Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Jam or Cream First......

The other day we went to the Two Bridges Hotel for a cream tea...........
It was a lovely day to go for a walk on the moors and what better way to finish the walk than a traditional Devon cream tea.....

Now I say traditional Devon cream tea but of course Cornwall also has their own traditional Cornish cream tea.....
The difference between them apparently is if the jam is first on the scone or the cream is first...

In Devon it is supposed to be cream first and in Cornwall it is jam first.....or so we are told...
Interestingly Anne and all of her family are Devonians and none of them put the cream on the scone first in fact Anne has told me that it is only in recent years that the discussion about cream or jam first has come up......
She thinks that it is another of these 'tales' that's put out by the local tourist boards to add a bit of extra interest and in turn sell more cream teas......

Whatever the truth of the matter we enjoyed the day and the cream tea and for what it's worth I put the jam on one of my scones first and on the other one I put the cream on first.....
To be honest I found that the jam on first was a lot less messy to eat than putting the cream on first with the jam on last......

Some images below taken in and around the grounds of the Two Bridges Hotel.......










Jam or Cream first..!!
 Oh... the summer awning is back up again now...... Lets hope the weather continues to be good enough th leave it up until we leave the Tavistock site

Monday, 19 March 2018

Repeat Performance.....

Two weeks after the 'Beast from the East' we have been given a repeat performance....this time it was called 'Mini Beast from the East......

The Start of the Mini Beast
Following the big beast a couple of weeks ago we lowered what was left of our awning and disposed of it at the tip....
It was a bit sad really as that awning had been with us from the start and had seen us through two summers and three winters...
All in all it had done pretty well and had fought off many a gale force wind and a good number of storms......

Anyway following the awning disposal trip we collected our summer awning from Anne's son who had been storing it for us over the winter....
As it is an air awning it didn't take long to put it up and for two days we enjoyed having it as a fallback and counted ourselves lucky that we had an extra awning to use.....

On the second night with the summer awning we had another very windy night...... The awning withstood the wind quite well and one of the benefits of having an air awning is that you don't have the banging, crashing and flapping sounds that you do with a normal poled awning....
However after that windy night I checked the forecast and after seeing that the 'mini beast' was
on its way Anne and I took the awning down again....

Other campers must have thought that we were mad taking it down after just a couple of days especially as the weather when we took it down was nice and bright and sunny..... indeed the day before we had enjoyed sitting out in it enjoying the sunshine and afternoon tea.....

What a good decision that was......
When the 'mini beast' hit us this past weekend the winds were almost as bad as last time but the snow it brought with it was even worse and Devon was hit hard.....
It was freezing cold but we were able to look out of Eva the Eriba and enjoy watching it without having to worry about an awning being blown about and being torn to shreds...

Nearly all of the roads in the vicinity became impassable due to either ice or snow drifts....
Anne's son who was trying to get back to Tavistock after watching the rugby at Twickenham the day before got back as far as the Fox & Hounds near Lydford before deciding that it was too dangerous to proceed any further..... He had to spend the night there even though it is only about eight miles away from his home......

We awoke this morning to a very cold morning with caravans and motorhomes having frozen water pipes (not us as we have onboard water supplies) and the site road being very icy first thing......

Even though the police had blocked the road with signs and cones people this morning were ignoring the signs and attempting to drive up pork hill..... 
One 4X4 spent ages with all four wheels spinning trying to climb the hill before his stupidity filtered through his thick skull and he gave up his attempt.....
What is it about the words 'ROAD CLOSED' that some idiots don't seem to understand??

Any way we are warm.....safe...and well fed with all the supplies that we have on board and now enjoying watching the snow slowly start to disappear.

Whichever way you look at it, it is a lot more of an adventure than living in a 'sticks and bricks' over the winter and sitting there with a pipe and slippers even though it can get a bit scary at times.....


Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Worst 48hrs Since We Set Out......

I thought that things had been bad weather wise as I reported in my last post on this blog....
What a fool I was......!!!
More bad weather had been forecast for this past week...

Some wag had called the oncoming bad weather "The Beast from the East"..... 
I really hate those stupid names that seem to be given to everything these days...every storm now has to have a name which is designed to make it sound more like the chap (or his wife) across the road...I prefer details on wind speed...rain fall etc...  
Detailed information is far more useful than knowing that the bad weather aproaching is called the beast from wherever....

Anyway after closing the pop top on the caravan a week ago it stayed shut for the entire week due to the continuous very strong winds.....

As we moved through the week the temperature fell dramatically.... on a couple of mornings the outside of the windows on Eva were just like frosted glass with solid ice over the entire outside of the caravan......

I didn't sleep for 48hrs.... both Wednesday and Thursday nights we had storm force winds tearing down from the moor reaching gusts of up to ninety miles an hour.....This was the worst 48hrs we have experienced since we set out.......
The awning was jumping all over the place and was flapping and banging like nothing we have ever experienced before... scary is too mild a term for what it felt like especially when the caravan was hit by the gusts...

Wednesday night was just wind but on Thursday night the snow arrived as well.....
Our awning was being ripped to pieces as we watched.....
The pegs seemed to be holding due to the frozen ground.....all the tension was on the stitching around the bottom edge..... trouble was that after one section ripped it made it easier for the wind to rip out the next section....

The next parts to go were the side windows..... as it was easy for the wind to now get into the awning due to the damage it had already done it made short work of blowing the windows out and tearing them to shreds.......

With gaping holes everywhere the awning started to fill with snow over everything..... 
A few images below to show what it was like:- ........


I went to the toilet block with no snow...10 mins later this was blowing in.

First snow blasting into the site.

Side window torn to shreds..note the snow starting to drift against the awning.

Interior of awning with snow everywhere...

The other end of the awning....

Front panel with rips along pegging points..note previous attempted temporary repair.

No access up Pork hill from campsite.....on late Friday freezing rain had created black ice everywhere.
On the Friday morning only one awning had survived with just minimal damage..... 
The others..mine included.... were all damaged beyond economical repair..... in other words they were all but destroyed.....

All the water standpipes on the site were frozen solid....and those caravans that were hooked up to a water supply had no water......we have all our water in onboard containers so no frozen tap problems for us.....

From the Friday lunch time the electricity supply kept going on and off and eventually went off and stayed off..... The electricity engineers estimated that the supply would not be restored until 1800hrs...later on this was revised to 0030hrs Saturday morning although they eventually restored it at 1915hrs on Friday evening.
This was all caused to damage to the cables caused by the weight of ice on the cables which was the result of freezing rain and wind....

When the rain started it was managing to wash the snow away but then as it began to freeze the roads were like ice rinks....
The road outside the club site where it starts to ascend Pork hill had been closed during the snow and then it continued to be closed with the black ice (see last image above.) 

All in all we have survived quite well.....We are warm and safe.....
All of the country was hit by this.... some areas had it far worse than us and others had it far better than us..
However this was the first time that a 'Red Alert' has been issued for Devon since the coding system of alerts was started and being in a caravan in those truly distructive winds was really a scary experience and one that I have no wish to repeat..... 
Other long time caravan and motorhome owners on site have told me that they had never experienced anything close to this......

Since Saturday we have all started the big clear up.....
Items that were in the awnings have been soaked first from the snow and then heavy rain blowing in so a lot of discarding of damaged items is under way....
We will be taking down what is left of our awning during the next couple of days..... Some of the other awnings on the site have already been removed......

What a calm stress free and  peaceful life caravanning is..........!!

I will keep you posted on any other developments........

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 ...