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Travelogue

22nd September 2011 - 13th October 2011

Derbyshire to Worcestershire, via Somerset!
Derbyshire
Thursday 22nd September 2011
Grin Low Caravan Club Site, Buxton, 53 14 79 N, 01 55 77 W, (50 Miles).

A late decision this morning to spend the next 8 days at Grin Low, when we looked on the web site they hadn’t any room on Saturday night and they had also confirmed this on the telephone yesterday. However when we rang this morning to book just 2 days they had had a cancellation so we have now booked until next Friday. Michael, Sharon and Charlie spent part of the morning with us before we left for Buxton where we arrived at 1:00pm, despite driving past the site and having to drive a further 2 mile along the lane before we were able to turn round. The site is in the sheltered floor of a disused quarry and part of Grin Low and Buxton Country Park, just 2 miles from Buxton town centre. It looks like we will have plenty of opportunity for some interesting walks in grasslands and woods around the site, although in the next 3 days after a busy week we will relax, the Singapore Grand Prix may have something to do with our (my) decision!
Grin Low Caravan Club Site.
Grin Low Caravan Club Site.


Friday 23rd September 2011
A very relaxed day!

Saturday 24th September 2011
Bonus last night, a Fish & Chip van visited the site and unlike the tasteless ones we had at Winchcombe about a fortnight ago these were much better, despite having to have Cod instead of our usual preference of Haddock. F1 Grand Prix this weekend from my favorite city, Singapore and I enjoyed watching both the 3rd practice and qualifying. Spent the rest of the day reading and editing photographs, whilst Jenny read and knitted.

Sunday 25th September 2011
A lazy day, although after the rain last night I did wipe the motorhome down to get some of the road dirt off that we have accumulated in the last two wet drives. Then concentrated on watching the Grand Prix from Singapore, wish I was there.

Monday 26th September 2011
Requiring both bread and milk we decided this morning to walk into Buxton, strange, we haven’t been to a “Spa” town for some years and then we visit two in two weeks. The shortest way appeared to be across the Country Park which we were told was just over 2 miles, walking over the upland limestone grasslands, down through the woods and exiting the country park via the famous Poole’s Cavern car park and directed by a taxi driver we were in the town centre in what seemed a comparatively short time. We soon found an “Iceland” to purchase what we needed, spending the princely sum of £3, £1 for bread (excellent price for Warburton’s “Toastie”), £1 for milk and £1 for ½ dozen eggs. We also needed to by a “top-up” card for my mobile phone (O2) as Jenny’s (Orange) that we normally use has very little signal in the hollow of the quarry bottom. Needing lunch we found Fitzgerald’s a nice little café where we enjoyed baked potatoes with tuna mayo’, sitting in the window we “people watched” while we were eating. We had arrived in the centre along Broad Walk passing the Crescent and the Pump Room (both unfortunately unlike Bath closed, awaiting funding for restoration) however we decided to return to Grin Low through the Pavilion Gardens with the very ornate Opera House adjacent.
Pavilion and Opera House at Buxton
Pavilion and Opera House at Buxton


We didn’t get very far, walking along the banks of the River Wye (no not that one) we found the “The Pavilion” where we stopped for a Latte and cake before undertaking the walk uphill back to the motorhome. After we climbed the hundred steps (well maybe 25) up from Poole’s Cavern car park we found a sign which said “campsite” so rather than take the track we had used on our way down we took the “campsite” path. Mistake, it went straight up a difficult rocky and wet path and came out at the fencing on top of the quarry, we could see the motorhome but had still a further 10 minute walk, skirting the quarry wall, before we arrived back!
Grin Low Caravan Club Site View.
Grin Low Caravan Club Site View.


Tuesday 27th September 2011
In the glorious hot weather, we have relaxed outside the motorhome for the day, Jenny reading while I read and listened to some music (the Clockwork Orange Soundtrack, Pulp and Neil Young).

Wednesday 28th September 2011
Surprise this morning at 7:30 am when I “peeped” through the habitation door window (I always leave the blind about 4” from the top so I can look what the weather’s doing) it was foggy! Deciding that I would take the opportunity to take some interesting photographs, I swiftly made our cups of tea, dressed and made my way through the Country Park on a 15 minute walk to “Solomon’s Temple” (439 metres above sea level) a viewpoint tower built in 1896. Skillfully (or was it luck) I made my way across the grasslands and the tower loomed up through the mist. I now had to be patient and wait for the sun to “burn” the mist off to take a decent photograph, well I waited………and waited on occasions the wind blew the mist away for a glimpse of the tower, but within seconds it was covered again. I did at last take a couple of decent photographs before I decided I was getting hungry and returned to the campsite.
Mist at Solomons Temple.
Mist at Solomons Temple.


