Sunday, 14 July 2019

An Open Door...... Double Take!



Since we have been staying here near the Malverns I have cycled a number of times to Tewkesbury and Anne and I have also driven there so we could have a proper look around the town.....

The stand out place in the town for us was the Abbey which we both thought was stunning.
It was a really interesting and historic  place that gave me lots of subject matter for my monochrome photography.

I am planning to ressurect my photography blog 'Aura of Past Shadows" a little later in the year and the abbey gave me some good b/w images.

One of the other things that grabbed my attention was a front door on a terraced house in the town.....
The owner had painted the image of an open door leading to a garden on the front door...it really did need a double take...
The image of that door is shown below ......
the other image is a shot of the wonderful Abbey...


Sunday, 7 July 2019

Grow Your Own Dog.....

The jazz festival that I mentioned in my last post took place at Upton on Severn.
In lots of ways the town is almost a step back to the 1950s.
The high street has lots of small independent shops with no multi nationals that we could see.

There are a number of pubs in the town and during the jazz festival they all seemed to host various bands. We went back again earlier this week to have a better look around.

One of the things that really captured our attention was the large dog near the tourist information office...
It looks like a large Old English Sheepdog but it is in fact a plant of some kind.....

It could well catch on...

No need to go to the breeding kennels for your next dog just grow your own.......

Below is a photo of the local garage...usually this style of building would have been modernised but thankfully this one is original and has been maintained like that....

 Here is the high street...... This too hasn't changed much over the years.
 View of the Severn from the pub garden where we had lunch.....
 Finally a picture of the town museum....


Sunday, 30 June 2019

Malvern....Still No Awning...

Last Monday we moved on from our site at Cropredy and are now at the Blackmore CCC site close to the Malvern hills.
We have stayed here before but that was about ten years ago and on that visit we were camping in a tent.

Having received a replacement air tube for our awning we were planning on putting the awning up on our arrival here.
We got the awning out of it's bag and unboxed the new tube but after attempting to insert the tube in the outer zipped pole tube it became obvious that we had been sent the wrong tube.....

So we are still using the canopy and windscreen (wind break) set up that we have been using since our stay at Salisbury.

A quick call to Cameron at Automotive Leisure and Cameron admitted it was his fault...
He said that he had been sent the complete set and had obviously sent the front arch out to us instead of the rear as we had requested.

Unfortunately there are issues with the CCC receiving parcels on behalf of campers so we will have to wait till we get to our next site in a couple of weeks time and get it sent there....
Still with the hot weather we have had this past week the canopy has probably been a better set up than an awning anyway..... 


Current set up...great in hot weather..
 Since we have been here I've been to a Jazz Festival  at Upton on Severn as well as getting out on the bike in an area that I've not cycled in before and we have also been out walking some of the many footpaths that there are surrounding the campsite....

This coming week we are planning a trip to Worcester which is a place that neither of us have ever been to before.
View of part of the Malvern hills on today's walk.
This past weekend the site has been rammed with a lot of people trying to take advantage of the good weather with a weekend camping trip.

Apparently 77 units packed up and left the site at lunchtime today. Mind you as they were leaving more units were arriving although not quite as many as had left......

Tomorrow I am planning a cycle ride down towards Gloucester so I am now going to head off to bed for a good nights sleep in preparation for the cycling effort...

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Banbury or Eccles....

Wherever you travel to in the UK you can usually find somewhere that will sell you an Eccles cake....
I don't dislike Eccles cakes but I have always had a preference for Banbury cakes...

It must be said that they are very similar.
They are both made from a flaky pastry with a spiced fruit filling although the Banbury cakes are more oval in shape whereas the Eccles are round and deeper.

But I feel that it is in the eating where there is the biggest difference....
The Banbury cakes to my mind have a more spicy and nicer texture in the mouth.

I have always liked them but over the years they seem to be more and more difficult to find in the shops as I said most places will sell Eccles cakes but very rarely will they have Banbury cakes.

A lot of the people working in cake shops don't even seem to know what they are.

As our current location is only a few miles away from Banbury I was able to find some for sale but even Tesco in Banbury stocks Eccles cakes but not the nicer Banbury cakes...Shame on you Tesco. !!!

