By the seaside

The heating service was completed by about 11 am so we paid the bill and hooked up Timmy tow car and headed out on the highway towards Henley on Thames. Arrived at The campsite in good time and all set up on the pitch by about 1pm. The trees looked loverly in their autumn colours.

Henley on Thames is a loverly area, but a very expensive area. We looked in some of the estate agents windows as we walked to the pub. We decided that for us the pub was the best option. We could afford a beer and a glass of wine. We could not afford a house/ flat/ garden shed in Henley on Thames. Another day we walked down by the river and decided to go for a coffee. Found this loverly cafe called the chocolate cafe. If you are ever in Henley and like chocolate then I can recommend this place. You really are spoilt for choice. I had a chilli hot chocolate and Nikki had a coffee. To compliment them Nikki had an oatey cake and I had a large slab of rocky road.

We were supposed to leave Henley and go to Liphook in Hampshire to get the jacks on the camper refurbished but they rang and asked if we could re book because they were having trouble, so we will get them done in the new year now.

Our next stop after Henley was Brighton so again we hooked up Timmy tow car and headed south. The journey was all motorway M4-M25-M23 so really boring. The only excitement was when we decided to get fuel. This is always a exciting time because we need to find a fuel station we can get in and out of easily as we are 44 ft long when on the road. Add to that that you can’t reverse with the car on the back because the minute you try to the front wheels on the car turn. The first garage we saw a sign for was closed when we got to it, so a turn around the roundabout and back on the highway for a few more miles. Take two, as we pulled of the main road and aimed for the pumps it was looking a bit tight for the exit. All fuelled up and exited all ok. Nikki could breathe again

So here we are in Brighton now for a few days. It’s a big campsite and nice big pitches. We saw some other wardens we met while on our training so that was nice to catch up with them, also saw a couple who stayed at Cirencester when we were there. While we are here Nikki wants to go around the shops and walk along the seafront. I will do the walk along the seafront bit. This morning I went out on my bike There is a cycle path that runs all along under the cliffs from the Marina to peace haven. It was great to be out on my bike and right by the sea and the sun was out. Bonus.

After going to the end of the path I went back the other way to the pier and then on to the old derelict pier to get a photo. I am using my new phone as my main camera now and must say I am very impressed with it. I also have a App on the phone which tells me where I have been and how fast I have been etc for when I am out on my bike. Today’s little bimble along the seafront I covered 14 miles.

The derelict pier still looks nice in my eyes.

End of season

That’s it we have got to the chequered flag. For us this seasons work is over. It has been a good season, a few little hiccups but that’s life. Will we do it again, you bet, to be honest it’s the best job we have had and suits our life style so much. We went into Cirencester for the last time on Monday, I needed a hair cut, Nikki needed to stroll round the shops one last time. No shops just to walk to next year for her. And of course while we were in town we had to go and have a beer and a bite to eat. We met up with our wardens Tony and Jo and had a really good evening. They have been so good to us and the training has been great. Real friends.

Some of the seasonals on site have been so nice. Knocking on the camper door and presenting us with bottles of wine and chocolates. We will miss them, but next year we will have some more seasonals to get to know. One of them Malcolm has been my IT guru the last four days, more on that later.

I managed to watch some of the World Cup rugby while at work and on my days off. Shame England didn’t win it, but they did so well. Got the six nations to look forward to next. That will be a tricky one for me being half welsh and next year we will be working in wales and there is a pub at the end of the road. Who do I support when I go in there to watch it. I suppose it depends on the size of the guys in there.

For the last few years Nikki has been nagging me to get a new phone. My old phone is a iPhone 3 and it still makes calls and texts, that’s about it really but I like it. I also have an old camera which is nine years old now. There are so many times when we are out I just wish I had my camera to capture a picture but it’s to big and bulky to carry around all the time, and my phones camera is rubbish. So the decision was made to get a new phone with a decent camera. So that’s me into the modern world with a IPhone 11 pro. Thats why malcom has been my IT guru he understands these modern things. I am having trouble trying to work it all and Nikki has a sore head with me asking her a load of questions all the time about it. Add to that the internet at Cirencester was not very good so all the photos on my iPad would not go over onto my phone. Well there are 23,995!. I will get to grips with the new toy but I doubt if I will keep it as long as the old iPhone 3.

