13th June 2011 - 30th June 2011

Derbyshire, Somerset and our first Granddaughter!
Monday 13th June 2011
Elvaston Castle Caravan Club Site, Borrowash, 52 53 62 N, 01 23 32 W, (43 Miles).

Our first destination this morning was Leisure Furnishings at Long Eaton in Nottinghamshire. We had arranged through West Country Motorhomes for Leisure Furnishings, who make the bed mattress for Autocruise, to investigate and rectify our concern with our uncomfortable mattress. As Julie at Leisure Furnishings had suggested that it would take 4 days to solve the problem we had decided to stay at Elvaston Castle until we could collect it back from them. However when Julie and then Dave examined the mattress they decided they would make a new “improved” one for us, which will take about 3 weeks to manufacture, a great result for us which we are very pleased about. Not having been to Elvaston Castle and Country Park we didn’t alter our plans and as Elvaston is only 5 mile away from Long Eaton (albeit in Derbyshire) we arrived there at 11:00 am. After a light lunch we decided to walk to the village of Borrowash to purchase a Daily Mail newspaper and went to the large Co-operative Supermarket there, How come I walked back with a carry-bag in each hand? Happy memories on the way to the village, crossing the bridge over the River Derwent, remembering a great fishing day I had on the “Earl of Harrington” waters there many years ago, with Dave Jennings, his son Darren and his mate Pete. RIP, Dave hope you’re still catching them in that great lake in the sky. A pleasant visit this evening from my brother Brian who was returning from visiting a model show in Doncaster and our relatives in Yorkshire. Well planned (read luck) the campsite is only about 5 miles from Junction 25 of the M1 so it was easy for him (if he hadn’t missed the park entrance) to call in to have tea with us and we hadn’t even told him tea was Cottage Pie, followed by Summer Fruits Crumble! Tomorrow we are going to explore Elvaston Castle and the Park.

Tuesday 14th June 2011
After breakfast on a beautiful sunny morning we walked along the pleasant wooded track into the adjacent Elvaston Castle Country Park and explored around the formal gardens and empty castle. Not truly a castle in the “fortified fortress” sense, more of a “turreted” country house. We are completely ignorant of the castle’s history although we have seen a part of the house with the date 1633 carved into a stone lintel, we had intend purchasing the £1 booklet which tells of the history castle, if only we had taken some money with us! As well as the “castle walk” there is also a “lake walk” so after returning to the motorhome for lunch we decided to walk around the lake. Again a wonderful picturesque walk through wood to the lakeside and we followed the track around it’s perimeter before once again reaching the castle buildings, after taking some more photographs and walking through the Elvaston church grounds we continued past the formal garden and strolled back to the campsite via, what we presume to be the castle’s main drive. Unfortunately the sun was not in the correct place for a decent photograph of the drive and castle front, weather permitting I will walk down first thing in the morning to take some photo’s, when hopefully the sun will be out and in a better position. We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening relaxing outside listening to music and reading.
Elvaston Castle.
Elvaston Castle.

Wednesday 15th June 2011
Before 8:00 am this morning and even before showering I walked through the woods to the main castle drive and took some photographs, disposing of a Grey Squirrel on the way back, which for some reason had met his maker!
Elvaston Castle..
Elvaston Castle..

Deciding to visit the City of Derby today we left the campsite to catch the 11:00 am bus from Borrowash. We caught the 12:00 pm one! The cycle track which appeared to run parallel to the main road seemed to be a quieter and prettier option than the pavement to the village and we had seen the same National Cycle path No 5 further along the road near Borrowash Bridge. However after about ½ mile it turned away from the road and through the woods and then after about a mile we lost the signs altogether. We did find Elvaston Nature Reserve and the information board seemed to indicate that it went close to the river walk and as we had also seen a path near the river we decided to follow that instead, 30 minutes later we were back at the start of the Nature Reserve track. We gave in, re-traced our steps and returned along the cycle track to the road and continued along the pavement to Borrowash. Nice bus, “The Indigo” and a very posh lady shouted in our ears through a loudspeaker, the name of the next stop, plus the next stop was also shown on an illuminated board. After 22 minutes (so the sign said) we reached the very impressive Derby Bus Station and walked the short distance (thank goodness after this morning’s episode) to the shopping centre. It was now 12:30 pm and not surprisingly we were both thirsty, so as it was near lunchtime we opted to eat as well and enjoyed an “Aberdeen Angus” in a bun at Burger King. After lunch we strolled through the indoor market to the shopping centre and window shopped before looking for a pair of shoes and bra for Jenny, with no success, both being either too small or too big, or was it too big or too small!!!!!!! We then spotted “Appyfeet” a shop that provides Pedicures with a difference. They have those fish called Garra Rufa also known as doctor fish, nibble fish or little dermatologist, which “eat dead skin”, well I couldn’t resist it and “pushed” Jenny into the shop, 5 minutes later she was sitting with her bare feet in a tank of very hungry fish. I asked the assistant if I could pay extra and have them substituted for Piranha or a Great White, unfortunately they were not available! Jenny suggested I also have a session. With my ticklish feet? She must be joking, if just one touched my feet I would have been through the plate-glass window head first. After Jenny’s experience I needed a strong cup of coffee and Muffin, whilst Jenny had coffee and a toasted tea cake, we then made our way back to the bus station and returned to the camp site.