I found my beloved Banburys in a shop selling sweets and a few types of cakes but I just don't understand why they are so difficult to obtain...after all they have been made in the region to secret recipes since 1586...
Maybe that's the reason....the recipe is so secret that not enough people know how to make them.....


Thursday, 6 June 2019

Aviation Interference and a New Location....

We have moved on from the Salisbury site and are now at a private site in North Oxfordshire close to the border with Warwickshire.
It is a very nice site that seems to be a mix of residential and touring pitches very similar to the site in Devon where we spent last winter....

All the grass around the site is neatly cut and the hedges are well trimmed. The toilets and showers are clean and tidy and there is a small information room with lots of ideas for places to visit.
There is also a well equipped laundry room.

All in all the site has everything that we look for in a site and best of all it is cheaper than a site operated by either of the two UK clubs...

We are less than a mile from the village of Cropredy where Fairport Convention hold their annual music festival.
Unfortunately that takes place in early August so we will miss that event.


Intrestingly we only heard of this site during a chance conversation with another camper at the CCC Moreton site back in April....
They come here each year in order to attend the music festival.

While we were at Salisbury something happened that hadn't happened at anytime during our previous four years of touring.
When I tried to operate our motor-mover it wouldn't work properly...it just kept jerking and then turning off...

I mentioned this to Cameron at Automotive Leisure and he said that it sounded as if it was interference from something that was transmitting on a similar wavelength as our motor-mover hand control.

He suggested that when we leave the site if we were still getting the interference to try operating it with the controller held just inside the caravan door...
Apparently the steel frame of the caravan would help to shield the transmission from my hand control from the transmission from whatever was interfering with it...

So that's what we did with Anne shouting directions and me operating the mover with my arm held through the caravan door effectively driving the caravan blind.
We managed to get the caravan hitched up with this method but were happy when we got here to find that all was working again as it should.

There was an airfield not far from the Salisbury site and there was a lot of small airplane activity and it seems likely that was the source of the interference....

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Awning Problem & Tour Series.......

We arrived here at Salisbury c&cc site a week ago today.....
We had good dry weather for the journey here which was only about 23 miles anyway.....

We had lunch and started to put our awning up but it wasn't long before we noticed a problem...a bulge had appeared on the rear tube... Closer investigation showed that the air tube itself was intact but the webbing tube that it fitted into had failed along about a foot of  stitching....
We then had to take the awning down and put up the Isabella canopy and also the Isabella windscreen that we also recently purchased.....

We had some hot weather over the bank holiday and this combination seemed to work quite well...
I have included an image of the setup below....... It's quick to put up and just as quick to take down so as an alternative to a full awning I can recommend the combo......

On the Thursday evening we walked into Salisbury to watch the Ovo Energy Tour Series city centre cycle racing.....
I was keen to watch the Women's Brother UK Tifosi team....
As my winter/audax bike is a Tifosi I thought that it would be good to go along and support  them. The team was leading the series and I am pleased to say they also won the race here in Salisbury...
Following the women's race we watched the men's race which I have to admit was much faster than the women... Having said that I would have struggled to keep up with the women anyway.....

Isabella canopy and windscreen.







On Friday we drove back over to Wimborne for my appointment with my cardiologist.
She spelled out the current situation with my Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and the risks I run if I take part in any form of competitive sport... This obviously includes sportives and audax events and she repeated the warning about not going over 85% of my max heart rate.
She has also arranged for me to have a treadmill test in September as well as counselling sessions prior to having a gene test....

While we were near Bournemouth we popped over to Automotive  Leisure with the awning airpole....
A new one will have to come from France and then be sent on to us at a campsite....it will be interesting to see how long that takes.....


Thursday, 9 May 2019

A Week of Electrical Activity......




Yes that's what it has been ....a week of electrical activity and not all of it was welcome...

Let me start with the good activity....
Today JD and I had planned to meet up for a cycle ride but the forecast weather wise was not good...indeed as I looked out of the window just after waking up it started to rain.
A quick call to JD and we had come up with another plan...I would go over to his house and try out his E-bike.
JD has been on at me for months to give the bike a quick spin and today seemed like a good opportunity as long as we could dodge the rain......

Now JD's E-bike is not your everyday model it is a top of the range bike and it is built like a tank...The bike is so tank like that JD calls it Rommel...
You can see what it looks like in the images above. It must weigh at least double what my own touring bike does and that like most tourers could not be described as light weight.