We left Cirencester yesterday and headed north to Wellingborough to Alde to get the heating serviced. This is us stopped at a service station. All hooked up we are 44ft long so you have to think about where your going etc. The journey went well and the weather was kind to us.

We got to Alde about 3pm and met the guy who was going to do the job today. I have heard really good reports about this place which is why we came here. We unhooked the car and parked up and plugged in the electric and settled down for the night. 8.30 am this morning they took Bertie Burstner into the workshop to do what they have to do. Should be finished about lunchtime so then we will hook up the car again and head for the next stop on our winter tour which is Henley on Thames.

Tredegar house two

While we were at the Tredegar house caravan and motorhome club site working we were offered free tickets to go and look inside the Tredegar house and the gardens. One of the national trust property’s . We had already looked around the outside while walking in the park, pressing our noses up against one of the many big iron gates to get a glimpse of life on the other side. Our day off came round and for the first time it was going to be a nice day with blue sky’s and sunshine. So what do you do on a nice day off and no rain after being out in the rain for a week or more. Of course you go inside a posh big house.

The house was spectacular inside and it’s hard to imagine how these places got built and the sort of money those peaple would have had all that time ago. The stable block alone was bigger than a school building. The number of staff to run the house and stable block would have been huge. Every room being so grand. The national trust volunteers who work in these houses know all about the different peaple who used to live in them and what they did etc. As it was a quite weekday we did get pounced upon as soon as we walked into a room, bit like a car sales person. If there had been more peaple looking around we could have dodged some of them or chose to listen if we wanted. But they were very good. This is part of the stable block.

The gardens outside were interesting. Not at there best because of the time of year but still nice to walk around in the sun, yes it was still shining. They would have grown all their own food in parts of the garden to feed the whole family and staff.

I love trees and really liked this one, the way it had grown and the huge one in the background which was hundred of years old. Very impressive.

A couple of days later we left the caravan and motorhome park to head back to Cirencester. It was pouring with rain. I do hope it doesn’t always rain in Wales otherwise next year we will both look like prunes at the end of the season.

Our new wardens for next year contacted us and said the were going to the NEC at Birmingham and would that be easier for us to meet them. It’s about an hour and a half away from Cirencester. It’s normal practice to try and meet your new wardens for the next year, first impressions and all that. There was a caravan and motorhome show on at the NEC so we decided it would be good to meet them and make a day out for us to look around the show. We left Cirencester at 7am and got there at 9 am. Lots of traffic but we were there nice and early so straight in Wetherspoons for a big breakfast. Met our new wardens for a coffee and chat for an hour, who were really nice, hope they thought the same about us. Then we had a look around the motorhomes and bits and pieces stalls. Only saw two motorhomes which I really liked, one at £135,000 which was a Dethleffs tag axle and a very nice Niesmann Bischoff at £238,000. You only had to put down £100,000 as a deposit and the rest you could have had on finance. It was very nice though. I did offer them a pound a week but got a funny look from the salesman in his suit.

One last picture to Brighton up your day. Sunflowers of some kind in the Tredegar house gardens. Hope the sun is shiny where you are.

Tredegar house

Here we are at Tredegar house site. A smaller site than what we are used to but so much nicer for work. We will be here now until 10th October, then we will go back to Cirencester to finish off the season. The site being in the grounds of the national trust property is very green and today we had a day off so we went for a walk around the park grounds which are next to the main house. There was a craft and food market on which was a good reason to go and we needed to top up on our shopping which meant walking to Asda a bit further on. Here we are on site.

The weather has been very wet while we have been here so dodging the showers we headed out for the craft and food market while it had stopped raining. We chose to go around the park grounds instead of walking down the roads, much nicer. The house looks fantastic and the stable block was just as big. Years ago it must have been bustling with activity, now it’s just bustling with peaple looking around. This is the rear of the house, the servants entrance.

After looking around the stalls we came across a pasty store with a difference. All the pasty’s were Jamaican beef, or vegan, or some other combo. Loverly lady selling them and all handmade by herself. And yes they were delicious. I found a beer stall and the lady there insisted I try some. Who am I to argue. And yes that was very nice also, so that was lunch taken care off, a pasty and some beer. Nikki found a gin stall but never got to taste any, only sniff the bottle. What a let down, bit like me opening my wallet and saying to the stall holder sniff that cash mate. Thats what you could have had.

After going to Asda and getting some shopping I went for a walk around the lake in the park. Really weird being near a lake and trees yet so close to the M4 motorway which you can only just here. After the walk back to the camper for lunch. The pastie and beer was elevensies.

