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......


Saturday, 12 March 2016

Starting to Recover......

Since getting back from my recent hospital stay I have been following the doctors instructions regarding breathing exercises to the letter.....
My recovery does seem slow but it is going in the right direction.....
I am now able to inflate my lungs fully with only a small amount of pain and even that is improving each day.....

The weather has certainly been good over the past few days and it is predicted to carry on like this for a few more days.....after the very wet winter it is a real breath of fresh air to be able to sit outside in our awning..... spring certainly seems to have sprung at last...

It doesn't seem possible that we only have another three weeks left on our winter seasonal pitch..... 
Once Easter is over we will be preparing Eva the Eriba for hitting the road again.....a full spring clean and a good check over.....

This morning Anne received the image below from the C&CC which was taken a few nights ago..
It shows the site taken from the air.
Our unit is the second one up on the left hand row overlooking the grass.....
The site from the air (Photo credit the C&CC)

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Hospital once again..!!

At the beginning of December Anne and I took a bus into Plymouth and on the journey the bus stopped at Derriford Hospital. 
I joked with Anne at the time that that it was one of the few hospitals whose Emergency Department I hadn't been admitted to yet.... This was obviously a tongue in cheek statement based on my medical history since retirement...

Long term readers of this blog will understand where I am coming from, with a list of serious health situations covering everything from.... cancer....temporary loss of sight in one eye....blood clots....aortic aneurysm....atrial fibrillation and more.....

Before I retired I had never had any major medical problems and have always kept fit and healthy only ever being a very very light drinker with on average about two 330ml bottles of light beer being consumed in a month, if at all.... 
I did smoke for a few years as a stupid young man but stopped overnight when I realised what an idiot I was being. I have now not smoked for over forty years....

Anyway just a few hours after I made my last blog post I remembered that throw away comment that I had made to Anne. 
I woke up in total agony with a pain coming from the right hand side of my lower back and radiating to the top of my shoulder... Also I was finding it very difficult to breath....

I took some pain killers and had a very uncomfortable night.... 
The next morning Anne took me into the ED at Derriford Hospital (another hospital ticked off the list).

I was admitted with a temperature of 40.5c (104f I think) and my blood pressure was off the scale at 244/102 which I may add is far higher than I have ever known either to be.
I had a range of tests and scans including a nuclear scan which involved inhaling some radioactive material .....
It was originally thought that I might have had a blood clot on my lung, but as I moved through the tests and scans it was decided that a lung infection was more than likely and this had caused my right lung to collapse hence the agony that I was in.......

Anyway after two days and one night at the hospital and some first class care from the wonderful doctors and nursing staff I was finally allowed to return to Eva the Eriba...

I am feeling very weak and fragile....cannot walk far yet....and have been instructed to take life very easy for the next week or two.....
I am also a bit depressed by it all following all the medical situations that have gone on before..... It sometime feels that this is going to be the ongoing pattern of my retirement and it certainly concerns me regarding my plans to travel further afield as we had planned to do....

I can't help but wonder what the outcome would have been if we had decided to spend our winter season in Spain or Italy for instance..... 
I will need to give this some careful thought as this wasn't anything caused by a pre-existing medical condition.
This was something new and out of the blue... One minute I felt fine the next in agony, all a bit scary really....

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

We made it to Spring....!!

Well.... We have made it to spring....
Today is the first day of spring according to the meteorological calendar...... 

There were some times over the past four months that we did worry a bit about the possibility of sustaining damage to our caravan and awning..... but in the end we have got through it unscathed.....

Having said that I have just heard on the news that we are expecting another big storm to hit us hard tomorrow.
Lets hope that my smugness regarding getting through the winter with no damage isn't a trifle premature   !!  

We enjoyed our trip to the Torbay area as shown in my last post so much, that a week ago we went back for three more days....
I've added some images from this latest trip below.....

Starting off with some images from Kingswear and Dartmouth......
The last time I was here was on a very wet Good Friday over thirty five years ago......
A view from Kingswear station looking out over Dartmouth
Joining the short queue for the passenger ferry from Kingswear to Dartmouth
One of the attractive black and white buildings in Dartmouth
Anne went shopping and put me in a creche..!!
I have always liked bandstands...this one looks very smart.
Tides Out...!

Following our day in Dartmouth and Kingswear the next place on our list to visit was Totnes....
So the next day that's where we set off for....
Totnes always seemed to be a bit of a 'hippy' town back in the sixties and seventies and it does seem that a good number of them are still here....

There are lots of shops selling crystals...Indian carvings and artwork....and other unusual items to buy....
I love these types of places with lots of small individual shops selling lots of unusual things....
Glastonbury in Somerset is another town that follows this pattern........

There is an Archway across the main street in Totnes about halfway up the hill.....
When I was last here over 35+ years ago I purchased a small water colour of this Archway painted by a local artist......
It is currently in storage, but for all those years it was on the wall in my hallway.....
After having lived with that image for all those years it was nice to see it again in the 'flesh' (or stone).....

Totnes also has a castle, but unfortunately it was closed for tree cutting during our visit...

The Totnes Arch almost as it is in my painting..
The old Guildhall in Totnes....

A step closer to what is normal........

Over this past week our campsite has taken a step closer to what we think of as normality...  The sign that was put out at the entrance to ...