A Travellerspoint blog

Staycation Cotswold

CAMC Broadway

Today we loaded the Van for two nights away. The destination on Thursday will be the Motorhome and Caravan Show at the National Exhibition Centre.

Our overnight stop tonight is the Caravan Club site at Broadway. I had looked at Moreton in the Marsh but it was full. This is the next nearest and an hour from Birmingham, according to Ohrex!

So it was just past 1115am when I reversed off the drive and we set off through two sets of roadworks in Hythe towards the M20. All was plain sailing as far as the M25 where the overhead gantries were showing a 20 minute delay between junctions 12 and 14. These are either side of the M4 junction. In other words in our way.

First stop at Cobham M25 services for Reggie to have a drink and pee and for us to have a coffee. Both achieved.

On rejoining the M25 the overhead messages had changed to delays on the M4. Mention of M25 problems forgotten?

Then the overheads changed to 50 and then 40mph. Five lanes started to slow, eventually to walking pace. The HUD managing 2mph at one point.

The route was then M40 and the joke that Oxford thinks is a ring road. A single lane road to take traffic around to avoid the City centre? Great in 1965.

Eventually there are signs where it meets the A34 that there will be some massive building projects just starting.. Exactly what a badly planned road system is crying out for.

We followed the A40 to Burford, stopping once to fill the diesel tank as fuel was a little cheaper.

Once again fuel has gone up. This time the excuse is that the £ has dropped against the $. Except of course petrol already refined from oil and in the petrol station tanks was bought months ago. Just another rip off.

Burford is a lovely Cotswold village on a slope down from the A40 and over a river. There's an old bridge controlled by traffic lights. Claire took a few photos as we crawled down the main street.

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We followed the road to Stow on the Wold. No photos here. We followed the signs to the Coach Park and toilets, only to miss the turn and have to retrace our steps. Once back in the right direction we found the coach oark gates locked. Luckily Stow surgery has a large car park to turn around. We gave up.

From there we headed to the campsite arriving just after 4pm. Checked-in and hooked-up. Pitch 4.

We chose a pitch with few neighbours. There is rain forecast later with the chance of thunderstorms. Reggie will go wild at the first sound of thunder! So we thought we'd do other campers a favour. So far so good. Now with loads of empty pitches we have someone next to us on pitch 5.

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After a walk to the office we had another to check out the facilities. They seem okay.

Tonight we will have a look at the food truck. It's here until 7.30pm.

Tomorrow we need to be away early for the NEC.

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:25 Archived in England Comments (0)

Motorhome and Caravan Show 2022

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We decided that as this event was on that we would have a trip up there to have a look around. Of course, Reggie isn't allowed in and so we need to leave him for a while in the Van and visit him from time to time to make sure he is okay and not getting too lonely or angry.

The show is in the Midlands and so we need to be able to get there at a reasonable time and get away again. I had already booked a night after the show at the CAMC site at Warwick Racecourse. It gets so-so reviews and so I was a little sceptical about staying there but as we left it quite late, most of the better sites are fully booked.

To get up there at a reasonable time on the Thursday I have booked another CAMC site, This one in Broadway in the Cotswolds. This will be the Wednesday night. The site is about an hour from the NEC and will mean we can get there earlier for our look around and not be too late getting to Warwick afterwards.

I guess we'll see on the day how to take care of Reggie.

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:45 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter Sun 2022

40 days to go!

With forty days and forty nights to go, the trials and tribulations of the trip are being exacerbated by the fuel strike currently being fought across France.

It's been going on for about 12 days already but we have yet to hear anything about it on the venerable BBC News outlet. I only heard about it by seeing and reading threads on a number of Motorhome forums!

Hopefully it will be resolved and Macron will put the 30 cents discount at the pump on every litre of fuel as he has done throughout the summer.

Nervous times across Europe?

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:46 Archived in France Comments (0)

Staycation West Country & IoW

All over now!

The rain started last night about 1030pm and continued until mid-morning with a short break every so often to merely drizzle. Our Red Funnel Ferry was booked for 1.30pm but we decided with rain set for the day, to run down to the port in East Cowes and see if we could get an earlier ferry.

