A Travellerspoint blog

May 2022

Staycation Devon/Dorset

It's all over bar the shouting...

We set off about 9.55am after breakfast, emptying the Thetford cassette and the grey water. Amazing how much you can use when only using the water for washing up after meals. We stood there for ages and ages....

Emptying the Thetford is a piece of p.... well you can guess. It comes out of the Van easily enough and can be towed to the chemical toilet "loo". We use the tea-bag style of chemical in ours. They aren't cheap but saves messing about with bottles of stuff and measuring in the caps!

We were hoping t make it before the overnight rain returned. In that we were sadly unlucky and it started raining before we had got very far and was pretty much full on until we got to Maidstone.

Our first stop was at Winchester Services. The satnav didn't waver in the route we should take, although Google maps on Claire's phone gave an alternate route to the M3 by going further along the M27 and then up the A3 and A3M. There was an accident on the M3. As we gotnearer the traffic increased and we crawled along until Winchester was past and the A34 junctions and we flowed a bit. it was around two hours on the road. A coffee and a sandwich for us and a pee break for Reggie.

As we headed up the M3 keeping to around 55mph and "Life in the Slow Lane", Google came and said that there were huge holdups where the M3 and M25 meet. It suggested a magical mystery tour across Farnborough towards Farnham and the A31 to the A3. Allegedly to save us 30 minutes. Of course, that could have been the route we had taken had the delay countdown for the accident on the M3 kept getting shorter and shorter, meaning we ploughed up the M3!

One of the bugbears with driving in the UK is that drivers have no idea what the lines on the road mean. As we came down the hill from M25 Junction 8 towards the M23 (J7) we were in the inside lane. We couldn't move out into the next lane to the right as it was occupied by a car, the outer two lanes similarly filled with cars. But, the guy towing the caravan that we were overtaking seemed to think that he could come straight out into the lane we were occupying! Rule 259 buddy! he had to stay on the hard shoulder and come in behind us. I was unable to move out to let him pass and also at 60mph unable to slow to let him join. Loads of flashing lights and hand gestures later. Read the f*cking Highway Code you clown.

Highway Code - Rule 259

Highway Code - Rule 259

Anyway that was the last we saw of him. We finally arrived home about 4pm. Nearly five hours. But considering the traffic on the A35 and then the M3, plus the lunch stop I think we did okay.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:55 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Dorset

It was Staycation Devon but we left Devon about 11am yesterday and entered neighbouring Dorset. Today we had a do nothing day and stayed onsite except for a short walk along the coastal path.

So it was a day of reading and sadly for our recent weight loss journey - eating.

Tomorrow. We go home.

Awning out for the first time

Awning out for the first time

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Posted by InvictaMoto 20:35 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Devon bit over!

And now we are in Dorset.

Yesterday we cleaned up and left the Garden House in Brixham for the last time. Destination East Fleet Camping near Weymouth. It was just before 9.30am.

After failing to fill the tank the night before when the pump kept clicking off we again called in to the Sainsbury's in Paignton. This time the tank was filled. Still loads of clicks!!!

Traffic was quite heavy as we came east. On the approach to Honiton the A30 was queued back about 3 miles to get off onto the A35. Cause? Roadworks. Or rather completed roadworks but yet another jobsworth sitting in his van. The hole that had been dug very neatly covered in fresh tarmac. Still, he was enjoying his sandwich. Disruption for miles around. Not his problem.....

So by the time I pulled off into a roadside Starbucks we had been going around 2 hours. 

According to Google we were still about 90 minutes away from the site. It was mostly freely running from there. The A35 is not that bad and does have short sections of extra lanes and even dual carriageways every so often to allow people to pass slower vehicles. Usually us. 

It was about 1pm when we arrived and checked in. We have pitch 181. Not far from the loos etc.

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Lunch was sourced in the shop. The shop is very large and mostly taken over with camping stuff and only a little food. Some rolls and cheese 🧀 sufficed. The rest tomorrow.

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Once settled in we had a walk to have a look at the Fleet Lagoon. The tide was out and it was mainly shingle and mud.

What a difference a few hours makes when we had another walk. It was quite chilly with the breeze coming off the sea. The tide was in.

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Dinner was microwavable beef stew with dumplings. At some stage we have to use the oven and the gas hob!

