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Travelogue

20th August 2012 - 15th September 2012

Worcestershire and Herefordshire
Worcestershire
Monday 20th August 2012
The Ketch Caravan Park, Worcester, 52 09 94 N, 02 13 14 W, (46 Miles).

Well that was a bore, but it had to be done, Jenny’s eye appointments at Good Hope Hospital were 10:00am and 10:30am so we thought we were doing well when she went into her first appointment at 9:50am. Without going into all the details, we came out at 2:30pm, having read all our magazines (and there’s), completed the Daily Mail crossword and Sudoko’s and read all the information on their noticeboards. We then had a short drive to Enterprise to return the hire car and James then drove us back to Kingsbury Water Park, again excellent service from the staff at Sutton Coldfield, even though Laura is a Newcastle United supporter! Luckily we had got everything prepared earlier this morning for our departure to Worcester and all we needed to do was dis-connect the power, empty the grey water tank and fill with fresh water, it is much more convenient to do this at Kingsbury than at “The Ketch”, although it means we are carrying 90 kilo’ of extra weight. We arrived at the caravan site at little after 4:00pm and Richard the new manager, the previous couple have either left, retired or been sacked, dependent who you speak to, having had a “confrontation” with them last year, I suspect with their attitude it may be the latter. I had intended to fish this evening but having arrived late, I contented myself with chatting to three guys that had come down from London and were fishing and camping at the camp site. Arriving late also gave us an excuse to try the “Toby Carvery” at the top of the drive, last year it was closed during our stay, it was “Murphy’s Law”, it was re-opening the day we left. Jenny had Pork, I had Beef, with a variety of tasty vegetables, the red cabbage being particular tasty, I was very good and thought of my figure and didn’t overload my plate, pity, I couldn’t say the same for Jenny, although we did both finish off with delicious Chocolate Brownie ice-cream sundaes . We also noted they do an “all you can eat” breakfast for £3.99, we may try that during our stay.
River Severn and The Ketch Caravan Park.
River Severn and The Ketch Caravan Park.


Tuesday 21st August 2012
Forgot to purchase some Luncheon Meat and Sweet Corn, not for us but for fishing bait. Tesco is only a 10 minute walk away from the camp site so we strolled up to the store this morning, buying a few more grocery items whilst we were there. I started fishing lunchtime in the same place where I was successful in catching large Barbel last year and my first ever over 10lbs. I was joined by my two companions from last year, who floated beneath me waiting for morsels of meat or corn. “R15” the male Swan and “T11” the female were disappointed! I was unsuccessful in catching any fish, what I was successful at was losing fishing tackle on an underwater obstruction, looks like a large branch has floated down the river during the high water levels of this year and sank in front of the fishing platform I was using.

Wednesday 22nd August 2012
Started to fish late morning and not wanting to lose any more tackle I decided to try a place a bit further down from yesterday, however, it was one of the places one of the London lads was trying in the past two days without success, so I wasn’t too confident. Just before lunch it started to rain heavily so I returned to the motorhome for something to eat and wait for the rain to cease. By 3:00pm the sun was out once again so I continued my fishing, not having a “bite” this morning where I was fishing I went another 2 pitches further down and baited more heavily than this morning and although now having a few bites I was still without a fish. I stopped once again for tea at 6:30pm before fishing until dark, I did have a large Barbel hooked, but unfortunately my line broke……but that’s fishing!

Herefordshire
Thursday 23rd August 2012
Bromyard Downs Caravan Club Site, near Bromyard, 52 11 23 N, 02 28 13 W, (16 Miles).

