The Secret Garden/ Wisbech.

Sat 25th July 2020

Our pitch at the Secret Garden campsite.

We are staying on this campsite near Wisbech, it is 11 acres in size but only has 34 pitches, the site is divided up into little clearings where you can park in one’s, twos or even a group of four. Each pitch has a fire pit and they sell firewood for you to burn. There is a mini brewery on site and you can buy drinks during the evening, there are shelters provided against bad weather where you can sit in comfort. This evening we had ordered a curry meal from a mobile curry van, it was Sri Lankan cooking. We shared between us, onion bhajis, naan bread, Sri Lankan coconut dhal, chicken kothu rhoti, Sri Lankan cashew nut curry and Sri Lankan chicken curry all washed down with local beer, delicious😊

This morning we walked into Wisbech along the River Nene, you get the feel that it is a town going through a change, it’s a little down at heel, it has been a wealthy town, in the past a busy port brought prosperity and this is reflected by the buildings near the river. However now it seems to be populated by many eastern Europeans with their culture and shops, Im sure like many other towns in the UK this change will be assimilated and bring a new strength.

During the afternoon the weather changed and we had heavy rain showers which began again later in the evening, thankfully we had dry weather this morning on our 4 mile walk to and fro Wisbech.

Spalding and Moulton Linconshire.

Friday 24th July 2020

A beautifully sunny start to the day, marred only slightly by some petty official on site barking in a bad mannered way about me walking Layla on site, ah well. We walked a few hundred metres from site to Overton Station on the Nene Valley Railway, unfortunately the trains weren’t running but the station was very attractive.

We drove north from Peterborough to Spalding and parked up in Sainsbury’s car park. The town centre was nothing much to get excited about but the river area running around the town was very attractive.

On the opposite side of the river next to the church we discovered Ayscoughfee Hall a house built in the 1500’s as a family home which now houses the town museum. Unfortunately like many other things at the moment it wasn’t open but the gardens were and we spent a pleasant time there wandering around and sitting on a bench in the sunshine.

From Spalding we drove a short distance to Moulton, near Holbech, this hasn’t been on our original itinerary but I was keen to visit as it was the birth place of my ancestors on my father’s side, they lived and worked in Moulton, Holbech and Fosdyke.

Moulton also has the highest windmill in the UK and was used similar to Holland to help drain the surrounding flat land.

There was a wedding going on in the church whilst we were there so we couldn’t explore that or the grave yard, but some of the local building s were interesting.

From Moulton we drove to Wisbech where we are staying for the night at The Secret Garden Campsite, which thankfully has turned out to be a great place. We had pre ordered pizza for an evening meal from a van on site so no cooking necessary!

Ferry Meadows/Nene Park Peterborough.

Thursday 23rd July 2020.

There have been in the past several blogs written from here as it has been for some time the venue for our annual family gathering, the Bash. Unfortunately we didn’t get together this year due to Covid, however we decided to use the site as a one night stop over as Peter and Alison hadn’t visited before.

Together again.

After setting up and having lunch we went for a long walk around Nene Park which is a fantastic country park with cafes, lakes, wildlife, a miniature train, picnic areas, BBQ points, and acres of open space for family gatherings.

We had a BBQ meal this evening, chicken kebabs, salmon, baked potatoes, sweet corn, salad, cous cous etc eased down with a drop of red wine.

Layla using her pleading eyes on Alison to get a biscuit.

We took another long stroll this evening around another lake where the setting sun gave us wonderful views.

The New Broom, Checkley, Nr Uttoxeter.

Wednesday 22nd July 2020.

The New Broom seems an appropriate title at the start of our first longish journey post Covid lock down.

We are using this pub/ campsite as a spot to meet up with motorhoming buddies Peter and Alison again being reasonably equidistant between our respective homes.

There are two areas that can be used for camping, plus dedicated parking bays behind the pub which we have chosen to use. We pre booked a table in the pub which had enough people in to give some atmosphere but the tables were well apart and organisation for movement around the pub buying drinks etc was sensible without being Draconian.

We enjoyed a good meal with large portions plus some delicious desserts, a couple of pints of HPA ale washed it all down, we should sleep well tonight.

Nantwich

Saturday 11/12th July 2020.

Well here we are our first day away from home territory since March, and a 30 minute walk away lay the Cheshire town of Nantwich, a small compact town full of old interesting architecture.