All washed down with local cider.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 11:18 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation France - AHC

Reggie is booked to have his rabies jab early next week. After that he will need an "animal health certificate" (AHC).

We went to the animal hospital in Ashford to check on what was needed and were told that we could book the rabies jab, but would need to book an hour consultation at a cost of £200. 😲

I looked on Motorhomefun and found that a vets in Folkestone will do this job for £99. Mostly online with a collection before we travel. There they check his chip matches what we tell them online. 

I have all the paperwork needed except the rabies certificate. 

Fingers crossed.

Posted by InvictaMoto 21:34 Archived in France Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Castle Drogo

Today is the last day at the Garden House in Brixham. Tomorrow we set off on the way home via the East Fleet Farm campsite near Chesil Beach on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

In their email they say we can check-in from 1130am.  It actually said 11.30pm to 3pm. :)

We have to leave here before 10am tomorrow and so we will go straight there from here to get setup and enjoy the site and the walks.

Anyway today.

We had planned to go to a gardens to the north of Dartmoor. Instead we stopped at Castle Drogo and the time simply went away!  It wasn't the most Moho friendly route for the last bit, but we made it.

Reggie not allowed in the house or the formal gardens but the rest of the estate was free for us. Claire went in the castle. 

We decided to travel back the longer way to stay on main roads via A30 and A380. So much better! We have scratched enough of the body work on narrow roads with hedges overhanging.

Another interesting visit!

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Posted by InvictaMoto 18:38 Archived in England Comments (0)

Czech Invader Rally Trip - May 2022

First leg in Germany


View Czech Invader 2022 on InvictaMoto's travel map.

Two weeks today before we set off on the first leg of the ride across Germany.

We should be at the hotel near Koblenz early in the evening. I have prepared two routes for the first day. One that includes Bad Munstereiffel and one that doesn't. The town was badly damaged in floods last year and it looks as though it might not be fit to accept visitors.

By the time we set off we should know more.

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:25 Archived in Germany Tagged czech_trip_2022 Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Brixham III

After the rain has gone....

It was almost 2.30pm before the rain stopped and the ☀️ returned. There were patches of grey cloud scudding past.

We decided to give the Van a rest and see set off to retrace our steps from Saturday down to the harbour. We just needed a walk and Reggie seemed okay. The plan was to pop into the Co-Op to get some bread 🍞 and maybe some biscuits.

By the time we got to the bottom of the hill I started the get the flickering in my right eye. This is the precursor to a migraine.  Luckily the pharmacy just off the harbour sold Migralieve. Claire went in and we retired to the harbour to find somewhere to sit, take the pills and sit until the flickering went away. 

We then headed back around the harbour to the Golden Hind. I took a photo or two.

Then it was i-Scream time. That's the name of the shop. Excellent it was too. Peanut butter for me and salted caramel for Claire. Reggie got the pointed ends of the cones.

Then we walked back. Now we know the way it was easy enough. But steep!

The rest of the day? Kindle time. Then it will be time to put the bins out!

Tomorrow is our last full day in the Garden House. Where to go? What to do?

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Posted by InvictaMoto 15:51 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Rainy Day

Today the weather has turned for the worst. We woke up to high winds and rain. 

It's just past noon and still raining. Although we have wet weather gear with us, it's not that much fun out and about in this weather. It's supposed to clear up later in the day so we'll think about going out later. 

Carrying on from yesterday, my complaint lodged with Torbay Council about the sneaky behaviour of their enforcement officer has had a response.
They have said it didn't match the criteria for a complaint under their system but it would be passed onto the relevant department to deal with.
I didn't expect too much. The complaint was simply to let them know that there is more to the job than simply writing tickets, and proper interaction with the public would be a distinct advantage, i.e. not the way he acted in fact.

Posted by InvictaMoto 11:07 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Cockington!

After Plant World, we decided to make our way back to the Garden House in Brixham but to stop in at Cockington. It's famous locally for the Forge in the centre of the village. We probably went their last about 55 years ago.

We arrived and just about got into the car-park. It was about 2.10pm. We saw the "civil enforcement officer" and although we drove right past him and parked in spaces next to his van, he said nothing to us. So after we bought a two hour parking ticket at 2.15pm we set off for the village.