We had promised ourselves an “all you can eat” breakfast at “The Toby” so by 9:30am that is exactly where we were, we were not disappointed, great value for £3.99, I was very good and thought of my figure and didn’t overload my plate, pity, I couldn’t say the same for Jenny, hang on I’ve said that before…. and she also complained that there were no mushrooms!!!! Before leaving we had a chat with “Motorhome lover” a member of the same motorhome web site that we belong to and I helped him hitch his car trailer to his motorhome (I didn’t have a choice he was blocking the road), Jenny also booked us for a return here on the 3rd September, perhaps I will have better luck with my fishing. As we are at Bromyard for 11 days we stopped at Tesco to top up with our grocery requirements for our long stay, the little camp reception sells fresh milk, bread and eggs so we needn’t walk to Bromyard for those items. We had a warm welcome from Val and Ray the friendly managers who remembered us from last year and were soon pitched and drinking tea. With the weather forecast being wet for the next 2 days we thought it a good idea to put the awning up, we are very proficient at erecting it now so it didn’t take long, so we were able to relax for the rest of the late afternoon and evening.
Bromyard Downs Caravan Club Site
Bromyard Downs Caravan Club Site


Friday 24th August 2012
A lazy day!

Saturday 25th August 2012
Well we had intended to go for a short walk today, however with the continuous rumbles of thunder we did not venture out, other than to empty the grey waste bucket and top up the fresh water tank. This Caravan Club site does not have an amenity block so we use all our own facilities so obviously we use more water than we normally do, Lunch time the thunder got closer and it started to rain and did it rain. We are at the bottom of a slope and the water was rushing down and running off the road onto our pitch and the pitch next to us, luckily because we had put down the rubber “tile” mats which are about ½ inch thick and our carpet on top the water didn’t come through, the grass around us was flooded though, we won’t be going out the rear door of the awning for a while.

Sunday 26th August 2012
Well at least there wasn’t a cloud in the sky this morning, although we had the coldest night of the summer at 10.2 degrees C. Being situated in an old quarry and surrounded by tall mature trees, its fairly late in the morning before we get the benefit of the sun’s warmth, but at least from then on, until late evening we are in sunlight…..that’s if it shines! The 4 acre site has 40 pitches of which only 18 are hardstanding, Val was telling us that they had had to cancel a lot of bookings this year because of the wet weather, we can see why, this morning Ray had to tow off 2 caravans from grass pitches with the mowing tractor, the owners very sensibly not attempting to tow off with their vehicles. We spent the afternoon sitting in the awning, Jenny knitting my Aran jumper, only 14 rows plus sewing up to do, so I could be wearing it very shortly, I sorted out my fishing tackle, I always finish up with an untidy bag and then sort it after the fishing “session” ends, I also did a “shopping list” after losing so much tackle last week on the River Severn. Mmmm, had the rest of the stuffed marrow for tea tonight, delicious!

Monday 27th August 2012
A lazy day, again! Well it has rained for most of the day, we knew we should have gone for our walk yesterday, but at least Jenny was able to finish my Aran jumper. Must mention the couple on the next pitch have a cat, now I don’t particularly like cats (they make me sneeze), except pure black one’s, but they had a Snow Leopard Bengal and by the description you can imagine the marking on it, it was beautiful, Google them and see what I mean.

Tuesday 28th August 2012
Spent the morning once again reading, I am attempting to “catch up” on my photography magazines that I still haven’t read properly, the latest ones are out on Thursday. After lunch we had a ramble up onto the downs, unfortunately my leg didn’t want to “play ball” so when we got to the top we sat on the seat overlooking Bromyard and Herefordshire before walking back to the camp site. At least it was warm enough to sit outside the awning until tea-time, something we haven’t been able to do for a few days.

Wednesday 29th August 2012
Val and Ray were right it always rains on their day off and today was no exception and it has poured all day. We were going to Worcester but having overslept it would have been a rush for the bus. Once again we have spent the day relaxing.

