Road Trip

This will be my last visit here for a while. I’m thrilled to say that at long last we have been able to arrange a trip in our motorhome through France, visiting friends and relatives on the way, and then into Spain to visit our daughter – the first time we will have seen her since January 2020. We are leaving tomorrow morning. As always with the motorhome we will not have much opportunity to access the internet and with roaming charges having rocketed since Brexit was finalised we will also be using our mobile phones as little as possible.

Thankfully our youngest son is able to hold the fort at home – what will I do when he finally leaves!

This trip has taken some organising, absolutely everything that is likely to need renewing had to be renewed – passports, driving licences, health insurance cards and, of course we needed to get our Covid passes. At one point we thought it would not all get it done in time but finally it all fell into place (the last documents to arrive were our driving licences about 10 days ago) and it has been a mad rush to get ready to go. While we are in Spain we will also be able to take part in the Pedals de Clip classic cycling event that we have done in the past. It usually takes place in May but was cancelled last year and postponed to late October this year.

We will probably be away until about mid-November but if I get the opportunity to drop by from time-to-time I will do so. I shall look forward to catching up with you all again then.

Travels

I’m off on my travels again tomorrow morning. We’re hopping a relatively short distance across country to Nottingham with our tandem on the back of the Motorhome for the Tandem Club 50th Anniversary National Rally! We will be there for a week. This time we will have an electric hook-up but sadly no WIFI access so again I will not be taking my laptop and will be off-line.

There are an number of ride routes organised for the week but you can choose which day you do them. They are of varying lengths and you have the choice of joining with others to do a ride or doing your own thing. The weather looks to be unsettled for the week and several of the rides are rather longer than we would wish so we will probably mostly do our own thing and maybe just do sections of some of the longer rides rather than the whole route. Due to the continuing COVID situation, despite the end of all restrictions, we would be happier to be on our own or in a small group. We are, however, intending to join the ride to a nearby village for the anniversary celebratory cream tea with prosecco on Thursday – probably making our own way there as the suggested ride route is one of the longer ones, taking a large loop round. We plan on taking a somewhat shorter, more direct route to the cafe.

I also have an old school friend who lives not far away from the campsite who I don’t catch up with often enough so we will hopefully be able to spend some time with her; one of the slightly shorter rides goes near her home so we could detour to visit, or alternatively she may come to visit us at the camp-site – assuming visitors are allowed, which it is possible they may not be!

I have several books to read in case the weather is not fit for cycling and shall also have pens and paper to maybe write some ‘small stones’ or longer pieces – I just hope my son at home remembers to feed the birds and hedgehogs and water the garden if we do by chance have a hot, dry spell. All being well I will see you again after the end of next week.

Away Again

Just dropped by to let you know I will be off-line for a week from today. I should be back here next Wednesday. We are off with our motorhome and a load of bicycles down to the New Forest where Saturday sees us take part in the ‘Tandem Tarts Ten Time Trial’. Yes, it’s a race, on the tandem! We are taking our most recently renovated one, a Peugeot, as the electric assist on our main one will be unlikely to be permitted and it is also a much heavier tandem than the Peugeot.

We have never time-trialed before, certainly not on the tandem, and we don’t expect to set any records over the 10 mile course. The event is only semi-serious, although I imagine some ‘competitors’ will take it more seriously than others. It is a bit of a fun event being run alongside a ‘proper’ time-trial, in aid of charity and judging by a few photos we have seen of previous events some of the teams dress up as ‘tarts’. We will hint in that direction but not be going overboard!

As well as the tandem we are taking a couple of solo bikes and will hopefully get out and about along some of the tracks and trails in the area – a part of the country I haven’t visited since I was a teenager camping with the Girl Guides.

The campsite we are staying at is very quiet and secluded, with no facilities and no electricity or WIFI connection so I am not taking my laptop and I don’t do the Internet on my phone (can’t cope with the small screen), hence why I will be off-line. Just keep your fingers crossed for us that we may get some good weather! See you soon.

They Think It’s All Over

Well I’m back from a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend in the Derbyshire Dales with our motorhome and our tandem. What beautiful countryside, with rough pastures full of buttercups, dry stone walls and verges full of wild flowers – much of it the ubiquitous Cow Parsley or as we called it when I was a child, Mother Die, but others were in evidence as well. Swallows flitted all around our camping field and I even spotted a curlew standing statue-still only a few yards from the road as we were cycling along. There were also plenty of hills and steep-sided woodlands rising up from the lanes beside us. I haven’t yet had time to download any photos from my camera so nothing to share I’m afraid.

