A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: InvictaMoto

Norfolk Motorhome and Campervan Show / Snape Photos

Not much typing here but the photos that I couldn't attach from my phone that cover the weekend and the run back from the Norfolk Motorhome and Campervan Show and the stop off at Snape Maltings.

There are quite a few. Luckily the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-200 numbers photos sequentially.... ;)

Thursday 18th July

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Friday 19th July

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Saturday 20th July

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Sunday 21st July

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Monday 22nd July

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Henry Moore

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Barbara Hepworth

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And as they say...... "That's All Folks!"

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:37 Archived in England Comments (0)

Waterpump & Home

Monday

Once we had arrived at Waterpump CL we did the usual. Levelling went well and the Milenco levellers did their job.

Molly at Waterpump CL

Molly at Waterpump CL

After coffee and one of the cakes I bought at the deli at Snape we had a little rest and a read and then decided to head off to the pub up the road. There is a path from the site across the woods directly opposite the pub. It's called the White Horse.

When we first stayed there the pub was closed possibly due to Covid. The walk was 4 minutes according the Sarah the CL owner. With Reggie being reluctant to go anywhere it was 6 minutes.

We decided to eat there rather than the van. Claire had the pork belly and I went for the White Horse burger. Both excellent. To wash it down a cider and for me a"Hazy Days" IPA from Greene King on draught.

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The walk back was a little quicker as Reggie knew he was going back to the van and the CL. We watched a little TV and then it was time for bed.

Tuesday

Once breakfast was over we did all the chores and it was time to leave. We packed up and left around 11am. The trip went very well with even the A12 roadworks were not too much of a problem. The M25 approaching the QE Bridge was a pain in the arse as usual. This time a "police incident". Still the usual incapability of four lanes of traffic being unable to stay in four lanes over the bridge in to four lanes the other side?

With the radio set to TA (traffic announcements) we expected to get some information but were still none the wiser what the hold up was about. Various Essex types came on to tell us about a water main burst in Grays and another road closed due to roadworks... Of the M25 and the QE Bridge. Nothing!

Home around 4pm. Another trip over. What's next?

Posted by InvictaMoto 21:02 Archived in England Comments (0)

Monday - Snape & Waterpump

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Today when I got up to take Reggie for his early morning perambulation there was a lot of activity. I am not an early morning person and so dog walks at 7.30am are a strain.

At least the boy was asleep all night and I was saved an evening earlier wander around the showground, doggy bag in hand...

Today the sounds are all of people packing up and getting ready to leave. Our closest neighbours went yesterday and another lot went just now.

The latter were parked as instructed but with their T5 VW they had a tent/awning almost the same footprint alongside us. There was just enough room to walk through.

Once breakfasted there are very few jobs to be done before we leave. I have the EHU to disconnect and the silver screen to stash. Claire has to wash up.

Next stop Snape Maltings in Suffolk.

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We arrived at Snape and as before we go past the entrance and turnaround in the next parking area!

We end up in a different area of the parking between two trees. Access to the overflow car park is through a narrow gate and low hanging trees. So we turned around and parked on the way in.

Meeting Claire's sister Sally, then we set off for a walk around the site to the Malt cafe for lunch.

It started to drizzle so they went to look around some of the galleries and Reggie and I went for a walk around. As usual the camera came out.

I moved the van before they came back to a better easier place to see and to get out of. After tea, where I spilled water everywhere, we parted company.

The TomTom Max took us a weird way back through lanes barely wider than the van. I have her measurements stored in the Max.

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Arrived at Waterpump CL around 4pm. Our pitch was marked using the blackboard as usual. There are three other vans here. Unusually two of them are also Elddis'.

Once levelled and EHU connected it was coffee and cake 🍰 time...

Now it's time to relax and maybe have a snooze.

Photos to follow.

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:35 Archived in England Comments (0)

Norfolk Motorhome and Campervan Show

We arrived at the Norfolk Showground at around 4pm on Thursday.

We hadn't had too much of a delay on the motorways up to the Dartford Tunnel.

It took a while to get off the A2 onto the tunnel approach road. Not helped by a truck driver blocking the outside lane for over 640 yards to the merge point. Probably patted himself on the back. Sadly, just a fool.