From the site we had to walk part way along a busy road but soon we were able to cross the road and enter a green area that contained Nantwich lake and the River Weaver. We took the path that followed the river and walked into the town, most of the shops were open and it was quite busy but people were taking social distancing quite seriously.

After wandering around for an hour or so and queuing to go in shops we decided to have lunch, again a strange experience after so long. We chose an outside table but had to hand sanatise before we sat down. We had an excellent toastie and coffee and it was really pleasant to do something normal again.

As is also the norm now we had to pay by card as no cash payments were accepted.

We began the walk back but paused by the lake for an excellent tub of ice cream each , altogether we walked approx 5 miles and enjoyed a sit down in the sunshine upon our return

Today we left the site by 10.00am and drove the short distance to Dagfields Antique Centre a place that is becoming a favourite of ours. After wandering around the various buildings and Michelle adding to her Poole pottery collection we had lunch in Homer and drove the short journey home.

I think it’s fair to say that we enjoyed being able to get back to doing something we take great pleasure in, only 10 days until we are off again😄

Nantwich – The Willows Touring Park

Friday 10th July 2020

Freedom to travel again!

Homer and Fluffles together again.

We have for the first time since February joined up with Peter and Alison our motorhoming buddies. We are outside Nantwich which is approx equal distance between our homes staying on The Willows Touring site.

It’s a new site to us and we are quite impressed, well laid out,good facilities and very pleasant helpful owners. At long last the weather has improved and we are able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, after the evening meal we went for a walk and met a new neighbour.

The evening drew to a close with the traditional sharing of drinks and nibbles, it’s good to get back to normal, even if it is the new normal!

Dipping the toe – Clee Hill

Tues 9th June 2020

We had no commitments for the day and the sun was shining, Homers wheels were itching to move so we decided to have a ride out, dipping the toe into normal motorhome life before Covid restraints are lifted and camp sites open.

First stop Sainsbury’s petrol station for diesel at £1.05 a litre and then we headed west into Shropshire via Bridgnorth. It took a while to get used to driving along and enjoying looking over hedges and fences and seeing those things out of bounds to a car driver. We had also forgotten the state of the roads as we thumped and crashed along, it was like driving in Belgium!

Just short of Ludlow we turned left and drove up Clee Hill to a car park on the left at the highest point the road reaches. From here you can see for miles and the view is well worth taking the time to enjoy.

We had the makings of a drink with us and a few biscuits but the fresh air and pleasure of being on the road made us hungry so a quick nip 800m back down the road to the chip shop solved that problem. We took a short walk after lunch sheep were as wandering around as usual blasé to people and cars, Layla dismissed them with a glance, obviously didn’t think they were worthy of her time. We drove approx 70 miles in all and we were out for 5 hours, it felt as though we were participating in normal life again, not a queue in sight!!!

Clee Hill car park.
View towards Wales.

New roof light/ vent.

April 25th 2020.

At the start of our European trip last September we drove across Belgium in torrential rain, when we pulled upon an aire late that afternoon it became obvious that the bathroom roof light/ vent was leaking. Not a lot could be done that evening other than place a bowl under the drips. The next evening we were on a motorhome stop over in Holland and I managed to borrow a long ladder from the owners. Upon inspection there was no obvious reason for the leaks but as a precaution I used some waterproof tape to seal around the roof light where it met the roof. There haven’t been any leaks since so this obviously provided a temporary solution to the problem.

Last month when installing the solar panel I noticed a long crack had appeared in the outer skin of the roof light so I applied a smear of mastic as a temporary measure and made the decision that it was time for a new replacement. I purchased a replacement one on line, only method in these Coronavirus times, using a company called Leisure Outlet, delivery time was 5 days.

So a combination of warm sunny weather and time on my hands led me to tackle the replacement. Taking out the old one was relatively simple, removal of four screws on the inside, then use of a sharp knife and flat scraper on the roof.

When measuring the size of the old vent it was 40cmx40cm however the profile of the new vent was slightly different and meant there was a need to enlarge the hole by approx 10mm on two of the sides. Out came the trusty jig saw and a few minutes later the hole was the correct size and the new vent dropped into place.

I lifted the vent back out and applied a layer of Soudaflex 40FC to the underside and repositioned it, when in position I ran a bead of Soudaflex around the outside where it joined the roof. I could have done with an extra pair of hands to fit the inner skin, holding it in place, and realised later that I should have taped it in place to make it easier to line up the screws.

