30th October 2013 - 9th November 2013

Just Ten Days in the Midlands
Wednesday 30th October 2013
Cathedral Grange Caravan Park, Lichfield, Lat: 52.69762. Long: 01.84293 (55 Miles).

Slight problem this morning, it looks like the habitation battery is wearing out, the voltage on the display only showing 10.4 volts instead of at least 12 volts, it meant that the gas heating for heat and hot water wouldn’t work and it was only 9 degrees inside when we got up! Still with our body warmers on and at least some warmth from the sun through the trees we were plenty warm enough and the fresh eggs and fresh bread (toasted) we bought last night from the farm shop helped! Before leaving we visited the shop again this time to purchase vegetables (mostly grown on their own farm), in total we spent £21.39 yesterday and today and have enough vegetables for several days (if not weeks), more than a fair exchange for a free night’s stay. Made a bit of a “pigs ear” of navigating this morning, first of all I turned immediately right out of the farm shop exit, thinking it was the main road to Loughborough, it wasn’t and we joined the A14 near Naseby and then ignoring the Satnav (and Jenny) I then joined the M6 at the Catthorpe interchange instead of the M1, it didn’t make a lot of difference to the mileage as we only use the motorway for one junction before reaching the A5, it just meant I approached it from another direction. Our first stop to-day was at our storage unit in Tamworth to collect some winter items, the heavier duvet, outside windscreen cover and winter coats to name but three and take a few items back, (t shirts and shorts). We then drove directly to Lichfield and pitched on the hard standing and while Jenny went to pay, I organised the electric, water and of course a cup of tea, Vanessa only charged us £14 this time instead of £18, we wonder if they have realised that we now only stay for one night now instead of several nights since they increased the price. Michael, Sharon and Charlie came over this evening, Michael brought his battery tester with him and we confirmed that the leisure battery was now losing its power under load; he brought a new battery with him so I will fit it tomorrow morning in daylight.
Cathedral Grange Caravan Park.
Cathedral Grange Caravan Park.

Thursday 31st October 2013
Drayton Manor Park Camping and Caravan Club Site, Tamworth, Lat: 52.60868, Long: 01.71959 (16 Miles).

First job this morning fit the new habitation battery, it didn’t take long, remove the dinette seat cushions and lifting the seat up gives access to the battery storage, then it was just a matter of loosening the clamps, lifting out the battery and fitting the new one, only took about 5 minutes. A walk down this morning to the city to fill our medical prescriptions, return our Ordnance Survey maps to the library, paying an overdue fine of £4.32, which considering we had borrowed 6 maps since July and renewed them the maximum three times and a new map cost over £7 we are more than pleased. We then went to the medical centre for our flu jabs and cholesterol blood tests before doing a few bits of shopping at Tesco, (only to use the money-off vouchers), have a cup of tea and a bacon bap in the Costa Coffee upstairs (the blood tests were fasting so we were hungry) before catching the bus back to a stop near the camp site. We had already organised everything for our departure so only the electric power to dis-connect and we were on a our way to Drayton Manor Park, stopping at Canwell Caravans for toilet fluid and Asda for the rest of our groceries and a top-up with diesel (while its cheaper), on the way. We relaxed then for the rest of the day and evening, Pam and Keith, friends we have met since stopping at Kingsbury Water Park and Drayton Manor, came over for a chat and a “catch up” on our travels and theirs since July.

Friday 1st November 2013
A relaxed day, although Jenny did “catch up” with the laundry.

Saturday 2nd November 2013
Brother Brian and wife Linda came over this morning for a chat, not having seen them for a few months it was good to catch up on family gossip. Spent the rest of the day relaxing and attempting to gather information on our family tree before the fireworks started at 7:00 pm. Despite the fierce wind I decided to take some photographs of the fireworks and at the same time help Jenny “FaceTime” our granddaughter Kura in Canada so she could watch the fireworks, bizarre really, she was sitting with Rhiain and Ian in Tim Hortons (a coffee shop chain) in Estevan and watching fireworks over 4000 miles away in Tamworth. The photographs weren’t a great success, can’t “multi-task” anymore, I will have another try tomorrow night and change the aperture and speed settings.