Up up and away

Sat just looking at my iPad one morning a couple of weeks ago before going to work. I heard a distinctive noise of a gas burner going off on a hot air balloon. Grabbed my camera and went outside to the sight of beautiful hot air balloon floating over the campsite, drifting along wherever the wind would take it. It’s something I have always wanted to do, along with a lot of other things, more of that later.

We are still very busy at work and the end is in sight for this year now. Tomorrow we are off to Tredegar house in South Wales to work for a week. The site is in the grounds of, yes you guessed it Tredegar house, a national trust property between Cardiff and Newport. It’s not far from where my gran and grandad, my dads parents used to live and I visited as a kid many moons ago. Will not have time to go and find their old house this visit but we are going back to the site on our winter trip so will make an effort to find it then.

We have had some more end of season assessments at work to do with the machinery. All to do with the two year training program and pleased to say we both passed. Good job really otherwise we would not be able to work.

We have had three stealth B2 bombers flying around a lot also. They have been based at RAF Fairford and are doing some training, but a bit different to our training. Fantastic planes they look like batman when in the air and I was so pleased to see all three as they flew over leaving Fairford.

It was Nikki’s birthday yesterday and we had some friends come up to see us so we all went into Cirencester for a drink and a bite to eat like you do. Had a really nice evening. Today is just a chill out day.

The trees in the Bathurst estate and around the campsite are all changing colour now and starting to drop their leaves. The Bathurst estate are doing a lot of tree work at the moment because a lot have disease or have come to the end of their life. Some really big trees like chestnuts have been coming down. Hundreds of years old. They are going to replant a lot of new trees to take the place of the old ones. The colours are fantastic and should get better in the next few weeks.

Now for some fantastic news. We have been told where we are going next year. We are going to a site called Coed Y Llwyn, don’t ask me to pronounce it because I can only just spell it but I will learn. It’s in the heart of Snowdonia in North Wales. About 8 miles from Porthmadog which is on the coast. The site is in a small village called Gellilydan. There will only be one other couple with us and it’s a much smaller site.

Going back to what I said earlier about things I always wanted to do, next year I will tick one off the list. Less than hour away is a old slate quarry which they have put a zip wire in, its one of the longest in the world and you reach speeds up 100 mph. It’s called velocity 2 if you want to check it out on You Tube. There is also a place called surf Snowdonia which is a lagoon with a wave machine in it for surfing. They can alter the size of the wave depending who is using it. I’m sure if I give the bloke an extra fiver he would crank it up a bit.

About twenty minutes away is a forest called Coed Y Brenin where there are lots of different mountain bike trails. From the site you can walk around a big lake called lake Trawsfynydd. And of course there is Snowdon itself to walk up, another thing I plan to do. Nikki is going to catch the train up and wave as she goes past sipping her G&T. And to top it all off there is a pub at the end of the road from the campsite. So looks like it’s going to be another busy year next year.

Two months to go

The work season has flown away, now six months into it which means we only have two months left. Yipppeee. We love the job, don’t get me wrong but we also like our free time. The site has been very busy, especially weekends where we are fully booked nearly every weekend. The Cotswold show was on one weekend which was in the grounds right next to the site and then the following weekend was the fairford air tattoo so a few planes were flying around overhead which was nice. We have had several friends visit us while we have been here which has been really nice. A good excuse to go out for a beer and a bite to eat, not that we need an excuse.

We have decided not to go to Europe this winter for a couple of reasons. First we need to spend some money on the camper, new mattress, heating service, jacks repair, etc. Secondly we thought it would be nice to tour the Uk for a change. I know it will be cooler but we can catch up with peaple we have not seen etc and see different parts of our own country we have not seen.

We went to cheddar to meet some friends three weeks ago which was nice. Another excuse to go out for a beer or two. Although I almost fainted at the price of a round, in one of the hotel/pubs, four drinks £24. We never ate in there. This weekend we are in Tweksbury on a site right on the edge of the town. You can see the Abbey from the site poking out between the treetops.

A very impressive building. The build started in 1102 that’s a long time ago. It was built to house the Benedictine monks. It’s famous for its medieval stained glass windows. It also has the largest Norman church tower in existence, its fourteen metres square and forty five metres high. Very impressive.

