Cirencester, friends and new to us awning!

Well hello, we are back from sunny Cirencester where we spent a wonderful 4 days. The drive down was uneventful apart from the usual chaos at the M6/M5 turn off and the road works around that area. Also as usual, unfortunately, were the people passing us on the motorway with their caravans in tow with no towing mirrors and travelling at speeds well exceeding the 60mph limit. I must say that this drives me insane and I do wonder why people feel that the law and speed limits do not apply to them!

Anyway, regardless, we planned on having a great break and we did.

We have a couple of awnings a Kampa Rally Pro 390 + annexe and a Vango Braemar air awning which is a tiny 150cm in width but is ideal for weekends especially in Winter, it’s more than big enough to take off wet shoes, coats and dry the dogs off. However, neither was ‘just right’ or flexible enough so that we could have jut 1 awning.

I digress, last weekend we managed to get our hands on an elusive Westfield Rollaway 400. Having spoken to Westfield at the NEC earlier in the month, they don’t appear to be making these anymore as they had problems with some kind of manufacturing fault on later batches and the manufacturers don’t appear to be able to fix it, which is a shame as they’re a really flexible awning. The eagle eyed amongst you may also know of another family that have this awning.

So this was the first try of the new to us awning. Our only concern was that our awning rail isn’t straight at the front, but it worked fine. We’re not daunted by awnings, we don’t argue and it doesn’t give us any cause for divorce, thankfully! The roof goes up first and can be used as a standalone canopy for those long, warm summer days, or as a quick get the canopy up before we get drenched kind of days. You can then add the front, which is split into 4 pieces and the sides.

Now this is the clever bit you can have a large canopy with no sides, a 3/4 canopy and a 1m storage awning or a 1/2 canopy and a 2m awning or bedroom, a 3/4 awning and a 1m canopy or the full 4m awning. As it was October and we wanted to try the whole thing we opted for the last option and it went up pretty well. We were on a bit of a slope and it still managed to look pretty good. The roof material appears to be PVC so no worries about drying that off if it’s raining and as the front splits down to 1m sections it wouldn’t be a problem drying it out at home, no unwieldy 4m sections to fight with.

As they’re not going to be making these in the foreseeable future I’m going to tinker with making my own roof lining as it did have a tendency to produce condensation. Keep an eye out for that in the future, the back I can use Velcro to attach it as it already has Velcro tabs in situ, the front doesn’t so I need to have a ponder.

Will this be the awning that manages to suit us whatever the situation or weather? We’re not 💯% sure but it’s looking good so far. Would we recommend it, off the back of its first outing, yes. Look out for them on local selling sites.

Thank you to Dan, Angela and Chloe, Deb and Steve, Iain, Zoe, Grace and Lulu, Ian, Tracy and family, Andy, Kate and family, for a wonderful weekend full of laughs and gorgeous weather.

I managed to capture the last sunset of British Summer time 2017 which was reflected in the side of Sydney, absolutely stunning.

Also thank you to the Motorway Gods who managed a delay free trip home, on the M5/M6 again no less, we were highly delighted with a stress free return trip.


Summer 2017 – Pembrey

Firstly I’d like to apologise for the lack of updates, life unfortunately throws things at us that we have to deal with.

Now let’s get back to some caravan blogging and our summer holiday which seems so long ago now.  Last week in June and first week of July were spent at Pembrey Country Park, Caravan and Motorhome Club site.  This is our favourite site and you may have heard us mention it previously.


Almost ready for the off just before 07:00 on a Saturday morning.


All set up on pitch 47 this time. Time for coffee!

Why do we love it?  Mainly for its location.  Within a short walk you’re on the stunning Cefn Sidan beach, 8 miles of golden sands, backed by sand dunes and with views over the Gower peninsula.  With the addition of over 5 acres of country park to also explore, for us it’s what holidays are made of.

July 2017

Within the Country park there’s a Ski centre, stables, miniature railway, miniature golf course, cafes, a blue flag beach and 2 dog accessible beaches.  When the tide is out I always feel as if you could just walk across to the Gower peninsular although with the areas treacherous tides and the fact that there is still a channel of water between you it’s not possible nor advisable.  The tides move swiftly here and it pays to keep an eye on the times of high and low water.  It is however possible to walk along the beach to Burry Port which we have done in the past, if you don’t fancy a beach walk the Wales Coastal Path also runs through the Country park.

There’s something about the sea that gives me back a sense of perspective, how unimportant things in life really are, how insignificant we are in the scheme of things.  All those little dramas that surround us in our lives, work, the commute, the timetables we abide by, are all washed away by the rolling waves and all that’s really important is the rise and set of the sun and who we choose to spend our time with.  The world will continue to turn, the tides will continue to ebb and flo, the sun will rise and set, regardless of how many hours we spend working.  Everyone of us has probably got that one place that is special to us, I can’t exactly explain why this is mine, but it’s the overwhelming feeling of peace it gives me.