Thursday 16th June 2011
Kingsbury Water Park Camping and Caravan Club Site, Kingsbury, 52 34 10 N, o1 42 24 W, (38 miles).

After a phone call last night and an early phone call this morning from Rhiain’s partner Ian we had a major change in our plans today. Rhiain is in St Michael’s Hospital Bristol and she is in labour 6 weeks early! After phone calls to Kingsbury Camping and Caravan Club to enquire if we could arrive today and also Enterprise Car Rental to see if we could also collect the rental car a day early we left Elvaston Castle, the Nature Reserve will have to wait for another visit, probably just as well as Jenny got a lot of insect bites on her ankles and legs when we unintentionally walked the trail yesterday. Jenny had already explained our situation to the site manager at Kingsbury and they very kindly allowed us in before the normal 12 noon arrival time. After getting ourselves organised we were collected by Martyn from Enterprise and driven to their Sutton Coldfield depot to do the necessary paperwork and within 20 minutes we were on our way to Bristol stopping at Asda in Minworth to fill with fuel and purchase sandwiches and drinks for lunch. We were just near Tewkesbury when Ian rang again, Rhiain had given birth to Kura Lily Amelia at 1:26 pm. Betty didn’t let us down and we were at the hospital at just after 3pm to see our new granddaughter.

* * * Congratulation to Rhiain and Ian on the birth of Kura Lily Amelia we are very Proud Grandparents * * *

Friday 17th June 2011-Saturday 18th June 2011

Two days doing what new grandparents do. We were very pleased on Saturday to meet Ian’s parents, Brian and Deana and Ian’s 11 year old Niece Emma whom we met at visiting time at the hospital.

Sunday 19th June 2011
A busy morning at Rhiain & Ian’s home before driving into Bristol to visit Rhiain, Ian & Kura at St Michael’s Hospital. Kura needed to be in an incubator today as she slightly jaundiced, however the nurses seem to be extremely pleased with her and a late evening text from Rhiain informed us she was back in her normal crib. Leaving at the end of visiting time we drove back to Kingsbury Water Park arriving just after 7:00 pm.

Monday 20th June 2011
Appointment, appointment and another appointment. We Jenny also caught up with a heap of washing, Jenny (we) had made a mistake when we were at Elvaston Castle assuming that there was a laundry there, there wasn’t!

Tuesday 21st June 2011
More appointments today, fasting blood tests at the Health centre, no breakfast before we left, but as is our habit, a delicious “Full English” at “The Causeway”. Then a visit to the library to return our books before our eye tests appointments at Specsavers, Jenny eyes surprisingly after her appointments at Good Hope on Monday were OK, unfortunately I do need another pair of spectacles, very boringly I am having exactly the same type as I have got now, the difference being I will see further! Michael, Sharon and Charlie spent the afternoon with us, although I left them in the mid afternoon to meet Brother Brian at Powell’s pool in Sutton Coldfield, where he was, with other members of his Model Club, sailing his model yacht. His mate Sid left me “at the helm” of his “Victoria” whilst he made the member’s tea, I made a right “pig’s ear” of it, colliding with another members yacht in the middle of the lake, which resulted in the riggings becoming entangled, eventually both yachts limped back to the pool side and we were able to separate them. Bet I won’t be asked to Captain one again!

