Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Home Sweet Home!

17th September - 7th November 2018
Parking Co-ordinates 53.06426, -1.39653

Well, if your a regular reader you might have realised that while we've been 'at home' with T4rdis2 parked on our usual camping spot just outside our home town of Ripley, I've had a blogging holiday!!  But now I've actually got around to putting my fingers to the keyboard again I'll try and put my brain into gear and jot down some of the things we've been up to in the last 52 days since my last post!

We arrived back in England on 17th September after a very calm and comfortable seven and a half hour crossing from the Hook of Holland to Harwich, and then we only drove the short distance to Grange Farm Campsite where we spent our first night (along with hundreds of insects) back on English soil. (🐞As soon as we opened the vans habitation door hundreds of them flocked towards our lights and then I spent the next half hour swatting and squashing for all I was worth!!🐞).   The next morning,  rather than coming  'home' straight away we headed for a delightful little Certified Campsite called Clay Pit Farm which was in the right vicinity for us to visit John's sister Cath and her husband George who we hadn't seen for over a year.

They'd just moved from the Isle of Arran in Scotland to the village of Castle Acre a few days previously, and although they were still in the throws of unpacking and settling in, they welcomed us with open arms and we spent a lovely afternoon and evening with them exploring their historic village and consuming a delicious Indian meal along with copious amounts of vino!

Cath and Georges New Home

Part of Castle Acre Village
Next on our agenda was a couple of days at Mablethorpe at the the Camping and Caravan Club site - but with hindsight I'm really not quite sure why we choose to stay there!  The site is of the usual high standard you expect from the Club, so that wasn't a problem but while we were there we got sand blasted on our prom walks and nearly blown away overnight by Storm Ali which was the first major storm to hit the UK for the 2018-2019 season.

Happily by Friday morning the high winds had partially abated so our drive back to Ripley went quite smoothly, and once there we collected some LPG (gas), and then we were very quickly installed back on Butterley Grange Certified Site, which was once again, to be our home for the next 48 nights.

At Least for some of the time we were blessed with lovely weather.
The site is really very basic and without the creature comforts of loos, showers or electricity, but T4rdis2 caters for all our needs and this location is very convenient to the town of Ripley and thus provides a perfect base for us to visit and spend time with our family and friends.

And it's also a good place to get lots of chores done. 
So, once our roots were very loosely embedded our days were filled with loads of family stuff, and also sorting out a few problems that had hounded us while we'd been touring Scandinavia!  The main one being our failing 3 way fridge (gas, electric and 12 volts) which started to misbehave very early in our tour, and delayed us for a while in Denmark while we waited for a very busy dealership to have a look at it.  They informed us that the electric function on it was kaput (apparently the element was broken and they hadn't got time to replace it), but as long as we manually switched  between 12 volts and gas it would function on those 2 fuels.  And it did for a while, but later in our tour - about halfway around Norway it started to fail on gas and it only ever really got cold if the van was stationary for more than 48 hours which it rarely was!  Anyway, at that stage we had no choice other than to muddle on and shop regularly - and we even managed to avoid getting food poisoning!! 

But as you can imagine, once we got home, either getting it fixed or replaced was high on our priority list, and we thought we just might need a mortgage to facilitate that (new ones are around £1300😱).  However, we needn't have worried because once our trusty repair man Ian had a look at it he very quickly figured out what the problems were (a blocked gas jet and the need for a new electric thingy), and 'hey-presto' only 200 quid later our cider was once again being served well chilled 🍻.

Anyway, that's enough about our problems - now it's time to share a few precious family pics that highlight how we've spent some of our 'holiday' at home!

John and Rosie in Shipley Park

While  John's sister Val and her husband went on holiday in their motor home we spent a couple of weeks looking after Mum, and it really was lovely to reminisce about times gone by and also to keep her company while we watched such things as 'Flog It', Bargain Hunt and Antique's Road Trip.  None of them would be our usual cup of tea but they were really quite entertaining in the short term.

Then when Val and husband John got back we shared another scrummy  meal with them while they showed us their holiday pics and told us off the places they'd visited!

We also took much pleasure in looking after our little tribe of Grandchildren.  Their number is 4 at the mo but we wouldn't be surprised if at least one more pops up eventually!

Evelyn (3), Max (8 months), Jack (8)
and Thomas (6)
And the complete rouge's gallery

Thomas, Sarah, Vicky, Evelyn, Louise, Ben, Adam, Max, Paul, and Jack
on Evelyn's 3rd Birthday and Adam's 37th!
I've also celebrated My 61st Birthday with an outing with Sarah and my bezzie mate Sharon

We've been flying high at Alton Towers

And we've been for several lovely Autumnal walks around Carsington Water and in Shipley Park

And I should also mention and thank our three children (Sarah, Adam and Ben and their other halves Paul, Vicky and Louise) for making us so welcome in their homes and providing lots of delicious (but calorie laden)  feasts - it's a wonder we're not going away half a stone heavier!!

We've also spent a fair bit of time organising ourselves for our next jaunt back to Spain for the winter, and additionally, for more long stays here on this, our 'home' site!  We've treated ourselves to a generator because although we can manage for a week or so off grid (without electric), our solar panel doesn't quite manage to keep our lithium battery charged when we're stationary for long periods.  As our stay in Ripley lengthened the days became shorter and colder with several challenging frosts, so our diesel heating was working overtime - and although electric isn't the main fuel, it is required to drive the fans which pump the lovely warm air around the van.  So with our new 'toy' we've topped up our power supply every few days and thus been much more comfortable when the frost has lay 'deep and crisp and even'!

However, hopefully we won't have to worry about frosty weather for much longer because we'll be departing from here on Thursday 8th and heading for Woodhill Park in Norfolk for 4 nights, and then onto Canterbury on Monday 12th  ready for our departure for France on Tuesday .

But today (Tuesday) a little incident occurred that made us both wonder if we would be delayed😱😱.  We'd been busy doing jobs to ensure we were ship-shape for our departure and I took it into my head to clean the windows outside.  This was fine for the front ones but I couldn't quite reach the bedroom ones at the back, but 'No problem' I thought,  'I'll just stand on the ledge of the open garage door at the back of the van'.  This allowed me to reach the window but when John told me to reach a bit higher to remove a cob web and dead fly I lost my balance and came tumbling down onto the wet grass!!  The usual 'are you alright' emerged from John's lips, but my response was delayed while I waddled everything to ensure it was still all in working order.  Happily, no harm was done other than a sore ankle and a bruised hip, and looking on the bright side, it could have been much worse - when I finally got up I discovered I hadn't even fallen in any duck πŸ’©πŸ’© from our resident flockπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚!!  (Sharon I'd 'ave been far safer if I'd come out with you as planned.)

Bye for now πŸ˜—πŸ˜—