It was also the first "live" trip for the new TomTom GO Camper Max. It worked well and took us right to the roundabout by the showground. We had to divert as the signs pointed is through a different gate to the main one. Hardly its fault.

Once on site we were directed by the excellent marshals to our space on the "green" field.

The show didn't officially start until Friday but camping was available from 8am Thursday. It looks that in the 8 hours before we arrived thousands took up the option to arrive. I'm not kidding. There are hundreds upon hundreds of motorhomes and campervans, plus wobble-box owners.

The theme for the weekend is Rock and Roll. There are two venues. One in the big top circus tent and the other one the events centre. Only the top of the bill event on Saturday evening has an additional cost. We didn't bother with that.

The cost of the rally with EHU was £140 for four nights camping. It would be cheaper to not have EHU but we aren't that confident about our off-grid credentials!!

We have solar and we do have the small power bank.

Over the three days of the show itself we went into the show area a few times. Friday and Saturday it was hovering around 28 °C so not really dog weather, nor walking about in the sun weather for us senior citizens!!

We made a few purchases but nothing major.

We bought he Flexi-Shades that attach to the front of the Fiamma roll out awning that we had been thinking about for some time. They are in the photo stream below!

Today, Sunday, we had a quick visit as we wanted to buy a fire extinguisher. But we couldn't find where we had seen them. It started off grey and overcast. Hurrah!

Then heated up to around 25 °C! We did buy a rather fattening caramel and biscuit brownie sort of cake...

During the night the wind had got up. The Fiamma was out and also pegged and the wind straps deployed it was flapping and making a lot of noise. We were worried it might get damaged so at 6.20am we were out taking the Flexi-Shades off and rolling it in... As a result we got up late.

Over the course of the day people have begun to pack up and leave. Of course, the exhibitors began packing up and the show motorhomes and campers began to leave.

We saw quite a few vans we liked the look of. We spoke to lots of other rallyists and day visitors.

I guess if you have a blank sheet and a van of your choice you could choose exactly what you would want. Only a couple of the vans matched most of our needs.

We leave tomorrow and head south. We have to be off site by noon. We have arranged to go to Snape Maltings again to meet Claire's sister for lunch etc.

We are booked into the Caravan Club certificated location (CL) at Waterpump near Badingham in Suffolk tomorrow night. We then go straight home from there.

Would we do one of these show/events again? I think we would.

Next time though we need to get a flag and a pole to run it up!

Photos to follow when we have Internet...

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:18 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Awaycation Autumn 2024 - Overnights

Today I have been looking again at the overnight stops between Calais and Alcossebre.

Once again using the page map inside the front cover of the 2020 Big Easy Read Atlas of France and the 12" ruler. Towns are unlikely to have moved much in four years... Accuracy can be checked using Google Maps.

Currently I have identified four stops with the last one being the municipal aire at St Cyprien Plage "Flot Bleu". Google Maps put this as 435kms to the apartment. That's the longest day but as we can't check-in until 4pm it shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully at the apartment complex we can lock the van up and leave her to "rest" whilst we are in the apartment.

So at the moment I am looking at a first stop at our old friend Camping-Car Park at Formerie. Google shows this to be around 172kms from Calais Port.

To vary the route, and also a TomTom Max suggestion, this time we are away from the N154 and N10.

The next stop looks to be around Beaulieu sur Loire. It's around 302 Kms.

I looked at a few around to the south of Clermont Ferrand but there were few sites that appealed. So in the end I opted for around St Flour. So it's around 330 Kms that day.

The 4th will be the St Cyprien Plage site. A other 360 Kms or so.

The possible routes from Google Maps are here. There is little chance that we will do the route that goes around the Paris ring. I prefer to stay as far away as possible. Paris is not my cup of tea.

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The next step is to wait until later in the month and check out our Tesco Clubcard then get the voucher to use against the ferry fare across from Dover to Calais and return. We prefer P&O as (currently) the fare saving over Eurotunnel is around £100. At today's prices that should give us a full tank of UK diesel or about 600 miles on the road. Not to be sniffed at.