The new roof light is white not cream and has a white inner fly screen not brown and it has certainly made the interior of the bathroom lighter. Of course the other half has commented that we need to replace the one over the kitchen so that they match! Watch this space.

Fernweh and Coranavirus.

Wed 1st April 2020.

This evening we should have been travelling from Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany Ferries to spend a few weeks in France, but as we all know Coranavirus has put paid to everyone’s travels. I recently read an article and wrote a thread on another blog site about “Fernweh”.

All my life I’ve enjoyed travelling and like most motorhome owners am always looking forward to the next trip I’ve always believed I suffer from wanderlust. However after reading the article I realise I don’t have Wanderlust but Fernweh.

Wanderlust is the opposite to home sickness and could be defined as the desire or urge to travel, whereas Fernweh elevates that urge to a need to travel.

So having to submit to the current lock down conditions with very little hope to be able to travel in the coming months is very difficult to come to terms with, our trip to a Scotland in May that we had enjoyed planning is now cancelled and there is little point in planning a different trip. We are complying with the social isolation, not too hard when you are used to spending time as a pair in a small motorhome! To keep busy we are decorating areas of our house and the past eight days has seen us transforming the kitchen from pine to grey.

On a positive note all our extended family and friends and readers of the blog are currently virus free and fingers crossed we will all come out of this with out too much trauma. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

Lights – Camera- No action.

Thursday 19th March.

Over the past few weeks in between dodging the heavy rain showers that have plagued us I decided to add a few additions to Homer to ready us for this years touring season.

Firstly I fitted a wireless reversing camera that I purchased via Amazon, the model I decided on was a Boscam K1 Wireless Reversing Camera. I chose a wireless version as I couldn’t with my limited knowledge of motor electrics see how to wire a normal one. There are reported possible problems with “ interference” to the signal on a wireless version but so far on my few reversing trips up and down our drive it has worked well. The camera and transmitter are powered by connection to the reversing light whilst the screen is powered by plugging into the 12v supply ( cigarette lighter). It took me about 2 hours to install on my own, most of which was spent getting under the motor home and back out again to decide where to drill the entry hole for the cables, I stayed under there for 5 mins at one point whilst it snowed. Time will tell how useful it is.

Then I installed a solar panel as we intend to do a lot of free camping on a trip to Scotland in May (see later comment). After research I opted to purchase from Sunstore a 120w solar panel kit complete with all wiring, solar charge controller with twin USB output and a tube of Soudaflex for attachment to the roof. There are good downloadable instructions onSunstore’s site plus a video on YouTube showing how to fit the panel.

Firstly you have to attach the feet to the panel, here the dining table came into use, then after deciding where to site the panel came that moment where you have to overcome the hesitation and drill a hole through the roof for the cable.

I had just drilled the hole when the weather decided to instantly change from lovely sunshine to heavy showers so I hurriedly had to feed the cable through the roof and fit the entry gland to prevent ingress of rainwater. Internally I fed the cable through several wall cupboards and down to the position for the solar charge controller, next step is fit the cables with inline fuse to the battery and following instructions/ sequence to wire everything together. Unfortunately the rain became continuous and the wind strengthened and I was unable to glue the panel to the roof, I spent a restless evening concerned the panel would have blown away overnight!! Fortunately it hadn’t and the next morning I used the Soudaflex to attach the panel to the roof and tidied up the wiring. It appears to be working but as the battery was fully charged there has been no need for it to be recharged, I will obviously need to run something in Homer to drain the battery a little and see if the panel tops it up. I have used a multimeter across the terminals and it is showing the panel is providing power.

Now with reference to the title, no action, and the message in brackets. We were due to join friends Peter and Alison this weekend at Bolton Abbey Motorhome and Camping Site in Yorkshire but unfortunately I have developed a cold that I don’t wish to share with others so we have sadly had to take the decision to cancel. Of course we are also at the beginning of the Coravinus epidemic with the strong advice not to undertake unnecessary travel and I’m also in the age group that has been advised to stay indoors for ones own safety. Who knows then when Homers wheels will be moving again, we can only sit and dream. We are also unable to travel to our French house in 2 weeks time as all passenger ferries are now cancelled to Spain and France. We do hope that a solution is found as soon as possible for everyone’s sake.