to the C&CC head office.

 It's always a pity when new managers move in and upset the running of a really nice site... 
This happened at the Tavistock site in Devon and we decided not to go back there and it looks like it is happening again here. 

The club seems to have a bit of a staff shortage from what I can tell ... Assistants are being pushed through on to management training about a year before they would normally do so.... 

Also I have heard today that the club intends to put more glamping 'ready camp' tents up as well as some camping pods here at Verwood.(as if there aren't enough here already)

 This of course reduces the space for traditional tents and caravans and also tends to attract a totally different sort of person to the sites.  
By this I mean people who might not have ever been camping before and as such do not follow the niceties of camp life such as keeping the noise down after about 2230hrs etc.... 

In a lot of cases they are not interested in camping they are just interested in getting what they think is a cheapish holiday and also because glamping is seen as a fashionable thing to do..

 The club is not really a club in the accepted sense and over the last few years seems to have moved a lot further away from it's original purpose than ever before...

Our plan this year to stay at more independent sites has proved to us that in monetary terms you can get a better deal by avoiding club sites particularly during bank holidays and school holidays. 
Next year we will be staying at even more independent sites.....

Below are a few more photos taken during our stay in the Forest of Dean area......










Sunday, 1 September 2019

Docks......

Our time here in the Forest of Dean is now up and tomorrow we head back down to Dorset. 
We will be touching base with my daughter and her family.... 
They have recently returned from a trip to Canada so it will be interesting to hear all about their own travels..... 

As well as visiting family and friends I have a number of hospital appointments and other commitments starting off with a MOT and service for the car next Friday.

We have loved this little site and will be sad to move on but that is after all what full-time touring is all about. 

During the time that we have been here there has been a very useful bus service that has been running for over thirty years but like a lot of rural bus services in the UK the plug has been pulled and the service has been withdrawn. 

The last bus ran yesterday. 
I have no idea how some of the elderly locals are now going to manage without the bus as it was a real lifeline for a lot of people.

 One lady I was talking to told me that she is now selling her house and moving because she no longer drives a car and just won't be able to get by without that bus.

 Anne and I took one of the last buses to use the route to travel to Gloucester.... We visited the cathedral and the shops and then wandered over to the docks for a look around and also have a spot of lunch.
 It was over twenty five years since I had last visited the docks area and I must say that a good job has been done in tidying and smartening the whole area up.

 Since we have been staying here I have taken quite a few photographs of the forest area and beyond which I have not shared on the blog yet...
 Over the next few posts I will share them with you but in the meantime below are some of the images I took around Gloucester docks... 







Monday, 26 August 2019

You don't get this at one of the club sites .....

Well the weather has improved a lot ..another burst of summer just in time for the bank holiday....
 I have managed now to get out on the bike and enjoy some of the Forest of Dean from the saddle of my Felt Z1....

 As mentioned before.. this year we have spent more time than we usually do staying at small private sites rather than club sites.   
The personal touch can make a big difference to a camping site ... 

Here is something that you don't get when staying at any of the sites run by either of the two main UK camping clubs....... 
Since we have been staying here the site's owner John who is 82 years of age has popped around  a number of times to give us fresh fruit and vegetables from his own garden.... 

Take into consideration that a pitch only costs £14 a night including electric and it really shows what a gem of a site this is...
A club site at this time of year would be charging us over twice that amount......

By cutting the number of 'Club pitch nights' we have had this summer in half we have reduced our site fees for the season by a considerable amount. 

Private sites can be more hit and miss in terms of quality of pitches and facilities but the savings can make it worthwhile plus you might get some lovely fresh produce to enjoy as well..  

Campsite produce from John's garden

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Not the Best......

Since my last post the weather remains very unlike summer...wet and windy. 'Not the best' is putting it very mildly..... 

Last weekend Anne's eighteen month old grandson was brought up by his parents  to visit us. 
The weather was bad throughout the weekend but we were not going to let that dampen our spirits as we were determined to find various things to do..... 

They had all booked into a hotel in Monmouth which is only about six miles from our campsite.... 
On the Saturday we arranged to meet them at  Norchard which is the centre for the Dean Forest Railway. 

Anne's grandson like a lot of youngsters has a real thing about trains so we figured that a couple of hours getting on and off of different trains would be a good way to use up part of the day...

As it was we were able to fill up the Saturday and on the Sunday we were able to manage a walk in the woods as well as yet another train ride at a different location. 

The area here has quite a lot to occupy youngsters so even though we might be asking if this is summer or autumn weather wise we were still able to enjoy ourselves and keep him occupied.

 Just a few images below around the Dean Forest Railway.....

(Talking of images I will be starting to post monochrome photographs again at my Aura of Past Shadows blog from late October onwards.... 
I've posted one of my new monochrome images recently as an introduction... Pop over to the blog and check it out. There is a link in the side bar...) 




Sunday, 11 August 2019

A New Pitch for August....

We have now left Hereford and have settled into a new Pitch at a adult only site in the Forest of Dean for the rest of August ...
 We arrived here last Monday and we will be here until the 2nd of September.

 The sharp eyed amongst you would have noticed that we had our awning up during our stay at Hereford....

 We had tried to put the new air tube into the awning when we were at the Blackmore site. 
We struggled to get it fitted and in the end gave up and put it down to Cameron at Automotive Leisure sending us what I thought was the wrong air pole.

 We put the canopy and windbreak up instead but all the time we were at Blackmore I thought about how we had tried to fit it and the more I thought about it the more I became convinced that it was the right airpole after all.

 We arrived at Hereford and I put my theory to the test and after a lot more struggling with it we finally managed to fit it.... 
So that was great and we thought that we would then have the use of the awning for the rest of the summer. 

......BUT....when we arrived here in the Forest of Dean because of the steep slope in two directions of our pitch it became obvious that we wouldn't be able to use the awning because the slope would cause the rear airpole to cut across the edge of the caravan door.

 One of the drawbacks of an air awning is that you can't adjust the height of the legs as you can with a normal poled model. 

  So the end result is that we are back to our canopy set up again for this pitch.
 In normal summer weather the canopy and windbreak can be nicer than the awning but since we have been here the weather has been horrendous with strong winds and heavy rain. 

I have not managed to even get out on my bike since we have been here and I don't want to lose too much of my fitness as when I do finally manage a ride the routes in this area can be a bit challenging. 

Below are some general shots around our site area including a defibrillator which since I had my heart diagnosis we always lookout for now. ....

Hopefully we will have some better and more interesting shots for you when this weather improves ...