Friday, 29 April 2016

All set up.....

As I mentioned in my last post, it was difficult moving on from our last site after the wonderful time that we had there.

On Tuesday morning we were all packed up and then hit the road..... after an uneventful drive we soon arrived at our latest touring site near Okehampton.....

Ready for the road.... Leaving the site near Yeovil
 We stayed at our current site about the same time last year.... because we liked it so much we decided to have a return visit....

The site is really well thought out and Tim & Rebecca who own it are a very nice couple who work really hard to maintain it to the highest standard..

The day after we arrived they were busy with their daughter, erecting a 'Glamping' bell tent next to the small lake...
I took a number of images in sequence as they prepared the site with a tractor/digger and then put up the tent...

The final image was taken from our awning looking out at the erected bell tent and part of our own lakeside view....

Site prepared and getting the tent ready

Starting to put up the bell tent....

Going up......

Going up......

Almost up.....

All done...... Pennants around the entrance....

View of lake & bell tent from our awning......

Monday, 25 April 2016

Time to move on......

Tomorrow Anne and I are heading back down to Devon for a couple of weeks....
We have had a really good time here in Somerset and we will certainly be coming back again sometime in the future.....

Since we have been here we have had a number of friends and family come and visit us which has made the time simply fly by..... I can't believe that it was three weeks ago today that we arrived here...

We have managed to get out walking in the area and I have been able to indulge my passion for cycling along some of the lovely quiet roads and lanes around the lovely Somerset Levels......

Of course the main reason for visiting the area was to attend the wedding of Jon Joynes who was in the 10in10 cycling team back in 2013....
Jon had asked me to be his Best Man and I was highly honoured  to accept and the wedding took place on Saturday.....

Over the years my love of cycling has allowed me to meet and make many new friends and my friendship with Jon was born out of our common interest in spinning the pedals.....

Jon's parents John & Brenda as well as other family members and friends made Anne and I very much part of their 'family' and we could not have been made more welcome.....
We have just had the most memorable weekend which makes moving on tomorrow all the more difficult.....

I would like to wish Jon & Leigh...the 'new' Mr & Mrs Joynes all the very best for their future life together.....

Below I have posted just a few shots taken during our wonderful stay here.....
Standing stones at a nearby Country Park

Out Cycling around the Somerset Levels

A nearby Manor House

Gateway to a local Apple Orchard

There were too many wonderful people at Jon's wedding to show in a photo...so here is a shot taken in the bar..

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Back on the Bike....

Since we have been here in Somerset I have started to get out on the bike again following my hospitalization a few weeks ago.....
Cycling in this area is pretty good if you like your terrain mainly flat.... 
For a person getting back on the bike after a spell in hospital 'flat' is good.....

Mind you although it is called the 'Somerset Levels' there are some pretty good hills around the outer edges for someone (like me) who has to have a hill or two in the ride to make it all worthwhile.....
In fact our campsite is on the top of a hill so at the end of a ride I get to indulge my need for a bit of an ascent......

The last time I was riding in this area was back in October 2013...
Jon Joynes was on the team who rode the 10in10 to Lake Como with me earlier that year....
In the October he invited me for a ride around the levels with him.... during the ride we dropped in at his parents house where his dad (John) showed me his Mercian bike.....

The bike was in need of a lot of TLC and since then John has had it completely renovated and rebuilt by those nice people at Mercian up in Derby.....

The other day during my latest ride I dropped in again at John's house... after a coffee and a catch-up he showed me the bike again.... what a transformation since I last saw it....
This bike is beautiful......
Judge for yourself....
John's beautiful totally restored Mercian Olympic - My Tifosi is in the background

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Now in Somerset.....

We have been at our latest touring site for ten days...
Now in Somerset we are located near the small town of South Petherton which is not far from Yeovil...
Since we have been here we have already had visitors...

Two days after we arrived my daughter and her husband with my two grandsons spent the day with us... 
It was good to see them after our five month stay in Devon over the winter...

On Friday Peter Calcutt (Backpackers Club) rode over on his touring bike from his home near Wimborne....He spent the weekend here returning home on Monday...
On the Saturday we were all joined by Mike & Chris McEnnerney (Backpackers Club) Their plan was to camp over night and return home (again to Wimborne) on the Sunday....

The Saturday evening was pretty cold and it saw everyone inside Eva the Eriba enjoying the warmth of the cosy caravan with a beer in hand and putting the world to rights....

Some images below from our first weekend at the site.....

