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Travelogue

25th October 2011 - 13th November 2011

Shropshire
Shropshire
Tuesday 25th October 2011
Ryton Farm Certificated Location, Condover, Near Shrewsbury, 52 38 01 N, 02 44 75 W, (70 Miles).

We waited at Kingsbury until 11:30 am for a phone call from “Tamworth Camping” to inform us that the awning had arrived. With no call we decided to drive to our storage unit at Tamworth to take our outdoor cooking equipment back, dump summer clothes and collect some winter ones. Coincidently Jenny and Ian our friends from Kingsbury Water Park were also there, doing exactly the same. They are working at a camp site near Montgomery and as we will be near there at Shrewsbury and they were telling us how nice the camp site is, we may make that our next destination. Our oil-filled radiator that we use for keeping the cab part of the motorhome warm in cold weather (the un-insulated part of the motorhome) has broken, so we decided that we would purchase another one whilst in Tamworth, after trying the various electrical outlets we bought one from Asda, the same one in Comet was £9.03 dearer! Not receiving a message from Tamworth Camping and only getting an answer phone message we decided we would not wait any longer and drove to their store. Good news, the delivery truck was there when we arrived, bad news, the awning hadn’t been sent! Shaun the manager is checking with the supplier (Kampa) to hopefully resolve the problem. After a short stop in a lay-by for lunch, we continued on our way to Shrewsbury and the Tesco supermarket for a “big” shop, eventually arriving at Ryton Farm a little after 5:00 am and after paying the fee and collecting the key to the EHU (electric hook up) we drove the short distance to the camp site. We needed to fill with fresh water (less fresh water when travelling = less weight= improved fuel consumption), before we reversed into our favourite No6 pitch. Problem! The key to the EHU was the incorrect one and wouldn’t fit, we thought as we were the only one’s on the site we would be able to make our power lead reach the No 9 EHU which the key fitted, we were about a metre short. We tossed up who would walk back to the farm for the correct one, I lost and while Jenny put all the grocery’s away and prepared tea I fetched the correct key (No 7 actually as No 6 had gone missing, but at least the cable reached easily).
Ryton Farm Certified Location.
Ryton Farm Certified Location.


Wednesday 26th October 2011
Tamworth Camping contacted us this morning on the awning problem, evidently Kampa should have had 2 in their warehouse for delivery to them, but they have been “mislaid! However, by lunchtime they had been located and are despatching to Tamworth Camping, who are then arranging delivery on to us, we had also ordered “monsoon” poles with it, they have agreed now these will be FOC for the inconvenience caused. Jenny took the opportunity this morning to drag me outside in the warm sunshine, sit me in the chair, tether my arms and legs to it and gave me a much needed haircut, I recovered in time for lunch! Unusually “Duggie’s” pool at the back of the motorhome, which is a “stock pool” and normally almost dry, was full to the brim and the “No Fishing” notice had been removed. I found out why when I walked around the pools; my favourite pool which contains a nice mix of different fish had been drained. I walked around the bank edge and had the bright idea of walking on the dry(ish) sandy pool bed looking for discarded swimfeeders, ledgers, etc, I only found one, still it’s saved me a pound. I will have to ask John (the farm owner) when I see him as to the reason for draining it AND find out where he’s put the fish, although in the water remaining there were certainly some fish left. I should have fished today, the weather was perfect, a man who I was talking to said it would be wet for the next few days, wish I had looked at a forecast.

Thursday 27th October 2011
A very busy morning at the campsite, John has donated the fishing pools for a charity fishing contest in aid of the “Air Ambulance” by 8:30am there were at least 20 cars parked (very haphazardly) around us and the contest didn’t start until 11:00am. I had to smile when I thought back to my own competitive fishing, walking along a river bank for what seemed (and at times was) miles at 6:30am on a Sunday morning with my rod bag, heavy box and a large bag, not anymore, trolleys and electric trolleys at that, heaped up with what seemed a house clearance sale and one fisherman still had to make a return journey to collect some more tackle and he only had to walk a maximum of 100 yards. Before lunch I was talking to a couple who are fishing “Duggie’s pool, without any success, I don’t think I will be trying that one. As forecast, a wet and miserable day, so we stayed in the warmth of the motorhome for most of the day. I went out at 4:00pm to watch the “weigh in” of the fishing contest, the winning weight in the top pool was 84 lbs and in the lower pool 76 lbs, I had noted this morning that most of the men fishing were “wrinkles” (like me) and I asked the name of the club? "Gods Waiting Room Angling Club”, I Like it!