I plan to go midweek to midweek and outside childrens' holidays to keep the fare as low as possible. Depending on the sailing times, that overnight at Formerie will become more important and I'll keep an eye open and book it when necessary. It only has six pitches and can get rather full.

The way back? That's for later.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:40 Archived in France Comments (0)

The Norfolk Motorhome & Campervan Show

The show is a little under two weeks away and I still have to fix the fresh water drain that fell off at Pegasus Bridge.

I have finally got a replacement tap and hopefully fitting it won't be a problem. Of course it will be!!

On the way back we will probably meet up with Claire's sister again. Possibly at Snape again.

I have been looking at a CL we have stayed at before at Waterpump CL. It's not far from her sister's and we have stayed there a couple of times before. It's £20 per night with hard standing and EHU.

I have booked the overnight there and we can then travel back home on the Tuesday morning.

Waterpump CL

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:50 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation Autumn 2024

Today I have been looking at the France 2020 Atlas to work out where we can stop overnight on the way down.

Does anyone else use a ruler to give a rough idea of distances? Just me?

The inside cover has the overview of the whole country showing the pages. I use that to roughly work out the stops with the ruler.

Allowing for our arrival in France. Shopping for us and Reggie on top I think that the first stop might be Formerie where we have stayed before.

It's a small Camping-Car Park Aire with only six pitches. Each with electric hook-up.

From there the Google Maps non-toll route goes in a familiar direction to Dreux and then diverts around Orléans and to the non-toll A77 towards Vichy and Millau on the non-toll A75.

From the ruler and overview page it looks like stops would be around Beaulieu sur Loire and Millau. This leaves us a clear run towards St Cyprien Plage.

No doubt when each journey gets plotted into the TomTom things will change a little! It will make its own mind up where to take us.

I have emailed the reception at Playa Romano to check the details for checking-in. Last time we had a bit of a palaver getting the keys to the apartment.

Oddly arrival days are limited to Saturday and reception is closed ... On Saturday.

I, we I should say, are hoping the apartment is a little tidier than before.

Maybe we'll get to use the pool this time!

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As we are going earlier in the year hopefully there will be more open nearby. There were restaurants and shops but all locked up for the winter!

It's a nice walk along the boardwalk to the town itself where we found a really nice restaurant, overlooking the sea, for coffee and lunch.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 11:44 Archived in Spain Tagged spain alcossebre alcoceber awaycation_autumn_2024 Comments (0)

Awaycation Autumn 2024 - One Booking!

I was looking on the Resort Condominiums International (RCI.Com) site to see if there was anything we could drive to and that was pet friendly.

Across Europe there were a few places but as we plan to travel in October that really ruled out Finland and Sweden, although maybe one day we can take Molly the Moho over that way.

There were a number of others in Austria and Hungary. One of the Hungarian places I have been before with my ex-partner. We went on our motorcycles and stayed near Heviz and Lake Balaton. It ruled out Austria as the size of the dog was restricted to 10kg! Reggie is around 17.5kg.

So that left three places for our dates in Spain. One where we have been before in 2022 and two others in Roquetas de Mar and Jaen.

After a chat we decided to try Alcossebre/Alcoceber again! There will be blog posts on this blog-site somewhere!

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Last time we came for three full weeks and Reggie was getting a little frazzled towards the end. This time we are looking for the apartment part of the trip to be a more restful event. Days of not driving far if at all.

I am looking at using the P&O ferry on a Tuesday morning and heading non-toll south to Spain. Four nights for a more leisurely drive down. And a similar number of nights driving back. We can't check in until 4pm on Saturday.

The last time we went we called in to visit a friend at Moux between Carcassonne and Narbonne. Our overnight was at the "Flot Bleu" aire in St Cyprien Plage.

Using that aire as the endpoint for Friday's trip Google Maps has suggested a route from Calais that goes via Rouen, Chartres, Orleans, Nevers. Moulins and then to the coast.

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On Friday, as last time, we can slip across the border on a short bit of French toll motorway and then onto the toll-free A7.

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By the time we arrive in France it will be around lunchtime. I don't want to be driving 6 or 7 hours a day. After all this is a holiday.