I continue to be plagued with my back and this meant that we didn’t get to walk as far or as frequently as we have in previous years.  In fact, we only managed one walk to the beach this year and no walks along the coastal path at all.  We had some amazing weather again this year as well and although that’s fantastic if you’re happy to sit in the sun it’s not so great for walking the dogs.  A few short trips out to the shops of course are unavoidable, but Jack & Jess are well catered for with gel cool mats and USB fans in the car.  There’s a Co-Op in Burry Port and wherever possible in previous years we have tended to walk along the coastal path and back to pick up the odd bits we need.  There is also a new convenience store on the main road towards Llanelli which boasts a butchery counter, bakery and cash machine.


Burry Port with the Gower in the background.

There was of course the craft vodka “bar” conveniently situated in the awning.  This of course we blame entirely on Dan T following our outing to Bracelands a few weeks previously.


Sour cherry and apple or drumsticks blend?

As an alternative to the CAMC, Pembrey Country Park also has a campsite of it’s own which is in the park itself, you can see the details here.


Weekend No2 2017 is looming

3 sleeps left until weekend No.2 of 2017.  It really can’t come soon enough!  The last couple of weeks have been stressful, work’s busy, I’m trying to get my private work organised ready to hand over to someone else (I hope) on the 31st of this month, we’ve had different editing software – CyberLink PowerDirector 15, new laptop and Surface which all needed to be set up and I’m still adding apps that I need, veteran’s lunch last weekend where I ate almost my own weight in Guinness cupcakes, visit to the Grandparents who had managed to set the car display to Portugese and KPH which confused them no end and I may have had one or three Dragonflies.  Yesterday it took me over 2 hours to upload a Vlog because PowerDirector was adding some Codec or other to the MP4 and YouTube was spitting it out like a spoilt child, but not until it had loaded each time to about 98%, I was ready to forget vlogging forever.

The last few days have been full of blue skies and sunshine, even though I’m struggling to sleep recently it’s really lifted my spirits in one way and in others just made me want to be away in Sydney even more.  It’s not possible to explain to someone that doesn’t camp/caravan how it feels to set up somewhere else for the weekend, to look out the windows and see a different view, different smells, and that feeling of relaxation once the legs are down and the kettle’s on.  Best of all I’m still sleeping in my own bed and I can have a lie in.

At home my body and mind refuse to acknowledge any possibility of a lie in, if I’m really lucky I may wake at 6, with the lighter mornings I get up at the crack of dawn along with the noisy sodding birds.  This invariably means that I’m one of those people that gets less sleep on my days off than I do when I’m at work, due to going to bed later in the vain hope that I may actually sleep later.  Yet in Sydney, I’ve even been known to sleep until just after 9am!  It’s rare, but it does happen.  It really is like being in a different dimension or a different life altogether.

We’re lucky in that we have room at home for Sydney and don’t need storage, when we first moved into the house 4 1/2 years ago we had to use a storage site for Casper until we  widened the driveway and as we’d never used storage before it was a bit of a culture shock.  We use the caravan as another larder, it’s handy to pop top the top of the drive to get a tin of something or the coffee and teabags if we run out.  I wish I could say we put everything back in once it’s clean but all those things tend to sit at the side of the dining room table and get thrown in the boot when we’re ready to hitch up.  In our defence, if we go anywhere near the caravan Jack and Jess create an unholy racket and weave through our feet so much that one of these days there’s going to be a nasty accident.  When we are getting ready on a Friday morning, they get put in the car as early as possible and once there we don’t hear a peep out of them, anyone would think they like caravanning.

I tend to have cooked a few spare meals and frozen them so it’s only a matter of grabbing a cool bag, and adding milk, butter, bread (salt and pepper loaf from Morrison’s is our favourite), a selection of cold meats and cheeses, frozen ‘ready’ meals and the usual caravan food that we don’t have every day such as cake and biscuits. Because calories don’t count in the van.  Beer or JD for Rob and a couple of bottles of non-alcoholic wine for me, although this time it may be one bottle of wine and some Tanqueray, ginger ale and lime slices.  Some people are a bad influence.

We need to remember to flush out the ‘pink’ tank well this weekend so we can fill up with Blue_Bio and hopefully wave goodbye to black bits forever.  The weather may not be as nice this weekend as it’s been this week but it always looks better through a caravan window.  Whatever your plans this weekend, have a great one.

Andi x















Casper continued 2

We visited Pembrey a few more times


Stayed near Whitchurch on a CL with a bathroom in a shed

 Saw strange fungi

and more beautiful skies

We got new mugs one Christmas

and we moved away from Apple

We walked in the Peak Disrict was flooded…

The sewing machine was out again, 

The floor had been changed to laminate (I did that! – Andi)

We acquired a new gadget for our coffee

The Cobb was out again

And my hair was growing