The first sailing after we had tidied up and had breakfast would be the 10.30am crossing. We arrived at around 09.45am and the lady on the check-in let us get on that ferry back to Southampton.

I took this snap of a wall mural in East Cowes by the ferry port.

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Once aboard we took the lift to B Deck and the stairs to A deck where the pet friendly lounge is. The crossing was about an hour and we watched a large pil or gas tanker being guided into the entrance to the Test by the pilot and handed over to the tugs.

Reggie behaved very well as we crossed. In the space of a week he has been on two different ferries. The Red Funnel to and from the Island and the chain ferry from East Cowes to and from Cowes. The latter we were on foot and he wasn't fazed at all.

Once off the boat in Southampton we followed the satnav home using mostly motorways. I doubt we did more than ten miles off motorway in the whole journey! The route being the M271, then M27, M3, M25, M26 and finally the M20.

We had only one stop at Fleet Services on the M3. Provision for caravans and motorhomes is pretty poor as following the directions means to are lumped in the the HGV's and a long walk to the facilities. In the end I took reggi for a pee break and Claire made sandwiches. No money spent on the service station at all.

We arrived home a little after 3pm. Time to unload the Van and start to tidy up. It's amazing what we manage to pack inside Suki!

I only managed a couple of photos today. This one was what the call an "accidental exposure", I think.

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So where next?

Our next adventure is next week when we have a night away at the Caravan and Motorhome Show in the Midlands.

Posted by InvictaMoto 21:28 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation IoW

Last full day.

sunny 14 °C

Today we decided to travel across the Island and take in the gardens at Mottistone Gardens and Estate near Brighstone.

It wasn't all that far but as usual there were a few narrow lanes that I wasn't comfortable taking Suki down. The last being Strawberry Lane with a 6ft 6in width limit. Why Ohrex thought that was good idea is anyone's guess.

Instead we went past and around the block. The parking looked awful. So we checked on Google and the actual parking was some 800 yards further up. The driveway was bumpy and very uneven. The parking looked on a slope and grass. The shingle bit was full.

There was one other motorhome there and I quickly ran back to the Van when I saw her packing up, and took her place! On the level. No wet grass.

The house is closed to the public but the terraced gardens are open. Of course we had a coffee break first.

The gardens are very nice.

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Where next? We decided as we were here on the Isle of Wight that we should try the Needles.

The promontory is owned by the National Trust. The car park is privately owned by the company that runs the "attraction" including a cable car to the beach and the boats to see the Needles from the sea. The £10 parking fee with £2 NT discount was a lot.. "All day" parking!! It's a one-off visit and so we took it on the chin. It's £6 for a car.

I forgot my phone and so any photos are taken from here by Claire.

We walked along the promontory to the Old Battery and then turned up towards the New Battery. There's a coast guard observation point here too.

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Although not well signposted it's where the free viewpoint can be found.

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We then went into the Old Battery. A series of tableaux show what life was like living there in the Victorian era.

Plus of course the guns are still there on some of the emplacements.

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After a spot of lunch we went around the battery to see the Needles from a different angle. To get there you have to go through the concrete "trench" used by the gun commanders to acquire the target and range.

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The walk back to Suki was much quicker. Wind assisted in part and also as dark clouds had begun to gather. Thankfully there was no rain.

On the way back Claire took a picture of the model of the lighthouse and Suki in the background.

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Once back in the Van, Reggie had his tea whilst I worked out a route back. I set the Ohrex to take us along the southern main road to Ventnor and Shanklin and then back north.

It seems everywhere had roadworks. The worst and badly managed in Newport. Cars unable to move as the traffic lights don't give enough time for the junction to clear...

We stopped in Waitrose in East Cowes for some dinner for us, snacks and some beers.

Another good day out and about. When we got back our pitch was still empty and I backed in. On the Solent there was a cruise ship manoeuvring and I took one of Suki and it together.

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Tonight. #Vanfood is another microwaveable feast. Mac and cheese with bacon!

Tomorrow. It's home time. We have to be away from the site by 11am and it's about 5 minutes to the ferry terminal. We are booked at 1pm I think but maybe we just go and see what happens? Might be able to go earlier.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:37 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation IoW

Day 2

Today we had a lie in. Reggie decided to share the bed with us right from the off, and we were both tired.