Thursday 30th August 2012
With three couples waiting outside the camp site for the 13:15 No 420 bus to Worcester, it was a mass exodus; at least we made the number of passengers up to eight. Wanting to go to Alan’s Fishing Tackle Shop for some “bits” we got off the bus at St John’s and decided firstly to go to the Post office to re-new our vehicle tax, then immediately came out again when Jenny discovered she had forgotten the insurance cover note (no further comments are necessary, but Jenny must take full responsibility). At least when we got to the tackle shop I was organised, I’d got my shopping list with me, I only wanted a few bits, but “we” still spent £25, not cheap this fishing lark. Feeling particularly generous I offered to take Jenny to lunch, coincidently on the back of our bus tickets was a “special offer” for a McDonalds “Big Mac” and fries for £1.99, not wanting to miss such an opportunity I took her there, I made her pay for the teas though! After purchasing my photography magazines from W H Smith and fresh milk and bread from Iceland we made our way down the escalator to the bus station for the return to Bromyard, mass influx to the camp site, there were eight of us got off the bus. We were also on a different bus on the way back, no McDonalds special offer on the ticket, Jenny will have to buy her own lunch next time.

Friday 31st August 2012
The coldest night of the summer but a least the weather forecast for today was much better. We sorted out this morning our refuse bin problem, you may recall we can’t find one that is the right size and shape……an empty Shredded Wheat box is perfect! With two practice sessions of the F1 Grand Prix from Spa Frankochamp in Belgium we didn’t go very far, although both P1 and P2 were so very wet there weren’t many cars risking going on the track, however some of the “unrehearsed” interviews were very interesting, especially Mark Webbers. It was that time again, yes we both needed an haircut, I was first, my reasoning being that if Jenny made a mess of my hair or cut me, I would do the same to her, thank goodness, no mishaps and we both live for another day.

Saturday 1st September 2012
Can’t believe it, we woke up, Jenny checked the time on her phone and it was 9:00am, what a pair of lazy so-n-so’s. We did wake up much earlier just as it was getting light when we heard a peculiar animal/bird noise outside, we hadn’t a clue what it was, but whatever, it sounded like it was in distress, perhaps a Buzzard had caught a rabbit? . I waxed polished the front of the motorhome this afternoon, doing it systematically I know exactly which parts will be done next time and then we relaxed for the rest of the day, the 3rd practice and qualifying for the Spa F1 Grand Prix was the only thing we watched on the television. This evening is probably the best one we have had since we have been here, the weather is warm and calm; I wonder how long it will last?

Sunday 2nd September 2012
Found out what the noise was last night, I mentioned it to the man on the next pitch, there were two “Little Owls” perched on the tree above his caravan during the night, screeching straight through his roof vent! With the awning dry today we took the opportunity to take it down today, we are so organised now we were drinking tea within 30 minutes. I then continued with the polishing of the motorhome, both front doors outside on now completed, next is the inside and pillars. Spent the afternoon watching the Grand Prix, good result for Jenson, not so good (an understatement) for Lewis. In the warm sun sunshine we spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening sitting outside reading.

Worcestershire
Monday 3rd September 2012
The Ketch Caravan Park, Worcester, 52 09 94 N, 02 13 14 W, (16 Miles).

Well having a very short distance to travel we didn’t rush off this morning and left after 11:00am. First stop was the Tesco Supermarket less than 2 mile from the camp site to purchase our needs for the next 7 days at “The Ketch”. Richard the new manager wasn’t available when we arrived at the camp site; however his mobile phone number was on the reception door so Jenny rang him. “Just make yourselves comfortable and come and pay this evening was his reply”, we already knew which pitch we were on, “the same one as last time) and within a very short time we were erecting the awning, putting the shopping away, drinking tea and having lunch. Feeling guilty only buying Jenny a “Big Mac” and chips last week, I decided we would walk up to the Toby Carvery for tea, that I was in the toilet when the bill arrived was sheer coincidence (honest), anyway I shared my toffee and shortbread cheesecake with her!

