First weekend of 2017

Despite my meltdown over not being able to book our go to site we still managed to book a very local site for a weekend getaway.

The Lodge Caravan and Motorhome Club CL, Red Hall Lane, Halmerend,  Staffordshire ST7 

All hitched up and ready to go Friday lunchtime. 

We decided to go the longer way round to the site as the direct route takes us through little villages where cars are parked on both sides of the road and it’s a little tight. Doesn’t help that people around the lanes drive like bats out of hell either. After only a short wait in traffic on the A34, we joined the A500 at one junction and left at the next then only a couple of miles to go.  

Red Hall lane that the site is on is dreadful!  Even the potholes have potholes and we very gingerly picked our way around and through them, poor Sydney got a rattling.  Luckily the site entrance isn’t far. 

Basic site, no shower block, 2 hardstanding pitches, 3 grass and the usual electric, water, waste and variety of bins.  It’s encouraging to see 4 different bins to make it easy to recycle. 

Doesn’t take us long to setup, no awning this weekend but to be fair a Vango Braemar 150 inflatable doesn’t take long to setup.  This weekend was more about checking over the van after it’s winter rest since the end of November. 

Not a bad little CL, a fishing pool and also B&B across the lane.  Just down the lane a little way is Bateswood Nature Reserve.

Our first mistake, there’s always one – 

NO PLATES OR BOWLS! 

We use Corelle in the van and at home and took them out to supplement the home ones over Christmas!  Rob nipped back home to retrieve them and picked up an Indian takeaway on the way back.

Lovely views on site. 

Saturday dawns fine and bright and we decide to take a stroll around the nature reserve, getting out on a walk really lifts my mood and makes me feel at peace.  

There’s a few memorials dotted around dedicated to local miners. 

And Spring was starting to sneak in.. 

At one point way over on the other side we may have got side tracked and ended up following a very small, very muddy path which followed the fence line, I’m saying path it was probably less than 10 inches wide and must have been made when the fence was put in rather than being an actual path, we were forced to retrace our steps to try and find the real path.  This also involved traversing a heavily water logged field which made our boots a delightful muddy brown colour from top to bottom, not to mention the extra inches the mud added to our height as it stuck to the bottom. 

Sometime later we saw the lake again, having taken in some lovely scenery and ‘Springyness’.

Jack and Jess were suitably tired and muddy, and my boots were a different colour than when we left.  It was lovely to be outside exploring somewhere we weren’t familiar with even though it’s so close to home. 

We will definitely add the site to our list especially when we want a quick getaway, a minimum of driving and the maximum amount of time on site for a cheeky weekend away all for the princely sum of £12.00 a night, cheap as chips! 

Andi x

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Bad times come good.

*Does the happy dance*

So glad there’s not a camera around!

We’re off for the weekend.  How excited am I?  Very!  Can you tell?

Sorry.

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I’ve been desperate to get out in the caravan since we last went at the end of November and now we’re going.  We’re only going a couple of miles from home this time, literally under 5 miles but it really doesn’t matter because YOU COULD BE ANYWHERE!  You’re not looking at the same brick walls, you have a totally different view of the world around you, there’s no pressure from the 1001 things that you need to do at home, or things you should be doing, should have done or will need doing.  It’s unbelievably freeing.

I suffer with depression and high functioning anxiety, it’s haunted me for years.  I can be great or I can be terrible or even somewhere in between.  I survive a lot better with something to look forward to and my ultimate pick me up is a day or 2 away in the van.  Whether it’s the fresh air, the location change, the attitude I have when I’m there ie: “I don’t care nothing will bother me”, I don’t know.  I wish I could transport the feeling back home with me but then would it still be as enticing?  “And breathe” is my mantra once we’re sitting having our first brew.

Yesterday I got myself upset because our go to site had no pitches.  It’s taken me a good 12 hours to sort my head out and find somewhere else to go.  It really shouldn’t upset me, but it’s the sort of simple thing that throws me completely out.  I may look “normal” on the outside, but you never know what meltdown I’m having internally.

Anyway..

Local site, hardstanding, electric.  On the edge of a local country park.  No shower block etc but that’s why we have our own and if we’re really desperate we can pop home for a shower although I’m more than happy to use ours.  I’m sure Jack & Jess will be suitably dirty from roaming around the  park and we will get the chance to check out the caravan (and if needed go and get anything from home that we’ve forgotten to put in after winter – there’s usually a good possibility that this happens).

Looking forward to taking some pictures over the weekend as we continue to get used to the new Nikon.  I was once again taking pictures of the moon this morning, I need to get a new subject.

Our Caravanning calendar now has 3 dates, still a fair few to go.  Perhaps we’ll plan a few more this weekend and get booking.