I'll check the ferry times in the coming weeks and then check to see how many Tesco Clubcard points we have accrued to turn into 2 for 1 vouchers to pay towards the ferry fare. We currently have £83 that doubles up to £166. Although I think you can only use multiples of £5 or maybe even £2.50.

With P&O they are still in the 00's with their online booking and you can only use a Tesco voucher over the dog and bone.

Once that's sorted I'll look more in depth at the overnight stops. I expect we'll use Camping-Car Park Aires on the way up and down.

To change the route home from the same as going out, we could maybe look at the N10 route again. We have done this before and to be honest, it's a bit boring! But it's a quick way of getting home. I would also think that the vet in Cavignac could do Reggie's worming again. More about the way back later!

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:49 Archived in Spain Tagged spain alcossebre alcoceber awaycation_autumn_2024 Comments (0)

Awaycation Summer 2024 - Polarsteps

Just catching up as I was unable to share this before. It's a popular app amongst van bloggers and vloggers.

Polarsteps!

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:36 Comments (0)

Campers & Coffee September 2024

September? UK? On grass?

September? UK? On grass? Yes. I know it goes against everything I have ever considered since we started along this road, the motorhoming road, in the two years and three months since we drove away from picking up Suki, the first Elddis.

We have of course had grass pitches in the past and I have to say that it's weighed heavily on my mind as I lay in bed at night listening to the rain hammering down on the roof... "Isn't it soothing hearing the rain?" Yes and no.

So when I look for sites I have always tried to find hardstanding. Whether that's pea-shingle sized gravel to larger pebbles or better, tarmac! Tarmac pitches doesn't necessarily mean "car park". Although, many of the Camping-Car Park Aires are pretty much that. And there is nothing wrong with it. They are overnight stops enroute somewhere, not for two weeks camping.

Campers & Coffee September 2024

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We recently saw a vlog where the vlogger couple went to the Campers & Coffee event in June and it looked like a really nice casual and friendly event. It's basically a day event, with overnight camping if you want to go there.

It's not that far away from us in East Sussex in the village of Hellingly. The event is in the field behind the village hall.

I checked the Arsenal Season Ticket spreadsheet and it looks as though that weekend is another international break! So Claire and I decided to go. Getting tickets is as simple as clicking on the button on the website linked above. They even took PayPal to save getting the wallet out!

So that's another event in the diary.

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:04 Archived in England Comments (0)

The Norfolk Motorhome & Campervan Show

It's Showtime!

Just over a month until what will probably be our next trip away from home for a weekend away.

We have never been to one of the outside shows before but we have seen them on the vloggers' YouTube channels.

As we are new to this we decided that we'd go for the weekend Friday to Monday and pay a little more to have a pitch with EHU as well. We have solar and the battery is newish, but whether it would last over three days is anyone's guess. We have plenty of gas, or we will have!

It's at the Norfolk Showground. I was thinking that rather than "brave" the terrible traffic around the Dartford Crossing on a Friday, that maybe we look for a Caravan Club certificated location (CL) and go up on Thursday afternoon when the traffic may well be lighter.
Claire looked at the email from the show that was sent to her. There is access to the showground on the Thursday for a fiver. It will be cheaper than a CL as well. Fingers crossed for dry weather!!!

Something to investigate?

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Another consideration is that the UK school holidays begin the week before and so there will be loads of children on holiday too.

Where we live near to the Channel Tunnel and Channel ports becomes a nightmare for the first few days and the weekend, as the roads are jammed with people that simply have to go on holiday to Europe right at the start of the 6 weeks holiday!

So let's see what the future holds for this event.

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https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/shows/show/the-norfolk-motorhome-campervan-show

Posted by InvictaMoto 14:45 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation Autumn 2024

The starting gun has fired!

This morning the English Premier League announced the fixtures for the forthcoming 2024/25 season. It looks as supporters we have been fortunate to miss fewer games by going away on vacation!

Both Phil and I have trips planned in September and October. The weeks he wants to be away currently have only one game that I can go to and he can go away. SImilarly, in October there is another international break and the weekend of our wedding anniversary just one game to check, and Phil can go to that one. It's all about ensuring that my seat has a bum, in the backside sense of the word, on it every home game!

