Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Fifth Year.....


Yes .. this will be the fifth year that we will have spent Christmas and New Year in Eva the Eriba....

 Every winter season we have over wintered down here in Devon and this year is no different.

 For the first three years we spent the season at the C&CC site near Tavistock and we really enjoyed ourselves there with a good group of people and some fantastic site managers who always put on a get together on Christmas and New Years Eve.
 They then moved to a different site in a different part of the country and the new managers didn't exactly fit in with the 'friendly club' tag line...

 Last year we found our current location just a few miles out of Tavistock....
 It's a private site and we enjoyed it so much last winter that we are back again for our second winter season here...

 It's quite surprising the number of people who decide to spend the Christmas and New Year on a campsite in their RV.. motorhome or caravan with some even braving it in a tent.. although with all the wet weather we have been having it would be only the very brave or foolish that will attempt tent camping this year I think......

 Anyway we are now preparing for our Christmas here on the edge of Dartmoor and I would like to wish everyone out there on the 'blogosphere' the very best of Seasons Greetings to you all.

 The Purpletraveller blog will be back again early in the New Year....

Monday, 16 December 2019

Back up to Dorset ......

Sunday 15th December 2019.....

Today we have travelled back up to Dorset to visit my daughter and also to attend yet another MRI scan at Poole hospital.

 We didn't leave the campsite until about 1400hrs and the morning was quite dry and sunny although it was cold....
 About 45 minutes before we started our journey the heavens opened and it poured with rain...
 The roads were very wet but it didn't seem to slow people up as lots of cars flashed past us at silly miles an hour.... 

As we approached Honiton we encountered a really bad hail storm which turned the road into a skating rink and one car seemed to have braked too hard and spun out of control careering straight through the centre reservation destroying the reservation cables as it carried on across the opposite carriageway ending up embedded into a bank....

 The hail that had fallen had not melted but had frozen as it hit the road and had just accumulated on the roadway making it take on the characteristics of an ice rink...
 Perhaps if the driver had kept his speed down he would have avoided this accident...

 Anyway we stopped off in Honiton for a natural break and when we set back off again we found that the eastern side of the town had really dry roads with no sign of the previous bad weather so the rest of our journey proved uneventful.

 A couple of images below showing the ice rink like conditions in the main car park at Honiton....


My MRI scan is scheduled for early Wednesday morning and following lunch in Poole we will be heading back to Devon in the afternoon. 
Hopefully our return journey will be less eventful...    
If there are any further developments I will keep you informed.   

Sunday, 8 December 2019

More Huff & Puff.... it's more Gales .

Yes. .the settled weather didn't last long before we had more strong winds and rain...

Walking on the moor there are signs of damage caused during the last bout of strong gale force winds....
 The trouble with the moor is that it is so open that there is nothing to break the speed of the winds..
 Having said that I have to admit that one of the things that I have always enjoyed about walking in wild landscapes is the wild weather that goes with the territory....

Back at the caravan site we have had to close our pop top roof yet again... It's no real problem for us as we both have headroom with the roof closed..
 Looking at the weather forecast for this coming week it seems highly likely that we could have the roof down for most of the week....

Today we went into Tavistock to visit the Christmas tree festival at St Eustachius church.
 We have visited the festival most years that we have stayed here over the festive season....
 It's always nice to see all the trees that have been dressed by various local businesses and organisations in the area and it helps to raise funds for charity..... 

Following our visit we went across the road to the Bedford Hotel for afternoon tea .. and very nice it was... although probably a bit too civilised for me :-)



Sunday, 1 December 2019

Doing not a lot......

Over this past week until today we seem to have had wall to wall rain and strong winds.....

 The campsite that we are staying on is towards the top of high ground overlooking the river Tamar and across to Cornwall.
 Any strong winds coming in from the south west can hammer across towards us and on a couple of occasions over this past week I have had to lower our pop top roof both for safety and also to make it a bit quieter for us to allow us to get a good nights sleep.

 The constant bad weather has really restricted our activities...
 We really have been doing not a lot.
 No cycling and no walking on the moor that is unless you wanted to end up completely soaked.

 Even the best wet weather gear that you can buy wouldn't have been able to keep you dry over this past week...

 Then today arrived...

 What a lovely day we have had....
Yes it has been cold but it was dry and the sun was out and it does really brighten everything up including our mood. 
 The cold I can live with much better than I can the rain.....
 Mind you having said that looking at the national weather forecasts we always seem to have some of the warmest or should I say less cold weather down here in the southwest than the rest of the country...

 The forecasts are telling me that we should be able to enjoy some more settled weather over this coming week so walking and cycling should be back on the agenda.
  Below are some images of our campsite..the lane outside the site and this evening's sunset looking over towards Cornwall.... 