Mike and Chris having a problem with their tent... Peter looks on.
 Mike and Chris had a minor problem putting up their Nallo 3GT tent....
They have recently had some minor repairs carried out on the tent...they had the elastic inner tent hangers replaced.
This meant that the inner tent and the outer tent (fly sheet) had been separated....
Normally the inner and outer are left attached but since getting the tent back from the repairers they hadn't had a chance to re-attach the two sections... It is always more of a hassle doing this in the field with a wind and showers around.....
Tent up..Job done!!  Peter's Akto tent can be seen on the left...
Peter preparing for the return ride to Wimborne

The weather over the weekend was not very good...Cold and rain....
Monday morning was just the same and it was a very damp Peter who set off on his return ride....
It was great that everyone had come out to see us and a few more memories made........

Thursday, 31 March 2016

One complete year.......

It was exactly one year ago today that Anne and I started this Eriba touring adventure......

It has been a bit of a steep learning curve even though I have spent most of my life tent camping.... There were lots of things about caravan touring that we have needed to get up to speed with.

One year of non stop caravan living has taught us a lot and we are still as enthusiastic about the whole thing as when we started.
Looking forward to our second year is just as exciting as it was a year ago looking forward to our first year.....

It is surprising how little a person really needs in order to live their life and be happy.... 
One thing that I have really taken on board is how refreshing it can be to step outside of the constant gadget upgrade pressure that people in modern society feel the need to comply with.....

We have a couple of smart phones that are both a couple of years old and also a small notebook computer.... currently they all work well and do the job that we require of them and we have no plans to replace them until they actually start to fail,,,,
The same applies to my bike computer/GPS which must be five years old now but does everything that I need... My cameras are the same....

By choosing to adopt a slightly alternative lifestyle for a while it has enabled us to take a step back and see the stupidity of a lot of modern society.....
I now tend to turn my phone to silent most of the time.... When we are out and about in the countryside the last thing that is needed is the sound of a mobile phone interrupting the birdsong....

Don't get me wrong....I am not against modern gadgets, but I do think that people should keep it all under control. Many times we have visited a pub or restaurant and there is a whole family at another table all staring at the screens of their personal gadgets.... No conversation just looking at a screen. It all seems pretty crazy to me....

When I was a kid I was brought up by my parents not to read at the table.... pity that in these so called modern times the same rules don't apply to phones..tablets...etc...

A number of people have asked us why we decided to start touring full time at our age..... well the image below answers that pretty well I think...which route would you take?
Which route? A no brainer in my book.
Oh..by the way.... we hit the road again moving to another location on Monday....

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Making the most of it.....

As Good Friday was forecast as being the only decent day weather wise over the Easter weekend we decided that we would need to make the most of it......

We set off on a circular walk from the site up to the car park at the top of Pork hill where we treated ourselves to an ice cream.....
From there we headed off across the moor towards Vixen Tor following the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat for part of the way...

The moor is still very wet in places which made the going a bit slow but eventually we got within touching distance of Vixen Tor.....


Vixen Tor
After Vixen we then headed in the general direction of Pew Tor... 
About halfway between Vixen and Pew we came across some 19th century granite workings called Heckwood Quarry where there are some very interesting  large pieces of dressed granite and after climbing up above the workings onto Heckwood Tor we found a lovely looking balancing rock.... it almost appeared as if the balancing rock was floating above the rock beneath it.....
The balancing rock
We stopped nearby for a lunch stop with a great view looking back in the direction of Vixen Tor and then continued in the direction of Pew Tor again......
As we approached the Tor we headed slightly to the right hand shoulder rather than over the top and this route eventually brought us out on the lane that would lead us back to our campsite.....

I'm glad that we made the most of the weather as today we are back to wet and windy weather as predicted in the forecast.......

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Can't be away for too long......

It looks like that my recovery from my recent hospital emergency is still on target.....
I am feeling so much better and will be back on the bike from Tuesday of next week....
I have no more pain around my lungs and feel totally improved from the way I felt just a couple of weeks ago....

Mind you being away from the site whilst in hospital has shown me that you can't spend too long off site because things can happen pretty quickly.....
In the short time that I was in hospital these 'Ready Camp Tents' in the photo below were installed on the site......
Ready Camp Tents recently installed on site..
These were installed on the area of the site called the Terraces which is where Anne and I were pitched during August last year.....
These two Ready Camp tents have taken the space that used to be set aside for campervans (4 piches) and they have certainly spoiled the view that we had from our pitch of last year....

These 'Glamping' tents are fully fitted out with tables and chairs and fridge.. cooker.. etc.
They are aimed at people who are prepared to pay a lot of money to just turn up and not have to bother with any setting up..or packing up..
It's not my idea of camping but there is obviously a good demand for them or the C&CC would not be investing in them.....

The eagle eyed among you will notice that there is no rain and the sun is shining with a clear blue sky....... During the depths of our wet and windy winter I never thought that this good weather would ever return......