Friday 28th October 2011
A cold night, but woke up to clear skies and no wind whatsoever, an ideal morning before breakfast to walk around the pools and camp site and take some photographs. I thought the opportunity to do some fishing was not to be missed so before lunch I walked down to “Goff’s” Pool and fished until 4:45, when it started to get colder as the sun dropped below the tree line, I caught 5 Common Carp from 5lb to about 8lb and 3 nice Roach so I was not disappointed. Jenny in the meantime did some baking and prepared a Belgian Beef Hotpot a favourite of mine and a dish I have been a “dab hand” at cooking myself in the past.

Saturday 29th October 2011-Sunday 30th October 2011
Two very lazy and relaxed days, although we did get up early on both days (with the bonus of the extra hour on Sunday). Spending both Saturday morning watching the inaugural F1 Grand Prix qualifying from India and Sunday the race proper and then both afternoons reading, editing some photographs on the lap top and having a stroll around the pools.
Duggies Pool, Ryton Farm.
Duggies Pool, Ryton Farm.
Evening Light at Eddies Pool, Ryton Farm.
Evening Light at Eddies Pool, Ryton Farm.


Monday 31st October 2011
Problems with our “Hotmail” account looks like our contact list has been-hijacked, apologies to those who have had a “spam” email purported to be from us, we will change our password when we are on a reliable and fast internet connection. The last day for fishing at Ryton as John closes the pools and campsite for the winter months; however we have already been told we can stay as long as we want and we have decided to leave on Friday. We were hoping that the awning would arrive today as promised by “Tamworth Camping” but it hasn’t, hopefully it will arrive tomorrow. With the weather being mild I decided to fish although I didn’t start until lunchtime and “Murphy’s Law” the weather changed mid-afternoon and it started to drizzle and the wind started to blow, not to be beaten I fetched the fishing umbrella and fished underneath that. Late afternoon the sun came out beneath the cloud and the trees alongside the lake looked spectacular with the every leaf looking like a piece of gold, it only lasted a few minutes so unfortunately I didn’t have time to fetch the camera.

Tuesday 1st November 2011
Good news today, the awning arrived and John’s daughter-in law very kindly delivered it to the camp site for us. John had also come as well so whilst Jenny had a chat to John’s daughter-in-law, I had a talk with John who told me some very interesting facts about the farm, fishing pools and campsite, evidently the source of the water for the pools comes from four sources, a bore hole near the farm, two springs, (one of which is dry at present) and the greatest quantity from the quarry which is about two mile away near Condover. With the weather ideal, i.e., no wind, we decided to delay our walk to Dorrington village for bread and milk and instead erect the awning. With just a bit of difficulty threading the awning bead through the channel on our Omistor, (next time we will clean the channel first) and Jenny, with her frozen shoulder having to take the weight of the awning canvas whilst I retracted the Omistor back into its case, we erected it without too much trouble and no doubt next time we will be able to do it far quicker. Our first impressions? Excellent and we will feel the benefits of it in the months and years to come. We will need to purchase some extra flooring panels and some extra heavy duty rock pegs for use when we are on an hardstanding site plus a skirt to prevent the draughts underneath the motorhome, hopefully we may be able to get these on Friday at Salop Leisure a Caravan and Camping store which is only a short distance away. Awning erected, we walked to the small village of Dorrington for the Bread and Milk, walking the 2 ½ mile through the narrow lanes via Ryton village on the way and returning along the road towards Condover, we still can’t decide which is the shorter. One decision we have made though, when we return the EHU key and pay for the extra 3 days on Friday we will definitely walk, the lane to the farm has obviously had a “muck spreader” drive along in the last week and I have washed the motorhome!!!