I thought Jenny may have been worried with the length of time I had been away, what did she say when I arrived? “Oh, I didn’t expect you back yet” Murphy’s Law, yet again, I had showered and was eating breakfast when the mist cleared, if only I had stayed up there a further 15 minutes, Grrrrrrrrrr! Wanting to visit “higher” Buxton we decided we would walk again down through the country park to the town, firstly though, we wanted to walk up to “Solomon’s Temple” this visit with Jenny being in cloudless conditions and climbing the spiral staircase to the viewing platform we had and uninterrupted view of the surrounding countryside and Buxton town.
Solomons Temple.
Solomons Temple.


Descending through the woodland was (like Monday) quite difficult as the path again was rocky and wet, we eventually reached the road and walked to the “higher town”, realizing that we had seen it before when we went on a Photography course with “Peak Photography” in 2007 and whose offices where near the market place (the highest in England) and town hall. Descending the short distance to the “lower” town we had lunch before once again strolling through the Pavilion Gardens and back to the campsite, this time walking up the easier track that we descended on Monday.

Thursday 29th September 2011
Another day outside in the sun, how long will this weather last?

Staffordshire
Friday 30th September 2011
Cathedral Grange Caravan Park, Lichfield, 52 41 82 N, 01 50 52 W, (49 Miles).

We didn’t need to leave early today as we only had a short distance to travel on a route that we have driven many times before and without having to drive on a motorway or through a town of any size it is always a pleasant run, despite two tractors that were “racing” each other, going too fast for me to overtake on the windy road, but slow enough to hold us up for 10 minutes. We reached Lichfield at lunchtime and it wasn’t long before Michael arrived, he must have smelt the tea, fooled both him and Sharon though, we had run out of milk and had only powdered milk, they made do with lime cordial! On the next pitch were a couple with their grandson Archie, who was playing in a paddling pool and Charlie was invited to join him, he had great fun for an hour, inevitable he cried when he had to leave, Jenny would have done the same. Nothing in the larder so after the “Morris Mafia” left we walked into the city to have lunch and purchase some bread and milk before our “big shop” tomorrow. We didn’t have much luck at the first three café’s we tried, either the kitchens were shut (at 3:00pm????) or in Café Nero’s case they didn’t have the Panini I like. We eventually found the “Damnfinecafé” and we are pleased we did, a baguette full of “Packington Pork” with stuffing and apple sauce, delicious and very filling. After walking back to the camp site we sat outside relaxing in this extraordinary weather.

Saturday 1st October 2011
An early walk to Lichfield as we had our Flu inoculations booked for 10:18 am and 10:20 am. Sister Sandy Reid was waiting for her victims and the conversation went, Sandy, “are you allergic to eggs?” Me, “only the way Jenny cooks them”, data input lady, “date of birth?” Me, “24th of the 1st very old”, me, “Can I have a plaster on it?” Sandy, “No”. Jenny was less trouble! Tesco was next on our list and when we had finished with a trolley full of food, we thought we would hire a taxi to take us back to the camp site, however we thought we would see where Michael was, where was he? Just coming up the escalator in Tesco! However after he also bought some groceries and with his car also packed with a “Karaoke machine” (don’t ask), he only had room for one passenger in the car. Jenny won the fight and it was me who walked back alone to the camp site, still there was a drink waiting for me when I arrived. I had also forgotten that Jenny is still insured to drive Michaels car, why didn’t Jenny drive us both up and Michael could have walked!!!! Can’t miss out on this weather we spent the afternoon and early evening sitting outside reading.