February Weekend booked
March Weekend booked
April Easter to book
May Weekends to book
June Summer hols booked
July Summer hols booked
August Weekends to book
September Weekends to book
October Weekends to book
November Weekends to book
December Weekends to book

We’re out, setup, had first brew and a double chocolate cookie. However….

First mistake of the weekend – forgot to put the #corelle plates and bowls back in after using them in the house over Christmas 😯  luckily we’re just under 5 miles from home!  This is why the first weekend after winter is best done close to home in our case. 

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New vlog, nearly new season.

Well today we took the plunge and made a vlog where we were the main and pretty much only focus.  We were nervous, a little scared, a little terrified and it was a big step.  Neither of us are great with things like this, I don’t mind blogging, I can write almost anonymously, bit too have to speak to a camera is another thing entirely!  Now it’s done and we’ll never have a first face to face vlog to do again.

I can’t wait to get out in Sydney, I’m seriously slacking this year I’ve usually got all our weekends booked by now but so far only our summer fortnight is booked.  Looks like our first weekend will be in March another 33 days to go!  I’m looking forward to the “and relax” feeling I get once we get to site and the kettle’s on.  

We last went out at the end of November, it will have been a long 12 weeks.  It wasn’t the best weather, there was a hard frost that made wonderful patterns on the car and on the branches and it was foggy, but the feeling of utter peace I get from just being in the van is hard to explain. My brain pauses, it stops it’s relentless spinning, it’s never ending churning with lists of things that have to be done, should be done and forgotten to do.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Spring arrive, the snowdrops, the daffodils, buds on trees, the extra Spring in my step.  

But I really love Summer, I can live in my fitflops.  Enjoy long days, sunny or not. Visit our favourite site, Pembrey and celebrate our first wedding anniversary there.  Walk on Cefn Sidan and feel as if you’re the first person to see it and walk on it.  Look at the view across to the Gower, eat BBQ and salad (salad and winter don’t go!).  

We have a busy few weekends in front of us, water system to clean and flush, restock and check over Sydney, caravan show to attend and hopefully vlog about, a wedding, Aimée’s off to New York next week with school for a week, oh and work.  

We’re still learning how to edit video – sticking with Movie Maker for now, we’re still trying to decide on our logo – this keeps changing any help gratefully received.  I need to print out some form of logo before the 24th and get it on our polo shirts which haven’t yet arrived.  

I need a weekend away to get away from it all!

Andi x

Something special for summer 2016

We booked High Onn Caravan Club Site for Easter 2016 and had an unwelcome visitor in the awning!

A rather large Hornet, I’m allergic to wasps, I didn’t want a fight with this!!

And we get to June/July. Does the picture give anything away? We travelled to our summer holiday preferred destination ie: Pembrey.

The weather was great, we had my favourite pitch (I’ve been known to move us a day or two into the holiday to get this one 😂) this year was no different!  We had a cheeky little visitor that Jack and Jess were not very hospitable to.

The awning was prepared for guests on Tuesday 28th June…

And the Foreman BBQ was ready to cook bacon baps. I ran through the site in my wedding dress as it was trying to rain!  And in Llanelli we finally tried the knot.

So 2016…

So we had our new to us caravan towards the end of the season 2015, what adventures did we have in 2016?

We took a stroll from Westport Lake along the canal to the Harecastle tunnel in February, it was a bit of a dull day but helped to blow the cobwebs away.

We popped over to Overwater Marina for a weekend at the end of March.

It’s our go to place for a weekend, under an hour to get there, peaceful, we can walk along the canal to Audlem for any provisions we may need and we can just breathe and relax.

Hello Sidney!

So after Casper we decided we needed a fixed bed (I have back problems), ideally we wanted an end bathroom but we were limited with choices by MTPLM.  Our Octavia has a kerbweight of 1615Kg. We also wanted a decent living space with decent sized front seats.  We found 1 or 2, then we had to avoid the ones with damp issues, the over priced ones and the generally knocked about ones.

We toured a lot of Derbyshire and Staffordshire looking for “the one”.  Finally we welcomed Sidney Sterling to the family, a 2009 Sterling Europa 495, and thank goodness he had a motor mover, we’d be stuck without one as our drive is on a steep slope.

First weekend out at Overwater Marina 25th September 2015.

We didn’t manage the full end bathroom this time but ticked all the other boxes. The sun was out and we had a great time. 

The awning that was the same size as Casper now looks like the porch awning that it is.

The carpets have been put in the attic and replaced with washable runners, something that I feel better about when muddy paws escape a wipe down. 

Great space available and feels spacious in the living area. 

We’re 17 months in now and still loving it, doesn’t stop us looking though!  But for the next few years this is our home from home, to relax and breath, and take a moment as often as possible to escape the rat race that is every day life.

Andi x