My experience on the bike today proves that it is a fun machine....before I knew it with hardly any effort on the pedals I was up to 16.5mph and that was into a head wind and that for me is it's shortcoming.....it is too easy to ride.

I didn't need to put much effort into riding it...I didn't feel that I was exercising at all and for me that spoilt the ride...
To my mind cycling is all about the simplicity of physical effort and I felt that the simple pleasure of exercise was being stolen by the bike....

Don't get me wrong...there is a place for the E-bike for certain people with physical or medical problems that still want to get out and ride but in my cycling world it's best use would be as a pacing machine to help me train faster on hills....

The ride on JD's Rommel was the fun part of this weeks 'electrical activity'.
The not so fun part occurred on Monday evening...

Anne and I had enjoyed a very nice day with a stroll in the woods doing a spot of bird watching and not a lot else.... I was planning to ride the Felt on the Tuesday so was giving it a check over when I noticed that my heart rate had increased dramatically....
It didn't seem to be dropping back down so I put on my heart monitor and it was recording a rate of 154bpm.

This last happened in 2014 and ended up with me in a hospital operating theatre......
We waited for an hour and a half and with no reduction in bpm I ended up at A&E....

The same as last time there was no Triage for me as I was taken straight through to 'majors' as it was deemed a life threatening situation... Luckily for me as I was being attended to the rate started to fall on it's own....
Anyway they decided to keep me in overnight and the following morning I saw a cardiologist who was familiar with my condition diagnosed last year which is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

The fast heart rate is a form of atrial fibrillation which is a bit like an electrical short circuit in my heart...
After an examination and ECG it was decided that I could go home....

I asked him if I could still ride my bike to which he replied "yes no problem at all".
I then asked him should I be considering an electric bike...
he said  "a bit early for that yet, an ordinary bike will be better for you so long as you don't push things to the extreme".

One thing that I can say is that riding JD's E-bike was the more fun form of electrical activity of the two.. ..

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Ready to Ride.......

Here we have a view of my Felt Z1 all prepared and ready to ride.....
The photo was taken from inside my new Clairval EuroVent Twin Air Awning looking out of the main window on our current pitch view.....

The day after we arrived on site I took the Tifosi over to my daughter's house to store it until the autumn and to bring the Felt out of it's winter hibernation.
I then went down to Samways & Son the bike shop in Wimborne to have a new cassette fitted.

Great service as the part was fitted there and then while I waited....
As I was looking around the shop I noticed a bike that I know very well...
Indeed I have cycled alongside this bike for hundreds of miles including from Gibraltar to the UK...
It was my cycling buddy John Donoghue's touring bike that was in the shop for a major service including new chain...cassette... cables...mudguards and more....

One thing that I noticed that I really liked was some new Fizik bar tape that John had had fitted to his tourer...
As I know that the bar tape on my own tourer needs replacing plus the fact that Samways had this tape at a special price I just had to buy some too...
It was great to get out on the Felt again...it really is a lovely bike to ride and I know that I will have some great rides on it throughout this coming summer......
As I write this a new set of tyres for the Felt are winging their way to me for fitting early next week and that should be the final touch for my summer rides........



Thursday, 25 April 2019

Ready to move on.....

Tomorrow we leave our Moreton site and head just 25/30 miles to Verwood on the edge of the New Forest.
I can't believe that 25 days have gone so quickly. Mind you since we have been here we have been busy with hospital appointments.... visits here on the site from friends and family as well as picking up our new awning and our visit to the social event at Automotive Leisure.

After we get to Verwood a visit to the bike shop is needed as I want a new cassette on my Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels as I plan on storing my winter bike the Tifosi and bringing my summer bike the Felt out of it's winter hibernation....

Last year I had a new chain fitted on the Felt but didn't bother on changing the cassette which didn't appear to have much wear but that proved to be a bit of an error as the gear change wasn't perfect afterwards...nothing serious but I noticed it and decided that it was more worn than it had initially appeared.....

This will be my first visit to this particular bike shop following the closure of the shop that I have used for more than ten years....the owner of the shop decided to retire so I can't complain as he had earned a good rest and they were good enough to give me the details of this new shop (to me)which is another well established family owned concern...