Sunday 3rd November 2013
Another quiet day, I did have another attempt at taking the firework photographs tonight and I was able to get nearer to the fence as the top part of the camp site was empty of caravans/motorhomes, they look better “in camera”, but I haven’t downloaded them to the laptop yet.

Monday 4th November 2013
Warwick Racecourse Caravan Club site, Warwick, Lat: 52.27945, Long: 01.59836 (38 Miles).

Last day that the Drayton Manor camp site is open before it closes for the winter months, by the time we left after saying our goodbyes to Pam and Keith all the site signage had been taken down and the Calor Gas tanker had arrived to we presumeto empty the gas tanks. Our first stop on the way to Warwick was St Peters Church at Wootton Wawen to see if we could find out any information on my Great, Great Grandfather Mordecai Morris(s), we had a look around the church first, well not just a church, but the home of the Saxon Sanctuary Exhibition “which highlights some of the key scenes in a drama which, over centuries, has been played out in this special corner of the Arden Landscape”, very interesting it was too, especially an information board showing a view of the village in c1850, when my grandfather lived there. We also had a look around the churchyard at the tombstones to see if we could see any with the surnames of Morris or Whittington (Mordecai wife’s Sarah’s maiden name), but with no success. We left the church just before lunch and drove to Warwick, I wasn’t sure which way we would approach the town and was delighted when we came to the outskirts and we were driving along the side of the racecourse where the camp site is situated and after crossing the track we parked at reception. Good news, although the internet booking system showed no vacancies for Saturday, they did indeed have space so we will now leave Sunday, stop at a Britstop near Swindon overnight to arrive at Fordingbridge on Monday. After getting ourselves organised in a perfect location, a grass pitch facing the park land on the inside of the racecourse, we walked to Sainsbury’s Supermarket just 10 minutes from the site to purchase a few items, before returning and relaxing for the rest of the day.
Warwick Racecourse Caravan Club Site.
Warwick Racecourse Caravan Club Site.

Tuesday 5th November 2013
A completely relaxed day, spending some time getting the family tree information up to date and deciding where to go to in the next couple of months.

Wednesday 6th November 2013
A very wet and miserable day, pity as the horse racing was taking place today and we were hoping to watch it from the rail. Instead Jenny watched it through the window of the motorhome and I went out three times to take some photographs and video some of it for Kura to watch, although for the last race I “Facetimed” Rhiain while they were racing and Kura watched the horses racing “live”, she immediately got on “Blackie” her toy horse and ran around their room! It was a good job we didn’t put any money on the races, we both chose horses from the newspaper and from 7 races had: 1 1st, 2 2nd’s and a 3rd, the others are still running.

Thursday 7th November 2013
A disappointing visit to Warwick Records Office today, I looked at their website to check the opening times as I thought there was one day of the week they were closed, what I didn’t notice further down the page is that they are closed completely each 1st week of the month! Luckily there was a helpful lady there who explained the study room was open so at least we could use for information we have not had before (the ship passenger lists to and from Canada) and they are going to get the tithe maps out of their archives for us to see when we go again on Saturday. Found a nice café in the town when we left the records office, “The Tuckery” and enjoyed pots of tea and a piece of shortcake at a very reasonable price.

Friday 8th November 2013
A quiet day, the persistent rain not letting up for most of the day. We have now booked our stay for Christmas, Cofton Country Holidays at Dawlish Warren. Great firework display close-by tonight as good as those we saw at Drayton Manor Park (subsequently found out on Google it was held at Warwick Sports Ground about five minutes’ walk away from us).

Saturday 9th November 2013
Another visit to the records office this morning and the Tithe map of Wootton Wawen and the Apportionment was waiting for us, we didn’t know what to expect. The large map was laid out on the table and we were able to see the 4 plots that my Great, Great, Grandfather rented, 2 being meadows, one house and a house and Blacksmiths shop, we were both excited when we realised almost 100% that the house at least is still standing! We also found reports of two altercations he had with poachers in a local wood, when he was a gamekeeper for Sir Edward Smythe, in the latter one reported in the Leamington Spa Chronicle of the 12th April 1834 he sustained injuries and required treatment by a surgeon for 10 days, the poacher was sentenced to 6 months hard labour. After we left the offices it was time for lunch so we returned to The Tuckery and had a roast lunch followed by home-made bread and butter pudding, we won’t be eating much the rest of the day!