We left Minehead on the 2nd of January heading for our new base for the season in Chirk. Right on the welsh / English border between Oswestry and Wrexham. About 210 miles away. About a four and half hour drive in the camper.

Nikki was in the car and just before the services on the M5 she overtook me and slowed up in front of me. This means she was going in the services and was hoping I was going to follow. We pulled into the service area and had a comfort break. Nikki was concerned about a light in the dashboard that said low tyre pressure. I assured her not to worry and we continued on our way.

We had agreed to stop at another service area not far from where we were going because I like to top up the fuel so it’s all ready to go out next time. We both arrived within 5 minutes of each other. A quick sandwich and a fuel top up and onwards for the last ten miles.

We arrived on site and got ourselves set up in the compound. Then a quick cup of tea with Simon and Becky the managers and an early night as we had to go to work the next day. The only sound from outside was the owls hooting which we love anyway.

The next morning there was a great sunrise with the sun coming up behind the bare trees.

Morning sunrise

Off to work and get the feel for the site. There is a pheasant on site which takes a shine to peaple. As they walk by he follows them and will follow them for a fair way. It is funny but when pheasants do this they can be a bit scary as they tent to attack sometimes. So far no humans have been hurt by Freddy the pheasant and I think the more peaple on site and dogs the less he will be around.

A day off so we went for a little walk up the lanes and around the Chirk castle grounds. The castle is a national trust property which we plan to visit on another day off.

Chirk castle

This area has so much going for it and I have a huge list of things we want to do and see but we’re here for ten months so hopefully the list will be completed by the end of the season.

We had friends come and stay on site so it was only natural to show them the local pub and how nice the beer and food was. They agreed it was all very nice even though we had to walk home in the rain.

Another day off and a trip out to Llangollen which is about seven miles away. Llangollen has a steam railway line, a canal with horse drawn barges, a river running through the town and lots of small shops and cafes and of course a pub or two.

It’s rained a lot since we have been here so the river at Llangollen was in full flow. We found a small cafe overlooking the river to have lunch which was nice.

River Dee in full flow

The picture shows the river in full flow, the cafe on the left is where we had lunch and on the right is the steam railway station. No trains running at the moment. Not because they are on strike but because it’s a seasonal attraction.

Another day out was to visit the bike park at Llandegla just to get my bearings where it is check out the cafe there and I needed some new elbow and knee pads. Nikki came with me because there was a cafe involved. It’s only half an hour away and this will be my playground on some of my days off.

When we left the bike park I decided to come back a different way over the horseshoe pass. This a famous road which goes up the mountain and is shaped like a horseshoe. The views are fantastic and up the top is a cafe called the ponderosa which is used by a lot of bikers, that’s motor-bikers. It’s used by walkers, road bikers and everyone really. We will be returning to walk from there because the views are so nice.

I went out the other day for a quick blast on my mountain bike, just around the back roads and along the canal path. It was very cold and icy but so peaceful on the canal. All the narrow boats moored up had their wood burners going. Such a nice way to live and the pace of life just slows down.

Shropshire Union canal
Mawr viaduct

Houston we have a problem. In the coldest snap for a long time our heating is playing up. We called a mobile engineer out and he came to the conclusion that the controller or the PCB was knackered. Now the trouble is getting hold of these bits but he has managed to get the bits at a hiked up price because of the shortage of bits in the country. But needs must so we just had to bite the bullet and say yes get the bits please and come and fix it. In the mean time we had to go out and buy a small portable electric heater to keep us warm. The heating is being fixed in two days time thankfully.

That’s us up to date, it’s payday next week thankfully as our heating repair is not going to be cheap. The cold snap is over after tomorrow and we are heading in the right direction for spring.