Tuesday 4th September 2012
As we were leaving yesterday, Ray the manager at Bromyard mentioned that there was DVLA office in Worcester where we could renew our vehicle tax (it is now overdue), what we didn’t realise was that the office is just 200 yards past the filling station where we walk to purchase our morning paper. So our first job this morning was a walk to the tax office, it was so easy, collect a ticket when you walk in, sit until your number is called, take the documents to the counter, pay and receive the tax disc, we were only there about 5 minutes, beats queuing at the Post Office counter for ages. We also found out that next door to the filling station was a Fiat Commercial dealership, so I enquired about the “spare wheel recall” letters we keep receiving that don’t apply to our motorhome. Sense at last, all we need do is take the recall letter to them and our V5 document, they take a photograph of the spare wheel in situ and send it to Fiat, they then “tick the box” to state that the issue has been resolved. During breakfast this morning the man fishing in “the peg” near us caught a big Barbel, when I asked him lunch time about his catch I realised who it was, Steve Pope, a professional fisherman and Barbel expert, who runs courses on the Kennet, Seven and Teme on catching Barbel, he is a very enthusiastic and interesting person to talk to and he is very free with tips on catching large Barbel, hopefully the chat we had may help me catch one or two this week. No luck this afternoon and evening though although I did catch two large Bream.

Wednesday 5th September 2012
Needing to post a couple of letters, Jenny enquired at the filling station yesterday where the nearest post box was and was told Tesco. So this morning we walked to Tesco, enquired at the service desk and was told it was on the main road near the “Harvester” if only we had walked along the road instead of along the pedestrian walk way through the housing estate, we would have saved our legs, we would have passed it, still, we did buy a nice French Baton for our lunch. This afternoon I left Jenny reading outside and went for a walk on the opposite side of the river (via the Carrington Bridge) and to the confluence with the River Teme, I thought I would spot some shoals of fish as I walked along the bank, however the notorious evasive weed “Himalayan Balsam” growing over 6 foot high prevented me from reaching the water’s edge for most of the 2 mile stretch I walked along. Why don’t we have the controls that other countries have to prevent the spread of non-native plants, etc. in the UK? Having been walking for at least an hour, I must admit I was rather tired when I arrived back, however I was very pleased that my leg seemed to stand up to the trek very well, especially as we had walked at least 2 mile this morning.

Thursday 6th September 2012-Friday 7th September 2012
Two complete days fishing, started at 10:00am and finishing at 8:15pm, with no success on either day. However, it was so hot on both days and I was so comfortable “lying” in my fishing chair, catching fish was not a priority. I took my camera with me and photographed some of the Dragonflies and Damselflies that were flitting about and also attempted to photograph the Swan (R15) that was “washing” in front of me, I was hoping he would “pose” with his wings open in front of me but he didn’t co-operate.
Male Banded Demoiselle.
Male Banded Demoiselle.


Jenny bought down a “picnic” to the river bank both lunchtimes and sat under the umbrella /parasol, reading until it was time to prepare our teas, I like this fishing I get out of doing the washing up! Friday afternoon Jenny was asked by a man, whilst I was fishing, “where I was?” it was Dave, one of the guy’s that I met last year here. When I went up for tea we had a good chat before I continued fishing. It was almost dark when I caught my second fish of the day; it was a surprise, a Common Carp of about 4lbs.

Saturday 8th September 2012
Up at 5:45 am this morning, deciding to fish from first light, I nearly went back to bed, I looked out of the window and I couldn’t see the opposite bank it was so misty. The attraction of a large Barbel was stronger than staying in bed with the old Trout (ouch! that hurt, Jenny) and before 7:00am I had my first fish, not the Barbel I wanted but a good-sized Bream, the largest I have caught for many years.
Morning Mist the Ketch Caravan Park.
Morning Mist the Ketch Caravan Park.


I returned to the motorhome for breakfast at 9:30 am and the heat of the sun was only just dispersing the mist, but soon after breakfast I was able to dispense with my 2 jumpers and body-warmer and change in to shorts and tee-shirt and a coating of sun tan lotion. Two things amused me today, the first was a boat which was called “May Contain Nuts” which I thought was a brilliant name and the other was “The Pride of the Midlands” river cruise boat came past with a “quiet” party aboard, when it returned up river about 3 hours later, the passengers must have been suitably inebriated, they were rather loud. Timed tea to coincide with qualifying of the Belgium F1 Grand Prix from Spa, before continuing fishing until dark and also had chat this evening with Gary and Barry two people we met at Chapel Farm CL August of last year and who first suggested that we try “The Ketch”, Steve Pope also joined us and inevitable the conversation came around to catching large Barbel, “putting plenty of bait in” is his advice, sound advice, but then he gets his bait free from his sponsors, we have to buy ours and it isn’t cheap!