Wednesday 22nd June 2011
A short drive to the storage unit at Tamworth this morning to sort out a few items, as usual we took items we no longer need and conversely bought other items back. This time though we bought back our two suitcases of clothes for a “trying on session”, good news some items we can now wear now we have both lost weight, other clothes will have to wait a bit longer whilst unfortunately others will be taken to the charity shop. We also were pleased to receive from Christine at Anker Storage a £20 Marks and Spencer voucher for a customer introduction. We decided late morning to visit Rhiain and Kura at the Maternity Hospital in Bristol, so we left at 1:00pm and arrived just before visiting time started at 3:00pm. Both mum and baby are doing well. Leaving at 5:00pm during the “rush hour” we were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to drive through Bristol City centre and onto the M32 urban motorway and we were soon back on the M5 motorway, reaching the camp site at a few minutes after seven, which included stopping at our favourite “Fish n Chip” in Kingsbury for freshly cooked Haddock and Chips.

Thursday 23rd June 2011
At Lichfield this morning for the results of our “fasting” blood tests, mixed results, both our Cholesterol’s have reduced, however not as low that we would have liked, more exercise and healthy eating required! We had intended to do a “big” shop at Tesco but we are now staying at Kingsbury Water Park at least until next Wednesday so having extended our hire of the car we will do it later next week. We had a short visit from my brother Brian this afternoon he wanted to try his new mountain bike around the country park, he did get some exercise then spoilt it by eating a home-made scone. Michael, Sharon and Charlie came for tea and I enjoyed taking Charlie to the playground and down to the pool to feed the ducks, one piece of bread for the ducks and two for Charlie!

Friday 24th June 2011
Returned two (significantly lighter) suitcases to our storage unit this morning and while we were there we also had a “sort out” of other items, we have also “lost” a holdall, or is it at Rhiain’s or Michael’s????? Spent the afternoon “ripping” CD’s to iTunes, still trying to recover all the files and programs to the Laptop after it’s “crash”, I am still finding I am missing, information, music and other files after almost a month.

Saturday 25th June 2011
Joined Brian this morning at Huddlesford Junction on the Grand Union Canal to visit the open day of the model boat club of Burton-upon-Trent, but because of the miserable wet morning there didn’t seem to be much to see or enjoy. We didn’t stop long as we wanted to get back to the campsite before the qualifying of the European F1 Grand Prix started on the television.
Huddelesford Junction, near Lichfield.
Huddelesford Junction, near Lichfield.

Sunday 26th June 2011
Michael came over this morning in the works van to bring our bicycles, think he’s got fed up with them taking up room in his shedJ. Spent the afternoon watching the Grand Prix, unlike the Canadian Grand Prix of 2 weeks ago this one was rather boring, looking forward now to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in a fortnight’s time.

Monday 27th June 2011
A short drive this morning to Asda in Tamworth to purchase some BBQ food as Michael, Sharon & Charlie are coming over for lunch. Quite funny when we arrived at the store, we hadn’t got any BBQ coals or lighters so we put them in the trolley first, then I had an idea, why not just buy a disposable BBQ to save cleaning ours? Out went the coals and lighters, in went the disposable BBQ. Jenny then went looking for the BBQ meats, chicken, sausages, etc, I wondered about and spotted the cooked food counter, another idea (yes, two from me in one day). Back went the disposable BBQ, into the trolley went, a ready cooked, BBQ Chicken, Garlic Chicken, Sausages, BBQ Ribs and Potato wedges. Told Michael and Sharon when they arrived that we had pre-cooked it this morning……They didn’t believe us!

Tuesday 28th June 2011
A relaxed morning. This afternoon I drove to Sutton Coldfield and met Brian at the Sutton Park, Powell’s Pool, where he was sailing his model yachts with the Birmingham Model Yacht Club. Nice to see my nephew Ian had come with his Dad, recovering well after his motorbike accident. We spent the evening with Brian and Linda at their house in Great Barr, Brian very proudly showing me his “boat yard” the extension he had built on his workshop to house his model boat building activities.

Wednesday 29th June 2011
Appointment’s this afternoon. Jenny and Ian, a couple we had made friends with when staying at Kingsbury Water Park last year “popped” in to see us, Unfortunately because of a prior appointment we couldn’t spend a great deal of time with them. Pity I wanted to hear of their adventure’s camping in NZ and Aus’. However as they are taking up an appointment as Assistant Warders at a campsite in Leicestershire we will endeavour to visit them over there in the near future.

Thursday 30th June 2011
After a final trip to the storage unit this morning at Tamworth to take some “bits & pieces” we spent the early afternoon cleaning the motorhome, before relaxing reading and listening to music outside in the sun.