So with that out of the way I can start to look for places to go. After the traumas of getting around London to get to the Midlands and North last weekend and to get back again, I still prefer the idea of blowing all our Tesco Clubcard points against the ferry fare to France and then head south to the warmer weather. If it indeed exists in 2024!

Some decades ago in the South of England we were told that climate change would be so severe that it would ensure that by 2025 we would be a Mediterranean Climate. It would mean that farmers would have to adapt to the change and we would see crops growing that would usually be imported from the south of France and Spain. It's not happened. Judging by the weather across Western Europe over the last with lots of rain, it is the French and Spanish that have actually got the "English Climate" instead!

So where to look for the warmer weather and dare I say it, the sun? I'm thinking to go down the east side of France and aim for the Mediterranean. Maybe St Tropez with all the beautiful people....

That's where I will start to look at sites to stay at and aire's to use on the way down.... Maybe Italy even?

At the moment it's all to play for.

Posted by InvictaMoto 23:07 Archived in France Comments (0)

TomTom GO Camper Max

Time for change?

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Finally got a little fed up with the Ohrex and the very complicated and less than the Google Maps type planning and routing.

The Ohrex works very well for a price of £69.99. Free map updates included.

So earlier in the year I started to look around at an alternative. Something was as easy to plot a route as using Google Maps. I watched a few vloggers that have had either the Garmin or TomTom. In the end I am pretty experienced with TomTom products. I have a Rider 410 that I use on the motorcycle.

So after a lot of research, and price checking I found a TomTom Camper Max at a very reduced price. This cost £267.99 with a few "Nectar" points spent from Argos. Collect from the Sainsbury's supermarket two days later. It was Saturday when I ordered it. In blogs I am going to simply call it "Max"!

The basic kit only comes with the screen/dash mount, cable and fast charge "cigarette" lighter plug. The premium kit includes the disc to mount it to the dash and a carry case. I already have the disc in the Moho.

Out of the box it came about 50% charged and once started it takes the user step by step through the setup. This includes Bluetooth and WiFi connections.

The Bluetooth connection allows "on the go" traffic updates. WiFi saves connecting by cable to a laptop. One of the bugbears of the Rider 410 is connecting to the website and then keeping the connection live.

Once "Max" was setup it was time to run through the menus to get it as I wanted. When connected to the home WiFi I kicked off the software upgrade. It took a few minutes before I moved onto the maps.

I decided that for the first time I would update all the European maps. The chances of venturing to Albania are remote though... The total download was 17.5gb. After some two hours it's got down to 4.8gb to go!

In future I think we'll just update ones I need or just western Europe.

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Now all we need to do is get out on the road for a drive to test it out!

Update

I had to go out at about 3.50pm and it was down to 1.4gb to go. By the time I got back around 4.25pm.it had finished.

A quick "play" to look at PoI's and I can see these maps are showing some local shops and pubs that have been closed down since before COVID lockdowns...

Update

I checked with TomTom Support and they pointed me to logging into the TomTom website and creating a user. As I have the Rider 410 on one email address, I used one I only use for Amazon Prime (long story!) and registered with that. Once logged in it does show the state of Max and the map and software installed. On the screen is also a chance to make changes to the maps.

Oddly, the closed down pubs and a cafe that appeared on the unit aren't showing up on the website map! There were some things though that needed changing as they are wrong. I marked them and in the end submitted three changes in Hythe that need addressing. Oddly, there's no confirmation email to say that you have submitted any changes.

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:58 Archived in England Tagged ohrex_satnav tomtom_go_camper_max Comments (0)

Meriden Birthday Weekend

Day 2 & 3

I will put these two days together to save posting too many times and boring my followers.... ;)

Day 2

With the birthday party not until 7.30pm at the hotel in Meriden, we had to day to fill. After the long drive up we had a lazy morning after breakfast.

When we arrived I saw a Crafter based camper and remarked "That looks the same as the Poshcats" van, not realising until we saw its number plate that it was the Poshcats! As we parked up we recognised some other YouTube vanlife vloggers! They were everywhere!

So Day 2 many of them had gone out and Claire had her morning tea in the Poshcats mug! What do do?