Sunday 9th September 2012
It was my intention to have an early morning fishing session again; however, both my leg and back are aching this morning so I have decided not to fish today. Still got out of the washing up though, I was talking to Les, Dave’s friend who was another man I was talking to when here last year, great to see him again, he has been reading about our travels via our web site and leaves the occasional comment on the “guest book page”, He will be spending more time at the Ketch now having just bought a static caravan on the site, that’s if he’s still alive…. He was supposed to be strimming the grass, whilst his wife was at the car boot sale, not chatting to me! Deciding that exercise would possibly help with my leg (having sat/lay in my fishing chair for 3 days) we walked up to Tesco this morning for bread, arriving back at the motorhome we had a cup of tea before taking the awning down as there is a possible chance of rain tomorrow. We spent part of the afternoon sitting outside before the cloud came over and it went a lot colder. Having taken photographs recently of different dragonflies/damselflies I have decided to read the field guide to these insects, very interesting reading and I think getting to know a bit more about them will hopefully enable me to achieve improved photographic results, although with the end of the summer I will probably have to wait until next year.

Monday 10th September 2012
Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club Site, Great Malvern, 52 05 83 N, 02 16 50 W, (15 Miles).

First stop this morning……well we walked up to the Toby Carvery for a £3.99 “all you can eat” breakfast before organising our departure from the Ketch, Jenny didn’t eat so much this time she only had 6 sausages instead of 8, still complained there was no mushrooms though! First “proper” stop was just a 1¼ mile from the caravan site at Tesco for a food and fuel “top up”; diesel was an extra 7 pence per litre on what we purchased at Salisbury just 6 weeks ago. Next stop at the Fiat Commercial Dealer, just 5 minutes from Tesco, whoops!! the phone rang as we were getting out of the cab, it was “the Tracker” call centre, we had forgotten to switch it off when we left Tesco, another indication of the excellent service from them, 5 minutes and less than 2 mile from the supermarket and they had detected an “illegal” movement and were checking it. We weren’t long at the garage, the service receptionist came out and took a photo of the spare wheel in situ and noted the vehicle details and within a few minutes we were on our way, hopefully we won’t receive any more letters from Fiat regarding the spare wheel recall. At last we can throw away the Shredded Wheat box we have been using as a rubbish bin, having seen one we liked (but the wrong colour) in Lichfield, I “Googled” the manufacturer and unbelievingly “Caravan Stuff 4 you” less than 2 miles from the campsite had stock. We parked went into the store and “eureka” the exact type and colour bin we wanted, we were only in the store two minutes, although we were outside a little longer, the manager was looking at our motorhome and telling us his 82 year old father wants one instead of his caravan to take his 90 year old girl friend away!!! Arriving at Blackmore to be once again warmly greeted by Jo and Alan the managers we were soon pitched on our usual site and within a few minutes Jenny was at the amenity block with our laundry, I in the meantime made a cup of tea and vacuumed the carpets and upholstery, we then relaxed for the rest of the day, I wanted to catch up with emails and an update of the website, at present I can’t get an internet connection, I will have to try again tomorrow.
Blackmoor Camping and Caravan Club Site
Blackmoor Camping and Caravan Club Site


Tuesday 11th September 2012
A relaxed day, still can’t get on the internet, “Wicom” the internet provider for the Camping and Caravan Club are looking at the problem.