Sunday 2nd October 2011
Of all the photographs that I have taken since starting the web site in 2007 there is not one of the city that Jenny and I lived happily in for 32 years; today, because the appointment was not until lunchtime for my hearing test with Paul at Specsavers, we thought we would rectify the omission and walked down to the city late morning. Obviously the biggest tourist attraction in Lichfield is the imposing Cathedral, the only one in the country with 3 spires (the three ladies of Lichfield) and I took several shots from a view near Stowe Pool, before walking along the side of Minster Pool for a photograph of the gardens at Beacon Park.
Lichfield Cathedral.
Lichfield Cathedral.


where stands controversially the statue of Captain Smith, the captain of the ill-fated Titanic and then we returned to the market place for my hearing appointment. Afterwards we decided to have a cup of tea at the same café as Friday, (the toasted tea cake was nice too), we also told them we would return tomorrow for breakfast, but alas Tony told us they close on Monday’s. We returned to the camp site via the memorial gardens and “The Close” for more photo’s of the Cathedral, all I need to do now is find time to edit the multitude of the many images I have taken around Bath, Derbyshire and Staffordshire in the last 2 weeks, it’s a busy life!

Gloucestershire
Monday 3rd October 2011
Winchcombe Caravan & Camping club Site, near Tewkesbury, 51 59 40 N, 01 59 45 W, (74 Miles).

Another walk down to Lichfield this morning this time for Jenny’s fasting blood test at 10:40 pm at the health centre, as is usual when we have fasting blood tests a “big” breakfast at the Causeway Café. We had plenty of “time to kill” before Jenny’s next appointment at the Physiotherapiy department at the Samuel Johnson Hospital, so we had already made the decision for Jenny to stay in the town while I returned to the camp site (notice it’s me walking again). Actually thinking about it, Jenny made the decision to go to the hospital on her own, her appointment behind the curtains is with Eddie, a young good-looking male Physiotherapist, bet that influenced her! I made myself busy when I arrived back at Cathedral Grange, preparing the motorhome for leaving, cleaning all the windows, plus giving the wheels and tyres “a polish” before sitting in the sun reading, awaiting Jenny’s call phone call to say she had “finished” with Eddie. Our timing was perfect I left the camp site, Jenny left the hospital and we met a Tesco’s petrol station at the same time, (just as well, Jenny had the credit card) and after filling with diesel we were soon on our way. Reaching Winchcombe at 4:30 pm once again being warmly welcomed by the manager Sue, we were soon settled on our pitch, sucking ice-lollies purchased from the site shop, just one pitch away from the one we had last time and within yards of the pool.
Winchcombe Camping and Caravan Club Site.
Winchcombe Camping and Caravan Club Site.


Tuesday 4th October 2011
Our “normal” day the first day of stopping at a camp site for a few days, relaxing and reading although I do have a few photographs to edit before updating the website and Jenny has baked a fruit cake, made scones and prepared an apple and summer fruits crumble for tea!

Wednesday 5th October 2011
I had thought about fishing today but the weather has changed (mustn’t grumble) so I have concentrated today in editing more photograph’s, Jenny meanwhile relaxed and read and made some Cornish Pasties for our tea (which were delicious). No water in the amenities this morning so we used our own facilities; however the water board companies were here early and by mid-morning things were back to normal. Heavy rain tonight the first “proper” rain we have had for some time, we will have to get used to it again beating on the roof of the motorhome.

Thursday 6th October 2011
A relaxed day, didn’t have the fish “n chips from the “chippy” van tonight because the last time we were here they were ugh, it wasn’t only our opinion, in the camp site “guest book” somebody in September had written “great site, lovely and helpful managers, but the fish and chips were horrible”!

Somerset
Friday 7th October 2011
West End Caravan Park, Locking, near Weston-super-Mare, 51 20 08 N, 02 55 71 W, (68 Miles).

We planned for a lunchtime arrival at Locking so we had an easy journey from Winchcombe however we have made a mistake. We didn’t realise until Rhiain mentioned it, that this weekend is the annual sand racing on Weston-super-Mare beach. Things got interesting when we arrived at the camp site reception and we were told it was £5 per night extra than we were quoted because it was “high season”, When I queried the cost with the owner he said, “It’s high season because of the event and anyway if you can afford a motorhome like that then you can afford the extra £10, the extra cost is nothing to you” When Jenny came back off the ceiling……… It got worse, we asked about a “non-electric” site, and he said we could only go on an electric site, BUT, we couldn’t use the electric for heating we had to use our own gas, eh????? Then even worse, he told us where our pitch was, between the amenities block and a rusty old Transit van with a building site at the rear.
West End Farm Caravan Site.
West End Farm Caravan Site.