Torbay Parking Ticket - 2 hours ending 1615

Torbay Parking Ticket - 2 hours ending 1615

Imagine our surprise and anger when Claire got back to the van a few minutes later to get Reggie's water bottle to find a fixed penalty charge notice on the screen.

I admit that even though the car-park was less than half full, the Van is longer than a car and we over hung the space behind. So paying the £25 fine is down to me

It's the sneaky underhand way the CEO did the job. The PCN is timed at 2.18pm! He waited until we were out of sight and then wrote the ticket. The sneaky little shit could have told us we either couldn't park there or maybe have suggested we buy two tickets.

I tried to pay the PCN when we got back to the house, but the Torbay Council website doesn't update until overnight. Not that it tells you that so I had to call them and speak to someone at the council. I'll try and pay tomorrow. In the meantime I have made an official complaint about this guy to the council. Doubt anything will come of it.

It does seem that they are employing the wrong sort of person.

Update 11.01pm

Have managed to pay the fine.

Posted by InvictaMoto 18:05 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Plant World

Another garden...

Today we didn't set off all that early. The destination was Plant World, a garden centre with a four acre gardens attached. It's only £3 to get in and we used the BBC Gardeners World two for one ticket! It's dog friendly.

I had to enter the GPS coordinates into the Ohrex satnav as it hadn't a clue on how to locate the place either through address or postcode! One of the downsides of owning a very budget satnav!

We arrived and took a coffee. Not before as we were getting out of the van, Reggie spotted a cat and was off. Claire let the lead slip out of her hand and the cat led Reggie on a long loop around the car park before it escaped through a small hole in the fence. Phew.

The garden is split in to regions and planting from them reflects what is local to that place.

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There are some little "gags" set up for children. This one tells the kids where to get the parents to stand.

I tried it with Claire. It does work.

Once we had finished in the gardens we went back to the Van to decide where to go next.....

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:36 Archived in England Comments (0)

Testing photo sent by email

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Testing to see if the problem with photos submitted in an email post to blogs is now working. Fixed by Peter

The photo is of the bacon sandwich from the Guardhouse Cafe at Berry Head in Devon.

Posted by InvictaMoto 09:18 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Slapton Sands

From Coleton Fishacre NT we decided with the weather forecast looking dodgy before the end of the week, to head across the River Dart to Slapton Sands.

Slapton was the scene of a terrible tragedy during the lead up to the Normandy D-Day landings.

There is a memorial on the beach and further along the beach a reclaimed Sherman Tank.

The first leg of the journey took us from Coleton Camp to Kingswear to take the Dartmouth Higher Ferry across the River Dart. The crossing doesn't take that long and costs £6.70 for a van/motorhome. We had to queue for a shirt time. Once aboard we were the Thurs vehicle back and our view wasn't too good. A van in front and the ferry superstructure to the left!

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Once off we headed sort of South West to the Devon coastline. The very dog unfriendly Blackpool Beach. They make it clear on their signs. Even if I didn't have Reggie with me, they still wouldn't see my money. I'd urge others to do the same. Spend your money elsewhere.

In fact. Spend it anywhere but in the area covered by South Hams District Council. Despite being in an area dotted with holiday resorts it seems they discriminate against dogs and motorhomes! Very little parking.

As we approached the Memorial I saw there was a car park. As I was about to turn in I saw the height barrier closed. Cars and car derived vans only. Such a shame that to show respect to those young men from the US Navy and US Army that lost their lives in Exercise Tiger, there's nowhere to park.

We continued along the beach to Torcross. There the car-park is actually open though there are no spaces marked out any large vehicles other than coaches with warnings only they can park there!

I was buggered if I was going to pay to park, so I set off with Canon in hand to take some photos of the Sherman tank recovered from the sea.

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From here rather than take the tortuous route back the way we came and the ferry again. We plotted a route to Kingsbridge and Totnes. A longer way around the Dart but it had to be better in a larger vehicle. Part of it was. Plenty of driving through small villages and having the left wing mirror folded in! Saves knocking on objects and breaking the indicator/blinker glass....

A stop in Sainsbury's again in Paignton for dinner, Thai takeaway, and then home.

Another good day in parts but Slapton was a slap in the face.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 22:24 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation Devon - Coleton Fishacre

Today we decided to get out early and head for Coleton Fishacre. A National Trust property and formerly the home of West End Empressario Rupert d'Oily Carte and his family.