Wednesday 2nd November 2011
Amazed this morning the difference the awning has already made to the comfort within the motorhome, despite the temperature outside being 14 degrees C, we were able to eat breakfast with the habitation door open. We also brought our plastic storage boxes into the awning one at a time and sorted each one out, ready to return some more unwanted items to the storage unit on Monday week. I was also able to tidy up my fishing tackle as despite John allowing me to fish if I wanted to this week, the weather forecast is for it to be colder and wetter for the next few days so I think I will stay in the comfort of the motorhome this week.

Thursday 3rd November 2011
Isn’t it cxxp on television these days, despite millions (slight exaggeration) of channels (although Jenny won’t let me watch the adult channels), there was nothing that we wanted to watch, (Yes Rhiain, I know we still have your “Pirates of the Caribbean” compilation of DVD’s to watch and we borrowed them over 12 months ago)! We therefore went to bed early last night, Jenny read and I listened to some of my favourite music tracks on my iPod including, Eagles, Pink Floyd,U2, Pulp and Neil Young, have you ever heard or played Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane”, with Crazy Horse, the raw guitar sound is just fantastic, I couldn’t sleep afterwards the adrenaline was still pumping through my veins! Made a mistake last night, unusually we didn’t wash up after our evening meal as there wasn’t a lot so we thought we would do it this morning with the breakfast plates, we left the bowl outside and a “creature” visited during the night and left a “deposit”, I won’t do that again, Jenny will have to do the dishes after tea! As the weather forecast is not good for the next few days, we decided after breakfast with the awning almost dry that we would take it down on a dry and calm day, it didn’t take long and it was the a good decision as we had heavy rain showers just before lunch. Spent some of the afternoon attempting to get a photograph of a Heron in flight; however despite chasing him (or her) around the pools I wasn’t successful.

Friday 4th November 2011
Oswestry Camping & Caravan Club Site, Cranberry Moss, Near Oswestry, 52 46 97 N, 02 56 44 W, (22 Miles).

Decided to “chance” the farm drive down to Ryton Farm this morning rather than the lane which we already knew was very muddy, the farm drive is the “normal” way to the farm complex which all the large trucks use to collect the farms crops (mostly potatoes) and although not bitumen is very compacted well-drained gravel. After paying our outstanding site fees, plus my fishing fees and saying cheerio to John and his daughter our next stop this morning was at my favourite store, “Toy r Us” where I was allowed to “play” with some of the toys, before being dragged out kicking and screaming to walk over to Sainsbury’s to top up with food for the weeks stay at Cranberry Moss. We also paid a visit to “Salop Leisure” a Caravan and Camping store to purchase the Kampa storm tie-down kit that Tamworth Camping were out of stock of, we also bought some awning lubricant which we thought would make it easier threading the awning bead along our own awning channel. With only 22 miles driven today and 8 of those miles diverting to different stores we were warmly welcomed at the club site at Cranberry Moss just after 1:00pm, just as it started to pour with rain, which was a bit of a nuisance as we wanted to put the awning up straight away, nevertheless, after having lunch the rain had ceased and we started to erect the awning. Despite the lubricant we had purchased earlier it was still very difficult to thread the beading through the channel and it was necessary for Jenny to stand in the passenger side foot well and try to take the weight of the awning canvas and attempt to keep the beading in line with the channel at the same time, not easy with her shoulder still being stiff, while I in the meantime pulled the top along the channel. We managed it (with difficulty) in the end and the rest of assembly was fairly straight forward, although it is a good job we have a box of the “rock” type tent pegs as we are on a hardstanding pitch and normal steel or plastic pegs would have just bent or broke. Well, we had bought Pizzas from Sainsbury’s for tea tonight, but, a Fish n’ Chip van visited at 5:00 pm so it was no contest, this time (unlike the past two occasions) both the fish and chips were excellent, plus they were a 1/3 cheaper than those we bought last time at Bakewell and the quantity was greater!
Oswestry Camping and Caravan Club Site.
Oswestry Camping and Caravan Club Site.


Saturday 5th November 2011-Sunday 6th November 2011
Two relaxed and lazy days, spending time in the warmth of the awning reading!