Sunday, 24 November 2019

The Old Bike.....



Whenever I see an old bike I can't help but wonder on what sort of life that it might have had.

 At one time the bike in the image above would have been brand spanking new...probably sitting in a bike shop somewhere just waiting for someone to come along and purchase it.

 It would be just waiting for someone to give it some life.... after all a bike is nothing until it is ridden.
 The paintwork would have been gleaming and the chrome would have been sparkling and all shiny and new. 
The rubber handle bar grips..the saddle and the tyres would have had that brand new bike smell.

 Looking at the bike with it's rod brake levers that would probably have been sometime about the 1950s. So this old bike could have had 60+ years of being ridden along the roads....
 That could be many many miles of someone enjoying the pleasure of turning those pedals... and sitting on that saddle and listening to those wheels swooshing along the road....

 Now it is being used as an advertising feature outside a shop in the town of Chepstow.....
 However with just a little bit of TLC this bike could be restored to a serviceable and rideable condition....
 It could still have a good few years of use left in it.

 It might not be as quick and smooth as a modern bike and it might not stop as quickly with its old style braking system but it could still do what it was originally intended to do and give someone the pleasure of riding a bike.

 I have to admit that I can never understand why a lot of people feel the need to change their bikes every few years when the lifespan of a cared for bike can be many years....

 My own bikes are all about ten years old now and each one is still able to give me hours of riding pleasure....

 Maybe at some point in the future my bikes could be sitting out front of a shop somewhere being used as an advertising feature and someone else will be wondering what sort of life they have had....how many miles they have done and where they have been...  

Sunday, 17 November 2019

A Change of Perspective.....

I have been visiting Tavistock for over twenty years on a fairly regular basis indeed these coming months will be the fifth year that Anne and I have chosen to spend our winter here.

With all these long term visits I thought that I had got to know the area pretty well but the other day I had a bit of a surprise.

For the past few weeks there have been road works in Tavistock and this has resulted in long queues getting in and out of the town.

 Anne and I had decided to go into the town to do a little shopping  and Anne decided that we would go to an alternative car park than the normal one that we park in.
 This would mean a slightly different route that would avoid getting caught up in the traffic jam.

 The car park was on the other side of the river to our usual car park and provided us with a nice Riverside walk up towards Abbey bridge.....

 I had never approached the bridge from this side of the river before and as we drew closer I suddenly saw the bridge from a totally different perspective. 

From our normal parking place the bridge never seemed to look particularly attractive but by crossing the river I saw it in a whole new light.

 What a difference a change of perspective makes....

A new perspective- Abbey Bridge

A new perspective- Abbey Bridge



Sunday, 10 November 2019

Ultra Tough Bike Cover......

Sometimes I come across an item of kit for cycling or camping that I think is really useful and well made and worth sharing information about it on this blog the BTR outdoors bike cover is one such item . 




When we first started fulltiming I would keep my bike in the awning but having lost two awnings to bad Dartmoor storms in previous winters I decided last winter not to bother putting an awning up and I kept my bike in my car.
 It kept the bike nice and dry but I have to admit it was a bit of a faff every time I wanted to ride the  bike. 

This year I was determined to keep the bike outside. My plan was to keep it on the turbo so I could warm up on the bike or have a training session with the least amount of hassle. The problem was finding something to keep the bike in or under that would be tough enough to withstand the strong winds and bad weather that you can get here on Dartmoor.

 Luckily Paul who has a caravan on site pitched opposite us is also a cyclist and he showed me the BTR Cycle cover that he has been using for the past couple of years.... It is made from a really heavyweight material that is waterproof with all the seams fully sealed with waterproof tape.
 Paul assured me that it gave his bike full protection in all weathers and he fully recommended it.

 Whilst we were staying in Dorset I ordered one from Amazon. Since we have been back here in Devon we have had gale force winds and torrential rain on two occasions and I must say that the protection offered by the cover is really impressive.

 So many covers are made from flimsy material and struggle to fully cover the bike but this one is different with thick and hard-wearing material and full coverage of the bike and turbo. In fact it would cover two bikes with ease if you so wished...


The cover cost me £29.95 which I think is really good value for money... I would certainly recommend this bike cover for anyone who needs to keep a bike outdoors...just put a couple of bungees around the cover to ensure that it is fully secure and do up the clips back and front which are fitted to the cover and your bike will be fully protected.

I have no connection financial or otherwise with either the manufacturer or supplier of the BTR Outdoors Cycle Cover and I'm only sharing this information as a very satisfied customer. 