One minor problem of the weekend is that we found that the whistling kettle that we use on the gas cooker (we had no electric hook-up so relied on the gas) was in serious danger of losing it’s handle which had nearly detached itself. The meant that we had to cycle into the lovely little town of Bakewell to buy a new one – this was Bank Holiday Saturday. What a mistake! The town was jam-packed with visitors (okay, so were we visitors too!), very few masks and no social distancing in evidence. It seems that, since everything is due to open up later this month all being well, the majority think it is all over already. The same problem was true of the off-road Monsal Trail that we rode along to get to Bakewell and back again – crowded, no social-distancing or masks. At least we found a kettle after spending quite a long time looking for a shop that could sell us one and being sent on some wild goose chases when we stopped to ask! I may have had both jabs but I’m still not comfortable with a quick return to so called ‘normality’.

This was however a minor hiccup, the weekend was most enjoyable and out and about on the country lanes we were virtually alone (except for passing traffic). We kept away from the popular places where crowds would gather. By gum, it’s hilly up there though and we were glad of our electric assist!

Cycling Tour

Just a quick visit to let you know I will be away for about a week.

For several years now we have been talking about doing a cycling tour of the Welsh island of Anglesey, so now we are packing up the motorhome, complete with our tandem, and will be heading off in the morning to do just that. The motorhome makes it easy to maintain social distancing and we can be pretty well self-sufficient – though we may need to pop to the shops for the odd item now and then, masked and sanitised of course.

As with previous trips away with the motorhome this year I will not be taking my laptop as I think it likely that internet access may not be viable (and it’s good to have a break from the computer now and then). All being well I should be back in a week’s time and will report on the trip then.

Farewell

Red Dawn IV

Goodbye Red Dawn IV

Well, we have finally managed to sell our boat, Red Dawn IV. We went down to the marina last week where both parties signed the documents and we did the hand-over. We understand payment has now been received by the broker but I’m not sure it has come through to us yet! We had to take a drop from our asking price but it is a weight off our minds and at least we no longer have to pay yard fees.

We had gone down to the marina in our motorhome and once we had finished all the necessary details with the boat we headed on up the coast to spend a few days on a campsite near Southwold in Suffolk. This is a place we had always intended to sail to but somehow never did. This time we cycled there from our campsite, a round trip of just under 18 miles, and having looked at the harbour entrance and mooring arrangements we decided we hadn’t missed much. Don’t misunderstand me, Southwold is a lovely place, quaint and old-fashioned, but the harbour is not the most inviting we have seen and seems mainly used by small fishing boats.

Southwold Beach

Southwold Beach

We stopped by the beach, which was being well used but was not over-crowded despite the very hot day. Mostly people were being sensible about social distancing. We didn’t go on to the beach and hadn’t gone prepared to do so. Although the countryside around that area is wonderful the ride in to Southwold was not the most pleasant, being unavoidably mostly on main roads busy with traffic heading for the beach.

On the second day we cycled to Walberswick, a slightly shorter ride at just under 17 miles. This is on the opposite side of the estuary to Southwold and is again a quaint, mostly unspoiled small town. There is no beach here but it is a short distance by ferry or footbridge across to Southwold. We sat for a while on a bench overlooking the harbour for a snack and a drink which we had taken with us, watching children fishing for crabs in the estuary before treating ourselves to an ice-cream in the town centre then heading back. This ride was slightly more pleasant as the roads were a bit quieter on the way to Walberswick.

Our third day was a shorter ride of a mere 10.8 miles, in a circular route to enjoy the local country lanes and scenery around the campsite at Blyford. The day was cool when we started but soon warmed up, turning into another scorcher. We were glad that on all three days we returned to the motorhome by lunchtime and spent the hot afternoons relaxing and reading while trying to keep cool.

The campsite, in a lovely location, was obviously popular with tents and caravans as well as our motorhome, and most of the spaces were occupied but they were very well spaced. Even though the facilities were not in use and people had to be self-sufficient regarding toilet and washing facilities nobody seemed to mind; tent dwellers having also brought toilet tents with them.