After the Easter break the weather has changed with winds and wet weather forecast...
With that in mind we took down our new awning on Tuesday as there is nothing worse than packing away a wet awning...
We then put up our new Isabella Shadow Canopy to try it out...

We set it up with a 'v' shape in the middle as heavy rain was forecast that night and the 'v' set up would avoid the rain pooling....the next morning the forecast delivered and the rain didn't pool on the canopy roof just flowing down off the front as planned....

We have now taken down the canopy which takes less than 5mins to put up or take down and are ready to move on........




Sunday, 21 April 2019

Contrasts......

We'll you didn't need to have some sort of second sight to have predicted that the campsite here would be jam packed for the Easter break...

Most Easter campers arrived on Thursday with a few more turning up on Good Friday...

With the campsite busy our plan was to go out walking on the Saturday and Sunday to areas where there would be very few people and just a few miles from where we were camped...
What we wanted was a real contrast to the temporary small town that had built up around Eva the Eriba....

A few miles up the road we found it...


All pitched neat and tidy but a small town just the same.

Not another person to be seen.....

Lovely bluebell woods..... Still nobody else around

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A Friendly Visitor...

Last weekend we had a visitor who came and camped for a couple of nights next to Eva the Eriba...
It was my friend Peter Calcutt....

Over the years Peter and I have had lots of adventures together.... Some of our many backpacking trips include the Pennine Way and various routes in Wales and many more wild area routes too many to mention...

Then there are the many cycling trips we have had together including a couple of enjoyable touring trips in France....

When Peter was here over the weekend we managed to fit in a nice cycle ride up on to the Purbeck Ridge near Corfe...the views from the ridge always make the uphill sections worth the extra effort required.

While he was here we spent the evenings reminiscing about our past adventures including the night we spent in a haunted bothy...

Since Anne and I have been travelling in Eva Peter has visited us in Devon... Dorset... Somerset...Suffolk and even while we were pitched on a site in Lincolnshire.

The tent that Peter used for his weekend camp with us which can be seen in the photo is a Hilleberg Akto which has been one of the best backpacking tents available over many years....

There are some tents that are lighter and others that might offer a bit more space but the Akto is a very reliable shelter that has been popular with backpackers for year round use since it was first introduced in 1995..

For many years it was the gold standard for solo all season expedition quality tents...
I still own an Akto and will probably use it on the cycle trip that I am planning in Europe next year...

If you look at the background in the photo of Peter with his bike and tent you will see a mainly empty camping field.....
One thing that you can be sure of is that it will not be empty this Easter weekend....
The campsite will be crammed full..

Indeed .....caravans ..motorhomes..campervans and tents have been arriving all day and tomorrow even more will arrive.

It could well be camping hell......
I will let you know how we get on.



Thursday, 11 April 2019

AL Social Event...

Last Saturday Automotive Leisure had their annual social event....

We have been to this event every year since we have had our Eriba.
It is always good to meet up with other owners and exchange ideas and knowledge about these quirky caravans....
It is also good to see the latest models and layouts although I have to say that we thought long and hard about which layout to go for before we bought our caravan and have not found one yet that would improve on our choice.

As well as Eribas and food and drink there was also music to lull us all into a spending state of mind....
Well it worked because I actually spent some more money (bearing in mind that I had purchased a new awning just 4 days earlier).

No I didn't buy a new caravan but I did buy an Isabella Shadow Touring Sun Canopy for those short stays when we don't want to put up our awning....
I am planning to use it when we leave this location and move on to the next campsite because three days after moving from here the caravan is booked in back at Automotive Leisure for it's annual service... 

I will post a picture of the canopy during that first use... In the meantime you will have to make do with some images taken at the social event.....
Stripped back Eriba showing the steel frame

r
A Red Rockabilly model.

Soft music to lull everyone into spending mode....

Monday, 8 April 2019

New Awning......

The day after we arrived at Moreton in Dorset one of the first things that we did was to drive over to Automotive Leisure to pick up our new awning.....
I had arranged a deal with Cameron the sales manager on an ex display Clairval EuroVent Twin Air awning...
Although it was ex display it had only been displayed indoors in the showroom so had never been subjected to any weather of any kind......