This morning I got up early to go and take these photos. As the sun came up it shone on the abbey making it look spectacular. Walking around in the grounds with no other person in site was so nice and worth getting up for. As I walked around to the huge big door I noticed it was open, so me being me went on in because I wanted to see inside. WOW…The outside is impressive but the inside is even more impressive. As I started to take some photos, a person appeared, the local vicar. I said the door was open so I had come in to take some photos, I hope that’s ok. Of course it is he said, are you here for the early morning service. No I said I was here to take advantage of the early morning, no crowds and the sunlight. It’s a very impressive building I said, yes it’s magnificent he said as he strolled off to get ready for his early morning service.

After taking my photos inside I wandered around the old part of the town taking a few more photos of the loverly old buildings which we had spotted yesterday while walking to the pub for a beer and a bite to eat. On our own this time, see I told you we don’t need an excuse. Some of the buildings look like they could fall down anytime but are so nice and being used.

What did you say

Where is the year going. Already half way through the season. Hard to think that in four months time we will be finishing up here in Cirencester. What will the winter bring. We are not sure if we are going away to Europe this winter. Instead we might take a trip round the Uk. Watch this space.

We have been really busy with work, and on our days off we never seem to get things done. We have moved pitch on the campsite due to being under trees, the roof was getting covered in sap and then the blossom would stuck to that. It was really upsetting me knowing how dirty it was up there on the roof. Anyone who knows me will know I do like my vehicles looking nice.

Both the camper and the car mot and service was due. We have a couple of good garages back home where we get these done so a trip to Devon was on the cards. An expensive weekend with them both being done, but at least they are done now for the year.

The weather the last two weeks has been fantastic and the BBQ has been in use a few times after work. And when you have a BBQ you have to have a cold beer, that’s the rules.

I have trouble with my ears. Getting blocked etc. I have surfers ear which is caused by years and years of surfing in cold water and in the winter with the cold winds etc. The ear canal narrows down over the years so your ears get blocked easier. The last two weeks were really bad, normally they clear but not this time. Walking around the campsite talking to peaple it was almost like I was just nodding my head and saying yes. So who knows what I have agreed to, or not. Nikki tried tipping some oil in them to loosen the wax and we even squirted some water in them but it still no good. So on our day off I went off to a ear clinic where they hoover all the wax out. It’s not a dyson or anything as big as that but a small probe which goes in the ear canal. Then it’s flushed out with a jet of warm water. It’s actually a nice sensation and at the end of it you can hear. I will spare you the pictures of what came out. Unlike my wallet which was not spared.

So that’s us up to date, the sun is still shining. We are still loving the job, we have put in our selection for next year and in September we will know where we’re going to be working next year.

Busy Busy Busy

So much to do so little time. Do you know that feeling. Work certainly gets in the way of life. But it’s something we have to do, well we do. We had a very busy bank holiday on the site at Easter and the May bank holidays also. The electrics all went down on part of the site, on a Friday so we were trying to sort that at 9pm and trying again in the morning. Some peaple are ok with it, others you would have thought the world had ended because they had no electric. The funny thing is though most of them still have power in their caravan or motorhome because they have a leisure battery. All sorted in the end and no one was killed or seriously injured, nearly does not count. A couple of days later I got stung by a wasp in the night, that was more serious, I woke in the night and felt something crawling on my arm so I brushed it off….OUCH!!! The wasp had stung me, not been stung by a wasp for years. I jumped out of bed, Nikki woke up. We saw the wasp and hunted him down and destroyed him. Meanwhile my hand was throbbing like mad. Put some magic cream on the wound and watched my hand swell by the minute. Could not sleep then, the pain was really bad and I felt sick. Next morning my hand was twice it’s normal size and all up my arm. It took about four days until all was normal again.

We went away on our weekend off. We went down to the campsite near Sidmouth in south Devon, Putts corner, which is where we did our work experience. We have kept in touch with the wardens there, so was good to catch up with them. They laid on a BBQ and we walked to a nearby pub the next day. Our next weekend off we are staying around here and just going out for the days. The following one we are going back to Devon to get the camper serviced and mot done and the car at the same time.

Yesterday we had a day off and had arranged to see Nikki’s eldest boy and the grandchildren in Aylesbury where they live. They are members of the national trust so we opted to go to Waddesdon manor about twenty minutes drive from them. I was expecting a dusty carpark with about twenty cars in when we got there and a Manor House of course. Forgetting it was half term, the carpark was a huge carpark the size of two football fields and all tarmac and lined out and it was busy.