Once breakfast was out of the way I turned the Van around to face the Solent out of the front window. Water tank filled and then we were ready for what was billed as a 25 minute walk to Osborne House.

It probably was 25 minutes but mostly uphill. All on roads and some with no pavement or sidewalk. No fun with Reggie.

I had bought advanced tickets online and these save a few pounds and also have consessionary prices for oldies.

Reggie could go almost everywhere except the palace itself. Okay by me. We walked about 5 miles up hill and downhill in the grounds and gardens.

Read more on the official website.

The grounds are quite magnificent. Claire did go in the house in the afternoon before we plodded back to the Van.

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Altogether we spent 4 hours in the grounds. By the time we got back we needed a beer and some snacks and a sleep.

Tonight #vanfood will be a choice of microwave curry dishes from Waitrose.

Tomorrow. In the Van to visit a National Trust Garden and maybe a circular trip of the Island.

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation IoW

This should have been the last part of the Staycation West Country, but this section isn't in the West of England but very South. The Isle of Wight.

We set off from the site in Wick near Glastonbury about 9.45am and made a short detour into the town to Morrison's to fill up with diesel. All the way down it has been 179.9, but not here! 👎👎👎 181.9. I part filled.

We then set off along the A361 and then some bumpkin back roads with some narrow village lanes to the A303. Luckily we turned off onto the A36 before the rubberneck bottleneck in view of Stonehenge.

As we exited Salisbury there was a Tesco at 179.9. So I filled the tank. Good job too as this gives us about 500 miles range. Some stations as we approached Southampton were ripping locals off for 188.9! Time the UK Government stepped in to control the spivs and rip-off merchants.

We did stop about 15 miles short of the port for a leg stretch and coffee in a garden centre.

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Claire invested in a Regatta fleecy top. Reggie and I made do with coffee (me) and a "giant" cookie.

We arrived around 1.30pm and went to the check-in. A combination of Ohrex and signposts to the Isle of Wight took us right there.

The check-in must use ANPR as the guy just asked how many people were travelling. Instead of the 3pm sailing we went on the 2pm. We were second on the lower deck and of course, second off.

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We went to the lounge on Deck B. Nice airline seats with a view over the stern. Wrong.

Pets are allowed in the lounge on Deck A. Not as comfortable and by the time we got there the best seats were taken. As it doubles as the bar and café it was full of non-pet travellers.

The journey was about an hour. The park we are staying in is only a few minutes from the port. The Toyota we were behind on the boat was in front of us we arrived at the site.

We found our plot and reversed in. I'll turn around tomorrow to take advantage of the view over the Solent.

Once hooked up we locked up and walked down the site to the Esplanade. This runs along the edge of the sea. There was a cruise ship at anchor in the bay and we could see the tender taking people ashore.

Apart from Waitrose we couldn't see much open in East Cowes. We ended up on the "chain bridge" across the River Medina to Cowes in the hope of a late lunch. It was an experience. It goes every ten minutes. It takes cars and from the pricing structure, trucks as well.

We walked into Cowes. Monday and in some cases Tuesday, is a no restaurant day! One after another closed. In the end we found a coffee shop open! The Harbour Kitchen. Excellent coffee and nice cakes.

View from Chain Bridge

View from Chain Bridge

Selfie!

Selfie!

Then we walked back to the chain bridge and Waitrose. Claire bought some microwave meals for tonight and tomorrow! Macaroni Cheese tonight!!

We retraced our steps along the Esplanade and back to the Van.

Where to tomorrow? Osborne House? It's allegedly only a walk away. It's English Heritage managed and so we'll have to pay. Reggie can't go into the house, obviously, nor the beach. They don't sell grounds only tickets so we have to pay and maybe take it in turns to look in the house. At least there is a concession for over-65's.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:01 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation West Country - Glasto 2

Today was the day we decided we had to walk to the Tor. Us and a thousand others.

According to the signpost on the public footpath that runs through the site it's 3/4 mile.

The signs for the Tor petered out once off the lane back of the site and onto the fields. The path is clearly marked as the passage of time has left it so.