The first awning we purchased when we bought the caravan was a Clairval Twin the only difference was that it was a standard model with fibreglass poles..... That awning got destroyed in a storm in the spring of 2018 and we really liked it...
We liked the material it was made from which was a Vinyl / PVC type of material.... This was very hardwearing and was very easy to keep clean with just a wipe over with a damp cloth...

That first awning had lasted for two summers and three winters of continuous use....If if it hadn't been for an error of mine I am pretty sure that it would have lasted far longer...

This new awning is an inflatable version of that first awning......
We like air awnings even though we had a bad experience with the Kampa awning that lasted for only two summers.  

The destruction of our first awning was partially down to my error... It was supplied initially with rubber rings which were used to peg the awning down and worked like a damper in strong winds...
As they perished over time I replaced them with the rubber ladder style instead of the plain rubber rings that were supplied initially... This was because I couldn't get hold of any replacements..
This proved to be a huge mistake because the ladder style had almost no stretch in them at all this meant that there was virtually no damping effect whatsoever and the result of that was that all the strain was put on the seams which in the end caused the fabric to rip.....
I won't ever use the ladder style of pegging attachments again......

Anyway we went over to Automotive Leisure took down the awning and packed it into the bag then into the car and after paying for it came back to the site and errected it in the afternoon.

Cameron had allowed us to take it down so that we could understand how it all fitted together which proved to be a good idea due to the instructions being only supplied in French.....

One mistake that we did make due to erring on the cautious side was that we only inflated it to 5.00psi....
That night we had very heavy rain which meant that due to the awning being under inflated water pooled  on the  roof which eventually caused the awning to collapse.....

We have now corrected that and it is now inflated to 7.5psi which has made all the difference....

So what does our new awning look like? Below is an image taken after we had altered the pressure in the tubes.....


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Start of our Fifth Touring Season.....

On Monday April 1st ( April Fools Day ) we left the Dartmoor Caravan Park where we have spent the winter and headed back up into Dorset....

We had really enjoyed our stay in Devon and made new friends at the site.... The location of the site suited us better than the Tavistock C&CC site did as it was closer to where Anne's son lives which meant it was ideal for Anne to carry out 'Granny duties' with her year old Grandson....

It suited my cycling better as well as I was able to have a couple of miles warm up before hitting the first major hills....
Devon is full of hills but it was nice to have a couple of miles of almost flat roads on which to warm up on before having to put any big effort through the pedals... 

The site was a privately owned site and Peter the owner has spent a lot of money over the years in creating a gem of a site.. 
The improvement work is still going on too with new edging stones and gravel being laid on all the hardstandings.... See images below..
We loved the site and we have booked again for next winter...
Peter popped down to our pitch to see us off as did a number of other campers...

It's an interesting point that some of our favourite sites have been the smaller private ones...We will be making a point this year of seeking out more of these smaller and privately owned camp sites...
They are more economical to stay on amongst other things.....
For instance an EHU on a C&CC site will cost about £35pw...typically we pay about £10pw at the smaller private sites...

Having said that we are currently staying at a C&CC site at Moreton... We have stayed here a number of times before as it's good easy access for me to attend the hospital in both Bournemouth and Poole for my regular scans etc and access to the Purbeck hills is also good for my cycling.. 



April 1st 2015 was when we started this fulltiming adventure and we had no idea how we would get on or indeed how long we would be doing it for...
As we start this fifth summer touring season we can both say that we really love the way of life...It seems like the more we do it the more we are enjoying it.     


Sunday, 24 March 2019

Spring Clean....

After a week of gale force winds the weather finally settled down at the beginning of this past week.....  During the gales we had the pop top roof closed for eight days which was the longest period since we have been fulltiming that we have had the roof locked down....

Last Monday we awoke to a nice dry and sunny day with just a hint of a breeze so Anne and I decided that with not long left until we leave this site we should get some spring cleaning done...... 

 Anne worked on the inside of Eva while I did the exterior....
The dimple finish of our Eriba can make it a little more difficult to clean properly but I have found that Fenwick's Caravan Cleaner seems to work well in removing all the dirt that accumulates on the caravan roof and body over the winter...
Having said that, this year there didn't seem to be too much muck on the caravan....the fact that we have not been pitched near any over hanging tree branches has probably helped to stop it getting too dirty... Also all the rain and wind of the recent weeks has helped to wash off any dirt that had accumulated....





