22nd December 2011 -30th January 2012

Christmas in Worcestershire
Note: Not many photographs in this section, decidingly "under the weather".

Thursday 22nd December 2011
Blackmore Caravan and Camping Club Site, near Great Malvern, 52 05 83 N, 02 16 51 W, (77 Miles).

Away at 10:00 am again this morning and just one planned stop at Attwools the camping store just 2 mile from Junction 13 of the M5 to purchase some rock pegs (because I keep breaking the plastic tops) and toilet “Blue”, (because, well just because). Perfect timing arriving at Blackmore at almost 12:00 am to be warmly greeted by Jo and Alan, our “normal” pitch here (No14) was already occupied so we decided on the pitch adjacent, with high winds forecast for the next 2 day we are not putting the awning up until Christmas Eve. After lunch I rang Enterprise to tell them we had arrived and that they could “chauffeur us” to their depot in Malvern to collect our hire car. They arrived within 30 minutes and we soon did the necessary paperwork and drove back in a very nice VW Golf.

Friday 23rd December 2011
A early start this morning as we need to be in Lichfield for Jenny’s physio appointment at 10:30 am, traffic on the 66 mile journey was surprisingly light and we had time when we arrived in Lichfield to visit the Costa Coffee lounge in Tesco (where we parked) to have a drink and an “all day breakfast bap” before walking down to the Samuel Johnson Hospital. Jenny’s appointment today was with the Head Physiotherapist Paula, the lady who treated me (with great success) for my foot problem in 2007, “no nonsense” Paula has given Jenny three exercises to help with the recovery of her frozen shoulder, the good news is, that if there is no further concerns she (Jenny) hasn’t got to go back again, which is great as we can now make plans for our travels in 2012. After calling into the health centre for our repeat medical prescriptions we walked to the city centre do some shopping and meet up with Michael, Sharon and Charlie for a short time, then it was on to the fancy dress shop (more on this 1st January 2012) before arriving at Michaels house in Fradley to spend some time with Michael and Charlie. Our storage unit was the next stop in the afternoon to “put down and pick up” and then the “Anker Shopping Centre” at Tamworth to do some last minute Christmas shopping we also wanted a printer ink cartridge which nobody seemed to have in stock. We had arranged an evening meal with my brother Brian and his wife Linda at “The Harvester” in Great Barr, as PC World was on the way we stopped there and managed to get the cartridge that we wanted. After a swift change of clothes in the restaurant car park (hope where’re not on a CCTV) we waited for Brian and Linda inside and on their arrival we enjoyed a nice meal with them before we made our way back to Great Malvern. Brian had arranged the restaurant venue a very short distance from Junction 7 on the M6 so we were soon on our way and we stopped at the Tesco supermarket at Worcester to buy the last of our food requirements and we were back at the camp site at 10:00pm.

Saturday 24th December 2011
A nice sunrise this morning well 9:10 anyway.
Sunrise at Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club Site.
Sunrise at Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club Site.

A drive to Upton-on-Severn this morning, we knew we would forget something and it was sliced bread, there had obviously been a street procession of some sort involving horses a road sweeper was collecting fertilizer for his roses! Despite having crossed the River Severn at Upton Bridge we have never “turned left” and been into the town, we were pleasantly surprised at the picturesque old buildings and variety of shops and will no doubt come again. We also stopped at a “proper” butchers in Hanley Swan to purchase some Pork Pies, we had already bought some from Tesco, but they were the last packet on the shelf and we weren’t sure how nice they would be (ok as it happened). Baking was the task for this afternoon, or at least Jenny baked and I washed up. We had an enjoyable evening having been invited to a Christmas Eve party organised by the camp Site managers, very good it was too, with Port, Sherry and Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and “nibbles” and the inevitable loud disco music.

Sunday 25th December 2011
* * * Happy Christmas to all our Family and Friends. * * *
A nice quiet relaxed Christmas Day after phoning our friends in New Zealand and our Daughter and Son.

Monday 26th December 2011
Another relaxed day.

Tuesday 27th December 2011
Oh dear, the last 42 years my wife and I have shared everything . . . I really didn’t want her cough and cold though!

Wednesday 28th December 2011
Walked around to the Caravan Club Site next door this morning to visit Don and Jan, the couple we met at Chapel Farm in August, it was lovely to see them again with Molly their Border collie, plus their more recent arrival “Jack” a young Tri-colour Border collie that they have rescued. We had a great “catch up” with them over a cup of tea; however we didn’t stop long because at present I am feeling distinctly “under the weather”

Thursday 29th December 2011
Michael, Sharon and Charlie were early arrivals at the camp site this morning and stayed with us a short time before continuing to Rhiain’s for the day. We followed in our hire car shortly afterwards and we were all down at Weston-super-Mare before lunchtime and spent a great afternoon and early evening with them all before driving back to Blackmore.

Friday 30th December 2011
Enterprise rang yesterday to ask if we could return the hire car back to Worcester instead of Malvern, we agreed as we need to visit the chemists to purchase some potions to help with my “man flu”. The town centre was only a 5 minute walk from the Enterprise depot and after dropping off the car we soon found Boots the Chemist, we were lucky when we continued to the bus station that we only had to wait 10 minutes for the No 363 bus which stops right outside the campsite so we were back at the camp Site within a very short space of time.