We decided to walk into the village centre as it didn't look to arduous for Reggie. He hates traffic. The first half of the walk is on a closed off road and then it meets the busy Birmingham Road. The footpath is narrow and overgrown. maybe the council could run a mower of the edge occasionally to leave room for humans to walk along the path? Wilding this isn't!

We eventually made it to Meriden Green. Here there are two monuments. One is medieval and marks the centre of England as they knew it before accurate measuring equipment. The other is to cyclists that lost their lives in World War 2. With the Triumph motorcycle factory having been a mile or so along the road for 40 plus years until 1983, maybe a better one for the motorcyclists killed in world wars might have been good too!

Claire wanted to go to the pharmacy on the green. There are a few shops, a couple of cafes (both closed on a Saturday afternoon), a Budgen's and a Coop supermarket, plus fish and chip shop and an Indian restaurant. we had a coffee from the machine in the Coop and then decided after checking out the monuments that Reggie had had enough!

Meriden - Centre of England

Meriden - Centre of England

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How to get back? As both of us are retirees, we have concessionary or free travel on buses throughout England (except London?) so we decided to take the bus back to the end of the traffic free lane to the campsite. It was only three stops on the bus but saved Reggie the torture of a walk back again on the narrow path with all the traffic. The X1 was the only bus on this road. When it finally arrived, we touched in. Reggie has never been on public transport before. He prefers to bark at trains and buses.... He was frightened whilst we waited and when the bus arrived he hopped on and sat by my feet, quietly.

This opens up a whole new area for us when we are away! One we have never contemplated before! Of course, in the UK dogs are allowed on buses and trains. It's different I expect in other EU countries! And we can't blame the 2016 B-word for that!

We had lunch when we got back. Then readied ourselves for the short drive to the hotel. It's about 200 yards from the bus stop! Parking was a nightmare. The hotel said to park at the back of their car park. They were quite rude to Claire on the phone - "You can't stay overnight!". Not that we were going to! We couldn't park and after trying a few places we went up to the Green and parked on the road. Van locked with the Milenco steering bar and pedal lock on! Can't trust anyone or anywhere!

The party went off olay. I went back to check on Reggie and he was asleep. He was loose in the van and I expect he would have defended the van had someone tried to get in. The fish and chip shop was very busy and it was quite noisy.

After meeting relatives from her cousin's paternal side, Claire was the only representative from the maternal side, we called it a day at just gone 10pm.

The campsite doesn't have a curfew but we didn't want to spoil the other campers when we got back. It was about 1030pm by the time I reversed back onto out pitch. I learned something here. The reversing lights are pretty useless. It wasn't totally dark but they seemed to illuminate only about 2 feet from the back of the van!

Once parked up we connected the leccy and put the silver screen on the front. Time for a tea and then bed.

Day 3

I was still having a lie in when Claire took Reggie out and I could hear her talking to "Cadac Joe" who was in the Team Vlogger group. By the time I got up they had started to leave on their trip to Scotland. We set off about 11am.

I had the satnav set to take us past the Triumph Factory memorial. I had last been there in 2013 with my brother when we were both on Triumphs. There was no chance to get a photo this time. The road was too busy to park a motorhome.

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From there it was M42/M40/M25/M26/M20 and home. We arrived around 3.50pm. With a stop at Oxford Services for lunch and pretty solid traffic on the M25 for a long way we were still quicker than the trip up!

And that's it. Was it worth it? Yes. For Claire to see her cousins and cousins in law was really good.

The Somerswood campsite is adult only and was really good. Good sized fully serviced pitches and really good clean and modern facilities.

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:58 Archived in England Comments (0)

Grimm Up North!

CANCELLED!

After the six and a half hours to get from home to Meriden in the east Midlands due to heavy and ridiculous traffic, road closures and road working we have decided that getting to Yorkshire on a Friday afternoon is simply the act of lunatics!

I have therefore cancelled the Caravan Club sites. As we are more than 2 weeks before arrival, we get the £20 deposit back for all three nights. That will help my MasterCard a little!

Let's hope that we have made the right decision.

Posted by InvictaMoto 07:59 Archived in England Comments (0)

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