He could see that we were not at all happy (to say the least) and said “take or leave it it’s your choice”, because Rhiain’s house is only a 10 minute walk away and we will be there most of the time and because we thought we would have difficulty finding a suitable camp site close by with the event being on, we decided reluctantly to stay. However we shall certainly be sending a letter of complaint and it will not be a camp site we will stay at again or recommend. When “you” consider that two sites we have used in the last two months “The Ketch” (visiting for the 3rd time on Monday) and “Winchcombe” (twice) both these came from recommendations from other people we have met on camp sites, then it is obvious that recommendations are very important, also information about campsites such as this. After sorting ourselves out we then spent the rest of the day and evening with Rhiain, Ian and Kura. And enjoyed our Fish n’ Chips t from “The Codfather” which is just a short drive from Rhiain’s house.

Saturday 8th October 2011
Out of bed at 4:55am to watch the qualifying session of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix, then went back to bed for a short time, before a “lukewarm” shower (another minus for this camp site) before spending the rest of the morning and early afternoon with Rhiain and family. It was interesting to meet a gentleman in the laundry /washing up area who had the same opinion as us about this camp site.

Sunday 9th October 2011
Not quite so early getting up this morning as yesterday, the Japanese Grand Prix not starting until 6:00 am, Jenny rising a little later to “do” a car boot sale with Rhiain. After watching a great race, plus the fun and interesting “red button” forum following it, it was after 10:15 am before I walked the short distance to the land adjacent to the Helicopter Museum where the car boot sale was being held and stayed awhile with Jenny and Rhiain before returning to the camp site. At lunchtime I once again walked to the car boot sale to help them “pack up”, I came in useful when I arrived selling a CD/DVD rack for £8, I think when I told the guy “it was guaranteed not to wear, test, bust, or fray at the edges and had never been raced or rallied and was once owned by a old vicar”. I clinched the sale! We then returned to Rhiain’s for a short time before walking back to the camp site for tea.

Worcestershire
Monday10th October 2011
The Ketch Caravan Park, 52 09 59 N, 02 13 10 W, (76 miles).

Jenny went shopping this morning with Rhiain & Kura to purchase the groceries we need for the next few day, while I prepared for us to drive to Worcester. On their return we had a “cuppa” together before leaving, definitely the first and last time we will be visiting West End Farm Caravan Farm. We arrived at “The Ketch” and within no time were on our pitch and having lunch. We then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon before walking the short distance to “The Harvester” where we had a very tasty evening meal.

Tuesday 11th October 2011
We decided this morning we would walk along the bank side path of the River Severn into Worcester for me to buy some bits of fishing tackle and Jenny to buy knitting wool. By the time we had been to “Allan’s Fishing Tackle” and then continued into the town it was lunch time, so we had lunch at McDonald’s, a “1955” Beef burger at 2011 prices, despite Jenny protesting! After our lunch we found the Hop Market which we had visited before to buy wool before visiting a number of other shops to purchase other incidentals. Returning to the bus station I attempted to use their computer screen to decide which bus we needed to catch to the St Peter’s district of Worcester, I aborted it when I got Tesco, Weston Super Mare twice, the local Tesco a 12 minute walk from the camp site and which we thought would be a “focal point” to aim for I couldn’t find! We eventually decided it was the No 32 bus we needed, confirmed by the bus driver when we got on and who kindly said he would stop at the appropriate stop, however when we were close we realised we were near to “The Harvester”, where we had dinner last night, great, we got on the 3:15 pm bus and were back in the motorhome 15 minutes later.

Wednesday 12th October 2011
Can’t believe this weather at present, another warm and very pleasant day, ideal for sitting relaxing on the side of a river and achieving a target of mine, catching a Barbel (the only one of the day) which weighed 10lb 4 oz, my first double figure Barbel in many years of fishing (although due to work commitments I didn’t fish between 1992 and 2009). Must admit my heart was beating fast in the 10 minute tussle as I was only using 5lb breaking strain line, but he tired before I did, although my arm was aching when I finally got him to the net. Jenny in the meantime relaxed by reading and knitting and of course bringing me the odd cup of tea.
 Biggest Barbel at the Ketch.
Biggest Barbel at the Ketch.


Thursday 13th October 2011
A very similar day to yesterday, however I did manage 2 fish today, a Barbel of about 2lb and an eel, quantity not quality!