Finally don't forget to check out the latest image at my 'Aura of Past Shadows' blog. My plan is to update the image every Friday and then update Purpletraveller on a Sunday.... 
 There is a link in the sidebar to the blog....

  

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Back in Devon...

We are now back in Devon... 
In actual fact we have been here for two weeks.
 Since we have been back the weather has been very mixed although the predominant weather seems to have been rain and gale force winds.
Tavistock Town Hall

Anne heading for the Pannier Market.




The day that we left Moreton it was a nice dry day with very light winds making it a perfect towing day for the journey down here. 
We are back on the same winter seasonal pitch as we were last winter as you can see in the photo above..

 The first few days following our arrival here turned out to be settled weather which was good for setting up.

 Anne was reunited with her little Peugeot 107 which we had left at her son's house when we headed off in the spring.
 It needed a good clean but that wasn't a problem with the fair weather during those first few days.  I even managed to get the caravan washed and polished ready for the winter weather.

 It was a good job that I did those cleaning jobs when I did because the following day the bad weather moved in and has been with us ever since...

We have already visited Tavistock Pannier Market and been back to some of our favourite shops and pubs in the town. 

We will be back in Dorset again in December as I have to have another MRI scan and it will also be nice to see my daughter and family in the Christmas season although we will be back here again for Christmas itself.

Talking about MRI's and hospital appointments.... I seem to have got away with things again as my cardiologist is still allowing me to continue to ride my bike although I do have strict heart rate limits to work within..

 I have to admit that over the past three months I have not ridden the bike as often as I would have liked mainly due to the sketchy weather.
 I need to get back to some level of fitness so I will be using my turbo trainer a fair bit in order to target the areas of my cycling fitness that I think that I need to concentrate on.
 It is also easier to train on the turbo and still manage to train within my heart rate zones which until I get back to fitness is pretty important for me as I am under strict instructions not to exceed my safe zones....

  One thing that I have now started to do again is to post monochrome images on my 'Aura of Past Shadows'  photography blog.

 It is over six years since I last posted images on a regular basis on the blog.
 I think that I stopped posting due to the planning for our full time touring and just never restarted.  I thought that now would be a good time to start posting again.

 During the winter season when we are not travelling I tend to spend more time on my monochrome photography anyway and it will be nice to share some of my images and thoughts on the blog again.

There is a link from this blog to the 'Aura of Past Shadows' in the sidebar.





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 ... 





Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Grange Court.....

I really like this building......

Grange Court
The building is in Leominster and it is called Grange Court...
It was built in 1633 and is the last surviving market house known to be built by John Abel a local master carpenter.

It was moved to it's present location in 1859.
It is now on the edge of a park area in the town but it's original location was closer to the market square area of the town but needed to be moved because it was starting to cause an obstruction with the ever busier roads...

The timber framed building is extravagantly decorated with carvings including mermaids, angels, animals, flowers and grotesques.
The entablature above the columns includes a number of carved texts praising god.

When built this market house was open at ground level with the upper structure supported on twelve oak columns.
If you look at the photo above you can see the columns and where the building has now been filled in. 

It was used for public meetings and also meetings of the town guilds and  the Quarter session courts were held there...

Nowadays it is a civic building and used for such events as exhibitions.. weddings etc....  

As I said at the start I really like this building...
I like the shape...The black and white structure and the condition and neatness of the whole building.... A bit of a historic gem really.


Sunday, 21 July 2019

Another Move and a Visitor.....

Last Monday we moved on from the Malverns and are now about thirty miles further west just north of Hereford.....

We are at one of my favourite sites close to the village of Moreton on Lugg. This is a privately owned adult only site which at this time of year at the start of the school holidays is absolute bliss..

For a few hours today between people moving on and new arrivals there were only four units in our camping field. See the picture above to check out the almost empty site....
It has filled up again now but most people on site seem to be fifty years or older....

This is the third time that we have been here since 2015 and it is an ideal site for us as it ticks all of our boxes...

The day after we arrived we had a visitor.
My cycling and walking buddy Peter had cycled up from Poole in Dorset to spend four nights with us...

He had made the journey on his touring bike and we had a few days of chat and banter as well as a look at Hereford and it's cathedral on the Wednesday and also a walk and picnic on the Thursday.

Peter headed off back home on Saturday morning and expects to be back home before Tuesday.
It's always nice to see Peter and he has managed to visit us at over eight of our camp sites since 2015.....

He slept in his Hilleberg Akto tent that he has used for both cycle touring as well as backpacking trips...
I have an Akto myself and I always remember when we were walking the Pennine way together a few years ago joking about how our tents looked like a couple of coffins pitched side by side....
The slight fading of the grass where Peter had pitched his tent seems to bear that out...


S
Peter packing for his return trip....




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...


Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...