At the top of the first hill you can see it directly ahead. A choice of two gates...

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Left or straight on? Well, the Tor is straight ahead. Wrong as it was. We walked another mile and it was about half a mile to the left... We backtracked and took the left gate. By now it was the right gate...

We met a couple that had been ahead with two Retrievers. They had got away from us as they were off lead. With Reggie stopping to sniff every 5 yards and pee every other five we take a long time.

In the end we got there...

Very nice. Let's walk back.

Lunch and relax. I even had a sleep. Sharing a bed with a dog isn't best for a good night's sleep 💤💤💤

We took him for a run in the dog run and met the same guy and Retrievers. All three had a run together and play whilst we chatted.

Dinner. Farfalle with tomato, Grand Padano and mascarpone sauce.

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For afters we had some of the cheese we bought in Cheddar. Very nice it is too.

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Tomorrow we need to be away early for the drive across to Southampton for the 3pm ferry to the Isle of Wight.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 08:05 Comments (0)

Staycation West Country - Glasto!

Day 3

After breakfast and then the housework on Suki, fresh tank filled, grey emptied and black water cassette emptied and cleaned out, we set off for a National Trust site

The one we chose was Tyntesfield House. Everything went okay until a mile or so away when the road was closed. It appears to be for a cycle race!

We then had to navigate some smaller roads in a three sides of a square route to get in. When we did, the queue for the car park was long and slow moving.

I have to give top marks to the car park volunteer team. They did a great job of finding us a gravel space rather than grass parking. Getting Suki off wet grass might have been a problem, with a slope thrown in too, impossible.

Once in we repaired to the café for a coffee. Here they have an area inside where you can eat and take the dog. Very rare.

Then we set off along the trails around the gardens. It seems nowhere was empty. People everywhere. Maybe the last sunny dying ember of summer left?

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The Pavillion Gardens were nice with loads of dahlias and geraniums.

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Once we had walked a few miles we had to leave to get to the next site on our trip; Old Oak Camping and Glamping near Glastonbury. We arrived around 4pm. Were met and led to our pitch.

The site looks good. We can have a better look around and get an idea about what gets it so many awards and 5* reviews.

Tonight dinner was hog roast and a cheesecake. After the pork we were too full and the cheesecake is in the fridge.

Tomorrow. We walk to the Tor and town.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:58 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation West Country - Cheddar

Day 2

all seasons in one day 14 °C

We were up relatively early and washed and had breakfast.

It was forecast to rain around 2pm and we wanted to be up the Gorge and back by then.

It doesn't look like there is an off road walk up there from the CAMC campsite.

We followed the path out of the site to the old railway and into Cheddar. Much more of this is on the A371 than we would have liked and Reggie was stressed.

Typical of us. The Gorge is closed to through traffic. This is due to rock falls. We walked up as far as we felt confident and cars were turning around and coming back to pass us again.

In the lower village we dropped into Tesco for bottled water. Guess who forgotten to pack Reggie's reusable bottle? Then at the Cheddar Bakery where we ordered two cup cakes for our return .. Next stop dog friendly Regatta where we bought a few items including a packaway rucksack and a waterproof coat for Reggie.

The small bag I was carrying was filled with our waterproof trousers and jackets.

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If only we could have gone further to see the majesty of the gorge! What we did see was splendiferous!!

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On the way down it was getting on for lunch time and we went into the Gorge Café. For a coffee you understand. We ended up with a potato and onion pie topped with cave matured local Cheddar.

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Another couple of stops to buy some dog biscuits for Reggie and some Cheddar 🧀 from a producer later and we then tried to get back without going on the main roads. Partially successful.

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It was around 1345 when we rocked up back at the Van. It was sunny so we had the chairs out to sit outside briefly before it clouded over. Time enough for tea and the cup cake we had collected...

Salted Caramel Cup Cake

Salted Caramel Cup Cake

It began to cloud over and we packed everything away before the rain ☔ arrived a little later than forecast.

All in all a good day despite the disappointment of the Gorge being closed. We all had a good walk.

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After a little siesta and Kindle session it will be dinner. Pasta tonight. The cheese we bought will not be grated onto it!!!