After I had cleaned the van with the caravan cleaner I used Fenwicks Bobby Dazzler to rinse off all the shampoo. The Bobby Dazzler leaves a lovely clean and shiny surface which helps the rain to just bead off the van's body and roof...

I receive no incentive from Fenwick's for the mention of their products it's just that I have found them to work really well with Eva's dimple finish.... 
The caravan gets a full clean twice a year like this...Spring and Autumn....

During the summer while we are touring around I use a waterless wash and wax cleaner which helps to remove traffic film...dead flies...tree sap etc. It's quick and easy to use when I don't want to be spending more time than I need to on cleaning.  However for a deep clean the Fenwicks seems to be the best product I've found......



Sunday, 10 March 2019

Return of winter and schoolboy errors....

We'll I was right not to trust the spring like weather that we enjoyed a couple of weeks ago....we have now been plunged straight back into winter weather.
Very strong gale force winds.... Lots of rain and now very cold again.....

Before the weather changed and we were still enjoying the spring like weather I was out on one of my regular Dartmoor cycling loops when I had a front wheel puncture.
After negotiating a 40mph downhill section into a river valley I crossed the bridge and then had a two mile up hill section of about 8% to pull me back out of the valley again.

Just as I got to the top of the climb I heard a sharp pop and the dreaded hissing sound of escaping air.....
The moment it happened my first thought was how lucky I was that it hadn't happened whilst I was zipping downhill at 40mph.... Front wheel punctures can be quite dangerous and difficult to control on fast descents.

My second bit of luck was that there was a bench just 100yds ahead of me...somewhere nice and comfortable to sit down and mend the puncture I thought.

 I removed the front wheel and took off the tyre and inner tube and then took out the spare inner tube that I keep under the saddle.
It was then that I realised that the spare tube would not be any good with the wheel.... The pro-lite wheels that the bike is currently fitted with have quite a deep rim and the tube had a short valve....this if fitted would barely be long enough to go through the deep section rim let alone have enough valve showing to attach my mini pump to in order to inflate the tyre again.

School boy error number one.... I can't believe that I have been carrying that inner tube around for at least a couple of years when it was in fact useless as a spare on this bike with those deep section rims.....

Oh well I thought I will just have to repair the puncture instead...
At first I couldn't find where it was...I finally spotted it on the inside of the tube.

(It had been caused because a bike shop mechanic when replacing a spoke had just made a hole in the rim tape to fit the spoke nipple and had not made good or replaced with new rim tape so the tube had been rubbing on the edge of the spoke hole.)

Anyway...now for schoolboy error number two....when I checked out my puncture repair kit I found that the patch glue was rock hard..totally useless.... I also wasn't carrying any self adhesive patches as an alternative so I was well and truly stumped....

The fact is that over the past ten years I have only ever had two punctures when out riding. One big blowout on my touring bike fully loaded. That was a rear wheel puncture which caused the rim to also damage the tyre.....and once on the Felt which again was a rear wheel...

Because I had never had a puncture when out riding the Tifosi I had neglected to check that tube and puncture kit were all ok.

As I have said schoolboy errors... caused by complacency I suppose. Just goes to show that even with 60+ years of riding under your wheels you can still make stupid errors..
I was pretty embarrassed having to phone Anne and having to ask her to come out and rescue me...

Moving on.....
Below are a couple of images taken from inside Eva the Eriba during the current return to wintry weather...
Also the last image is of a Rolls Royce Dart engine taken at a 1940s themed cafe at the nearby ex RAF Harrowbeer about a mile from our campsite.
The airfield was operational between 1941 to 1945 and was under the control of 10 Group Fighter Command... (Lots more information on the internet if you are interested)
The aerodrome was built from rubble from Plymouth after the blitz...

The cafe has a small museum attached to it and the 1940s theme even runs to the cups and saucers that your tea is poured into...interesting and quirky with 1940s music played in the background....we loved it!









Sunday, 24 February 2019

Who would have thought it......?

Yes...who would have thought it.... Here at the Dartmoor Caravan Park the good weather that we have been enjoying this past week has seen me actually sitting out sunbathing in February.

Tee shirt and shorts has been the camp uniform of choice and when out on my cycle rides I have been wearing my summer cycling kit...