Saturday 31st December 2011
Stayed in the warm and dry for the day, Don and Jan came to visit before lunchtime and we had a good “natter” with them, we do hope we haven’t inflicted our colds and coughs on them. Unfortunately because of not feeling well we have decided not to go to the New Years Eve Fancy Dress party that the camp Site managers have organised tonight (we have also not been able to go to the quiz nights), pity I now have a 5 foot redundant blow-up crocodile and large rubber bowie knife and I quite fancied myself as Crocodile Dundee, meanwhile Jenny would have looked rather “sexy” as Pan Am, “the air hostess with the mostest”!

Sunday 1st January 2012- Tuesday 3rd January 2012
* * * Happy New Year to all our Family and Friends join us on our Journeys in 2012 * * *
Still trying to recover from a very bad cough and cold and staying in the warm and dry of the motorhome at Blackmore Camping and Caravan Site, we have decided to stay until I am feeling better.

Note: Comments to Sunday 15th January from Jen’s Diary.

Wednesday 4th January 2012
Oh dear, still feeling rather unwell (to say the least) so we rang the Doctor’s surgery in Upton-on- Severn and managed to obtain an appointment for 11:30 am, we were rather early as the bus came at 10:17 so we went to get some bits and pieces from the small Co-Op supermarket in the high street before walking to the health centre. The doctor actually saw me at 11:00 am, the verdict? A severe virus infection, rest and recuperation required for the next few days! We are staying at Blackmore until I am better.

Thursday 5th January 2012-Sunday 8th January 2012
Rest and recuperation, being looked after by the best nurse (and wife) in the world. Pity she hadn’t got a uniform!

Monday 9th January 2012
Feeling a bit better today. Staying at Blackmore for much longer than we intended we need to have a small “top up” of food so we decided to catch the bus to Great Malvern and visit the Waitrose supermarket and after purchasing our needs we caught the next bus back. So tired, so went to bed for the rest of the day.

Tuesday 10th January 2012
Not a good day, spent most of it in bed!

Wednesday 11th January 2012
Having almost run out of Cough Syrup, throat lozenges, tissues, etc, Jenny caught the mid-morning bus to Worcester to go to Boots the Chemist. I in the mean time just stopped in the warmth of the motorhome; at least I am out of bed today.

Thursday 12th January 2012
Another rest and recuperation day, although I did manage to walk around the perimeter of the camp site for some fresh air

Friday 13th January 2012
Again today feeling better so we had a steady walk down to the village store and post office at Hanley Swan for bread and milk.

Saturday 14th January 2012
Gosh, for the first time today I have got up at a “normal” time, still coughing and spluttering during the night but feeling much stronger and less tired. Nice sunset tonight.
Sunset at Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club Site.
Sunset at Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club Site.

Sunday 15th January 2012
Must be getting better, had a short practice on the Didge’! We have now decided to go to Kingsbury Water Park tomorrow. We did not intend being “in the Midlands” at this time, intending to be much further South. However, because we are only about 55 miles away we will take the opportunity to have our annual medical checks in Lichfield, instead of leaving them until March which was the original plan (I obviously need my medical check urgently, lol).

Monday 16th January 2012
Kingsbury Water Park Camping & Caravan Club Site, Kingsbury. 52 34 09 N, 01 42 21 W, (55 Miles).

A nice steady run from Great Malvern this morning well timed to arrive just after 12:00 pm at Kingsbury. Enterprise (car hire) rang shortly after lunch and organised picking us up to collect the hire car from the depot in Sutton Coldfield and by 4:15 we were back at the camp Site. Michael, Sharon and Charlie came over after tea and stayed for a short while and also brought Jenny’s new iPhone 4s which had been delivered to their house. I must admit I wasn’t good company and shortly after they left I retired to bed.

Tuesday 17th January 2012
Our annual medical reviews are due next week so we had our fasting blood tests this morning at the health centre in Lichfield, I was lucky enough also this morning to get an appointment to see a doctor as I am still feeling distinctly unwell, actually I was seen by the Nurse Practitioner who after a thorough examination prescribed a course of anti-biotics. Because of a fairly late morning fasting blood test we were both obviously hungry, a visit to “The Damfine Café” in Bird Street was called for and we enjoyed our “Packington” Pork baguette with apple sauce and stuffing before doing some shopping at Tesco and returning to the water park

Wednesday 18th January 2012
Spent most of the day in bed, whilst Jenny did the washing. I did help her for a short time in understanding her new phone, with a little (lot) of help from telephone conversations with Rhiain who understands this new technology better than us!