Tomorrow we have a few hours to get to the next camp at Glastonbury. The drive through the Gorge won't happen and so we need another attraction.

Looks like Google will have to come to the rescue.

Posted by InvictaMoto 14:52 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation West Country - Cheddar

We set off from Hythe around 11.25am. A bit later than I had planned as we went into Hythe to collect Claire's new spectacles first. They do look good.

After the last two trips along the A303 past Stonehenge I programmed Ohrex to avoid it. What I didn't expect was for it to take us through the centre of Bristol!

We had two stops for comfort breaks at Cobham on the M25.

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And then at Membury on the M4. At this point it was all going swimmingly well!

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Then we had a courtesy call from the CAMC site to say that reception was closing and we should collect our Indo from outside. It was 1612 and ETA according to Ohrex was 1715.

We ploughed on. Then it all went a bit wrong. From the map book it looked straight forward. Off the M4 onto the A38 then turn off left. Ohrex took us right through the centre of Bristol. Jammed with traffic.

They are planning a clean air zone. Maybe they should look at park and ride or spend a few minutes checking the phasing of traffic lights. Maybe all green lights at once to let traffic move, rather than a light going green to allow three cars to move to the red one 50 yards away?

It meant we did get to see this....

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We missed a turn just before the Clifton Suspension Bridge as Ohrex had us in the left lane around a right hand bend, where we should have gone right!!!

Still we saw this too.

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Ohrex corrected the route and we headed along the Avon before it decided to U-turn. Rather than head back into that traffic and spend another hour backtracking I plotted a route to the M5. Hardly any traffic to Portway!

The M5 wasn't too busy, usual kind of people rushing home...

We finally arrived at the site and hour later than scheduled at around 1815. Found our paperwork and our pitch.

Tomorrow? Weather looks iffy for a walk to the Gorge.

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:10 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter Sun 2022 - The way South!

More changes!

I have been looking again at the route down. Since dropping Blanes I have been looking to change the distances between stops.

We will still have five days to get from P&O Calais to Laroque near the Franco/Spanish border. The sixth day will be a longer run from the Aire at Laroque-des-Albères to Playa Romano in Alcossebre. It looks to be around 400 kms, although most of the drive is now on the toll free AP-7 motorway. We can't check-in to Alcossebre until 4pm in any case. Even if it takes us 5 hours to cover the distance we should have plenty of time for stops on the way. And maybe a little sightseeing.

So there have been a few changes on the run down. We are mostly sticking to the route south of Rouen taking in the N154 and the various parts of the A20/N20 route south.

The first stop will now be at Formerie. It's just south of the A29 and just about constitutes Normandy. It's a small aire of only six pitches so hopefully in November it will have some free space.

Claire and I went to Amboise back in 2001. we went on the new Suzuki Bandit 1200 and stayed in a Logis de France hotel a short walk from the city bridges over the Loire. It's a date we will never forget as it was the 11th September. We had been to the Château du Clos Lucé to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. We had just walked under the towering Amboise chateau on our return to the hotel when we saw the planes crashing into the World Trade Center. it was in a TV shop window and as the sound was down we thought it was a movie! cards marked when we got back and the US citizens at the hotel were trying to all the US.....

We have never been back although it was been on our plans to do so. So this time i have been looking at the aire or maybe the campsite next door. The Camping-Car aires tend to be open all year where campsites hibernate after the end of September or begrudgingly it seems hang on until October...

I am currently torn between Amboise or Chenonceaux. They aren't too far apart and so maybe leave that decision to see how we fair on the drive down from Formerie!

Stop 3 - Donzenac near Brive in the Dordogne. This means we are back onto the A20/N20 route after a little detour off it to go to the Loire stopover.

Stop 4 - Revel. This is a difficult one as there isn't much available as you head towards Toulouse. It's only about 150 miles from Brive so there's opportunity to stop and enjoy the sights.

Stop 5 - is still the one near Laroque-des-Albères. That one hasn't changed. It looks peaceful enough.

I have tried to choose places that are easily accessible and also near enough to local services to get food and maybe have a meal and a drink if we don't want to cook in the Van. I have also looked for Aires that have a EHU for every pitch. Some sites don't have a 1:1 ratio.