It's not all that far from the Garden House in Brixham. It was pretty straightforward until we arrived and decided to park in the Brownstone Car-park and came nose to nose with a dust cart (garbage truck). I had to reverse but luckily only 25 yards or so. My first using only mirrors! Phew. Success.

Once clear from there we decided to try the car-park at the other side of the estate at Coleton Camp. As luck would have it the car park I had expected to see signposted was right by the house. It was full. Phew again.

First order of business was to check in with our membership cards and then have a coffee. Then we split up. Claire to look around the house and Reggie and I went for a walk in the nearby gardens before we met up again to explore far and wide. The photos below were all taken on my phone

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The house and gardens are fantastic. The planting and colours simply wonderful.

Once we had finished we had a tea. Reggie was really good and today with all dogs on leads there were no incidents. Amazing isn't it?

Posted by InvictaMoto 21:40 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation - Brixham II

After a lot of walking in the sun yesterday and a lot of driving last week, we decided to have a more relaxed day today. Maybe a short walk to Berry Head park for lunch.

Sally our host at the Garden House said that there was a path behind the house through what was the old Pontins Holiday Camp. I had tried it yesterday for a short distance.

So we set off about 1130. And walked and walked seeing no signposts at all. Google Maps wasn't any help as the path wasn't recognised by it. In the end we asked a couple and they said it was in the opposite direction. We had already looked at the road alongside the path and it seemed to go into a holiday park. In fact the road splits the park in two.

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Once on the right track we made good progress and met loads of other walkers, many with dogs. Until we arrived at the old Napoleonic Fort. Here it seemed all but one or two dogs had a lead or an owner giving a rats arse what their dog got up to. Reggie hates dogs running up to him. He growls and it they still don't get the message he barks. Barks loudly. As usual the owners look at us as though I pee'd in their tea!

We had lunch. Two massive bacon sandwiches, thoroughly recommended BTW.

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Once finished and we had a wander around the fort. The weather was a bit grey and the sun threatened to come out. And boy was it windy. To the west the next land is the US or maybe Canada. To the south it's Brittany.

View East from Berry Head

View East from Berry Head

View West from Berry Head

View West from Berry Head

Berry Head Lighthouse

Berry Head Lighthouse

The walk back now we knew the way was considerably easier, not to say shorter! A ice cream break on the way helped too. Now a relaxing afternoon and maybe a siesta.

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Tomorrow? Have no idea yet. Maybe Coleton Fishacre NT or down to Slapton Sands.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:57 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation - Brixham

Today we stayed locally in Brixham. My brother Neill and my niece Eleanor were going to visit.

We were up about 0830, although as usual Reggie had kept us occupied fromabout 0530. He wakes at dawn and needs to have a comfort break!

Once breakfasted I took Reggie for a short walk on the path behind the house that goes to Berry Head. It doesn't show up on Google Maps. We got about halfway before turning around.

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The relatives arrived about 1125 and we had a chat and then decided to walk down to Brixham itself. We are about a km to the south on top of the hill.

It was hot and so I wore my new Chinese hat. It did the job of keeping the sun off but is still horrible. It won't last the week in my possession.

Going downhill was easy enough with no thought of getting back...

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Lunch was by the replica of the Golden Hind in the harbour.

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A meal-deal from the Co-Op. This chip shop was opposite the Co-Op

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We took a walk around the harbour and the marina. Reggie had a paddle before turning back and climbing the hills back to the Garden House.

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We all needed a sit down when we eventually got home. Reggie very tired!

Once they had gone we looked for a supermarket on Google. Not much choice here but plenty in Paignton. So, we packed Reggie and stuff into the van with Morrison's the target. It was six miles according to the Satnav.

We found Lidl, then Aldi, and then Sainsbury's. As I wanted to but another pair of shorts to match the ones I am wearing, we went there. Sorry Morrison's.

The style of shorts that I wanted they didn't have. But food for the next few days they did. Amazingly we bought no alcohol. I find I can take it or leave it .. We did buy things that Slimming World wouldn't like!

We were back by 1645. Tried out the Nespresso machine. And then let Reggie sleep.

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Tomorrow? Who knows. After all the driving I might have a rest from it and stay local. The Berry Head park is nearby with views across Torbay and also across to France. Although unlike home you can't see France!!

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:09 Archived in England Comments (0)

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