Thursday 19th January 2012
* * * * A Very Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Wife Jenny, I Love You XX * * *
A little problem with one of my hearing aids meant a drive over to Aldridge this morning to visit Paul at Specsavers who soon sorted the fault out. We then drove to PC World at “Beggars Bush” (officially New Oscott but we have always called that area by the Pub name) to check out lap-tops we think that this one we use now (a Sony Vaio) being over 4 years old is now “past it’s sell by date”. Having enjoyed our meal at “The Damfine Café” on Tuesday we decide to have a meal there again today (Jen’s birthday treat). Home-made Mushroom Soup, then Staffordshire Braised Beef, Roast Winter Veg’ and Red Wine Shallots absolutely delicious and presented as you would normally expect in a “5 star hotel”

Friday 20th January 2012
I relaxed for “most” of the day, Jenny did some baking. Beginning to feel a little better!

Saturday 21st January 2012
Jen’s sister Kath and niece Cherie came over late morning to visit us, the first time they had seen the motorhome and were amazed at the room we have inside. In the afternoon we went to the shopping complex in Tamworth, again to look at lap-tops and also a small vacuum cleaner, we must say we are not that impressed with the Dyson re-chargeable we have, especially as the charge only lasts 6 minutes, before a re-charge of several hours is required. Michael, Sharon and Charlie visited again late afternoon, no doubt tempted by Jen’s home-made scones and mince pies.

Sunday 22nd January 2012
Nice to see once again Don & Jan, the couple we met at the camp Site near Bewdley and subsequently here after Christmas, they stayed a couple of hours or so with us, good job Jen had made a fresh batch of scones this morning! Thank you for the bottle of wine both.

Monday 23rd January 2012
A drive to Lichfield, dropping off an electric drill I had borrowed from Michael to do a little job on the motorhome. Then our annual checks with Louise at the Lichfield Health Centre, which also gave me chance to talk to her about my slow recovery from this pesky virus, more rest is required looks like Jenny will have to continue doing the washing up, etc. A quick “wiz” around Tesco and a cup of tea upstairs in Costa and we were back at the motorhome at lunchtime, I then slept until 5:00pm!!!

Tuesday 24th January 2012
* * * * A Very Happy Birthday to . . . me * * *
A visit this morning to the new “Go Outdoors” at Erdington, a very impressive store which has only been open just over a week, we bought some more pegs for the awning although we didn’t get another type we also wanted because they seemed rather expensive. We then drove along the Chester Road to visit once again the PC World at “Beggars Bush”, after looking at lap-tops since before Christmas we have finally purchased a new Samsung, we hope that it gives us the same service that this Sony one has and of course we have got to get to grips with “Windows 7” (watch this space). We then visited my brother Brian in Great Barr, spending time with him before returning to Kingsbury. Last anti-biotic this morning, great, hopefully I won’t now be feeling so nauseas!

Wednesday 25th January 2012
A drive to our storage unit this morning to “take and bring”, before continuing to Sutton Coldfield to return the hire car to Enterprise, they then very kindly drove us back to the camp Site, once again excellent service from them. I am feeling better today so we decided to walk to the “Dog and Doublet” a canal side pub a 15 minute walk along the tow path of the Birmingham/Fazeley Canal for a typical pub lunch “Rogan Josh”!

Thursday 26th January 2012
Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club Site, near Great Malvern, 52 05 83 N 02 16 50 W, (54 Miles).

Nice weather when we left Lichfield, pity it didn’t last and the water spray on the motorway was awful. We arrived (not having booked) at Blackmore at 12:15 and who should be in front of us in the parking area but Don and Jan. They decided last night that they would go away for a few days and join us here they pitched on No 17, whilst we are on No 16, (one up from our last stay). We were soon organised and Jen had the kettle on for tea for “4”, while Don was erecting their awning. We had originally thought we would erect our awning tomorrow, however with the weather having improved we put it up this afternoon, although we have a “few” adjustments to make tomorrow. You may wonder (or not even care) how my Didgeridoo practice is going, well, in the last month I could hardly blow through a straw, never mind a Didge’, however I did have a short session this afternoon and was pleased with my progress, long way to go though before I’m a David Hudson.

Friday 27th January 2012-Saturday 28th January 2012
Two relaxing days, spending a lot of time on this lap-top tidying the documents, etc, ready to transfer the files and also attempting to familiarise ourselves with Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010 and Internet Explorer 9, on the new Samsung, gone are the days when you got a 200 page manual with a computer! Don and Jan came round for a “cuppa” bringing with them fresh cream scones on Friday and custard pies on Saturday, delicious. The weather has now gone much colder with snow forecast for Monday, hopefully it will not materialise, don’t fancy digging ourselves out like we did in December 2010 at Castleton in Derbyshire.

Sunday 29th January 2012
Another relaxed day, well it is the Sabbath!

Monday 30th January 2012
Said our farewells this morning to Don, Jan, Molly and Jack who are returning to Cannock, we will probably catch up again in the spring, probably at the side of a fishing lake.

We also had a surprise visitor in the awning and then the motorhome, obviously Jenny’s homemade scones are getting a reputation, anyway, erithacus rubecula used the SatNav and attempted to steer the motorhome before trying cooking, the inquisitive Robin then flew back into the awning where we left the doors open for him to make his exit.
The nosey Robin
The nosey Robin

As the awning had almost dried out we spent part of the pleasant (albeit cold) afternoon taking our time taking it down and preparing for leaving tomorrow.