Friday, 15 January 2016

January 2016

I am now so behind typing up this blog I feel ashamed of myself! Never mind- I expect the snow will come soon and I will have time to write up last year's trip to North West Spain, Greece, and our various jaunts around the UK. So for now, I am going to start with this year's trip to Broadway for New Year.

December 2015 Broadway Caravan Club Site

We had a nice drive down to Broadway - it took about two and a half hours. The warden was really nice and we pitched up on 34 with a nice grass space in front. Mel arrived later and went with Pete in search of a pub with football on- without success. The pub they were looking for was closed and they had managed to walk past it in the dark street.

Broadway 2

 I had a good shower and a wander round the site- the upper level is nice with good views and an old wooden caravan in the old railway building. Andy and Carol had a fuel filter leak so had to wait for rescue. Mel, Pete and me walked into Broadway and they disgraced themselves counting how many people were wearing green wellies. Broadway is very beautiful with honey coloured stone buildings. We had to find the closed pub of course and try the Old Hooky- a beer I remembered well from when I used to live in Coventry.   We came back to the site and waited for Andy and Carol. We ate with them  then we were rocked to sleep by the heavy winds.

Broadway 3

The weather was pretty grim but we walked into Broadway and Pete found some shoes to buy- a bargain. Storm Frank was causing horrendous flooding in Cumbria and the North West. We went into the Broadway hotel to shelter from the rain- on the recommendation of the lady in the shoe shop. It was very cosy.  We went into the Crown and Trumpet where we ate fish and chips and they were great.  We went later to Mel's van for eats and drinks.

Andy wears Carol's hat !

Broadway 4 New Year's Eve

It was sunny and windy so we walked into  Broadway and sheltered from the rain in the Hare and Hound . It really was torrential rain. I walked back alone after going to Budgens for sausage for tomorrow's big breakfast and on the way back I had to stop to watch a murmuration of starlings- they were amazing. 

We went to Mel's  for pre dinner drinks then back to the Hare and Hounds for a wonderful New Year's Eve dinner. We went back to Mel's for champagne and to see the New Year in. It was a lovely night.

Broadway 5 
 New year, new adventures and I started writing my notes in a new book that was hand made for me by my nephew Stewart- it's beautiful. 

We woke up at 9am after our lovely night and we were just cooking breakfast- Andy and Pete outside in charge of the Cadac, when friends Ian and Karen arrived so it was 'keep your elbows in' time in the van as seven of us had sausage bacon and mushroom sandwiches!  Ian and Karen drove us up in shifts to Broadway Tower where the views are amazing- but sadly not on rainy , windy days. We once again took to the shelter of the Hare and Hound. We walked back to the site and went to Andy and Carol's  for drinks before going to the Crown and Trumpet for a meal- very traditional puddings!  We were all quite tired so had a relatively early night.

Broadway 6
Ian and Karen came round from their bed and breakfast place for coffee and then everyone except us left for home. The site emptied too. Ian and Karen took us to Evesham where Ian had his tyre fixed, Pete got his pasty fix, Karen got her shoe shop fix and I bought bread. They took us back to the site and went home. Pete watched football and we had a quiet afternoon and salad for tea.

Seavington Saint Mary

We left Broadway and headed towards Bristol- well, Cribb's Causeway Junction 17, M5, our usual stop for diesel and a bit of shopping. We then went to see friends Andrew and Karen in Seavington St Mary- a place neither of us have been before. We had a wonderful  meal with our good friends- we hadn't seen them for a good few years but time didn't matter, the night flew past as we caught up . We slept in the van on a very dark and starry night.

Sampford Courtenay, Devon

After visiting the village shop run by volunteers and buying some lovely things, we drove down to Pete's brother's house in Devon. We didn't sleep in the van there but when we usually go there, we have to stay on a site as the village is very small and Robin's drive too steep to park on. However- they had demolished the garage and changed the drive so we could get off the road. It was a bit tense as the bottom at the back almost grounded and the exhaust almost caught on the lip of the drive. It was well chocked in case it squashed the car behind. It was quite a feat getting it on and off again. We always have a lovely stay there and Pete particularly likes helping in the orchard and garden. This time was no exception as tree felling and burning brash was on the and fires....they just can't resist them. I watched Jill spinning wool- she weaves and makes lovely things.
We had three days there seeing younger family members and generally having a good time. 

Baltic Wharf Caravan Club site Bristol

We had a sunny drive up to Bristol and arrived at Baltic Wharf- the second time we have stayed here. We got a nice pitch by the water side with good views. We walked out of the back gate along to M Shed to see the 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' exhibition there. It was great- a really amazing set of photos. We started to go round the Bristol life exhibition but we were too tired to take in any more information. Pete's legs were hurting so we went into a pub for a rest before getting the river ferry back to the site- a great service. We went to the Cottage Inn next door to the site for a meal but the food was mediocre though the beer was good. 

Baltic Wharf  2

 This is a nice site with good showers. It was busy- I think it's always busy so we were lucky to get in on a whim.....We walked back to M Shed to look at the museum and have a chat with one of the custodians. We then went to the St. Nicholas markets and by chance found a stall to get a cover for Pete's mobile and a wonderful shop that was like an Aladdin's cave for me. It's downstairs and the fabrics, curtains and clothes there shone like jewels. The lady was particularly helpful and I found what I'd been looking for ....a big thin cotton throw which is so useful in the van in the summer for extra shade. Our old one has faded into insignificance, the new one is gorgeous.  


We had really enjoyed our two nights in Bristol but realised that there is still so much to see and do there- we will have to go back again. We drove to see friends in Blunsden, Swindon where we stayed once more on their driveway and had a super night. 

Brownhills Newark
 We had a lovely, if a bit wet, drive up the Fosseway past Cirencester, Stow, Warwick and across to Newark. We had planned to come again to get the sat nav sorted . During the habitiation check, the technician had discovered that the bathroom door doesn't always close easily so they were fixing that, plus straightening out some crumpled lino.  

Brownhills  2 

We got up early and spent all day inside- neither of us felt like swimming so we read, looked at vans and had lunch in the Bistro- with a discount.  We got the call to pick it up at 5pm but they hadn't fixed the sat nav because it was working! I wasn't happy as they had photos to prove that the problem had happened and would likely happen again. We went back into the van to head for home but when I started it up, the sat nav  of course failed. I went back to the service department and spoke to Tom who had dealt with it before. There's a man from Fiat coming tomorrow so we decided to stay and get it sorted.

Brownhills 3

Well, we got up early and sat around in the service department. We had  lunch again in the Bistro but when I went for a walk around, our van hadn't moved. I went to get the keys because I was cross because I could have been in the comfort of my van all morning until they had time to deal with it, plus I wrongly assumed that the work would be done first . A technician came out and said they were just going for the van. .....hmm. We got the van back- Alistair had fixed the sat nav but when I looked, the bike rack was extended- the piece that fixed it had been broken off or had dropped off so we had to wait for a new piece. Finally with everything working we set off for home. Pete sent an email to Brownhills as though we have had great service from them and it's a good place to stay, there needs to be better communication between work shop and customer. 
It seemed like we have been away for a long time when we got the van emptied and ready to put it away.

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