Normally I wouldn't be wearing this sort of attire until at the earliest April....
Apparently this sort of weather is what we would expect to have during mid to late May...

Unfortunately the weather forecast has just informed me that this brilliant weather is due to change a bit on this coming Thursday until then I will continue to make the most of it with a couple of good rides planned for both tomorrow and Wednesday....

Below are some pictures taken around the site and out on my bike over the past few days....

I hope the weather has been good wherever you are.....



At Burrator Reservoir 

Sign at the entrance to our current site.

Near St John's church at Horrabridge

Our pitch earlier today..It really was as warm as it looks.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

A Hint of an Early Spring ?

Over the past couple of weeks we seem to have been enjoying a hint of an early spring......
Now I am not someone who is fooled by nature's habit of kidding us into believing that winter is on the way out and that spring has arrived early.... However I do think that when the weather is good you need to get the bike out and make the most of the good weather when it's here and that is just what I have been doing....

Not all of Dartmoor consists of wide open areas of wild  moorland there are lots of narrow country lanes  bordered on each side by hedges that take you from small village to small hamlet...
One of these hamlets is Sampford Spiney. I used to cycle there when we stayed at the Tavistock C&CC site so it seemed a good place to head for on a recent ride...

Near Sampford Spiney.



A great lunch stop


After riding up the very steep drag of a hill from Horrabridge up towards Sampford Spiney there is a very nice spot at a junction of lanes surrounded by trees where I pulled over for a brief rest....
As I stood there chewing on an energy bar an old gentleman  riding his ebike stopped and we fell into conversation. He told me that he had started cycling way back in 1945 which was three years before I was born... Over the years he had raced...toured and ridden for fitness... Apparently only three weeks ago he had a stent fitted due to an aortic aneurysm and was told that he should wait six weeks before riding his bike again but cabin fever had set in and he just had to get out and ride... This is something that I can fully understand.

He told me that over the past few years due to his health problems he had tried various types of ebike but each one had failed due to one reason or another but he had persevered with them because they had allowed him to continue to ride way beyond what would otherwise have been possible.....
As he zoomed off on his ebike I reflected on the way cycling allows you to meet some very interesting and colourful  people... I was so impressed by his determination to continue to ride despite his health problems way into his late eighties... Hats off to you sir......

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Looking back at Rendlesham.....

With the current spell of bad weather I have to admit that I have not been out on the bike since my last post on the blog..... Not just the weather I have also been putting up with a pretty bad cold that seems to have migrated to my chest.

Experience has shown me that there is no point in going out for a ride when I have a bad cold
 ...there are no gains to be made...I don't enjoy it and I seem to come back feeling worse than when I set out...It also seems to delay my recovery.....
Because of this I thought that for this weeks post I would look back on a walk that Anne and I did last summer when we were staying in Suffolk.

I had read that there was a trail in Rendlesham Forest just a few miles from where we we were staying that was centered around the area of the Rendlesham Incident. 

In late December 1980 there was an apparent UFO 👽 sighting over a couple of nights around the Woodbridge RAF base which is in the middle of the Forest...
At the time the base was being used by the USAF and it was American servicemen and the base commander who made the first sightings.
It was even reported that a UFO had actually landed in a clearing in the forest.....

Now although I don't actually believe in so called UFO sightings I thought that the Rendlesham UFO trail would make for a good walk in the forest and give it some interest....

We both had a really enjoyable day.... We collected maps and information from the forest visitor centre. This gave us the route that followed the timeline of the incident itself.

A few years ago the Forestry Commission had arranged for a replica of the UFO to be placed in the clearing where the USAF men had reported seeing it land....... 



Coming towards the end of the walk this 'UFO' was the highlight of the walk.... It was difficult to find at first sat in a forest clearing but it gave the walk a bit of a treasure hunt feeling....
Perhaps Anne and I are easily pleased but the whole day was voted a real success by both of us. We had a very enjoyable picnic in the forest and we also saw plenty of wildlife as well.....



A few weeks ago I heard on the radio that it had recently been announced that the whole incident was a prank played on the USAF by the SAS.       Now I have no idea if that is true or not but in no way does it diminish what was a great day out. For those of you interested in knowing more about the Rendlesham Forest UFO 👽 Incident just google it.... 👽