Monday 7th November 2011
The coldest night of the year last night and a heavy frost this morning but at least the day started off very sunny, pity it didn’t last, as by mid-morning it was still cold, but also wet and miserable, the very reasons I always hate the month of November. A bus ride into Shrewsbury this morning to post a parcel to Rhiain, actually to Kura it was a pram set that Jenny had been knitting over the last few weeks. Spoilt for choice of bus’s, one runs every 30 minutes and another goes a different way into the town runs every 2 hours, pity the one that runs more often is a 7 minute walk from the camp site and for the less frequent one the bus stop is right outside the site, still a 7 minute walk is hardly a hike and that is the one we used. After window shopping and purchasing a few items we required, we had a quick snack at “West Cornwall Pasties”, yes, of course we had a Cornish Pasty each (the large one, we were hungry) and a cup of tea before catching the No 70 bus back to the Wolfshead roundabout and walking back to the camp site.

Tuesday 8th November 2011-Wednesday 9th November 2011
two more lazy days!

Thursday 10th November 2011
We decided late morning to visit Oswestry a market town on the border of England and Wales which neither of us has visited before. We caught the No 70 once again near the campsite, (obviously in the opposite direction to Monday),we have got used to the bus not taking the direct routes to our destinations and we must have at least trebled the distance of 9 miles through small villages before reaching Oswestry bus station. Lunch was our first priority and Fish n’ Chips were our choice and we were lucky enough to find a nice “chippy” almost straight away, not a restaurant as such but a “chippy” with a couple of tables inside, enquiring first whether they also did cups of tea (which they did) we enjoyed Cod and Chips and teas (which were free). After lunch we continued exploring the town and purchased a few items of grocery we needed before walking back to the bus station via Oswestry Railway Station which was adjacent. The station was closed in 1966 and is now part of the Cambrian Heritage Railway, I thought there might be some interesting relics to photograph but other than an old rusty steam locomotive, there was little else to be seen. We were back at the camp site mid-afternoon and decided as the awning was almost dry to take it down rather than wait until tomorrow morning and risk it getting wetter. We certainly dismantled it quicker than on our first attempt and were very soon in the motorhome drinking tea, just in time as within minutes it started to rain. Won’t go to Oswestry again…..they charge 20p for a wee!

Staffordshire
Friday 11th November 2011
Cathedral Grange Caravan Park, Lichfield, 52 41 86 N, 01 50 57 W, (56 Miles).

We left Cranberry Moss at lunchtime and our first stop was at the services on the M54 near Telford to refill our gas bottles. We did have what we thought was an amusing observation on the way whilst on the Shrewsbury by-pass, I had just negotiated an island and was building up speed to my “norm” of 56 mph when two very old black “sporty type” veteran cars passed me and then I looked in the mirror and another one was in the outside lane, to catch the other two up I presume, he sped past as though I was standing still, I didn’t think the car would have gone that fast in its heyday, never mind now! Reaching the services we topped up with gas, amazed that we only needed just over 13 litres, that’s just £10 that we have spent on gas in 3 months, it’s obvious that Jenny’s not baking enough cakes for me! Then as it was almost lunchtime we decided to eat at Burger King to save us bothering cooking when we arrived at Lichfield, the “3 Pepper” Angus burger was delicious. Arriving at Cathedral Grange we had settled in, drinking a cup of tea, when Ed rang, Jenny’s Physio, to tell her that Monday’s appointment had been cancelled and that they had arranged for her to have a x-ray at a later date on her shoulder. If only we had known earlier we would have stayed at Oswestry, the very reason we have travelled back to Lichfield today was for Jen’s appointment on Monday. Michael and family came over early evening which was enjoyable; luckily I had already eaten what was left of the fruit cake!

Saturday 12th November 2011
Spent time watching the Grand Prix F1 practice 3 and then the qualifying from Abu Dhabi before walking down to Lichfield in the afternoon to do some shopping. Brother Brian came in the evening to spend some time with us and tell an amusing (well I thought it was) story of attempting to get the Sky system installed correctly in his house. Don’t think we’ll bother having it! Must tell you the one part though, Sky were charging him £105 because the engineer couldn’t gain access to his house, Brian’s reply, “not gaining access???? He sat and had a cup of tea and sandwich with me!!!!!”

Sunday 13th November 2011
Watched the Grand Prix, washed the outside of the motorhome (very dirty rain in Shropshire), cleaned the wheels and windows and spent the rest of the day relaxing.