Posted by InvictaMoto 14:07 Archived in France Comments (0)

Short run to Dungeness

England's Desert

Today we set off to give Suki a run out to check that all was well after her month in storage.

Destination? Dungeness.

It's not all that far from home. We took Reggie for a walk and to get him used to the Van again.

We parked up near the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway station. There was a train in and we set off away from there ASAP. Reggie hates the sound of the train hooting.

The railway actually passes right behind our house. Even though he has lived here almost 8 of his 12 years, he still rushes out to bark when a train passes!

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Up past the war memorial set up for Polish pilots shot down nearby during the Battle of Britain in summer 1940. Pilots from 303 Squadron RAF. Heroes one and all.

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Then we turned around and headed for the Van and a tea and cake.

I turned the gas on and it took a while to get the back burner to ignite. Kettle filled and we had enough water for two half mugs of tea. We sat in the Van and watched the world go by, eating lemon cake.

Another short run but Suki performed okay and Reggie seemed not to mind being out again.

A few more pics on my phone.

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At least in this picture you can't see the bird poo streaked all down the sides. I haven't looked on top yet!!
Thursday is the start of Staycation West Country ...

Posted by InvictaMoto 18:04 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation NEC

Caravan and Motorhome Show

It was a relatively late decision to go up to Birmingham for this show. Well, it's almost three weeks, but late for us.

Tickets were at a reduced price including parking. On Tuesday they would have been £9.25 on "club day" but Thursday it's a tenner. Still a fiver less than on the day. Plus the usual booking fee despite being e-tickets!

Once decided and booked we needed to find somewhere to stop overnight after a day at the show.

I checked out a few "adults only" sites and "tranquil" sites within easy distance and they were all full. Being away from kids suits us. Not only for us, but for Reggie.

So I decided to have a look down the M40 back towards London. In the end we arrived as far as Warwick.

The site is a CAMC site. It's on the race course and is the subject of a variety of reviews that made me think twice. I booked anyway as we don't want to be travelling too far after the show is over. This site has an 8pm check-in limit.

The new website is actually a dogs dinner compared with the old one. Far too difficult to locate a site from the search. The style seems odd with left and right panes doing different things! On the mobile site it was worse.

One night only? Mmmmmm.

Posted by InvictaMoto 21:44 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation West Country

Some changes to the trip.

Gone are Hurn and Moreton on Marsh. I cancelled them in good time so that the pitches would be available to other members. It's a club suggestion rather than a rule. In the past members have waited until the last minute before cancelling.

The CAMC have changed the booking site and that is due online at any moment. This will take a deposit for bookings. I guess this is to stop the (alleged!) pitch-blockers that book multiple sites for the same dates and depending how they feel cancel and go to one, or none!

What has been added is a three night stay on the Isle of Wight.

There was an offer from Red Funnel of a ferry crossing for a motorhome and three nights at a site for £105. We've not been "abroad" there before as a couple.

I did go on the hovercraft from Southsea many years ago. We had about an hour in Ryde and then we went back! The hovercraft and the funfair at Southsea were the highlights.... And Claire went on a yachting trip years ago too.

I checked out the sites in the package and most pitches available seemed to be only grass. October and UK weather combined don't make me feel confident about grass and Suki!!

So I chose Waverley Park. Hardstanding with leccy hook-up. It's a little more expensive at £128 all-in, but includes the ferry crossings. As we have to drive from Glastonbury, I have booked a ferry for 3pm on the first day, and 1pm on the way back. Both give us time to wander and drive before we have to be there.

It's all confirmed and booked. The site is on the edge of East Cowes and walking distance to Osborne House and the town for the fleshpots and shops.

A plus is that Red Funnel also have a dog lounge when the weather could be iffy. Dogs allowed on the exterior decks anyway. The crossing is about an hour but Reggie can enjoy the sea air as well.

Now to check the GPS locations and enter it all into Ohrex.

So just six days to go before the week away. I need to do my volunteering at Kent Greyhound Rescue in the morning before we set off. I should be home before about 11am and as long as we have the van packed the afternoon before we should be okay.

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:51 Archived in England Comments (0)

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