A bit of history for you on Waddesdon manor. Baron Ferdinand Rothschild wanted an estate where he could escape London in the summer months. The vale of Aylesbury, known as Rothschildshire for the number of houses owned by the family in the area was chosen. When he came into his inheritance in 1874 he purchased a bare agricultural estate. The foundation stone was laid in 1877. At that time to have an aviary was the thing to do and so an aviary was built in 1889 and was all restored a few years ago.

The whole thing amazes me, to think how they built such a fine house all those years ago and at what expense and no modern machinery. If you go on the website of Waddesdon manor you will see more info. We never went into the house. Will do that next time. Just the grounds was enough for us to do with the grandkids. I think this was the first national trust property we have visited but I think we may be doing some more, when we get time.

Big boys toys

Here we are into our seventh week of work. Who ever thought we would last this long. We have had two pay days which is really scary as we only get eight before our contract is over. We are really enjoying the job, well most of it. In my last post I told you about Nikki going out on the John Deere tractor and posted a picture of her looking all comfortable in the driving seat. She has done really well. Not to be outdone on the outside duties, I got another toy out the garage. As you can see it’s another John Deere, but it’s bigger. Big toys for big boys. Cor did I have fun cutting the big grass areas on that.

Ok that’s enough of work talk. What else have we been up to. We had a visit from some friends we met in spain. Bill and Heather, they are keen walkers and Bill used to come out biking with me. He was the really fit one but could not keep up with me on the hills because I have my E bike. He has now bought an E bike so I’ve got no chance of keeping up with him now. Really nice to see them both.

We wandered into Cirencester town last Thursday, I was desperate to get a haircut and Nikki wanted to have a browse around. Plenty of barbers in the town so I just took the easy route and went for the first one we came across. Good haircut but what a boring barber, no conversation whatsoever. I almost started to talk to my reflection in the mirror but then realised if I did that I would not get a sensible answer. After the haircut it was time for a hot chocolate and chocolate brownie. Yum yum. The weather has been fantastic especially as it was bank holiday Easter so we had a couple of BBQ’s. Can’t beat cooking outside and sipping a nice cold beer or wine in the sun.

Yesterday was our day off and we went to look at the Cirencester Amphitheatre, it’s a short walk from the site. The earthwork remains are one of the largest Roman Amphitheatres in Britain. Built in the 2nd century when Cirencester was called Corinium and was second only to London in size and importance with a population of over ten thousand. The Amphitheatre would hold about eight thousand spectators. As we walked into the arena I could hear the Romans shouting and cheering. Now you know why I never talked to my reflection in the barbers mirror. The picture below shows Nikki stood in the arena to give you an idea of the size. It would have had seating made from stone and wood and tiered up the banks and an entry and exit.

On our way back we walked into the Bathurst estate because I wanted to get some photos of the colourful dandelions. I know they are weeds, but I think a weed is only a weed if you don’t like it. I think they look spectacular and make great photos in this instance.

Out for a run

No I have not turned into a fitness freak or lynford Christie. When I say out for a run I mean we are taking the camper out for a run. We have been on site for a month now, how time flies. We have settled in nicely and doing a variety of jobs. I have done a small bit in the office and Nikki has done a bit outside. Evidence below.

I think she looks good on the John Deere’s and she did really well at a bit of reversing also. The weather has been fantastic until the last week when the temperature dropped a few degrees and there was even a flurry of snow. We were asked to go and help out at another site because they were struggling. The site at Morton in marsh was a nice site. We drove there and back everyday. About 26 miles each way and only took about 3/4 of an hour. We did it for four days.

On one of our days of we walked into Cirencester to have a spot of lunch and sample a pub or two. The first pub we went in was a bit too much like a cafe, the second one just never felt right. Third time lucky, a proper pub, with open fire, wooden floors, wooden beams. Good beer and good food. A nice afternoon followed.

Every three weeks we get a long weekend of, so this weekend we decided to give the camper a run and get of site. We decided to go to a campsite in Stanlake, near Whitney. We have been there before when we had the Winnebago. It’s only about an hour away so not far. A nice pub at the end of the road which we went to last night. Today we decided to go for a walk through the fields and round the lakes about two miles each way to another pub by the river at Newbridge. Really nice walk and the pub was ok as well. The path to the pub.