Wednesday 12th September 2012
Needing a few bits of fishing tackle for possible fishing at Devises and Salisbury in the next couple of weeks we went into Worcester on the 11:11am No 363 bus. Surprisingly there were 12 people waiting at the bus stop outside the camp site entrance from both the Caravan and Camping Club Site and the Caravan Club site next door, usually we are standing there on our own. We were alighting at St John’s several stops before Worcester bus station and as we seemed to be the only couple that had used the service before, we thought that the rest of the passengers may follow assuming we were at the city centre, they didn’t, although one couple did mention on the journey back that they nearly did! We then walked into the shopping centre to take our medical prescriptions to Boots and purchase a few more items. We were going to have lunch in the city, but instead we just had coffee and cake at our favorite coffee shop Nero’s before catching the 2:50pm bus back to Hanley Swan. “Captain Avery” was on site tonight, the fish and chip kiosk opens, Wednesday. Thursday and Friday’s, it was raining so I sent Jenny for them.

Thursday 13th September 2012
Well still no internet connection this morning and it’s caused us a problem. What we normally do is check availability and book our Caravan and Camping Club and the Caravan Club sites on line and also look at other camp sites and availability. This morning we decided we would have to ring instead, only to find that both Devizes and Salisbury have no vacancies for the dates we want in the next few days, back to the drawing board, we are now going to stay here an extra 2 nights and then just go a short distance to Winchcombe for 3 nights before continuing towards Hampshire. Having spent most of the morning checking on camp sites and for part of the afternoon, we spent late afternoon outside in the warm sunshine, making the most of it, we don’t know how many more day’s we will be able to do it. It is usually very peaceful here, we had an exception this afternoon though when a Hawk Jet thundered over the motorhome at zero feet, I had to go in and change my underpants! We went to change some paperbacks and I spoke to Jo about the internet connection (or lack of it). She suggested I go “walkabout” and see if I could get a signal, I was within metres of both antennas on each amenity building, but to no avail. The only signal I could get was from the antenna on top of the reception building and ironically I could get a connection to the Caravan Club Site next door, as soon as I walked back to the our pitch the connection “dropped out”, I have spoken to “Wicom” again this afternoon and they are once again investigating it.

Friday 14th September 2012
Knock on the door this morning, it was Alec one of the site assistants, he informed us that “Wicom” had found a problem with the booster, hence no Internet connection, they will send somebody out on Monday (from Manchester) to repair it, no good to us we go on Sunday. Spent some more time polishing the motorhome this morning and then the afternoon reading.

Saturday 15th September 2012
Requiring Bread, Milk and Eggs we decided this morning to catch the No 363 bus to Great Malvern, it took us over 50 minutes for the journey despite Great Malvern being only 4 mile away. Yes, we knew the bus went via Upton and Welland, but previously it didn’t go up and down every road in a large housing estate just outside the town. It was our intention to also walk a short way on to the Malvern Hills from the town centre, unfortunately within a short distance I knew my leg would not cope with the steep climb we therefore adjourned to a book shop/coffee shop before purchasing our requirements at Waitrose. Very confusing when we walked back to the bus stop, no No363 mentioned, although we did know that on the incoming journey the No 363 changed to the No 42 at Upton. We therefore asked the driver if he went to the Blackmore Campsite, “no” was his reply, after looking at his notes, “I don’t go that way”, however at least the bus went to Upton so we decided at least we could go that far, have a look around the village and then get the next bus to Blackmore. However, listening to the other three passengers on the bus, they were also puzzled AND they were locals!! Evidently “First” have taken the contract over from “Aston’s” the previous operator on the 3rd September and everyone (even the drivers) are rather confused. Luckily the bus after once again negotiating numerous roads around the housing estate (and at one point going up the same road twice), passed the Three Counties Showground and “Caravan Stuff 4 you” , we now knew exactly where we were and after another mile we pressed the bell (the driver had already said “press the buzzer and I will stop anywhere”) and we alighted at Hanley Swan Post Office (the bus then turned right towards Gloucester, we wondered if he really knew where he was going?) and walked the short distance down the lane to the campsite; stopping at reception on the way to purchase eggs . . . Jenny had forgotten them!