Some families were there with children but there was plenty of space for them to run around and enjoy themselves without causing any problems and the site was quiet from mid-evening onwards. One extended family occupied about 3 spaces and had already been there for a week. While parents returned home (and to work) at the weekend the grandparents were staying for a second week with all the grandchildren. They seemed to be well organised with a paddling pool, a basketball basket, plenty of other things to play with and the caravan, tents and awnings all lit up with fairy lights at night. I understand they camp there every year and have done so for many years now, which in itself is a recommendation for the site.

Heron

There he sits, up high
on a branch of the weeping willow tree;
a hunched and wizened old wizard
keeping his beady eye
on the fishermen whiling away
a lazy day beside his lake,
waiting patiently for them to go
so he can finally rule again
in his own domain
and catch his tea.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Last week we were camping in our motorhome beside a fishing lake. Daily a pair of herons visited the lake and one frequently occupied what I assume was his favourite perch in a weeping willow near our van. Unfortunately on my only attempt to photograph him just when I was about to press the shutter he flew away, obviously camera shy!

Absent

Just a quick note to let you know that I will be taking a short break. We are off in our motorhome for a week, for a change of scenery. With things being a bit uncertain I’m not sure if we will find a decent Wi-Fi connection so will not be posting here.

Now lockdown has eased a bit we need to go to check on our still unsold boat, which we haven’t visited for over 6 months – it will be in need of a good clean. We’re hoping that with things easing up it will begin to rekindle people’s interest in buying a boat!

Then, on the way home we are stopping off for a couple of days to cycle an interesting looking trail on our tandem now that campsites are beginning to open up, all-be-it with certain restrictions. I will probably write a post about the ride on our return. One of the advantages of motorhomes is that we can be self-sufficient and easily socially distance without too much inconvenience.

See you again next week.

Travels

I’m off on my travels again this weekend, in our Motorhome and we will be away for a couple of months. As we have often done before we will be travelling through France and into Spain to visit our daughter. We try to go via a different route each time so that we see more of the two countries which is always fun. Our youngest son, who lives at home, will be in charge in our absence.

One of the problems we have when travelling in the Motorhome is unreliable access to the Internet (we tend to stay in small villages rather than large towns with plenty of WiFi Cafes) so this means I will for the most part be off-line until we return in late May and therefore unable to post anything here. If I can I will.

Aware that I rarely, if ever, post any of my what I call my ‘proper’ poems I hope to share some of these with you while I am away, starting with one this coming Monday. All of these are poems that have previously been published elsewhere. I have also challenged myself to write at least one poem a week while we are away – but I will not be sharing these as they will need time to settle and receive several sessions of tweaking! Maybe some other time.

I look forward to seeing you back here again on my return.

Nothing to Write

The following word ramble is a bit of a stop-gap place holder really. We have been away for a few days and I have some catching up to do, especially as I didn’t even take my computer with me knowing that Internet access would be limited and it’s refreshing to have a break from the Internet every now and then.

We went down to our boat in the Motorhome on Wednesday for a routine check on it and give it a generally wash and clean as it is still unsold, then on Friday we moved on to a campsite up the coast a bit as we had a lunch engagement with a group of friends to go to on Saturday.

The time away was fairly low-key and we didn’t really do very much. The first couple of days while we were at the boat were quite mostly dry, sunny and fairly mild but cold at night. We had no access to electricity but we do have a heater that can use either electricity or gas so we able to keep warm. We took the tandem with us but only used it once, for a short ride around Burnham-on-Crouch (where the boat is currently based) and to do a bit of shopping – at a guess barely three miles. We had taken it thinking we might use it to visit my husband’s brother and his wife but in the event they came to us instead.

When we moved up the coast to Thorpe-le-Soken the weather changed, turning rather cold, windy and, by Saturday evening, very wet. We were glad that we had an electric hook up so were able to keep warm. A large chunk of Saturday was of course taken up with our lunchtime get-together – excellent company and a superb meal. However the result of this wonderfully relaxing few days away means that I have nothing to write about!

With winter coming on our trail rides will probably be few and far between now so cycling will be less of a focus for these ramblings of mine. I have in mind one or two other topics to write about but these will need some research. Perhaps I’ll get my act together by next week.

 

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